Michi-no-eki ‘Maoi no Oka’ & ‘Salmon Park Chitose’
We wake to a rather cold morning but we used our new duvet for the first time and very warm it was. The michi-no-eki ‘Maoi no Oka’ is very busy. Cars are constantly pulling in from the main road to take advantage of the incredible vegetable market.
Some of the produce on display is extremely large. Huge hakusai (Chinese cabbage), for example, but there are many other fruits and vegetables at what I believe are called “competitive prices”.
We had noticed that the pressure looked a little low in the front nearside tyre and, as luck would have it, Dunlop were holding a promotional event at the michi no eki. Staff, in matching jackets, are setting up a tent emblazoned with the Dunlop logo so we take advantage of their free tyre check. Out tyres checked and inflated to the correct pressure, we set off for Shikotsu Lake.
Salmon Park Chitose
On the way we stop at a michi-no-eki (road station) ‘Salmon park Chitose’ and wander over a wooden bridge from which vantage point we can see a large number of salmon hanging in the water but we have seen salmon in more natural setting so not so enthralled.
We arrive at the Lake Shikotsu, but we find it very hard to find somewhere to stop. The road follows the lake shore but is very busy, it being a 3 day weekend. There are no parking areas or lay-bys or even patches of open ground, so we sweep by Lake Shikotsu, glimpsing it through the trees from time to time until we start to climb into the mountains.
Forest 276 Otaki*
*Passing this way in July 2019, we note Forest 276 Otaki is closed. It maintains a ghost presence inside the more successful Kinoko Ohkoku.
Kinoko Ohkoku is very busy. There are numerous buses parked in the car park and inside the place is packed with people buying fresh mushrooms of various unusual kinds, dried mushrooms of various unusual kinds and bottled mushrooms of various unusual kinds. There is also a food court selling various dishes featuring unusual mushrooms.
We buy a miso soup containing various unusual mushrooms to take out (only 108 yen!). We eat in the car adding the delicious looking bread we bought at a previous michi no eki. The soup is very good, the bread much less so.
- In July 2019 Kinoko Ohkoku was still thriving.
Takarada Campground at Lake Toya
We are high in the mountains and need to find somewhere for the night so we press on. We check a few miserable places along the shore of Lake Toya but as it is now cold and wet we choose Takarada campground, a rather pricy place, but even the rubbish places are not exactly cheap. It is busy with well-heeled, weekend campers flaunting lots of equipment and outdoor brand clothing. In the campsite though it is possible to cook in the dry and we eat in the car. As usual, we spend a comfortable night.
＊Takarada campground 2,300 yen
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.