Day 3 (2/2).
Written by Hokkaido playwright Sô Kuramoto (倉本聰), Kita no Kuni Kara 2002 Yuigon (北の国から 遺言) is the final chapter of Kita no Kuni Kara (北の国から), a popular television drama series about a father and his daughter who moved to Hokkaido from Tokyo after divorcing his wife. The series and its special episodes were first broadcasted in 1981, and ended in 2002 with Kita no Kuni Kara 2002 Yuigon. Throughout the years, Kita no Kuni Kara and other stories written by Sô Kuramoto have become part of the cultural identity of Hokkaido, while his efforts of promoting Hokkaido have made places like Furano to become well known tourist attractions nowadays.
In Rausu, a seaside timber house that appears in Kita no Kuni Kara 2002 Yuigon has been rebuilt and converted into a lovely seafood restaurant Jun no Banya (純の番屋). Ran by several local ladies, Jun no Banya serves fantastic local seafood. During our two-day stay in Rausu, we had two delightful seafood meals at Jun no Banya that ranked among the top highlights in our Shiretoko experience.
Jun no Banya is a popular seafood restaurant housed in a rebuilt timber house that appeared in Kita no Kuni Kara 2002 Yuigon (北の国から 遺言).
The Jun no Banya is managed by several local ladies.
The interior of Jun no Banya is full of colours.
Outside the window, the sea looked calm and relaxing.
We ordered some local seafood after checking out the seafood display in the fridge.
Many decorations in Jun no Banya reveal the restaurant’s strong connection to the fishing industry.
Many Japanese glass fishing floats were handmade with recycled glass from sake bottles.
A cute little lantern.
Dried fish are also used as decorations.
A series of colourful lanterns lined along a timber beam of the house.
A poster in the restaurant reminded us that Shiretoko had been inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage sites since 2005.
Uni (sea urchin) and kani (crab) on sushi rice is definitely a signature dish of Shiretoko.
Super fresh sashimi from the area was another delight.
Shrimps from the nearby waters and oysters from Akkeshi Bay (厚岸) let us experience the true sweetness of fresh seafood from clean and cold seawater.
Located beside Rausu Shiretoko Tourist Information Centre, the Rausu Fisherman Store (羅臼(漁協)直営店 海鮮工房) offers wonderful souvenirs including the famous Rausu kelp and local salmon made from this remote fisherman village.
A map in the tourist information centre explains the main highlights of Shiretoko and the northeast coast of the peninsula.
At the tourist centre, we tried out the light blue ice-cream inspired by the famous Abashiri (網走) Ryuhyo or drift ice.
Outside the tourist centre, we quietly looked at the sea across the street, hoping the sea would calm down and the sun would come out the next morning.
UTORO FISHERMAN’S WIVES CO-OPERATIVE DINER (ウトロ漁協婦人部食堂), Shiretoko Peninsula (知床半島), Hokkaido (北海道), Japan, 2019.06.16
Day 2 (2/3).
While the weather might not be the most ideal for hiking and brown bear sighting, the rain wouldn’t affect our appetite to try out the famous seafood of Shiretoko. After our morning hike, we drove back to Utoro for lunch. At the fishing port of Utoro, the fleet of fishing boats below Oronkoiwa Rock ensure the continuous supply of seafood to the area and beyond. Right by the port, a simple eatery has long been a favorite for both the local and foreign visitors. Operated by women from Utoro’s fishing industry, Fisherman’s Wives Co-operative Diner at Utoro’s fishing port has been serving fresh seafood rice bowls or kaisen don for 40 years. Signature seafood of Utoro includes uni (sea urchin), ikura (red caviar made from salmon roe), kani (hair crab, snow crab, king crab), and grilled Hokke or Okhotsk Atka Mackerel, accompanied with pickled radish and miso soup.
The rain stopped after our morning hike. We returned to the fishing port at Utoro.
Due to unpredictable weather and strong wind, no fishing boats were allowed to head out to the sea.
The fishing port of Utoro was completely empty.
At the fishing port, the Fisherman’s Wives Co-operative Diner has been a popular seafood eatery for 40 years.
The interior of Fisherman’s Wives Co-operative Diner is simple and causal.
The diner is served by wives of Utoro fishermen.
Wild Shirozake Salmon and its roe, crab meat and the legendary Ezo Bafun Uni are the most popular delicacies in Shiretoko.
Feeding on laus kelp, Ezo Bafun Uni (エゾバフンウニ, 蝦夷馬糞海胆) or Short-Spined Sea Urchin of Hokkaido is widely considered as the best sea urchin in Japan. Known as orange gold, these tasty treat is available from June to August.
Grilled Hokke or Okhotsk Atka Mackerel is a popular local dish.
In Utoro, delicious seafood is also served at the Shiretoko World Heritage Centre (知床世界遺産センター), where simple meals and snacks are offered, as well as souvenirs and dried seafood. The centre also offers tourist information on Shiretoko.
Housed in another building, a visitor centre offers a comprehensive introduction of Shiretoko National Park to visitors with a number of engaging displays.
Wildlife is definitely the highlight of Shiretoko National Park.
Too bad we didn’t see a real bear during our hike earlier.
In the afternoon, we drove back up to Shiretoko National Park from Utoro.
Looking down from the uphill road that led to Shiretoko National Park, Utoro appeared as a sleepy village guarded by a few huge rocks.
Tsuyu (梅雨), the rain season, begins to hit Okinawa in May and gradually makes its way north to the rest of Japan until the end of June. During the wet season, rainy and cloudy weather affects the entire country except Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest island north of the main Honshu Island. The seismic active island is 3.6% smaller than Ireland, with a climate significantly cooler than the rest of Japan. Seeking for a pleasant getaway from Hong Kong’s humid and hot summer, we picked Hokkaido as the destination for our 11-day vacation from 15th to 25th of June. Traveling in the remote national parks and rural countryside of Hokkaido, hiring a car was a necessity. The Hokkaido journey was our first road trip in Japan.
Known as Japan’s last true wilderness, Shiretoko National Park (知床国立公園) is the natural haven where Brown Bears and Blakiston Fish Owls ruled the primeval forests and Orcas, Minke and Sperm Whales roamed the waters of Nemuro Strait. With fantastic natural scenery, wildlife and seafood to offer, this easternmost part of Hokkaido topped our priority list in the travel itinerary. Next in the journey took us to the spectacular volcanoes of Akan Mashu National Park (阿寒摩周国立公園), where we came close to Japan’s clearest water at caldera Lake Mashu (摩周湖) and the fantastic onsen and fly fishing hot spot of Lake Akan (阿寒湖). While the lavender fields of Furano (富良野) and Biei (美瑛) had yet reached the peak bloom moment, the ultra fertile soil below the Tokachi Volcanic Group (十勝火山群) treated us with some of the best bread, corn, potatoes, asparagus, melons and milk that we ever had in our lives. Despite far away from Tokyo and Osaka, the architectural magic of Tadao Ando (安藤忠雄) in Hokkaido satisfied our thirst of contemporary design and aesthetics. Back in Obihiro (帯広), Otaru (小樽) and Sapporo (札幌), historic traces of early pioneers and contemporary dessert shops and local eateries brought us back to delightful charm of urban Japan. What’s more? Day after day of mouthwatering seafood, fresh produces, good coffee, and lovely patisseries reminded us how wonderful our world could be, when the water is clean, soil is rich, forests are healthy and people are friendly. Thank you Hokkaido. You have truly touched our hearts.
Located north of Honshu Island, Hokkaido is the second largest island in Japan.
Flying in from Tokyo Haneda, our Hokkaido journey began from Memanbetsu (女満別空港) near the Shiretoko Peninsula. After more than 1,181km of driving, we arrived at Otaru and Sapporo at the western side of the island.
This black hatchback hybrid Toyota Prius c (Toyota Aqua in Japan) provided us the means of transport from east to west across Hokkaido.
After 2 days of rain and wind, we finally had a glimpse of the active volcano of Mount Rausu (羅臼岳), the tallest peak in Shiretoko Peninsula.
The greatest experience we took away from Shiretoko was the close encounter with a pod of orcas in the Nemuro Strait.
The Mashu Lake (摩周湖) offered us a peaceful sunrise at 3:30am.
Under the shadow of Mount Oakan (雄阿寒岳), dozens of fly fishermen stepped into the crystal water of Lake Akan (阿寒湖) to test their luck.
Farms and greenhouses were washed with heavy rain as we entered into Furano (富良野).
Still at least half a month to go before the peak season of lavender blossom, visitors were enjoying themselves at a relatively less crowded Farm Tomita in Nakafurano.
Compared with rainbow flower fields, we loved the wheat fields at Biei the most.
Tadao Ando’s Chapel on the Water has been famous in the designer’s world since the 1980s.
The Hill of Buddha is the latest addition in Hokkaido by Tadao Ando.
At Yoichi Distillery (余市蒸溜所), whiskey has been produced since 1934.
Saturdays Chocolate in Sapporo is one of the many excellent local eateries and cafes that we visited in the journey.
Last but not least, Hokkaido offered us the best seafood and dessert that we ever had as far as we could remember. Let’s begin to tell the story of our journey!
We took a morning flight back to Lima, stored our big backpacks at the airport and took a taxi to Museo de la Nacion. We came here specifically to see the Yuyanapaq exhibition on the 6th floor. Yuyanapaq means “to remember” in Quechua. It was an exhibition of black and white photographs documenting the Peruvian internal conflict from 1980 to 2000, in which thousands were killed in attacks by Shining Path rebels, government military, and other guerrilla groups. It was a touching experience to learn the recent history of Peru. It was hard to believe that the terror of bombings could happen pretty much anywhere in this country only a decade ago.
After some heavy realization of Peru’s recent past, we decided it was time for a good seafood lunch for this very last day of our trip. We followed the guidebook’s recommendation and headed to El Veridico de Fidel, which according to the guidebook, was a place of pilgrimage in terms of Peruvian seafood. Though the book forewarned that the restaurant’s neighborhood could be a little chaotic and rough. As a result we decided to take a taxi. El Veridico de Fidel was truly a seafood heaven. It was fully packed. We spent a long time looking at the menu. At last, we ordered a full table of seafood and a jar of chicha, a type of fermented corn beverage. The seafood dishes included leche de tigre (ceviche broth with shrimp, scallop, raw fish, octopus, and sea urchin), bi-colour tiradito (Japanese style ceviche without onions), ceviche platter (scallop, raw fish, whelks, octopus, and sea urchin), deep-fried seafood platter, baked scallops with cheese on top, and a red snapper sudado. The fish was fresh, and the soup very tasty.
After the heavenly meal, we taxied to the Plaza de Armas. We causally strolled around the plaza to appreciate the surrounding architecture. We headed to the main post office to send out some postcards. There was only a tiny door from the arcade into the post office. We tried to buy some collection stamps but the staff refused to sell as they were closing. After the post office, we walked around the area, stopped by a bakery for drinks, and then headed to Plaza San Martin. At Plaza San Martin, we tried to visit El Bolivarcito for its legendary pisco sour but because of the regional election the next day, they were not allowed to sell alcohol.
We ended up stopping at a nearby KFC, before taking a taxi back to Lima’s airport. One of our friends and us left Lima for New York and then Toronto that very night, while our other friend stayed at a hostel near the airport for another night before his flight back to Chicago the next morning. That was it. Uncounted fond memories of Peru: Andes Mountains, Inca history, colourful cultures, fantastic seafood, friendly people, funny llamas, mighty condors and sacred Titicaca. After these magnificent Peruvian experiences, our interest on South America grew as time went on, until the day came when we were determined to explore this magical continent once again in 2013, from the Brazilian Pantanal to Bolivian Altiplano, and from the bustling Rio and Buenos Aires to windswept Patagonia.
The Museo de la Nacion in Lima.
The interior atrium at Museo de la Nacion, Lima.
Back window of taxi, on our way to El Veridico de Fidel.
Leche de tigre (ceviche broth) with shrimp, scallop, raw fish, octopus, and sea urchin.
(Left) ceviche platter, which included a scallop, raw fish, whelks, octopus, and sea urchin. (Right) baked scallops with cheese on top.
(Left) deep-fried seafood platter. (Right) red snapper sudado.
After we finished, one of the staff came to pose for me to take a photo. His bowl of fish and crab soup seemed very tempting to us as well.
The Plaza de Armas with buildings, cathedral, Archbishop’s Palace of Lima, etc.
Plaza de Armas, with buildings, cathedral, Archbishop’s Palace of Lima, etc.
Interesting balcony at President’s Palace.
Arcade at the main post office.
Tourist horse carriage at Plaza de Armas, Lima.
A ornamental church along our way to Plaza San Martin.
Late afternoon at Plaza San Martin, Lima.
KFC at Plaza San Martin where we spent the last hour in Lima, Peru.
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Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010
1. Peru Trip 2010
2. Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3. Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4. Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5. Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6. Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru