Japan Diaries 4: Day 139

Day 139: March 20, 2022

Sunday - Wakkanai Backpacking Trip Day 1

This is it! My first backpacking trip to the northernmost city of Hokkaido and also to Japan. I woke up at around 5AM to double-check my stuff and prepare for my long trip north.

Waiting for the bus at the Motokawacho bus stop

Here comes the Engan Bus going to Haboro

I left home at around 6:30AM to catch the 6:44AM Engan bus at the Motokawacho bus stop. For this trip, I used my 2-day Moekko Free Ticket

Haboro Engan Bus Terminal

Strolling around Haboro

The 6:44AM bus goes only until Haboro Engan Bus Terminal which is about halfway to Toyotomi where I'd ride the train to Wakkanai. For this trip, I used the Moekko 2-day Skip Free Ticket

I arrived at Haboro at 8:13AM and since I would need to wait for the 10:56AM bus and I have 2 hours to burn, I decided to explore the scenic town of Haboro.

Hokkaido Seabird Center

Here's an informative display of the Great Auk.

How many seabirds can you spot? 

The Backpack Adventures visits the Hokkaido Seabird Center

My first stop was the Hokkaido Seabird Center which is a museum of zoology located at 1 Chome Kita 6 Jo, Haboro Town. What I liked about this museum aside from it being free of any entrance fees is that it has plenty of interactive displays with English translations. Of course, I did not miss the stamp here for my travel diary. 

The Haboro Rose Garden is buried in snow when I visited

Just beside the Hokkaido Seabird Center is the Haboro Rose Garden. It would have been another place worth exploring but since it's still winter, you won't see anything there except snow. 

Haboro Onsen Sunset Plaza

Roadside Station Hot💗Haboro is inside Haboro Onsen Sunset Plaza

Time to buy some souvenirs

Instead, I proceeded to the Roadside Station Hot💗Haboro which was located inside the Haboro Onsen Sunset Plaza. I got another stamp there and I also bought a sticker of Oroboh, the Haboro Town mascot. 

Time to offer prayers and pay respects at Haboro Shrine

羽幌神社
Haboro Shrine

From there, I walked for about 1.2 kilometers along the Ororon Road going to Haboro Shrine. The shrine dates back to 1890. It has come a long way from being a small shrine dedicated by a handful of fishermen to Inari Daimyojin to a shrine that serves 7300+ residents of Haboro. 

イチゴ シロップ
Ichigo Syrup (イチゴ シロップ)

Check out the Ichigo Syrup vending machine

I bought 2 different flavors of the Oroboh Manju

Since it was already 10AM, I decided to head back to Haboro Engan Bus Terminal to wait for my bus. However, I saw an interesting-looking shop called Ichigo Syrup along the way so I googled it and found out that it sells Oroboh Manju


Oroboh Manju

The Oroboh Manju is a traditional Japanese confection shaped like Oroboh. It has fillings such as chestnut jam or adzuki beans. I bought both flavors to try them out. I ate these while waiting for the bus at Haboro Engan Bus Terminal

The Engan bus to Toyotomi just arrive. Time to board it.

Off to Toyotomi

I boarded the 10:56AM Engan Bus from Haboro to Toyotomi. When I arrived at Toyotomi, I went to the Hofomachi Kankojoho Center which was the Tourist Information Center and train ticketing office of Toyotomi Station

Hofomachi Kankojoho Center

Got some stamps and also bought some souvenirs at Hofomachi Kankojoho Center

The colored Toyotomi Manhole is displayed inside the Hofomachi Kankojoho Center

I chatted with the lady in charge of the center and she helped me double-check the schedule of the train to Wakkanai today and the train and bus schedule back home tomorrow. She also gave me a tip to buy the return ticket today as it will be cheaper. Aside from the tickets, I also got the Toyotomi Eki stamp for my collection and bought Toyotomi-themed stickers.  

Since the train to Wakkanai Station is still at 1643. I took this opportunity to explore Toyotomi. 

Here are the places that I visited:

Train tracks as seen from Route 444

Toyotomi Hachimangu Shrine

Tenbozanseihanawa Temple

豊富町国民健康保険診療所
Toyotomi National Insurance and Health Clinic

Before returning to Toyotomi Station, I had to do a quick stop at Ferme to try out their famed soft creme ice cream made from Sarobetsu milk which is the pride of Toyotomi. 

Ferme

Ferme
Wow! It's hard to choose which soft cream to buy

I settled for the chocolate soft cream

Went back to Toyotomi JR Station

Late lunch at Kissa Station (restaurant)

Yum yum!

When I got back to Toyotomi Station there was still an hour to wait before the train to Wakkanai arrives so I decided to grab lunch and kill time at Kissa Station (restaurant) inside Toyotomi Station. I ordered the gyudon set which costs 800 yen. 

I got my ticket going to Wakkanai


I rode the Limited Express Soya Series 261

Wakkanai JR Station

Wakkanai Pokemon Manhole Cover

The JR Soya-Sarobetsu Line to Wakkanai arrived at 4:43PM and because it was a Rapid Train, the trip was only 40 minutes long. Upon arriving at Wakkanai JR Station, I looked for the eki stamp and the Pokemon manhole cover before leaving the station. I was also planning to meet Abhie, the Filipino ALT of Wakkanai, but due to her other commitments, the plan was shelved. 


I then went on to check out Wakkanai's historic North Breakwater Dome Park instead and from there walked 3.5 kilometers going to my Airbnb accommodation. 

Wakkanai Karafuto Museum

The 1st floor of the Wakkanai Karafuto Museum has displays that remind you of the Showa period of Japan.

On my way home, I did a side trip to Wakkanai Karafuto Museum to check out the history and culture of Sakhalin but it was already closed and only the first floor remain accessible to visitors. 

From there, instead of proceeding directly home, I went to Japan's Northernmost Mcdonald's to grab dinner. I ordered a burger set meal and a "sakura" beverage which I saw in an online post of a friend. 

My Air BnB residence for the night - Saito

I didn't start that long though as I haven't checked in my Airbnb accommodation yet. So from Mcdonald's, I walked for another 1.7 kilometers to reach Saito - my home for the night. 

Here's the living room of Saito

Here's one of the bedrooms

Saito is a 4-bedroom house that I solely occupied for the day. It is also the cheapest accommodation in Wakkanai. Before calling it a day I made sure to call my wife to say hi and share with her my adventures for the day.

Overall, this wraps up Day 1 of my Wakkanai Backpacking Trip. Please join me on my 2nd day of adventure. See you guys!

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Comments

  1. I'm a big fan. You trips around Hokkaido looks amazing. I wish I could go on an adventure like you do. Sucks to live here in America.

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