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.
Lake Kushu is the only lake on the island of Rebun in the northern part of Hokkaido. The lake, 4 km in circumference, is the northernmost lake in Japan. Known as “the Island of Flowers,” Rebun Island is the treasure trove of alpine plants and wild birds.
Lake Kushu is a scenic spot where you can enjoy bountiful nature to your heart content. The wetland around Lake Kushu is covered with the community of skunk cabbages from the middle of April through the early May. In June, Rebun-atsumoriso (Cypripedium marcanthum var. rebunense), which is a variation of large-flowered cypripedium, produce gorgeous flowers. You can also enjoy watching various kinds of wild birds from the promenede.
The lakeside is suitable for outdoor activities. There is a camping site provided with cottages, bungalows and auto-camping sites. You can taste “Japan’s northernmost milk” in the nearby ranch.
Minamihama Wetland is located in Rishirifuji Town on Rishiri Island in Hokkaido. Spreading to the north of Menuushoro-numa Pond, it is the largest wetland on the island. With communities of colorful alpine and swamp plants, it is one of the representative scenic spot on the island and at the same time an academically important wetland. It is referred to as “the high moor with Japanese red pine trees at zero meters above sea level” or “the unique wetland where skunk cabbages bloom among peat moss.”
As wooden trails are built through the area, visitors can walk and view flowers of snake berry, bog-bean and Iso-tsutsuji (Ledum palustre var. diversipilosum). The wetland is dotted with numerous large and small ponds, where wild birds inhabit. The view of Rishiri Fuji is also very wonderful.
Mt. Pisshiri is located at the southern end of the mountainous region of Teshio in the northwestern Hokkaido. The mountain is selected as one of Hokkaido’s 100 Fine Mountains. It is said that the word “Pisshiri” may have come from the name of the river, which flows out of this mountain and called by the Ainu people as “e pi shiri oma pu,” meaning “a river flows out of a stone mountain.” Mt. Pisshiri with an altitude of 1,032 m is the highest mountain in the northern part of Hokkaido. After passing the 4th station, you will tales the trail along the mountain ridge and can command a fine view of Lake Shumarinai at the foot. The mountain is known for various flowers. You may have a chance to see clusters of Japanese skunk cabbage. The view from the summit is magnificent itself. You can enjoy a 360°panoramic view including the Sea of Japan and the Taisetsu Mountains in the distance. You will revel in luxury nature has provided for you.
Makunbetsu Wetland is the swamp belt of 40 ha located in the downstream area of the Ishikari River, which runs through Ishikari City, Hokkaido. “Makunbetsu” means “a river that runs near a mountain” in Ainu. It is known as the largest clustering place of Japanese skunk cabbage. From the late April through the early May, the cute white flowers can be seen under the alder trees. There is a promenade in the wetland, along which you can walk and take a close look at these cute flowers while listening to the twittering of wild birds such as spines, black-faced buntings and long-tailed rosefinches. As it is in the downstream area near the river mouth, which means in a handy location, the wetland is very popular among tourists as the precious place to feel the breath of grand nature. Imagine yourself casting an eye at the white flowers spreading all over the wetland, listening to the sounds of wild birds singing, and walking slowly along the promenade in the soft spring sun light. There, time goes with the original rhythm of nature.
Lake Poroto with a circumference of about 4 km and an area of 33 ha is located in Shiraoi Town in Hokkaido. “Poroto” means “a big pond” in Ainu. The area around the lake is a treasure box of wild birds and rare trees and flowering plants. Walking along the promenade around the lake, visitors can enjoy listening to the birds’ twittering and viewing pretty flowers. Japanese skunk cabbage and Trillium smallii, which are designated as rare species, grow naturally in this area. In 1978, the lake and its surrounding area were designated as Poroto Natural Recreation Forest by Forestry Agency. It was also selected as one of 100 Promenades in 2002. In winter, when the surface of the lake is frozen, people come to enjoy fishing lake smelts. Or skating on the natural skating rink is more popular among the people with their family. Nature remains untouched around this area. Lake Poroto is the mother of wildlife.
Hachiman-numa Pond at 1,600 m above sea level is the largest marsh in Hachimantai Plateau, where there are many volcanic crater ponds including Gama-numa Pond and Kagami-numa Pond. The swamp around Hachiman-numa Pond consists of high moor with thick peat soil and snowy wetland on the steep slope with thin peat soil. The pond is located in the primary forest of Abies mariesii and Tsuga diversifolia near the top of Mt. Hachimantai. Visitors can enjoy mizubasho (Japanese skunk cabbage) and nikko-kisuge (yellow alpine lilies). Since the alpine roads of the Hachimantai Aspite Line and the Jukai Line became toll free, the area is visited by more visitors. As the mountain trail has few ups and downs, it is popular among beginner climbers. The mountain is crowded with people when alpine flowers are in bloom.
Nawagaike (Nawaga Lake) was formed after an avalanche from Mount Takasho-zu blocked a river. The lake has a surface area of 4960㎡, is 10m deep, 2km in circumference and lies 800m above sea level.
There is a legend that a dragon dwells in the mysterious lake. Furthermore, the lake is conspicuous for the skunk cabbage that grows here. When approaching the lake through the woods, an expanse of skunk cabbage appears.
It is believed there are over 500,000 skunk cabbages growing here. The Nawaga Lake Skunk Cabbage Area is designated as a Toyama Natural Treasure. The best view of the skunk cabbage is in May as the snow is melting.
The sophisticated white flower is soothing to the spirit. It is rare to see Skunk cabbage grow below 1000m, and this area is noted as a place of great scientific value.