Sapporo Clock Tower, or “Tokeidai,” is a symbol of Sapporo City, Hokkaido. The tower was built in 1878 as a militaly drill hall of the former Sapporo Agricultural College (now Hokkaido University). At the time of the construction, it was a bell tower without a clock. However, as the first floor was used for laboratories, the incorrect experiment data were often obtained due to the vibration caused by the ringing bell, from which the clock was installed in 1881. The clock was designated as the standard time clock of sapporo in 1888. In 1903, when Agricultural College was relocated to the place where Kokkaido University is located now, the clock tower was left out of use for some time. Then in 1906, Sapporo ward office bought the tower and removed it not by dismantling but by dragging to the present location. Being loved by the citizens of Sapporo, it was designated as a National Important Cultural Property in 1970. The improvement works were given for 4 years since 1995, and it is now used as exhibition space and a ceremony hall.
Lake Choboshi is a brackish lake located near Otsu fishery harbor in Toyokoro Town in the eastern part of Hokkaido. The lake has a circumference of about 5 km. It is connected to the Pacific Ocean by a narrow sand dune.
The name “Choboshi” derives from an Ainu word “chi-o-pusi-i,” meaning “the place where a river breaks open.” As is shown by its name, the end of the lake actually breaks open and the lake is included in the ocean when water rises.
The area around the lake is surrounded by forests of conifer and broadleaf trees. It is a part of Notsuke-Furen Prefectural Natural Park. The group of plants growing in the sand dune was designated as the prefecture’s Natural Monument in 1963. From spring through early fall, rugosa rose, Yezo daylily and dragon’s head (Dracocephalum argunense) come into bloom.
The walking trail and camping site are provided in the lakeside area. Visitors can enjoy various activities all though the year including lake smelt fishing and yachting on ice. Also, 45 Kannon statues including Ryogoku Holy Place of 33 Kannon are enshrined in the area around the lake.
Capes on Okushiri Island had been considered holy places where people offered prayers to gods in the ancient times. Among such capes is Cape Miyatsu Benten. If you go northward on the east side of the island, you will see the cape with a shrine atop of it.
It is Bentengu Shrine, the history of which dates back to 1831, when local fishermen enshrined the statue of Benten at the watch house located here and prayed for a good catch. The shrine building was built in 1927 and since then Benten has been guarding the people of the nearby villages.
The cape commands a magnificent ocean view with the main land of Hokkaido seen in the distance. Surrounding sea is so cleat that you can see the bedrocks. The cape rises in mystic tranquility and only the lapping of the waves can be heard.
Originally Japan had many words to describe the moon according to its changing shape through waxing and waning. They are all elegantly named for the different phases: Shin-getsu (new moon), San-getsu (very fine moon of 2nd day), Mika-zuki (crescent, 3rd day ), Jougen no tsuki (bow shape moon of 7th day), Komochi-zuki (near full moon of 14th day), Tachimachi-zuki ( standing and waiting for the moon to appear, 17th day), Nemachi-zuki (Laying down and waiting for the moon to appear, 19th day), Ariake-zuki (morning moon, 26th day or general name after 16th) and so on.
The Moon Plate created by Mutsuko Shibata is a simple but imposing plate with a beautiful gold drizzled pattern. It has strength in its stillness. With a variety of food and seasonal ingredients available, you can enjoy the rich compliment of the two faces of the plate and food, a luxury in daily life.
You can arrange food to look like a hazy moon, or see a beam from the moon light in the golden drops. Besides being perfect to serve guests, the plate is also a good everyday item.
Large W 27 cm x D 27 cmx H 2.5 cm
Small W 15 cm x D 15 cm x H 2 cm
Ochiishi-misaki Wetland spreads on the plateau-shaped small cape protruding into the Pacific Ocean at the base of Nemuro Peninsula in the eastern part of Hokkaido. It is designated as the prefecture’s Natural Environment Preservation District. The wetland is known as the southernmost boundary of Lapland rosebay (Rhododendron parvifolium), which produces little flowers in June. Other rare plants such as skunk cabbage, Hakusanchidori (Orchis aristata) and hare’s tail cotton grass can be seen.
Walking through the wetland and the swamp forest of red pine trees along the wooden trail, you will get to a light house, which is located at the easternmost end of Japan. From there, you can command a panoramic view including unending stretch of the green carpet of the wetland, the dynamic coastline of continuing cliffs and the far-off horizon in the Pacific Ocean.
As a part of natural preservation district, there are no man-made structures, so you can enjoy natural landscapes that remain intact here.
Furen-ko Wetland spreads over the downstream area of the Furen River, which flows into Lake Furen, a brackish lake with a circumference of 96 km in the border of Bekkai Town and Nemuro City. Lake Furen was formed when the water flow was dammed by a huge sandbar created by the coastal current in Nemuro Bay. As it is directly connected to Nemuro Bay, a vast wetland was formed at the mouth of the Furen River.
Furen-ko Wetland is a wildfowl paradise, where nearly 300 species of wild birds can be observed. Those include rare species such as White-tailed eagles, Steller's Sea Eagle, Blakiston's Fish Owl, and red-crowned cranes. Also, migratory birds such as Whooper swans, bean goose and snipes come and stay here for a short period or winter here. Lake Furen and Furen-ko Wetland together with Shunkunitai were designated as a Ramsar Site as Furen-ko and Shunkunitai in 2005.
Notsuke Peninsula is Japan’s largest sand spit, which is a 28 km long fish hook-shaped peninsula jutting into Nemuro Strait on the eastern edge of Hokkaido. Desolate landscape with withered trees called todo-wara and nara-wara continues endlessly. There used to be forests of oak and beech trees in this area, but the trees were blighted by ground subsidence and seawater erosion. Weathering is still in progress now.
Inside the bay is a tidal flatland, where many species of shellfish and crustacean inhabit. Migratory birds such as Whooper swans and geese come to stay here on their migration in spring and fall. Notsuke-hanto Wetland was designated as a Ramsar Site in 2005 and its ecosystem has been protected by the city government.
Shibetsu Wetland is located to the north of Notsuke Peninsula in the eastern part of Hokkaido. The wetland was formed on the sand dune facing Nemuro Straight between the Po River, a tributary of the Ichani River, and the Shibetsu River. The wetland area is a part of Po River Historic Site Natural Park. Generally, the wetland in the upstream area is called Kawakita Wetland and the downstream area is called Sanbongi Wetland.
It is a high moor with 170 ha peatland. Also, tundra plants that have existed since the glacial ages about 3,000 years ago can be seen. A wetland is the most fragile land form and so is a peat moss land. Once it is trampled, it takes a long time to recover. Shibetsu Wetland is designated as National Natural Monument and has been preserved carefully.