Mashike (増毛) is Rumoi Region’s most historic town with fine stone and wooden buildings around the old train station. During the mid Edo to early Showa periods, this town boomed as a herring fishing. It is now a sleepy port town, but it might for an interesting stop on the coastal road trip from Sapporo or a half-day trip from Rumoi.

Points of interests in Central Mashike

Getting There

Kyu-Mashike-eki (旧増毛駅), the town’s main bus stop is located in front of the old train station. Engan Bus operates a direct bus from Sapporo departing at 4.10pm for Haboro via Ofuyu and Mashike (2hrs 20min).

Local buses running from Rumoi-ekimae (near JR Rumoi Station) to Kyu-Mashike-eki (9 daily; 30min) continue to O-Betsukari (大別苅: 50min; ¥570).

Historic Mashike

There are some historic buildings around the 1921 Old Mashike Station (旧増毛駅: Kyu-Mashike-eki) that was the setting for some scenes such as Station and Shin Abashiri Bangaichi played by Takakura Ken.

The rail line from Rumoi was scrapped in 2016, but the old train station is a good starting point for a stroll the town.

Kunimare Sake Brewery

(国稀酒造) Rumoi Region’s only sake brewery founded in 1882, pure spring water from the Mashike Mountains go into tasty sake brewed here. The 1902 sakagura (sake stonehouses) whisks you through brewing history and processes, samples of all sake brands are available from the friendly staff.

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Old Maruichi-Honma Residence

(旧商家丸一本間家) Dating from 1875 as a marchant’s home near the old train station, the founder of Kunimare Sake Brewery who had owned a kimono shop and ships. Today it gives an insight into their life, including a cultural Japanese-style living rooms, warehouses and a courtyard. Note that the residence is closed in winter.

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Mashike Itsukushima Jinja

(増毛厳島神社) Constructed in 1826 by Shinoda Sokichi, this compact shrine boasts 77 ceiling paintings and wood carvings. You will need to by appointment or ask for a tourist information office if you want to see inside (¥300). It is opposite the town hall.