The summer and fall in Hokkaido, when there is no snow, is the perfect time to go on drives. Why not take a drive enjoying the clean air and the beautiful scenery created by Mother Nature? Here are five highly recommended spots.
1. Mt. Yotei
Mt. Yotei in the Shiribeshi region of western Hokkaido is a mountain with a beautiful shape famed to be similar to Mt. Fuji. The recommended driving spot to enjoy a view of Mt. Yotei is the Kyogoku-cho area of Japan National Route 276. If you are driving from Sapporo, take Japan National Route 230 and go over Nakayama Pass, and if you are going from Chitose, take Route 16 to Lake Shikotsu, then take Japan National Route 276 from there. You will have an amazing view of the mountain straight ahead of you from about Kimobetsu Chomin Park.
2. Cape Kamui
This is a cape in northwestern Shakotan Peninsula that juts out into the Sea of Japan. It is a popular spot where you can enjoy views of the beautiful blue ocean and of Kamui Rocks that can be seen if you walk to the tip of the cape. If you are driving from Sapporo, take the highway, get off at Otaru, then take Japan National Route 229. Keep in mind that there are no toilets, vending machines or smoking areas beyond the nearest parking area. Also, there are many ups and downs on the paths at Cape Kamui, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
3. Cape Tachimachi
If you go to the popular tourist destination of Hakodate, be sure to visit Cape Tachimachi. It is in an easily accessible location about 3.5km to the south of Hakodate Station at the southern tip of the city. It is a cape that faces the Tsugaru Straits between the southern tip of Hokkaido and the northern tip of Honshu and is famous for the fantastic views from the cliffs. It is beautiful in the day, and also at night when the lights on the fishing boats to lure fish out on the ocean create a romantic mood.
4. Cape Chikyu
Cape Chikyu in the Muroran area is within two hours on the highway from New Chitose Airport. It is a popular spot that has placed first in such rankings as "Hokkaido's Top 100 Nature Spots," and "Hokkaido Views Chosen by You." The cape has sheer cliffs that are about 100m high from which you can enjoy a fabulous view of the Pacific Ocean on a nice day. It is in the midst of a road that is referred to as a "Kanko-doro" (tourist road), but it is a narrow road that large tourist buses cannot go on, so we recommend renting a car to visit.
5. Mt. Moiwa
Mt. Moiwa is a 531m-high mountain in Sapporo's Minami Ward. There is a fabulous view of the faraway mountains and ocean, as well as of a nightscape referred to as the "jewel box of the north" from the mountaintop. You'll need to get on a ropeway and mini cable car to get to the top, but you can drive up to the middle of the mountain. There is a tourist road of about 3.5km on the southern side of the mountain, on which you can enjoy beautiful scenes of nature as well as a view of Sapporo. There may be squirrels and Ezo red fox crossing, so be sure to drive safely at a moderate speed.
*The image is of Sapporo at night as seen from the top of Mt. Moiwa
Hokkaido, which is vast, has many more wonderful places to drive. Please rent a car to enjoy a road trip!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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