Japan Diaries 4: Day 285

Japan Diaries 4: Day 285

Day 285: August 13, 2022

Saturday - Drive Up North Day 2

It’s Day 2 of our Drive Up North road trip. We were a bit worried about today because there is a probability that it would rain at night according to the weather forecast. It was worrisome as we only plan to camp tonight and we haven’t tested how good the waterproofing is of our tent. Regardless, we pushed on hoping that everything would be ok.

Seicomart Akatsuka Teshio Shop

Driving north via the Yamate back street inside the Teshio town proper

Teshio Itsukushima Shrine



For the 2nd day of our Drive Up North road trip, we left Kagaminuma Seaside Park Camping Ground in the town of Teshio at around 9 PM. However, before leaving Teshio, we first drove to Seicomart Akatsuka Teshio Shop to buy and eat breakfast before visiting the Teshio Itsukushima Shrine to give respects and offer prayers.

We then followed Route 106 going to the town of Horonobe (幌延町). Our first stop in Horonobe was the Otonrui Wind Farm which was a popular stop along Route 106. The place is a popular photo spot for motorists driving along the route.

Off to Horonobe (幌延町) via Route 972

Horonobe Visitor Center

Exploring Sarobetsu Plain

Checking out how deep the marsh is.


Right after Otonrui Wind Farm. We drove eastward via Route 972. We had another stopover at the Horonobe Visitor Center and Sarobetsu Plain.

From there we continued to the town proper of Horonobe to offer some prayers and pay respects at Horonobe Shrine.

Exploring Horonobe


Some interesting rock installations in front of Horonobe Town Hall

Horonobe Town Hall

Another interesting-looking rock

After that, we walked to the nearby Horonobe Town Hall and the small park in front of it so that we could at least get the feel of the town.

Tonakai Reindeer Ranch

Next stop: Tonakai Reindeer Ranch

Lunch at Restaurant Poro

Here's our lunch at Restaurant Poro

We then continued on our trip along Route 121 going to the next town. However, before leaving Horonobe, we had one last stopover at Tonakai Reindeer Ranch to see its famed reindeer. Since it was also lunchtime, we decided to eat lunch at Restaurant Poro which is also inside the ranch. I ordered the duck meat ramen which is one of the best sellers in the restaurant and was amazed by its taste. My wife also enjoyed her meal here and had high praises for its taste and quantity.

One of the reindeer or Tonakai Reindeer Ranch

After lunch, we went to the ranch to check out the reindeer. Sadly, they were all under the shade but luckily one did approach us after we tricked it into giving it food.

Toyotomi Settlement Support Center


Toyotomi Pokemon manhole cover

From there, we continued to the next town which is Toyotomi (豊富町). The town is known for its onsen. However, since we were pressed for time, we didn’t stop by to dip in the onsen but instead, continued to the town proper. Our first stop was the Toyotomi Settlement Support Center. This place isn’t a tourist destination but we had to visit it simply because it is where the Toyotomi Pokemon manhole cover is located.

Waiting in line at Ferme

We then drove to Ferme which is one of the most popular soft cream shops in Hokkaido. When we got there, they were celebrating their 8th anniversary and there was a long queue.

Route 40 to Wakkanai City

As mentioned, since we were pressed for time, we decided to skip it and visit Toyotomi Hachimangu Shrine before we proceeded to our next destination.

Some "parked" fishing boats at Cape Noshappu

Akikawa

Bought a soft cream from Akikawa

Our next and last place to visit for the day is Wakkanai City (稚内市). However, since this city is vast, we opted to explore only its western side for today. Wakkanai City is the northernmost city in Japan. I first visited this city last March 20 and 21, 2022 which was my 139th and 140th day here in Japan as an ALT under the JET Programme.

We drove to Cape Noshappu. We bought some souvenirs at Akikawa (souvenir store) and then took pictures with the dolphin statue of Cape Noshappu. From there, we walked to Noshappu Aquarium and watched the seals being fed. My daughter and I then quickly explored the Wakkanai Youth Science Museum and enjoyed it together.

Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower

Inside the observatory of Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower

We also visited the swing installation in the park in front of the Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower 

For the last stretch of the 2nd day of our Drive Up North road trip, we drove to Wakkanai Centennial Memorial Tower in Wakkanai Park which is on top of the hill overlooking the city and Soya Bay. We were lucky to be able to arrive before closing time as we got to go up to its observation deck to see the panoramic view of Wakkanai City and the hills around it.

From there, we drove to the nearby Wakkanai Forest Park Camping Ground and set up camp there hoping it wouldn’t rain that night. This area is also on top of the hill hence some parts have a great view. We chose to camp near the forest area so that in case it rains hard we have a canopy as an extra layer of waterproofing.

We finished pitching our tent. Time to call it a day 

It drizzled at around 3 AM but was brief and didn’t turn into full-fledged rain. Overall, we are thankful as we were given generally good weather the whole day. We are praying that it will be the same tomorrow for the next leg of our trip.

Read more:

Japan Diaries 4: Week 41
Japan Diaries 4: Weekend 41

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