Japan Diaries 4: Week 42

Week 42: August 15-19, 2022

Day 287: August 15, 2022

Monday - Drive Up North Day 4

Checked out from The Stays Wakkanai

Good morning everyone! With the looks of it, there would be a lot of rain later as huge dark clouds loom south of Wakkanai. This is also confirmed by the weather forecast. Hopefully it won’t affect our trip today as we are planning to stay overnight in Hamatombetsu later.

North Breakwater Dome

Explored the walkway near the North Breakwater Dome

After breakfast, we checked out of The Stays Wakkanai. We then placed all our luggage in the car but instead of driving to our first destination for the day, we simply walked toward it. The North Breakwater Dome is one of the most recognizable and visited tourist spots in the central part of Wakkanai. We didn’t stay there long though as we were afraid that the incoming rain might ruin our itinerary.

From there, we drove to the eastern side of Wakkanai City(

These are the places we’ve visited on the eastern side of Wakkanai City:

Cape Soya - Northernmost Point of Japan Monument

Cape Soya - Northernmost Monument

🀃 Cape Soya

Bye Wakkanai City, Hello Sarafutsu Village

The rain finally caught up to us when we reached Cape Soya luckily there were times when it stopped, so we could take photos at the Monument of the Northernmost Point of Japan.
After our visit to Cape Soya, we left Wakkanai heading to the village of Sarufutsu (

Here are the places that we visited in Sarufutsu:

Onishibetsu Shrine

Fisheries Monument

🟍 Fisheries Monument

Russian Ship Indigirka Victim Cenotaph

🟍 Russian Ship Indigirka Victim Cenotaph

Sarufutsu Village Road - Sarufutsu-Esanuka Road

🟍 Sarufutsu Village Road - Sarufutsu-Esanuka Road

From there, we drove to the last town on our itinerary for today which is the town of Hamatombetsu (浜頓別町).

Here are the places that we visited in Hamatombetsu:

Lake Kutcharo

Enjoying dinner at Kutcharo Lakeside Campground

UNO bonding time before calling it a night

Since we set up camp at Kutcharo Lakeside Campground, my wife and I were anxious as the weather forecast said it would rain at 11 PM tonight. True enough, it did, but thankfully the waterproofing of the tent protected us from getting wet, although some rainwater seeped in due to the continuous rain. Regardless, we still managed to get enough sleep.

Day 288: August 16, 2022

Tuesday – Drive Up North Day 5

It’s a rainy day. Thank goodness we weren’t soaked in our tent. Although we got wet packing up our camp, it wasn’t enough to dampen our spirits.

Off to our next destination

Nakatombetsu Manhole Cover

Today also marks the last day of our "Drive Up North" Road Trip. After packing up our stuff, we left Hamatombetsu and then drove south toward the town of Nakatombetsu (中頓別町).

These are the places that we visited in Nakatombetsu:

Breakfast at Seicomart Nakatombetsu

Nakatombetsu Town Hall

Before going to our next destination, we decided to buy coffee at the Seicomart inside the town. We parked there for about half an hour to enjoy our hot drink and some snacks. I even got to check out the Nakatombetsu Town Hall near the convenience store. After our breakfast, we continued to Nakatombetsu Roadside Station “Pinneshiri”.

Since arrived at the roadside station early, it meant that I wouldn’t be able to get the roadside station stamp for the Hokkaido Roadside Station stamp rally. Thankfully, my wife was very supportive. We waited for the roadside station to open, which meant we were in the parking lot for about one and a half hours. We spent it watching the high-adrenaline Netflix film, Carter.

Next stop Otoineppu

After I got the roadside station stamp, we continued on our trip and we headed to Otoineppu (音威子府村) which is a village south of Nakatombetsu.

These are the places that we visited in Otoineppu:

There were a lot of other places that we wanted to visit in both Nakatombetsu and Otoineppu but the bad weather forced us to cut our trip short. We were also planning to visit the town of Nakagawa after our stop in Otoineppu but we also decided to skip it.

Route 119

From Otoineppu, we took Route 40, 119, and 256, until we got back to Route 232 where our trip started. The drive was straightforward and we reached home a little after 2 PM. We spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking our stuff. We were so drained that we called it a day early.

Overall, our 5-day Drive Up North road trip was a success. My family and I enjoyed every kilometer of it. We also got to taste unique food and learn about the history of different towns. Lastly, we managed to visit one city, eight towns, and three villages. As for my roadside station stamps, I got 9 stamps for the stamp rally. This made me excited for the next weekend as Mr. Toshi and his family will be coming over to visit us.

Day 289: August 17, 2022

Wednesday – Rumoi

It’s a beautiful sunny day. It’s very timely as we have a lot of wet clothes and laundry from our recent road trip.

Rumoi High School 8/17/2022

Since I didn’t file for nenkyu, I am going to report for work at Rumoi High School even if the students are still on vacation.

Like last week, I spent my day studying Japanese using the VLC course. Today, I managed to finish several lessons making me a few lessons away from finishing Unit 2.

Thanks, Chiba-sensei

What made the day special was that Chiba-sensei came to give me two additional tickets for the concert in the Rumoi Bunka Center this coming 22nd of September. On the other hand, Matsuda-sensei helped me complete the forms for the 100K yen subsidy from the local government. Aside from that, several teachers brought omiyage from the places that they visited during the summer break hence, I got to taste several unique snacks. As for me, I brought chocolate that I got in Cape Soya to share with everyone.

My wife bought me a new batch of Moekko Free Tickets for my visit school trips

After work, my wife and I went to Rumoi Shinkin Bank to withdraw money. We then went to COOP to buy groceries before heading home.

That night, I received a text message and email from my bank informing me that someone was trying to access my bank account. Thank goodness, the fraud department of my bank was quick to respond by declining the multiple purchases of the fraudster.

Sadly, we had to deactivate my credit card because of this. This means we won’t be able to purchase plane tickets soon.

Day 290: August 18, 2022

Thursday – Embetsu

Today is my 12th visit to Embetsu Agricultural High School for the school year 2022 -2023. For this trip, I used my 1-day Moekko Free Ticket.

Embetsu Agricultural High School 8/18/2022

Here’s my workload today:

3rd period – Traditional Food @ 2nd year Advanced of Sasaki-sensei
5th period – Traditional Food @ 2nd year Basic of Sasaki-sensei

Thank you, Terasaki-san

I got to watch a beautiful sunset on my way home

When I got back to my desk, I was surprised to see a note from one of my co-workers. It truly made my day.

Day 291: August 19, 2022

Friday – From Osaka with Love Day 1

It’s a beautiful morning. I won’t be reporting for work as I filed for nenkyu (paid leave). It’s all because our Japanese family will be flying to Hokkaido today. We will meet them in Sapporo later and join them on their weekend travels.

Sapporo bound - Route 231

We left our home in Rumoi at around 11 AM. We then drove on Route 231 along the Ishikari coast until we reached Sapporo City. Sapporo is overwhelming for us especially my wife as it is her first time driving inside a very big city. Regardless, we arrived at One’s Villa Sapporo House safely around 3 PM.

Home for the day - One’s Villa Sapporo House

Inside One’s Villa Sapporo House

After checking in, we immediately unloaded our stuff and prepared for the arrival of our Japanese family.

We bought a welcome cake at Anne Charlotte

First, we headed to the nearby AEON Mall Asabu Store to buy ingredients and drinks for our yakiniku dinner. From there, we headed to Anne Charlotte to buy a welcome cake for our Japanese family.

Preparing dinner for our Japanese family.

Welcome to Hokkaido, Kameyama Family

Jingisukan meat for dinner. 

When our Japanese family arrived, we spent the whole night enjoying the food and each other’s company.

Family pic before calling it a day

Overall, it was an amazing first day of our family road trip which I dubbed “From Osaka with Love”. Please join us on our second day of adventure tomorrow!




  1. Seems like you're having regular weekend trips now. I'm excited to see where you will go to next.

    1. Yes we are. Please do check my blog regularly for more of our travels.


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