Nagaiso Beach in Taisei-cho, Hokkaido is dotted with a lot of oddly-shaped rocks created by erosion of sea water. The most famous among them is the Mother and Child Bear Rocks.
According to a local legend, starving mother and child bears left their home mountain and reached this beach at last. When the child bear was eating a crab, he fell into the sea. Trying to save her son, the mother bear dived into the sea, but both were drowned to death. Deeply impressed by the affection of the mother bear, the god picked their bodies out of the sea and turned them into rocks.
The silhouette of the rocks is so real that it looks like a real mother bear embracing her son. Especially in the sunset, the outlines of their loving figures appear clearly.
Cape Sukoton is located at the northernmost point of Rebun Island in Hokkaido. As it is the 2nd northernmost point in Japan, after Cape Soya, it is one of the popular sightseeing spots in the northern part of Hokkaido. From here, you can see the uninhabited Todo (northern sea lion) Island, where it is said that sea lions indeed come and land on this island in winter.
On a fine day, you can see the Sakhalin islands in the distance. You will feel refreshed to see white caps of waves glinting in the blue ocean. This is the best spot to see the sunset. Standing atop of this cape and viewing the rolling waves in the strong wind, you will feel that you have really come to the farthest land.
The stone monument inscribed with the words meaning “This is the northernmost point of Honshu” stands on the extensive beach of Omazaki Cape at the tip of Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture. The streets of Hakodate City, about 18 meters away across the Tsugaru Straits, can be viewed on a fine day. The magnificent ocean view from Omazaki Cape will make you realize you are standing at the end of the farthest land. The sun setting in the land of Hokkaido is a superb view.
The town of Oma is famous all over the country as the base port of Ipponzuri (fishing one by one with one pole) of tuna. The monument of huge tuna is erected at the cape and it is a popular photogenic subject. The area around the cape is arranged into a park, which is alive with tourists during summer.
Shokanbetsu-tenuriyagishiri National Park, in Ishikari, the western part of central Hokkaido, was designated a park in 1990. Ruran Shore is located inside the park.
Ruran means 'path that god walks on' in the language of the native Ainu people of Hokkaido. Solid rocks appear to be cut from the shore and the cliffs are so mysterious you cannot help thanking the ancestors who named the shore. Many of the rocks along here have strange rugged shapes and are lined with cracks.
Some of the many beauty spots on Ruran Shore include Yoshitsune's Tears Rock and Amoi Cave, as well as caves along the cliffs. Nature has produced some glorious views.
This shore is also well-known for its beautiful evening sunsets. You will be moved and tremble at the beauty of the sight. Strange rocks become red as they are lit up by the evening sun setting on the far horizon. This is indeed the twilight time of the Ainu god.
There is a coast named “Ruran” in Shokanbetsu-Teuri-Yagishiri Quasi-national Park in Ishikari City, Hokkaido. “Ruran” means a god’s path in Ainu. Continuing strange-shaped rocks stand along the coastline, among which the most outstanding is Amoi Tunnel. It stands out of the coast and the perforated hole is so narrow that a small fishing boat can barely pass through it. The rocky stretch above the tunnel is called “Yoshitsune no Namida-iwa,” for the legend has it that Yoshitsune, who exiled to Ezo (presently Hokkaido), shed tears thinking of his wife, Shizuka Gozen. The rocky stretch is as high as 30 m from the sea level. Together with the strange-shaped rocks with radial cracks seen all over Ruran Coast, it gives a strong impression to the visitors.
Cape Soya in Wakkanai City is the northernmost point of Japan. It is located at 45°31’ N, where the monument of the Northernmost Point of Japan is erected. This triangular piramid monument was designed in the motif of North Star as the symbol of the northern country. Its acute angle in the flame of sunset touches the heart of many travelers who are lured to visit this place by the fascinating image of the word “the northernmost point.”
As the walking trail is provided, visitors can walk around the cape while viewing cows leisurly grazing in the pastureland. On a fine day, you can see Sakhalin Island only 43 km away on the horizon. Thinking that it’s a foreign island, you will realize you are standing at the very end of the country.
Azechi Point is a small peninsula located to the west of Kiritappu Peninsula, in the vicinity of Kiritapp Town of Eastern Hokkaido. It protrudes out over the sea as if it is watching over Biwako Bay.
Azechi Point is known to have a spectacular sweeping view of the beautiful shore lines of Biwako Bay and Hamanaka Bay and, facing the Pacific Ocean, has an expansive view of table shaped islands unique to this region.
From the point visitors can observe closely the island well known as a nesting ground for the rare Tufted Puffin as well as Kenpokki Island, which is a breeding ground for numerous sea birds including Japanese Cormorants. Numerous strangely shaped rocks appear and disappear under the raging waves of the Pacific Ocean.
Visiting the point in the early morning is also worthwhile. In season, visitors can see a dynamic scene of fleets of kelp catching ships racing each other towards the ocean.
Sunset is also spectacular; the scene of the island and the ocean glowing red reflecting the crimson colored sun setting down over the Pacific Ocean is much loved by locals.
Azechi Point is a place where the visitor can indulge in the spectacle of nature from the moment the day dawns to the last minutes of the sun setting on the horizon.
Lake Shirarutoro is located to the north of Kushiro Shitsugen Wetland, which is the largest wetland in Japan. The whole area covering Kushiro Shitsugen used to be the sea about 10,000 years ago, so Lake Shirarutoro is said to have been formed when the coastline retreated inward and the sea water remained in the depressed part of the land. It is a small lake with a circumference of 7.5 km and a maximum depth of 2.3 m. The lake is a wild bird paradise and a good bird watching spot, where various species of birds come flying from season to season. There are some points that do not freeze even in winter, at which swans, sea eagles, and red-crowned cranes come clustering. You can stay at the camping sites or pensions in the vicinity of the lake and enjoy viewing the natural features or wild bird around the lake to your heart’s content. The lake is also known for “Okami-watari (the sound of footsteps of the god).” If you are lucky enough, you may be able to the sound of the god’s footsteps, which resonant all over the lake. After listening to Okami-watari sounds, you can view the setting sun, bending your ear to the calls of red-crowned cranes. How about spending a winter day like this?