Halfway between Tomakomai and Erimo, Hidaka Region’s largest town Shinhidaka (新ひだか町) is a base of visit the engaging racehorse stables spread out to the neighboring town of Niikappu (新冠). Shizunai (静内) is the largest area of the town, as well as the transport hub.
Location 80km southeast of Tomakomai
Highlights Cherry-blossom on Nijukken Road (late April to early May)
Tourist Information Shinhidaka Tourist Information Center (新ひだか町観光情報センター): Tel 0146-42-1000 / Inside JR Shizunai Station, 5-1-2 Shizunai-Honcho / 9am-5pm / Closed 2nd & 4th Wed / shinhidaka.hokkai.jp/kankoukyoukai
01 CHERRY-BLOSSOM VIEWING
二十間道路桜並木 / Shizunai-Misono / www.sakuranamiki.com
Nujukken Road (meaning 36m-width road) is Central Hokkaido’s top cherry-blossom destination. For a few weeks from early to mid May, about 10,000 trees bloom a 8km-long road in the Niikappu Farm (新冠牧場) founded in 1872.
Shizunai Sakura Matsuri (しずない桜まつり) is held during the blooming period at the Cherry-blossoms Tunnel, two buses run from and to Shizunai Station (24min). Check out the latest blooming situation on the web before you go.
During the festival, the 1909 wooden Ryuun-kaku (龍雲閣) imperial manor house, located at the eastern end of Nijukken Road, is open to the public (10am-4pm / FREE).
02 LOCAL HISTORY
Shinhidaka Town Museum
新ひだか町博物館 / 3-1-1 Yamate; 10am-6pm / Closed Mon, Day after the holiday, 30 Dec-5 Jan / FREE
The town’s modern red brick museum houses a one-room exhibition provides a history of Shizunai and Mitsuishi from ancient times. There is also a pleasant library on-site.
This museum is about 1km northwest of Shizunai Station, right side of Yamate Park. If you are driving on Route 235 from Tomakomai direction, turn left at the corner of the Aeon shopping center.
03 AINU CULTURE
シャクシャイン記念館 / 7-1 Shizunai-Mauta / 9am-6pm May-Oct, 9.30am-4.30pm Nov-Apr / Closed Mon / FREE
Named after the local Ainu chief Shakushain, this museum houses the cultural collection of Hokkaido’s indigenous peoples. Shakushain revolted against the Matsumae clan reconciliation in 1699, but he murdered at the settlement negotiating table by warriors. After that the Edo shogunate further strengthened the domination over the Ainu.
The museum sits a hilltop Mauta Park (真歌公園), east of town along the river, with a viewpoint and great Shakushain Statue. Here was the site of Ainu’s Shibechari Fortress used until the mid 17th-century. Approximately 3km east of Shizunai Station.
04 AINU CULTURE
Shinhidaka Town Ainu Folk Museum
新ひだか町アイヌ民族資料館 / 7-1 Shiznuai-Mauta / 9am-5pm May-Nov / Closed Mon / FREE
Adjoining the Shakushain Museum, one-room exhibits are items of gear, extinct Hokkaido wolf skull, restored thatched house and oceangoing vessel.
INTERCITY BUSES: Donan Bus Kosoku Pegasus-go (高速ペガサス号) runs between Sapporo Station and Shizunai Station (7 daily / 2hrs 40min), stopping at Niikappu in front of the RE-CORD Museum. Compulsory reservation by the day before if you get on the bus from Shizunai direction.
LOCAL BUSES: Currently the trains on the JR Hidaka Line from Tomakomai end in Mukawa (鵡川: 30min). Alternative JR buses (列車代行バス) run between Mukawa and Shizunai (鵡川–静内: 7 daily / 1hr 50min), stopping at Niikappu Station (新冠: 1hr 40min).
JR buses also run between Shizunai and Samani (静内–様似: 6 daily / 2hrs).
JR tickets are available on a bus (except Donan Bus).
Local Donan Bus connects Tomakomai Station with Shizunai Station (3 daily / 2.5hrs) on the Thoroughbred Road Hidaka. There are also two buses between Shizunai Station and Biratori (1.5hrs).