Otaru This & That

Shiretoko, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage

Shiretoko is the name of a peninsula located on the eastern part of Hokkaido, jutting out into the Sea of Okhotsk.

Shiretoko has gained popularity more than ever among the tourists loving unspoiled nature and wildlife since it was designated as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage in 2005.

You can often see many Ezo deer and red foxes in Shiretoko, while there are some precious animals in danger of disappearing, like white-tailed sea eagle,Steller's sea eagle, Blakiston's fish owl etc.that are rarely seen.

A Delicacy in Autumn

Autumn is the harvest season in Hokkaido.

The grape is one of the fruits in season now.
You can enjoy picking and eating grapes as
much you like for a price about 800 yen
at orchards in Otaru's neighboring towns like
Yoichi,or Niki where are known as fruits towns.

The grape in the image is "Campbell"
that is a kind commonly cultivated in Hokkaido.
It is characterized as sweetness and wonderful aroma.
You can smell it in the air even you are at a short distant.

The grapes are available at the greengrocers' and supermarkets if you cannot go to the orchard.

Another popular kin

Time to Enjoy Colorful Foliage

Most leaves are still green, but autumn is certainly progressing in Otaru.

It gets dark around five O'clock in the evening, and the temperatures go down rapidly after the sun sets at this time of year.

As the difference of temperature of day and night makes brilliant colors of autumn leaves, I guess we can enjoy wonderful yellow and red leaves in a couple of weeks.

The image is the photo I took a few years ago on the way to a garden known for bright red maple leaves in autumn.(Please refer to "Brilliant Season of the Year" posted on October 21, 2006)

The contrast of green and red

Ginga & Ryusei Waterfalls

Sounkyo is the gorge of columnar joint in Mt. Daisetsu National Park. You can see the series of sheer strange rocks on both sides of Route 39, and the gorge runs over 20km.

There are two beautiful waterfalls near Sounkyo Hot Spring Village; Ginga(meaning Galaxy) and Ryusei(meaning shooting star) waterfalls.

Ginga waterfall is compared to female, and Ryusei is compared to male from their visual impressions.

Since there are side by side, the waterfalls are called "Meoto-daki" in Japanese meaning Husband & Wife waterfalls.

Shame to Lose

They say that Otaru City Museum of Art and its premises will be renovated.

They are planning to cut down four poplars, and take the wall along the former Temiya railway line off to create a square beside the museum building.

They are going to link the square to the railway track
that serves as a promenade now.

I will miss a scene of autumn like the image if the wall is gone in the near future.

Autumn Color of Leaves in Mt. Daisetsu

Mt. Daisetsu is not an independent mountain. It is the name for range of mountains located in the center of Hokkaido.

Mt. Daisetsu is well known as the place you can enjoy brilliant autumn color of leaves first in Japan.

It was on the 21st, September when I climbed Mt. Kurodake(one of the mountains in Mt. Daisetsu National Park) with the tourists I attended. It was only around the summit that was tinted at that time.

However, the following day, the local news said that there was a snowfall at the top of the mountain, and actually, it got much colder than the previous day.

Furano Again

I visited Furano, Biei, Sounkyo gorge, Lake Akan and Shiretoko on my guiding job last week. I am going to tell you about the trip of this time in a few parts for the coming several days.

I visited Biei the end of last month, and uploaded some photos of “Shikisai no Oka” meaning the Hill of Colors that always attracts many tourists.

This time, I would like to introduce another beautiful flowering field of “Kanno Farm” in Kamifurano town. This farm is also a good place to enjoy colorful carpet of flowers.

Noboribetsu Marine Park NIXE

I went to Noboribetsu known as a nice hot spring village in Hokkaido on my tour guiding trip last Friday (10th).

On the way to the hot spring, we visited Noboribetsu Marine Park NIXE, a theme park focusing on fish, marine mammals, sea creatures and some other animals.

I have never been there since we have a wonderful aquarium in Otaru, but NIXE has a different feature.

Cool Food

Unprecedented hot and humid summer in Otaru is gone, and the pleasant weather of autumn has come at last!

When Japanese pampas grass characterizing autumn of Japan can be seen here and there, and hearing beautiful sounds of insects, people feel the change of the seasons.

It was really a cool evening yesterday after a spell of hot weather.

Storehouses in Otaru

There are many storehouses made of tuff that was abundantly obtainable as material for buildings in Otaru. They were built in the early 20th century when Otaru was most prosperous as a business center of Hokkaido.

Most buildings in those days were made of wood, and they were easily burnt down once they caught fire. Therefore, the merchants built fireproof storehouses to protect their valuables and commodities.

The images are some examples of those storehouses found in Wakamatsu and Nobuka areas near JR Minami Otaru Station.

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