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Day Trip Around the 8 Stunning Views of Muroran and Cape Chikyu in Japan's Wild North

Day Trip Around the 8 Stunning Views of Muroran and Cape Chikyu in Japan's Wild North

Date published: 9 March 2020
Last updated: 9 September 2020

Muroran City in Hokkaido is an area that prospered from the steel industry. Muroran Port is famous for its night view of the factory, but there are also many other scenic spots and spectacular natural settings such as Cape Chikyu and Tokkarisho.

Muroran Hachikei, translated into English, literally means "8 Views of Muroran," and they are the best 8 of all the area sights selected in a poll by the general public.

While relatively close to Noboribetsu Onsen and Lake Toya, Muroran Hachikei has gone relatively unnoticed until recently when it has begun to attract attention as a tourist spot, one that is especially popular with many photography buffs.

In this article, we will share the best way to see these 8 spots by car.

▲ Cape Chikyu is famous for its spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean (photo courtesy of Muroran Tourism Association)

Muroran City is located in the southwestern part of Hokkaido and can be reached by car in about 1 hour and 15 minutes either from the New Chitose Airport or Tomakomai West Port where the ferry arrives and departs.

▲ Information board showing Muroran city map and Muroran Hachikei

Muroran Hachikei consists of the following eight spots and themes, including a view of the city and harbor from Sokuryozan in the middle of the peninsula and the view from the coastal cliffs of Cape Chikyu.

1. Scenic Tokkarisho
2. The Kinbyobu [gold screen] and Ginbyobu [silver screen] cliffs
3. View from Cape Chikyu
4. Sokuryozan observation point
5. Outer sea view from Masuichi Beach
6. Daikokujima, where the Chocolate Lily blooms
7. Scenic view from Cape Etomo
8. Night view of Muroran Harbor

Each spot is not so far apart, but as multiple spots have the same theme and in order to better enjoy each spot, planning your course will avoid unnecessary going and coming between the different spots.

We recommend the following course as the easiest way to get to each spot and also advice about what you should see at each place.

1. Scenic Tokkarisho

Scenic Tokkarisho is the best place to start. It is a scenic spot where you can get a distant view of the coastline with its steep cliffs and strangely shaped rocks rising about 100 meters on the open sea side and Kumazasa, the broad, green area atop the cliffs.

▲ Tokkarisho is derived from the Ainu words “Tokaru Isho” meaning “seal rock”. (Photo courtesy of Muroran Tourism Association)

By car, you can get there from JR Muroran Station in about 12 minutes and from JR Higashi Muroran Station in about 15 minutes. As this spot at the base of the Etomo Peninsula is in the middle of Muroran Hachikei, it is the best place from where to start as it is easy to visit the other spots from here.

  • Tokkarisho
    • Address 3 Chome, Bokoi Minamimachi, Muroran City, Hokkaido
    • Can walk about freely
      0143-23-0102 (Muroran Tourist Association)

2. Kinbyobu and Ginbyobu Cliffs

After visiting Tokkarisho, head to Kinbyobu, which is about two minutes away by car.

Kinbyobu and Ginbyobu are actually two separate locations. Kinbyobu is a cliff on the coast that radiates a golden color, while the Ginbyobu is a seaside cliff with a silvery appearance. Though they are two different places, in the Muroran Hachikei, they are treated as one spot. I’ll tell you more about Ginbyobu a bit later.

▲ The best time to view Kinbyobu is in the morning. In the afternoon the cliff is in the shade. The face of the cliff looks especially golden in the morning sunlight (photo courtesy of Muroran Tourism Association)

There is no parking area here, so Kinbyobu can only be viewed from the roadside. By looking at the information board, you may find places where the road is wide enough to allow you to pull over and stop to take in the view.

▲ The sidewalk alongside the one-lane road is wide enough to provide an observation space.
▲ There are signs at every spot showing the distances to other places
  • Kinbyobu
    • Address 4 Chome, Bokoi Minamimachi, Muroran City, Hokkaido
    • Can sightsee freely
      0143-23-0102 (Muroran Tourist Association)

3. The view from Cape Chikyu is representative of Muroran

Moving on from Kinbyobu we next head to Cape Chikyu, the sightseeing spot which represents Muroran City. By car, the Cape Chikyu parking area is about 3 minutes away from Kinbyobu. The viewpoint is an observatory located a 2-minute walk up the stairs from the parking lot.

▲ On the way up the stairs and hill there is a panel for taking SNS photos.
▲ The stairs lead up to the observation deck.
▲ The view is magnificent! Below is the bright, white Chikyu Lighthouse and in the far distance across the sea you can see Mt. Hokkaido Komagatake on the Oshima Peninsula (photo courtesy of Muroran Tourism Association)

The observation deck overlooks the lighthouse situated about 130 meters above sea level at the top of the cliff.

▲ There is a stand on the observatory for taking photos making this a great place to take commemorative photos!
▲ The observation deck has a staircase that goes back quite a ways and in the very back is the Kofuku no Kane [Bell of Happiness] which is quite picturesque.
▲ When facing the opposite side of the lighthouse, you can see in the distance the Muroran city area and Muroran Bay on the opposite side of the peninsula, along with the mountains of the Etomo Peninsula.

Cape Chikyu gets its name from the Ainu word "chikep" which means "cliff". Chikep evolved to Chikiu which when rendered into Japanese becomes Cape Chikyu.

Famous for its magnificent natural scenery despite its proximity to the city, it is a tourist spot that attracts many bus tour visitors. It is also famous as a spot for watching the first sunrise of the year so many people visit it on New Year's Day.

  • Cape Chikyu
    • Address 4-77, Bokoi Minamimachi, Muroran City, Hokkaido
    • Can walk about freely
      0143-23-0102 (Muroran Tourist Association)

Cape Chikyu is famous for one more thing, too. And that is the Hono no Doku Manju [Burning Poison steamed bun] (730 yen including tax). This is a special local product sold at the Cape Chikyu Shop Shinada located at the side of the parking lot.

▲ The package makes a strong impact!

One of the steamed buns among the six in the box is super-spicy. Eating them is like playing Russian Roulette! Sharing a box with friends, it is fun to see who gets the super-spicy one.

▲ When you look inside the box, they all look exactly the same.

These simple steamed buns are delicious. That is, except for one of them. Whoever gets that super-spicy one will be left speechless. This is something you really must try when you visit here!

  • Cape Chikyu Gift Shop Shinada
    • Address 4-76 Bokoi Minamimachi, Muroran City, Hokkaido
    • Phone Number 0143-24-0267
    • Open: 9:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m.
      Closed: Unscheduled days between end of November and end of March

4. Sokuryozan Observation Point: Exhilarating view!

The next place to visit after Cape Chikyu is Sokuryozan. Although it is not a very high mountain at an altitude of 199.6m, it is an observation spot with a panoramic view of Muroran city.

You can see such famous mountains of Hokkaido as Mount Yotei in the north and Hokkaido Komagatake in the south on a fine day. It is also known as a treasure trove of wild birds, and people watching birds with huge telephoto lenses can often be seen here.

▲ Sokuryozan viewed from Muroran city. There are many huge TV and radio station transmission antennas at the summit.

It takes about 15 minutes by car to get to the Sokuryozan parking area from Cape Chikyu. After going along the mountain path, leave it once going into the city and then enter the mountain path again. The parking lot is not very large, so it may not be spacious enough to accommodate a large RV.

▲ The long stairway going from the parking lot up to the observation point at the summit. Arriving at the top you might feel a bit winded...

Sokuryozan gets its name, which literally means Measurement Mountain because it is used for taking measurements.

Originally it was called Kentozan [Consideration Mountain] when in 1872 a plan to build a road up it for the purpose of taking measurements was considered, but later the name was changed to Sokuryozan.

▲ The open space on the top of the mountain is long and narrow going from north to south, and there is an observation deck on the north side overlooking Muroran Port and the city area.

From up here you can get an excellent view of the area!

From up here you can get an excellent view of the area!
▲ This is the view to the northwest. You can see Daikoku Island (left), Hakucho Bridge (center) spanning the entrance of Muroran Bay, and Mt. Yotei in the background.
▲ This is the view to the northeast. The JR Muroran Station and Muroran Port can be seen below, and beyond Muroran Port the Pacific Ocean can be seen on the other side of the Etomo Peninsula.
▲ Looking south, you can see Uchiura Bay and the Oshima Peninsula that extends beyond it!

This is a symbolic mountain in Muroran City, a base for radio transmissions, a relaxing place rich in nature, and a place offering a superb panoramic view.

The view during the day is wonderful, but the scenery at dusk and at night is also exceptional! For that reason, it is good to visit it more than once at different times. We will tell you more later when we introduce the Muroran Port Night View.

  • Sokuryozan
    • Address 1 Chome, Shimizu-cho, Muroran City, Hokkaido
    • Can walk about freely
      0143-23-0102 (Muroran Tourist Association)

5. Feel the mystical air of the view of the open sea from Masuichi Beach

After leaving Sokuryozan, head to the observation point overlooking Masuichi Beach facing the open sea. It takes about 5 minutes by car to get there.

▲ From here the road becomes a bit more narrow.

“Masuichi” comes from “Masui Chise,” which means “House of the Black‐tailed Gull” in the Ainu language. A variety of wild birds nest in this area, including the black-tailed gull, and it is a place rich in nature where you can see the rare peregrine falcon.

▲ You can enjoy the view from the parking lot, but you can get an even better view if you go up the stairs to the observation spot.
▲ Although you can see a man-made port in the distance, the broad natural area in the foreground has been mostly untouched by man. Though called a beach, it is not a wide sandy beach, rather one bordered by steep cliffs.
▲ The Oshima Peninsula stretches to the left and right across Uchiura Bay.

Masuichi Beach has been designated as the Pirikanoka Etomo Peninsula Seashore national scenic spot because excavations revealed that this was a site where indigenous people hunted on the beach.

Pirikanoka means “beautiful form” in the Ainu language. This place has a mystical air about it stemming from its long, rich history and natural setting.

  • Masuichi Beach Observation Point
    • Address 2 Chome, Masuichi-cho, Muroran City, Hokkaido
    • Can walk about freely
      0143-23-0102 (Muroran Tourist Association)

The Ginbyobu cliffs are best viewed from a sightseeing ship

There are a number of scenic spots, such as the unusual cliff formations of Rosoku Iwa [Candle Rock], Zo Iwa [Elephant Rock, Harukaramoi, and Ginbyobu, between Masuichi Beach and Cape Etomo, our next destination.

▲ Candle Rock can be clearly seen from the road in the openings between the cliffs.

It is possible to see Ginbyobu, one of the 8 views of Muroran, from the road along with the Kinbyobu, but it is not quite as impressive when viewed from there.

▲ Ginbyobu as seen from the road

Actually, the best views of Ginbyobu are those from the sea. If you board the Cape Chikyu Cruise Ship that sails from the vicinity of Hakucho Bridge between April and November, not only can you get a spectacular view from the sea of Ginbyobu, but also the cliffs of Cape Chikyu, Kinbyobu, and Tokkarisho.

▲ View of Ginbyobu from the cruise ship. It’s much more impressive when viewed from the sea! (Photo courtesy of Muroran Tourism Association)
  • Ginbyobu
    • Address 2 Chome, Masuichi-cho, Muroran City, Hokkaido
    • Can walk about freely
      0143-23-0102 (Muroran Tourist Association)

  • Cape Chikyu Cruise Ship
    • Address 1-127-12 Shukuzucho, Muroran City, Hokkaido (Star Marine Co., Ltd.)
    • Boarding place: It depends on the season and weather. Inquiry required
      Operating dates and times: From April to November 10:00 a.m. departure, 2:00 p.m. departure (each cruise lasts approximately 90 minutes)
      Boarding fee: 4,000 yen for adults, 4 years old to elementary school students 2,000 yen, free for children under 4 years old *All prices include tax
      Suspended Service Dates: None during period of operation
      0143-27-2870 (9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.)

6. Overlooking Daikoku Island, where the Chocolate Lily blooms

Proceed along the narrow mountain path from the observation spot at Masuichi Beach via Ginbyobu to the next place to visit which is the Cape Etomo Observation point located on the tip of the Etomo Peninsula. If you don't stop to admire scenes such as Ginbyobu, it takes less than 10 minutes to drive there.

▲ There is an observation point to the left of the monument

The observation point resembles the bow of a sailing ship, and from there you can see Mt. Yotei, Mt. Usu, and Mt. Showa Shinzan across the Uchiura Bay.

7. Landscape of Cape Etomo

7. Landscape of Cape Etomo
▲ The view is spectacular on a fine day! Daikoku Island is the bowl-shaped island that is visible beyond the breakwater on the right (Photo courtesy of Muroran Tourism Association)

Because Daikoku Island is not connected to the land and there are no public ships going there, the general public is not able to visit it. You can enjoy it, however, from places such as the Cape Etomo Observation point.

  • Cape Etomo Observation Point
    • Address 2 Chome, Etomocho, Muroran City, Hokkaido
    • Can walk about freely
      0143-23-0102 (Muroran Tourist Association)

Miyakoshi-ya Kohi Mutekirou, the glass-encased cafe with a magnificent view

This is a good time to take a break. There is one more place yet to visit, and it is one that not only offers a view of Daikoku Island but a place where you can relax as well.

▲ The cafe is located a short ways up from the parking area.

Miyakoshi-ya Kohi Mutekirou, located about 3 minutes by car from the Cape Etomo Observation point, is a cafe with a superb view. The moment you open the door and enter you will definitely be impressed by the spacious interior.

I recommend that you relax here until the sun begins to go down so that you may enjoy the last of the 8 Views of Muroran, the Night View of Muroran Port.

▲ Enter through the door on the left
▲ Ceiling to floor glass walls on three sides! Through the large windows you are afforded a magnificent view of Daikoku Island, Hakucho Bridge, and the coast.

This coffee shop opened in 2015. Here you can enjoy authentic coffee and light dishes such as ciabatta sandwiches while listening to jazz played through high-quality speakers that cost more than 10 million yen.

▲ The hand-drip coffee is delicious. Of the many types of coffee offered I ordered the deep roasted Miyakoshi-ya French Blend (600 yen including tax).

Inside the restaurant, you can enjoy music while admiring the scenery outside, and when the weather is nice you can also sit out on the terrace and enjoy the gentle sea breeze.

▲ This is a good place to relax while looking at Daikoku Island
▲ The coffee is served in Wedgwood cups and saucers. The reef seen in the background accents the view.

This is such a great location that you'll probably won't want to leave. I thought about going into the city to visit night spots there, too, but after finishing my coffee I considered staying and relaxing here because the evening and night views are so beautiful!

▲ The western sun illuminating the terrace seating at the side of the building.
▲ The illuminated Hakucho Bridge is visible in the distance.
▲ The view of Hakucho Bridge from inside the cafe is equally gorgeous!

It is so relaxing here that it’s easy to forget the time. You can spend an elegant evening here.

  • Miyakoshi-ya Kohi Mutekirou
    宮越屋珈琲 MUTEKIROU
    • Address 2-11-1 Etomo-cho, Muroran City, Hokkaido
    • Phone Number 0143-27-0001
    • Open: April~ September 11:00 a.m. ~ 8:00 p.m. (L.O. 7:30 p.m.); October ~ March (11:00 a.m. ~ 7:00 p.m. (L.O. 6:30 p.m.)
      Closed: Dec. 29 ~ Jan. 1; when there are unscheduled events

8. Be sure to enjoy the Muroran Port Night View!

The Muroran Port Night View is the last of the 8 views. There are many spots scattered throughout the city where you can enjoy the night view. Here are three of those that are easy to get to that we recommend.

The first place is the Shukutsu Park Observation point, which is about 5 minutes by car away from the Miyakoshi-ya cafe. This is the perfect place for taking pictures of the illuminated Hakucho Bridge and the Loop Bridge illuminated by orange road lights.

▲ The night view here stretches over a long and narrow area which makes it perfect for taking beautiful wide-screen photos.
  • Shukutsu Park Observation Point
    • Address 3-26, 1 Chome, Etomocho, Muroran City, Hokkaido
    • Can walk about freely
      0143-23-0102 (Muroran Tourist Association)

The second spot is the Hakucho Bridge Observation Point. This is a view spot where you can get a close-up view of Hakucho Bridge, and you can reach it by car in about 6 minutes from either the Miyakoshi-ya cafe or the Shukutsu Park Observation Point.

▲ The 1,380 meter-long Hakucho Bridge is the longest suspension bridge north of the Kanto region. The illuminated bridge is very picturesque (Photo courtesy of Muroran Tourism Association)

The night view of the factory behind the Hakucho Bridge is also wonderful! However, as the factory was closed in the summer of 2019, some of the lights have been extinguished.

  • Hakucho Bridge Observation Point
    • Address 3 Chome, Shukutsucho, Muroran City, Hokkaido
    • Can walk about freely
      0143-23-0102 (Muroran Tourist Association)

The third place is Sokuryozan which we visited in the daytime. The night view here is considered a Night View Heritage Site of Japan and also registered as one of the top 100 night views in the country.

To get there from the Miyakoshi-ya cafe, Shukutsu Park Observation Point, and Hakucho Bridge Observation Point, it is easier to go through the city area rather than by the narrow roads on which you came. This takes about 15 minutes.

If you can get to the summit of Sokuryozan by evening, then you can enjoy both the evening and night views. It might be hard to decide whether it is best to observe the night views from the Miyakoshi-ya cafe or one of the other spots mentioned.

▲ If the weather is good, the sunset viewed from the summit of Sokuryozan is really beautiful.
▲ A car ferry connecting Muroran and Miyako in Sanriku entering Muroran Port in the evening.
▲ The silhouette of Mt. Yotei is impressive.
▲ The silhouette of Mount Yotei can also be seen behind the illuminated Hakucho Bridge.
▲ The night view of the docked ferry is wonderful! There are even more night views extending in the direction of Noboribetsu City beyond Muroran City going along the Pacific coastline visible on the other side of the peninsula.

After about 15 minutes, the night becomes pitch black. The time window for enjoying the twilight blue sky is rather short, so it really is a challenge to decide from which place to best enjoy it. Choose a place that best suits you!

Muroran Hakkei is a place where you can enjoy many superb views of nature and the cityscape. You can either make a short half-day visit or more leisurely spend a full day visiting these places. If time permits, why not also drive around these various places and visit such famous other places as Noboribetsu Onsen and Lake Toya?

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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