White Road - Hokkaido

White Road (白い道is a one-of-a-kind road made of crushed scallop shells. It is located in Soya-mura, Wakkanai City, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan

Path of White Shells
White Road (白い道)

White Road details

The entire length of White Road, also known as the Path of White Shells, is roughly 3 kilometers long from the starting point on the inland side to the goal point at the foot of Soya Hills on the Soya Village side.

White Road (白い道) - Wakkanai City, Hokkaido Prefecture

For decades, the scallop industry is one of the main industries of Wakkanai City. However, the shells were considered industrial waste as it has very little use. In 2011, an employee of the Wakkanai City Industry and Tourism Division at the time came up with the concept of crushing scallop shells and spreading them over the off-road surface of Soya Ranch.

Official White Path route

The road is made from crushed scallop shells

The view from White Road

The scallop shells used to make the White Road are carefully washed, dried, and then crushed into small pieces. These crushed shells are then laid down and compacted to create a smooth and durable surface. The road is not only visually stunning but also serves as a natural deodorizer due to the high calcium content in the shells, which neutralizes the smell of any nearby fish markets.

Photos of White Road








The White Road has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The contrast of the white road against the blue sea and greenery is truly breathtaking, and visitors can walk or cycle along the road while taking in the beautiful scenery. This made the lonely stretch of the road an instant tourist spot. At first, the White Road can only be accessed by walking or biking. However, parking became a big issue as there were no paved parking spots at the starting point and limited parking at the goal point.

Team Nicerio visits White Road




To address this, vehicles were allowed to pass through on the condition that visitors start from the starting point inland. However, since most visitors come from Wakkanai City, and the goal point is nearer, they enter White Road from the goal point at the foot of Soya Hills. This caused accidents in the past.


Wakkanai City's official website even created a YouTube video to provide tourists with the "correct directions" to go to White Road. Unfortunately, because the route is unmanned, many individuals continue to drive through the incorrect way. Regardless, passing in the wrong direction is not a criminal offense but if you do this, please make be mindful of your speed and the people walking along the path going down the hill.

My family and I visited White Road for the first time during the 4th day of our 5-day "Drive Up North" road trip last August 15, 2022. This was my 287th day here in Japan as an ALT under the JET Programme.  Although it was a rainy day when we got to Cape Soya, we were blessed to have clear weather when we got to White Road. The road was truly picturesque and in a way magical. We didn’t waste the opportunity to take pictures and enjoy the view.

White Road Entrance Fee

It’s FREE to drive, bike, jog, or walk on White Road.

White Road Operating Hours

White Road is open 24/7. However, there are no lights along White Road so be careful driving at night.

Why visit White Road?

If you're planning to drive to Cape Soya, the northernmost point of Japan, you should definitely include the White Road in your itinerary. This unique route will take you through some of the most picturesque scenery in the region and offer you an unforgettable driving experience. Whether you're traveling alone or with your family, the White Road is a must-visit destination that will leave you awestruck with its natural beauty and captivating vistas. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning views along the way!

Getting to White Road

 

The best way to reach White Road is by private vehicle as the starting point is deep inland and there is no public transportation that goes there. Here’s a link to the detailed instructions on how to go to White Road. 👉LINK👈

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