Japan Diaries 4: Day 320


Day 320: September 17, 2022

Saturday - 9.17-19 Family Road Trip D1

September 19 (Monday) is Keiro no Hi or Respect of the Aged Day. It is a public holiday here in Japan. It only means that today is the start of this month's first long weekend. Yup, you read that right. It's the first as September 23 (Friday) is Autumnal Equinox Day which is also a holiday here in Japan

One of the tunnels from Rumoi City to the town of Takasu

Here's what we did on the first day of our 9.17-19 Family Road Trip

First stop: Arashiyama Observation Deck

We followed the manmade pathway going to the observation deck

Arashiyama Observation Deck
Asahikawa City as seen from the Arashiyama Observation Deck

We left Rumoi City at around 6AM (the earliest we have done so far) to go to the town of Takasu (鷹栖町). Our first destination is the Arashiyama Observation Deck (嵐山展望台
on the outskirts of town. It has an amazing view of Asahikawa City. 

Next stop: Melody Bridge

Ella tried playing the musical instruments installed on the bridge

From there, we drove towards the town center. On the way, we stopped by Melody Bridge (メロディー橋). The bridge has xylophone bars installed on its railings, making it an interesting destination for those who love music. 

セイコーマート 春光台店
We bought breakfast at Seicomart Shunkodai

Asahikawa City manhole cover

Takasu Shrine torii gate

Takasu Shrine

After satisfying our curiosity we drove to Takasu Shrine (鷹栖神社). Ironically, I mistook it as the major shrine of Takasu because of its name. However, it was actually inside Asahikawa City (旭川市). The main shrine of Takasu is the Takasu Ichiman Shrine (鷹栖八幡神社) in the center of town. Regardless, we still explored the Takasu Shrine and also paid our respects before heading back to Takasu (鷹栖町)to visit the Takasu Ichiman Shrine

We drove back to Takasu and stopped at Green Park

We ate breakfast at Green Park

Hello, Anpanman!

Takasu Hachiman Shrine

We drove past Ikoi Square

Takasu manhole cover

The return trip took only 4 minutes. When we got to Takasu Ichiman Shrine (鷹栖八幡神社), we saw that it was just next to Green Park (緑地公園). Because we were alone, we decided to eat breakfast at the park before heading to the shrine to pay our respects and pray.

We next went to the Tambo Art (Art on Rice Fields) (東鷹栖・田んぼアートon Asahikawa's northeastern outskirts. We were 5 days late since the observation deck had already closed. Despite this, we were able to capture the rice field art from the ground.

Pippu manhole cover

Next stop: Pippu Station

Pippu Pokemon manhole cover

The Redbrick warehouses in front of Pippu Station


Pippu Shrine

There were giant pumpkins displayed on the grounds of Pippu Shrine

From there, our next stop is the town of Pippu (比布町). We visited Pippu Station (比布駅) to take photos of the Pippu Pokemon Manhole Cover (Pippu Pokefuta). Ella and I also bought the famed strawberry soft cream before leaving. Our last stop was the Pippu Shrine (比布神社) where we offered some prayers and paid our respects. 

道の駅 とうま
Toma Roadside Station

We tried the watermelon soft cream of Toma Roadside Station

Toma Shrine Torii Gate

Toma Shrine

Toma Bell Cave

Toma Bell Cave
We had fun exploring the limestone cave

The next town on our itinerary is Toma (当麻町). Our first stop in town is the Toma Roadside Station (道の駅 とうま) to get the stamp for the Hokkaido Roadside Station Stamp Rally. From there, we headed to Toma Shrine (當麻神社). After offering our prayers, we drove to the outskirts of town to visit one of the highlights of this trip which is the Toma Bell Cave Toma Limestone Cave (当麻鐘乳洞). We were surprised at how beautiful the cave and it was worth driving out of the way.

On our way to the town of Aibetsu

Aibetsu Shrine torii gate 

Aibetsu Shrine

Aibetsu Noson Park

Aibetsu manhole cover

We then visited the town of Aibetsu (愛別町). The trip to town was a quick one as we only visited the Aibetsu Shrine (愛別神社) and the Aibetsu Noson Park (愛別町農村公園).  

Heading to our next town - Kamikawa

Bell of Espoir

Inside the Bell of Espoir

The view from the top floor of the Bell of Espoir

Ogamigawa Shrine torii gate

Ogamigawa Shrine

Kamikawa manhole cover

From Aibetsu, we drove to the town of Kamikawa (上川町). Our first stop was the Bell of Espoir (エスポワールの鐘). This observatory has an amazing view of the town. From there, we headed to Ogamigawa Shrine (大上川神社) to pay respects and offer prayers.

セブン-イレブン 上川町店
Before leaving the town we bought some snacks at 711 Kamikawa

Passed through the 3.27-kilometer Kamikoshi Tunnel along E39 going to our next destination

Maruseppu Roadside Station

Before leaving the town, we first bought groceries and snacks at De Marche and 711 Kamikawa. Our last stop for the day is the town of Engaru (遠軽町). To reach it, we used the Kamikawa-Sounkyo Interchange. It cut our trip by almost 20 minutes if we used Route 333. This allowed us to visit Roadside Station "Maruseppu" (道の駅 まるせっぷ) before it closed. Hence, I still got both the physical and digital roadside station stamps for my Hokkaido Roadside Station Stamp Rally

We pitched our tent at Maruseppuikoinomori Camping Ground

Dinner time

Maruseppu Onsen Yamabiko

Maruseppu Onsen Yamabiko
Time to freshen up before calling it a day.

From there, we drove to Maruseppuikoinomori Camping Ground (丸瀬布いこいの森キャンプ場) to set up camp for the day.  After paying the camping fees, we pitched our tent by the river.  We had our yakiniku night before walking to the nearby Maruseppu Onsen Yamabiko (丸瀬布温泉やまびこ) to clean and relax our bodies after being on the road the whole day. 

That wraps up the first day of our 9.17-19 Family Road Trip. See you tomorrow. 

Read more: 

Toma Shrine
Toma Limestone Cave
Aibetsu Shrine
Aibetsu Noson Park
Bell of Espoir
Ogamigawa Shrine
Roadside Station "Maruseppu"
Maruseppuikoinomori Camping Ground
Maruseppu Onsen Yamabiko
10 Things to Do in Toma
10 Things to Do in Aibetsu
10 Things to Do in Kamikawa
10 Things to Do in Engaru


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