You Yu Mori michi no eki
You yu mori michi no eki is a reasonable place to overnight. The facilities are basic and somewhat odorous but adequate. There is a large car park with mature cherry trees and the odd shaped building offers a view of Hokkaido Komagatake.
From the michi no eki we took route 5 for Oshamanbe. This is mostly a long, wide, straight road with low speed limits and numerous Potemkin patrol cars. A boring drive. The tedium was relieved by the impressive and unmistakable presence of Mt. Yotei.
Niseko Oyunuma, volcanic pool ニセコ大湯沼
At Niseko, we took Niseko Panorama Line (R. 66) and at Niseko Yumoto stop for a break and a walk around ‘Oyunuma’.
This is a sulphurous, volcanic pond that it is possible to walk around. The surface bubbles in places and fumes waft around sometimes overwhelmingly so and it is necessary to move into clearer air. The edges of the pool are caked yellow with the sulphur. The pool is not very large and there is not much else around so the interest is short lived. It serves as a spot to stretch the legs
Shakotan Peninsula and Cape Kamui 積丹半島、神威岬
Eventually, we branch off for the Shakotan peninsula to visit Cape Kamui. This is an impressive shard of rock with a lighthouse on the end providing wonderful sea and craggy cliff views. The sea here is famous for its beautiful blue so one is advised to visit on a sunny day to catch it at its beautiful best. We were lucky with the splendid weather but unlucky in that, the wind being so strong, the narrow path along the top of the ridge to the lighthouse was closed. The views and blues were wonderful, nevertheless.
Shimamui Beach 島武意海岸
From Cape Kamui we move on to Shimamui beach. This is accessible from the car park through a short tunnel and then down a steep path consisting largely of rugged steps.
The beach itself is a rocky cove with a small beach of large pebbles. Rocks large and small protrude from the water. In the sunshine, it is a pleasant spot and there are tourists from many places. Some make it down the steps but most stay at the top and take selfies. The blue water is again the attraction here.
There are the remains of stone walls and buildings but no indication of what these ruins are. I suspect they are remnants of the herring fishing industry. This was an immensely profitable business until the early years of Showa. But that is just my speculation.
If you turn right before the tunnel that leads to the beach, there is a tarmac road that leads up to the lighthouse and another view of the cliffs. Here the geology and the nature of the landscape have changed. It is also the start of a circular walk of 3 or 4 kilometres that we did not have time to take.
Yoichi and Space Apple michi no eki
From the Shakotan Peninsular we make for Yoichi and the Space Apple Yoichi michi no eki for the night. On arrival the place is disappointingly dismal. Only a car park and toilet next to a space museum. The toilet is far from space age. There is also a pervasive odour that we finally attribute to the Nikka Whisky factory next door.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.