The coastal Oiwake Soran Line (追分ソーランライン: Route 229) from Esashi to Setana passing the cliffs, sea-sculpted rock formations, scenic beaches and riverside onsen. For the ocean views, sit on the left side heading from Esashi. Otobe, Kumaishi (western part of Yakumo) and Taisei (southern part of Setana) are the main fishing towns along the coast.
Points of interests on the Hiyama Coast
Hakodate Bus Hiyama-Kaigan Line (檜山海岸線) runs from Esashi to Taisei (3 daily; 1.5hrs) via Otobe (30min), Kumaishi (6 daily; 1hr) and Miyano (80min).
Hakodate Bus also does two daily runs from JR Yakumo Station to Esashi (2hrs) via Kumaishi (53min) and Otobe (1.5hrs).
(乙部) About 13km north from Esashi, Otobe is popular in summer for its beach and that has attractive geographical features.
The chark cliff of Tate-no-saki (館の岬), at the north side of the town center, is Otobe’s iconic symbol and called the ‘Grand Canyon of the East’.
Kuguri-iwa and Takise Coast
Down the road from nearby Takise (滝瀬) bus stop on Route 229, you will find Kuguri-iwa (くぐり岩) hole in the rock on your right. It was drilled for herring fishing in the Edo period. You can go through the hole and walk to the town center along the shallow shoreline.
On the other hand, you can walk south from Kuguri-iwa to the white cliffed Takise Coast (滝瀬海岸: also called Shirafura シラフラ: meaning white sloping land) at low tide in about 15 minutes. The entrance has a small car park.
(宮の森公園) On a clear day, you can overlooking the scenic coastline and the fishing port from this hillside park behind the town center.
Gennadai Kaihin Park
(元和台海浜公園) Hokkaido’s most safest and pleasant ocean beach, Gennadai boasts clear water and well-equipped facilities. If you are not swimming, the nearby observation deck offers fantastic ocean views. It is a 5-minute walk from Genna (元和) bus stop.
About 200m north of Genna bus stop, you will find the Michi-no-eki Route 229 Gennadai (8.30am-6pm Apr-Nov, 9am-4pm Nov-Mar) and the old wooden fisherman’s house Takojima-no-ie (蛸島の家: 9am-5pm mid Jul-late Aug; Free). From the Otobe-so-mae (おとべ荘前) bus stop in front of the michi-no-eki, you can catch a bus again.
(長磯海岸) Nagaiso (literary means ‘long coast’) has unique, notable and rugged rock formations. Oyako-kuma-iwa (親子熊岩: parent-child bears rock: there is a small car park) is the most famous, Mammoth-iwa (マンモス岩) and Tanuki-iwa (タヌキ岩: raccoon dog rock) are two others nearby. The nearest bus stop is Nihishinai (荷菱内).
Taisei and Miyano
Taisei (大成 ) is the westernmost town of mainland Hokkaido. Local buses, between Esashi and Kitahiyama on Route 229, timed to meet at the small coastal settlement of Miyano (宮野) .
The 34km-long Prefectural Road 740, between Miyano and Kitahiyama via Ota, is a scenic coastal byway completed in 2013.
(太田神社) On the mountainside of Ota-yama (太田山: 485m) is Hokkaido’s oldest sacred shrine of Ota Jinja founded in the mid 15th-century. It is perhaps the sando (approach) to the shrine is Japan’s most dangerous (most visitors say so).
From torii (shrine gate), the approach continues to hazardous spots involving 45-degrees steps, rugged walkways and chain handrails, you can overlooking the ocean from the shrine. The ascent from a car park takes about 1.5 hours. There is no useful public transport to Ota.
(太櫓海岸) Located between Ota and Kitahiyama on Prefectural Road 740, Futoro’s modesty fishing village has an impressive rocky coastline.