From the mountains to the sea - Part three
Last month we took a look the Toyoura / Okishi area to the south of Niseko and before this Kamoenai which is a stop on the way to the tip of the stunning Shakotan Peninsular. Shakotan is a fantastic place to visit well known for its crystal clear blue waters, delicious sea urchin, onsens, sunsets and much more. The trip is easily done in a day and from Hirafu can be approached from either the east or west side.
If you have more than a day and are interested in camping on the coast Shakotan is hard to beat. It is approximately 1.5 hours drive via the western coast or just under 2 hours via the east. Both routes have some great attractions along the way the way. If you are basing yourself in Hirafu Peak Niseko Car Rentals offer excellent camper van options. The camping ground there is simple clean and free with toilets and dish washing facilities and the views and sunsets beautiful and from mid July to September the Sea of Japan is warm enough to swim in and usually reasonably calm.
If you are just doing a day trip, the drive there and back is very doable and if you leave early enough you may even be able to get in some cherry picking in Nikki on the way home. So what should you see in Shakotan? There are 3 major sightseeing points the Shimamui Coast 島武意海岸, Kamui Misaki 神威岬 and in the middle of the two the Misaki onsen 岬の湯しゃこたん where if you time it right you can watch the sunset set accross the ocean from the outdoor onsen.
The Shimamui Coast is spectacular, crystal clear waters, dramatic cliffs and it's accessed by miny tunnel the kids will love. There is a well maintained track down to the beach that takes about 5 minutes to descend. Alternatively you can head north from the parking lot and in a few minutes walk find more spectacular views and a great lighthouse, there is also a walking track that extends further around the coast for the more adventurous.
If you have taken the option down the hill to the beach you will likely have worked up an appetite and it just so happens that there is an excellent seafood restaurant right there beside the parking lot. Here they specialise in serving the freshest, tastiest sea urchin or uni as it is locally known. The menu isn't limited to uni though and here you can feast on locally caught delicacies plucked from the seas below and served on your plate.
Once you have had your fill of seafood it may be a good time to move on down the coast to Kamui Misaki the most eastern tip of the peninsular. The journey takes you through quaint villages and past more great restaurant options that are well sign posted and hard to miss. Kamui Misaki is the most famous point in the area with a great walking trail to the end of the peninsular and best of all another restaurant which specialises in not only seafood delights but also Shakotan Blue ICE CREAM! Perfect for cooling down on a hot day.
The Shakotan Peninsular is a must do on any Hokkaido travellers itinerary and is a fantastic way to spend a day or two if you are basing yourself here in the Hirafu Village area. If you'd like to know more about Shakotan or have any Niseko travel related questions please feel free to contact us anytime ([email protected]).