The morning breaks bright and windy. Breakfast in our picnic spot, overlooking the bay of Shosanbetsu. We have a sort of sandwich toasting device which allows us to toast bread over the gas burner. This is very useful as it renders edible the shokupan (Japanese white sliced bread) that is all that is available in many places. On this toast, we spread a little mayonnaise, in lieu of butter (butter does not travel well), add a plastic, cheese slice, some ham, cucumber and/or lettuce, black pepper and mustard and even shokupan can be eaten with equanimity. Given coffee, yogurt and plenty of fresh air, a very reasonable breakfast is the result.
Ororon line again
Time to move on up the coast. Flat, black sandy, desolate and strangely beautiful for mile on mile. The islands of Rebun and Rishiri clear, at first, but as we get nearer the day ages and the cloud cover moves in.
We pass, I think, 29 huge windmills, 99 meters tall that stretch for 3 kilometers. Magnificent, if rather terrifying, up close. What is the collective term for windmills? A swish, a whirl, a rotation? We stop to walk around underneath them and take some pictures.
On to the swampland of Sarobetsu, which is famous for the abundance of flowers. Sadly, it is well past flower season and we see only a few blue blooms and no birds. But it is a pleasant walk on a raised wooden walkway above the marshy ground.
I note an old, abandoned dredger and, reading between the lines of the information pamphlet, I get the impression that there was an attempt to reclaim the swamp for dairy farming that clearly failed so a nature reserve was the face saving option.
*Sarobetsu Wetland Centre ; the wooden walkway (about 1km long).
We stay the night at Kabutonuma at a shady campsite*. Not in any illegal sense but overgrown and dark. We attempt to walk around the lake, but it is rather swampy and overgrown. The young lady in the camp site office assures us that it is possible though she has never actually done it herself.
* Kabutonuma campsite off R.40, cost 720 yen, there are cabins available as well.
famous local food
Hokkigai (Sakhalin surf clam)、milk, cheese, ice cream、rain deer sausage
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.