Nemuro (根室市 Nemuro-shi) is a city in Hokkaido, and the easternmost city in Japan. It is famous for its seafood, dairy industry, bird-watching, and wild nature preserves.
Nemuro Station (根室駅) is the final stop on the JR Nemuro Main Line, called the Hanasaki Line between Kushiro and Nemuro. Service is sparse: two daily rapid trains (just over two hours from Kushiro) and six locals (just over three hours). Add on another four hours from Sapporo. Those who want to make a day trip from Kushiro to Nemuro and back should board the Hanasaki Rapid train leaving Kushiro at 05:55 (arr. 08:13) or 11:13 (arr. 13:38) and departing Nemuro at 11:12 (arr. 13:20) or 21:44 (arr. 23:53).
The second-to-last stop, Higashi-Nemuro Station (東根室駅), may be of interest to train buffs as the easternmost station in all of Japan. Several of the train cars and stations along the Hanasaki Line are emblazoned with characters from the Lupin III manga series, whose creator, Monkey Punch (Kazuhiko Katō), was born in Hamanaka, about halfway between Kushiro and Nemuro.
- 1 Nemuro Sightseeing Information Center (根室観光インフォメーションセンター), 光和町２丁目１０ (20m from JR Nemuro Station.), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The staff here can help you find directions, things to do, lodging, and food. They have free maps, too. There is also a small gift shop.
- Scheduled Tour Bus "Nosappu" (定期観光バス「のさっぷ号」), JR Nemuro Station (bus ticket booth inside station), ☏ . Mid-July to mid-September, 08:25 to 10:40 (Route A) & 10:45 to 13:30 (Route B). The tours are closely timed to meet the Rapid trains from Kushiro. Route A starts at 08:25 and circles the eastern end of the peninsula, stopping 45 min at Cape Nosappu and 20 min at Kotohira (Konpira) Shrine (which overlooks Nemuro harbor), then returns to the train station at 10:40, in time for the 11:12 Rapid train to Kushiro. Route B starts at 10:45 and circles the western end of the peninsula, stopping at the Hanasaki Lighthouse Kurumaishi (wheel stone), the Shunkuni-tai Wild Bird Nature Center, and other spots along the coast, then returns to the station at 13:30. The young tour guides are very informative, at least in Japanese. ¥1850/adult, ¥930/child (Route A); ¥1030/adult, ¥520/child (Route B); ¥2260/adult, ¥1130/child (Routes A&B).
- 1 Cape Nosappu (納沙布岬 Nosappu-misaki). Japan's easternmost point. The lighthouse here is the oldest in Hokkaido (built in 1872), and perhaps the most photographed. Behind the lighthouse is a birdwatching hide. Many monuments to the former Japanese residents of the Kurile archipelago (now under Russian control) can be found at lookout points along the shore. On clear days, you can see Russia, or at least the nearest of the Kuril Islands.
- 2 Hoppo-kan (北方館), 納沙布３６−６ (Near the large tower at Cape Nosappu), ☏ , fax: . 09:00-17:00. The small museum of the North (北方 hoppou) provides some history of Cape Nosappu, Nemuro, and the formerly Japanese Kuril Islands: Habomai, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and Etorofu. Adjoining it is the House of Nostalgia (望郷の家 boukyou no ie) for life on those islands. There are maps, photos, and telescopes. Nearby stands the Bridge to the Four Islands (四島のかけ橋 shima no kakehashi), a large archway with a permanent flaming torch. This whole area, with its buildings, monuments, and lookouts, makes up the Cape of Nostalgia Park (望郷の岬公園 boukyou no misaki kouen). Free.
- 3 Hanasaki Lighthouse and Kurumaishi (花咲灯台と車石) (10 min by Hanasaki Line bus from JR Nemuro Station to Kurumaishi Iriguchi). Hanasaki Port, visible from the lighthouse, is one of Japan's most productive fishing ports. The Kurumaishi (wheel stone) is a unique radial rock formation 6m in diameter.
- 4 Shunkuni-tai Wild Bird Nature Center & Lake Furen (春国岱，風蓮湖). Shunkuni-tai and Furen-ko constitute site no. 1542 on Japan's Ramsar Convention list of wetlands of international importance. Furen-ko is a brackish lagoon and estuary of the Furen River that has developed into a vast saltmarsh. Shunkuni-tai consists of ancient sand dunes covered by a forest of Sakhalin Spruce (Picea glehnii). Among the hundreds of bird species recorded here are the endangered Japanese Crane (Grus japonensis) and Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus), and the rare White-tailed Sea Eagle, Steller's Eagle, Black Woodpecker, and Blakiston's Fish Owl. Shunkuni-tai Wildbird Nature Center attracts 10,000 visitors annually, and various nature observation programs by local NGOs and other organizations.
- 5 Cape Ochiishi (落石岬) (1 walk from JR Ochiishi Station). Cape Ochiishi is about 21 km southeast of Nemuro City on the Pacific coast. Strong waves lash the shore, and seals and sea otters can sometimes be seen in the seas below the powerful lighthouse (visible up to 35 km away in clear weather). The long walk to and from JR Ochiishi Station passes fields of wildflowers in the summer, with azaleas in full flower in June.
- 6 Meiji Koen (明治公園), Meiji-cho 1-chome (6 min by city bus from JR Nemuro Station). This Nemuro city park features three red-brick silos that date from the 1930s, the second oldest in Japan. They are emblematic of the growth of the local dairy industry and, more generally, Japan's rush to modernize its economy after the end of the Tokugawa era and the beginning of the Meiji period. Free.
Even within Japan Nemuro is renowned for its fish and is a contender for one of the best dining destinations in Hokkaido. Sanma and Hanasaki crab are local delicacies which also merit their own festivals. There is a surprisingly wide array of cuisines and eateries in this otherwise quiet and far-flung town.
- 1 Lake Sunset (レークサンセット), 東梅２１８−６ (on the north side of Highway 44 about 10 km west of central Nemuro), ☏ , fax: . This restaurant also has cabins for rent. It is located on the edge of a large lake, which makes for good bird watching. There are even binoculars at the tables for customers to use while waiting for food to arrive. ¥1000-2000.
- 2 Sushihan (鮨半), 大正町２丁目４１ (on the corner of Highway 44 and Ekimae Dori, 2 blocks N of Nemuro Station), ☏ . This small sushi restaurant serves standard sushi fare and the locally popular sea urchin (uni-don). Lunch special ¥900.
- Hanamaru (花まる), 35番地9丁目花園町 (on the main road into town, about a 10-minute walk from Nemuro Station), ☏ . 11：00-22：00. Nemuro's finest kaiten-sushi restaurant serving extremely fresh locally caught fish. Very popular with locals, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings, waits possible, but worth it. There are also branches in Sapporo and Nakashibetsu, but this is the original and the best!
- My Wing (マイウイング), 光和町１丁目２３ (a 2-minute walk from Nemuro Station), ☏ . M-F 11:00-23:00, Su holidays 12:00-23:00. A cosy log cabin restaurant and coffee house with eclectic décor. The wood burning stove is particularly welcome in winter. Serves mostly western food adapted for Japanese tastes. The Yaki Curry is a particular recommendation, as are the seasonal deserts. Also sells and grinds an original blend of coffee beans.
As with much of Hokkaido, tent campers should feel free to set up tent after dark at a public rest area or parking area. If the tent is taken down before 9AM, nobody will mind.
- 1 Lake Sunset (レークサンセット), 東梅２１８−６ (On the north side of Highway 44 about 10km west of central Nemuro.), ☏ , fax: . This place has many cabins for rental. There are cabins for 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, or 6-8 people. There is also an attached restaurant. Depending on cabin size, ¥3800 per person, ¥800 for breakfast.
|Routes through Nemuro|
|Takikawa ← Kushiro ←||W E||→ END|