Japan’s most eastern mainland city, Nemuro (根室) is in the closest position to the 1150km-long Chishima Islands that stretches from Hokkaido to Kamchatka. Nature-rich, the 60km-long Nemuro Peninsula (根室半島) is a perfect place for birdwatching, wildlife cruising, footpath hiking and dining on fresh seafood. Nemuro makes a fulfilling day trip from Kushiro.
The 46km-long Prefectural Road 35 circumnavigate the Nemuro Peninsula from the city center, passes through Nosappu-misaki and Hoppo Genseikaen (北方原生花園: wildflower garden). You will find the coastal chashi (チャシ: old Ainu fortresses) in Onnemoto (温根元) and Nokkamafu (ノッカマフ).
(明治公園) Originally constructed in 1875 (Meiji period) as Hokkaido’s second government-run ranch, this well-maintained park has three red brick silos dating from 1932. Meiji Park is about 2km east of JR Nemuro Station.
(納沙布岬) Nosappu-misaki is mainland Japan’s easternmost point and the earliest sunrise is 3.37am in mid June. On a clear day, you can see Kaigara-jima (just 3.7km east) and Suisho-to (7km east) belonging to the disputed Chishima Islands across the strait. Summer mornings are often covered a sea mist.
Nosappu Lighthouse (納沙布灯台), at the tip of the cape, is Hokkaido’s oldest lighthouse built in 1872 and reconstructed in 1930.
Hoppo-kan Bokyo-no-ie (北方館望郷の家) center offers a view to the bleak Russia’s outpost on Suisho-to through free telescopes.
From JR Nemuro Station, there are several return buses each day to Nosappu-misaki (44min; one-way ¥1070, return ¥1930).
Nemuro is 2.5 hours from Kushiro by train (6 daily; ¥2860) on the scenic JR Nemuro Line (it also called the JR Hanasaki Line: 花咲線).