Japan Diaries 4: Day 314


Day 314: September 11, 2022

Sunday - 9.9-11 Family Road Trip D3

It's another lovely Sunday morning. Today marks the end of our September 9-11 Family Road Trip. We planned to visit some of the cities and towns in Sorachi Subprefecture on this trip.

Elm Highland Resort Kazokuryokomura Camping Ground

Sculpture Park Sakiyama

7-Eleven: Akabira Bunkyocho

We bought our favorite 711 coffee and some food for breakfast

My daughter walked around and photographed the sculptures at the Sculpture Park Sakiyama before we left Elm Highland Resort Kazokuryokomura Camping Ground in Akabira City (赤平市).

We drove through Shin-Utashinai Tunnel on Route 114.

Utashinai Pioneering Monument


Utashinai City as seen from Myooji

Things we saw on Myooji grounds


Utashinai manhole cover

From there, we drove to Utashinai City (歌志内市). Although it was not part of our original itinerary, we visited Myooji because it caught our eye while driving to Utashinai Shrine. Aside from that, we also got to visit Shinoji because we got lost looking for the road going up to the shrine. 

Speaking of which, Utashinai Shrine gave us a hard time because when we found the road we were disappointed to discover that it was already reclaimed by plants. It left me and my daughter no choice but to go up the hill on foot. Luckily there were steps near the Utashinai Library parking area. 

Utashinai Shrine's main torii at the far end of the street 

Ella and I had a terrific time bonding as we walked up to the shrine and talked about a variety of topics. We returned to the car after paying our respects and praying, and then we went to Utashinai Roadside Station to obtain the roadside station stamp for my Hokkaido Roadside Station Stamp Rally.

Yo8055 Suyuni60 218 preserved trains

Our next stop is the town of Kamisunagawa (上砂川町). We visited the Former Kamisunagawa Station. My daughter and I learned something about the old station and the town. We wanted to know more so we headed to the Kamisunagawa Coal Mine Museum

We were amazed to meet the director of the museum who turned out to be a dog named Shitan. Kamisunagawa Coal Mine Museum has very informative displays about the coal mine era. 

Off to Sunagawa City

From there, we visited Kamisunagawa Shrine to pay respects and offer prayers before leaving the town. It was noontime when we left Kamisunagawa. My daughter requested to have some playtime. Luckily, I made sure to include a destination in the itinerary for her. Our next stop is Sunagawa City (砂川市). 

Sunagawa Highway Oasis

The city is home to the Kodomo no Kuni or Children's Country. It's sort of a theme park but what it lacks in rides makes up for unique opportunities to learn while playing. We stayed there for about an hour and a half before proceeding to the nearby Sunagawa Highway Oasis to buy some souvenirs and also snacks to eat. 

Driving through Route 1027

Next stop: Kitakaro

We tried Kitakaro's creampuff and soft cream

While inputting the information about our next destination in Google Maps, I saw a place worth including in our itinerary which was Kitakaro. It is a confectionery that is popular for its soft cream and creampuff. We purchase these and true enough they lived up to our expectations. 

Before leaving Sunagawa, we went to Sunagawa Shrine before leaving the city and offered prayers and paid respects. 

Naie manhole cover

Naie Roadside Station

You will find a Showa-era house inside Naie Roadside Station

Naie Shrine's main torii

Naie Shrine

Our next destination is the little town of Naie (奈井江町), located south of Sunagawa City. It is a little town with its own charm and character. We began by visiting Naie Roadside Station "Hausjarvi Naie" to obtain a roadside station stamp for the Hokkaido Roadside Station Stamp Rally. We didn't leave town until we had visited the town's main shrine, in this case, Naie Shrine.

Driving along Route 283 going back to Rumoi City

Urausu Roadside Station

We bought some vegetables at Fureai Plaza

After Naie, we crossed the Ishikari River to revisit the town of Urausu (浦臼町). I included it in the itinerary because it is on the way home and the last time we visited it was during a very brief toilet stop in its roadside station last August 22, 2022, during our From Osaka with Love D4 trip. For this visit, we went to Fureai Plaza and bought vegetables there. 

The minipark across the street from Urausu Roadside Station

Urausu Shrine's main torii

The old train track near the shrine

Heading up Urausu Shrine

Urausu Shrine

Finally, we found the Urausu manhole cover. We needed to clean it though as it was covered in sand

Urausu manhole cover

Ella and I then went up to Urausu Shrine to pay respects and offer a prayer. We didn't stay long though as we still have a long way to go to get back home. From Urausu, it's about an hour and 12 minutes drive to return to our Rumoi City home. We were all getting hungry but since no one wanted to cook dinner when we got back home, I searched for a nice place to eat dinner along the way home. 

Hinode Drive-in

We ate dinner at Hinode Drive-in

It was already dark when we finished eating.

That brought us to Hinode Drive-in (日の出ドライブイン) in the town of Uryu (雨竜町). The food was good and the price was reasonable. It was the perfect stop before reaching home. 

Driving along Route 275 heading back home

We got home at around 8 PM and just like our previous road trips, we just unloaded our stuff, rested a bit, and then took a refreshing shower before calling it a day. 

Overall, we visited 4 new cities and 4 new towns. We also got to revisit 3 cities/towns. This makes me look forward to where we'll go next weekend.

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  1. Great! I look forward to more of your trips. Thanks for sharing.


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