On the Hokkaido island lies the northernmost city of Japan, Wakkanai, where encompasses the Soya region. The name translates into a cold-water river. If you’re interested in snowy sceneries and want to experience a slower pace of life in Japan, you must visit Wakkanai. Wakkanai as much to offer to its visitors in regards to attraction spots. Being the northernmost country, you can enjoy attractive geographic feat, a wide variety of northern animals, especially cute seals. Aside from these, get your blood pumping with the many winter sports you can enjoy here at Wakkanai.
You can also try out Russian cuisine and visit the cold-water aquarium here. Not only can you enjoy Russian cuisine but you can also see Sakhalin, which is a Russian island from cape soya. Wakkanai is a small city, and you can enjoy most of the attraction spots within ten to fifteen minutes around each destination. You can ride the city bus operated by Soya Bus. This bus leaves every 10-15 minutes. Besides the snowy sceneries, enjoy the sparkling sea as Wakkanai is located beside a sea. Enjoy the outlandish beauty Japan has to offer in Wakkanai.
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10 Best Things to do in Wakkanai | Japan
1. Visiting Cape Soya
Outside Wakkanai proper, about 30 kilometers from there, visit Cape Soya, which is also known as Soya Misaki. Cape Soya is the northernmost part of Hokkaido island, and it looks over the bay of Soya. Cape Soya is also the northernmost point in Japan. There you will find a monument that marks the northernmost point and a statue of the famous Japanese explorer, Mamiya Rinzo. This is the topmost attraction spot in Wakkanai; as a result, the place can get fairly crowded.
2. Exploring Wakkanai Park
Wakkanai Park, also known as Wakkanai Koen, is the place you want to visit if you love cherry trees. The park is home to about 4000 cherry trees, and the park is famous for it. Besides breathing in the beauty of the cherry trees, you can experience a panoramic view of the city as the park is located on a hill. While you’re there, visit the Hokumon Shrine. The shrine sits at the top of the hill, and you can enjoy several trails to walk down from.
3. Trying Local Cuisine
Since Wakkanai is located beside a sea, you can enjoy a wide range of seafood there. Some famous dishes include freshly caught fish, crabs, octopus, and shrimps. You will find the dried seafood industry here in Wakkanai. Around Minami to Wakkanai station, you can enjoy the freshest seafood in Japan.
4. Checking out the Seals at Bakkai
The cute, spotted seals are an adorable spectacle of Hokkaido. From November through May, just outside of Wakkanai, in Bakkai, you will find these cute, spotted seals. You will see these seals around on the rocks. Besides the seals, you can observe the fishermen going about their business without any care for the visitors.
5. Visiting Wakkanai Youth Science Center
If you’re visiting Wakkanai with your child, the Wakkanai Youth Science Center is a must-visit. First opened in 1974, the center displays a variety of hands-on scientific galleries to teach the younger one about science. The main attraction of the Wakkanai Youth Science Center is the Arctic section. Here you can learn about Sakhalin’s exploration and the arctic region.
6. Visiting Onsen
Japan is known for its traditional bathhouses and onsen are these bathhouses. You will find these bathhouses scattered across Wakkanai and outside. Some of the onsens are located near the sea.
One of the most famous onsens is the Riya Harbor Onsen. As the name suggests, the bathhouse has open-air tubs facing the harbor. Another famous onsen is the Wakkanai onsen. From this onsen, you can see the beautiful Rishiri Mountains.
7. Checking out Breakwater Dome
The Breakwater dome in Wakkanai dates back to 1930, and the dome measures up to 1401 feet. The dome is held up by 70 pillars. The pillars are made in Roman style. This is one of the most recognizable structures in Wakkanai. During August, a wide range of activities such as karaoke, markets takes place under the dome. If you’re visiting in August, be sure to check it out.
8. Exploring Lake Onuma Bird Observatory
The Lake Onuma Bird Observatory is the perfect place for bird watchers. Tundra swans migrate from Siberia to here every year. The Lake Onuma Bird Observatory is famous for this. In celebration of the migrating birds, an annual Swan festival takes place in May. Besides swans, you will also see herons, white-fronted geese, and many other birds. You can enjoy all these through a telescope or binoculars on a rustic log cabin.
9. Shopping at Fukuko-Ichiban
If you’re looking forward to shopping, dining, and having a great time, Fukuko-Ichiban is the place to visit. Fukuko-Ichiban is the name of the market complex, which houses cafes, restaurants, and souvenirs shops. The architecture of the shopping complex was made in heritage style. This gives the shopping complex a very ancient look. Besides shopping, you can also take great photos here.
10. Winter Sport
Wakkanai is known for its snowy scenery and winter sports. To feel the adrenaline rush, visit Komadori Ski Center. The Komadori Ski Center is a part of the Wakkanai Koen, and the place is perfect for beginners with short slopes. Besides skiing, you can rent a snowmobile to get a tour of the area. If all these don’t fit your needs and you want something slower, you can try snowshoeing. If you’re there in the winter season, be sure to visit the Komadori Skiing center and have fun doing some winter sport.
In conclusion, Wakkanai is an excellent place for snowy sceneries and snow-related activities. The Youth Science center is a great place to visit with your child. If a slower pace of life is what you’re looking for and see cute seals, Wakkanai is a must-visit for you. Even with the more leisurely pace, Wakkanai offers many scenic beauties to watch and many activities to participate in, especially in winter.
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