Best known for both dramatic cliffs and cobalt blue ocean, the Shakotan Peninsula (積丹半島) juts out into the Sea of Japan on the northeast of Shiribeshi Region. This peninsula is famous for its tasty uni (sea urchin) that caught in summer. You can easily make a day trip from Otaru or Niseko.
DURATION: 3 hours +
BEST TIME: Mid April to mid October, when the seasonal buses to Kamui-misaki are operated.
BUSES: Chuo Bus operates highway buses daily run between Sapporo Station and Bikuni (2 daily / 2hrs 20min) via Otaru and Yoichi stations. From mid April to mid October, there is also a highway bus from Sapporo to Kamui-misaki (3hrs 13min). Chuo Bus Kosoku Iwanai-go runs between Sapporo and Iwanai (hourly) via Otaru and Yoichi.
Yoichi ›› The main joy here is tasting Japanese malt whisky at the Nikka Distillery. You can fruit picking at the sightseeing orchards.
Shimamui Coast & Kamui-misaki ›› The spectacular highlights of Shakotan Peninsula overlooking the clear ocean. Stepping out on the coastal nature trail.
Tomari ›› Discovering Western Shakotan’s most historic fishing village.
Guranburu Shiribeshi Free Kippu (ぐらんぶる・しりべしフリーきっぷ): this 2-day seasonal pass (late Apr-late Oct) allows unlimited travel on Chuo Bus (except Otaru City Lines and Akaigawa Line) and Niseko Bus routes in Shiribeshi Region (including Oshamanbe). Sells at the Chuo Bus ticket offices at Sapporo Terminal, Sapporo Station and Otaru Station Terminal.
Otaru is a nostalgic port town and a convenient base for exploring the Shakotan Peninsula. A number of major trading companies and banks opened branch offices. Today the historic buildings and stone warehouses still remain throughout the city.
Chuo Bus 18, 20 and 21 runs every 20 to 30 minutes from Otaru Station (38min). There are also highway buses and JR trains to Yoichi.
Just 20km west of Otaru, the engaging town of Yoichi is a gateway to the Shakotan Peninsula east coast and has a train station. The main attractions here are the whisky distillery and the old fishing houses.
20km to 43km
Yoichi to Bikuni
From Yoichi Station Crossroads (余市駅前十字街) stop near the Nikka Whisky Distillery, Chuo Bus 20 runs to Bikuni (美国: 8 daily / 83min). Chuo Bus 21 runs to Shakotan Yobetsu (積丹余別: 5 daily / 2hrs 13min) and three buses continue to Kamui-misaki (神威岬: 2hrs 18min) from mid April to mid October. All buses for Bikuni pass directly through on frequent services from Otaru.
A seasonal highway bus and Chuo Bus 21 stops at Shimamui-kaigan-iriguchi (島武意海岸), about 1km south the foot of the scenic coast. Shakotan-misaki Nature Trail (4.7km / 1.5hrs) connects Shimamui Coast and 650m west of Shakotan-Horomui (積丹幌武意) local bus stop, with great views and scenic places.
The northwestern edge of the peninsula is a 100m-high impressive rocky cape of Kamui-misaki. From mid April to mid October, Chuo Bus 21 and a highway bus runs from Otaru and two buses run to Iwanai (1hr 38min) via Tomari (70min) along the west coast. In winter there are no any buses from and to Kamui-misaki.
Today the small coastal village of Tomari (泊) is well-known for the location site of Hokkaido’s only nuclear power plant (operation stopped from 2012), but the old fishing village has a few tasteful historic buildings.
Chuo Bus Kamoenai Line (神恵内線), between Kamui-misaki and Iwanai, passes through the coastal Benzaima Bridge (弁財澗大橋) and stop at Tomari. If you are traveling from Iwanai, there are several regular buses for Omori (大森) and Kawashira (川白) via Tomari and Kamoenai.
The fishing town of Iwanai is both the gateway to the Western Shakotan Peninsula and Raiden Coast. Views of the Niseko Mountains are never far away.
Chuo Bus Kosoku Iwanai-go (高速いわない号) makes 16 daily runs to Sapporo (2.5hrs) via Otaru (1.5hrs) and Yoichi Crossroads (1hr). Local buses connect Iwanai to Kutchan (倶知安: 9 daily / 45min) and Suttsu (寿都: 6 daily / 1hr).