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. Shizunai (静内) is the largest area of the town, as well as the transport hub.
(二十間道路桜並木) 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.
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).
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.
More info www.sakuranamiki.com
Shinhidaka Town Museum
(新ひだか町博物館) 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.
(シャクシャイン記念館) 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.
Shinhidaka Town Ainu Folk Museum
(新ひだか町アイヌ民族資料館) Adjoining the Shakushain Museum, one-room exhibits are items of gear, extinct Hokkaido wolf skull, restored thatched house and oceangoing vessel.
Currently the trains on the JR Hidaka Line from Tomakomai end in Mukawa (30min). Alternative JR buses run between Mukawa and Shizunai (7 daily; 1hr 50min), stopping at Niikappu Station (1hr 40min). JR buses also run between Shizunai and Samani (6 daily; 2hrs). JR tickets are available on a bus (except Donan Bus).