Located where on the rift where the Pacific Ocean meet the Sea of Okhotsk, Cape Nosappu is the first point in Japan where the sun rises and one of the most remote places to visit.
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Introduction to Cape Nosappu
There are few places in Japan as remote as Cape Nosappu, located at the most eastern point of Hokkaido. A train journey there takes from Tokyo takes over 15 hours, with only one possible route per day. Featured before in our top 20 places to visit remotely in Japan, the cape is at the point where the Pacific Ocean meet the Sea of Okhotsk and Russia can be seen far in the distance. It is a place of rough winds, wild waves and the oldest lighthouse of Hokkaido - dating back to 1872.
Making the journey to Cape Nosappu is no easy feat and should not be underestimated. Why should you even visit? This is a question everyone should answer for their own. For Japanese, it can be a variety of reasons and can be like a rite of passing, an inner journey to see the first sunset in Japan, bragging rights or simple taking an item of the bucket list. For some, it is enough to simply say they visited and have visited the most eastern point of the country. This is popular to do with other places - like Wakkanai - the most northern part of Japan, or Haterumajima - the most southern point of Japan.
What to do at Cape Nosappu
Visit the museum and visitor centre
Upon arrival, the first recommended stop is the visitor centre called: "Hoppokan” that explains the history and geography of the area, and it serves as month a small museum and local archive. Visitors can also learn about the geopolitical conflict with Russia regarding the close by Kuril Islands.
Enjoy the view and go bird watching
The view from Cape Nosappu is rough, barren, yet beautiful and oversees one of the less populated areas on earth. Due to it being a meeting point between two large bodies of water, the sea can be especially rugged, adding to the feeling of visiting land’s end. A variety of seabirds make their nests along the coastline and there are different huts to enjoy birdwatching.
Eat local Sanma fish
Around cape Nosappu are a couple local fish restaurants, serving local dishes, the most famous of which is Sanma, or mackerel pike. A variety of dishes services this wish can be tried. Including soup, Sanma-don (a kind of rice bowl) and cooked Sanma.
Go on top the lighthouse
The lighthouse at cape Nosappu is an interesting visit due to its history and it being open to the public and spectacular view over the surrounding are.
View the local sights
Within walking distance of the cape are the Shimanokakehashi statue (pictured above), Nosappu Kotohiro Shine, a small local shrine and Sasagawa Memorial Peace Tower. They all make for a small little extra point of interest.
How to get to cape Nosappu
The trip from Tokyo to cape Nosappu is one of the longest, if not the longest, train ride possible in a single day in Japan. Taking a whopping 15 hours and 9 minutes, includes 3 transfers, covering a 1559.2 km of railways. A one way fare will cost you ¥33,570, but is entirely covered by the Japan Rail Pass. If you're crazy enough to take the ride, then it's very good value, as a 7-day JR Pass ¥29,650 will cost less than a one way fare.
To get started, take the Hokkaido Shinkansen to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station. There transfer to the Hokuto ltd. express train bound for Sapporo. At Sapporo, change yet again to the Ozora ltd. express bound for Kushiro. Finally, at Kushiro change to a local train bound for Nemuro station on the Hanasaki line. The full schedule can be found here:
Nemuro is the end station for the train, from there a bus runs to Cape Nosappu taking 45 minutes.