Looking for your next favourite summer destination in Japan? If you want to go against the grain, then head to Hokkaido’s Rumoi subprefecture and explore two of its coastal cities rich in cultural experiences.
These cities are Rumoi and Mashike, seaside towns that make for an unforgettable summer vacation itinerary in Japan! Rumoi City is a port city known for its fishing and beautiful sunsets, while Mashike Town is the northernmost fruit orchard region in Japan.
So if you’re up for a little something different, it’s time for a Hokkaido holiday! Wondering what else these two cities have to offer? Wonder no more—we’ve got the lowdown on everything you need to know for smooth sailing in both Rumoi subprefecture cities!
Where are Rumoi and Mashike?
You can find both towns in the Rumoi Subprefecture in Northwestern Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands. The nearest airports to both cities are Asahikawa Airport to the East and New Chitose Airport to the South.
Mashike is 114km away (by car via the coastal road) from Hokkaido’s capital Sapporo. Rumoi is 16.2km North of Mashike, approximately a 20-minute drive. You can fit both cities in your itinerary!
How do I get there?
Train to Rumoi
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Going to Rumoi via New Chitose Airport is pretty easy. You can board the train directly at New Chitose Airport Station and ride through Sapporo Station, Fukagawa Station, and finally Rumoi Station.
If you’re coming from Asahikawa Airport, though, just take a bus or taxi to the Asahikawa train station. You can board the train and ride through Fukagawa Station until you reach Rumoi Station.
Bus to Rumoi
You can also opt to ride the bus from Sapporo to go to Rumoi. If you want a more scenic experience, the Hokkaido Chuo Bus High-Speed Rumoi will take you straight to the city in about 3 hours, and the Engan Bus Limited Express Haboro in about two hours and 15 minutes.
Another option is taking the Coastal Bus Rumoi Asahikawa Line from Asahikawa, the fastest bus route of the three.
Train and Bus to Mashike
If New Chitose Station is your airport of choice, you’ll have the pleasure of taking the train and bus. From the airport, take the train to Sapporo Station and ride a highway bus to Mashike Terminal.
Rental Car to Mashike
Rental cars are a convenient travel option in Hokkaido. You can take one from Asahikawa Airport to go directly to Mashike.
When is the best season to go?
If you ask us, any time is the best time to go to Rumoi Subprefecture, but the crowd favourite is during the summer. The warm weather during that time is conducive for various outdoor activities that let you immerse in the culture and marvel at the surrounding sceneries. While summer in Japan is typically June to August, it’s best to go to both cities from May to September.
While October may be colder than usual, you can absolutely still visit! Take it as the chance to flaunt your collection of sweaters and to warm yourself up with a steaming cup of tea and coffee during your afternoon stroll.
The colder months may not be as popular for tourists, but that shouldn’t stop you from going! Just bring your warmest winter clothes!
What can you see in both Rumoi Subprefecture cities?
Both cities are home to impressive tourist spots that will satisfy your wanderlust and fill your camera roll. Here are the sights and stops you can check out:
Fun fact: Rumoi is known to have some of the best sunsets in Japan, and there are three lookout points—all overlooking the Sea of Japan—that offer the best view of this breathtaking daily phenomenon.
Cape Ogon is a former area where herrings would gather and spawn, and where a sunset lookout now stands. Another is Senobodai Lookout, nestled on a hill 180 metres above sea level, and Reiju Ranch completes the trio.
You’ll also find Golden Beach in Rumoi, perfect for beach bums and scenic strolls. On the other hand, Kamuiwa Comprehensive Park, the city’s biggest park, is for those who love cherry blossoms and ornate greenery.
Mashike has its own lineup of must-see attractions. Up for a boozy time? Then head to Kunimare Sake Brewery, Japan’s northernmost sake brewery established in 1882. Sample rich, flavourful sake for free and visit the souvenir shop to bring home some sweet treats!
For some traditional design appreciation and history, you can also tour the Old Merchant House of the Maruichi Honma Family, which features the architectural styles of 1900s Japan. In the days of old, this served as the town’s general shop, kimono store, sake brewery, and more!
Being part of the Oloron Line is something Mashike and Rumoi have in common. The Oloron Line is a famous strip of coastal towns, starting from Otaru in the South to Wakkanai in the North, and is famous for the best sunsets in Japan. Rumoi Subprefecture is nestled in the middle of it, so you’re in good hands when it comes to sunset lookout points! Aside from the three mentioned above, more amazing spots are sprinkled around both cities.
Guidebook of Local Experiences
Since Rumoi and Mashike are close together, you can visit them back-to-back during your trip to Hokkaido for a complete and immersive summer experience in Japan. Their proximity gives you plenty of time to try all the local experiences!
It’s your chance to do as the locals do, as they say. For a hassle-free trip, we’ve rounded up all the best activities and routes!
Model Route 1:
Rumoi Crab Catching Experience
Crab catching in this city isn’t merely crab catching. You’ll be able to do it at the stunning golden cape of Rumoi, another favoured spot for sunset viewing. All the while, know more about the culture and history of Rumoi with the help of your knowledgeable guide.
Click here to book the Rumoi Crab Catching Experience.
Rumoi City Bike Tour
Pedal to the metal and visit the best spots in Rumoi that you can’t access by car or foot. Cycle to Gold Cape Seaside Park as the sea breeze caresses you and discover all of the city’s hidden spots. You’ll even learn about all the local products with the help of your guide!
Click here to book the Discover Rumoi Bike Tour.
Sake Tasting Tour in Hokkaido by Kunimare Sake Brewery K.K.
Visiting the heritage-listed sake brewery, Kunimare Sake Brewery, is as easy as pie with this tour—and yes, it already includes free sake tasting! Non-alcohol drinkers worry not: you can get alcohol-free beverages and other tasty treats at the shop.
Click here to experience the Sake Tasting Tour in Hokkaido by Kunimare Sake Brewery K.K.
Model Route 2:
Mashike Fruit Picking and Hot Springs Experience
Mashike is part of Japan’s fruit orchard region, so you can’t go more local than fruit-picking! Step into the countryside of Mashike to pick and taste the local produce. After your hard work picking tasty fruits, you can take a dip in a hot spring at Tron Onsen, Auberge Mashike.
Click here to book the Mashike Fruit Picking and Hot Spring Experience.
2-Hour Local Walking Tour in Rumoi
See Rumoi from the perspective of locals on this walking tour. Discover where to shop for local food, take Instagram-worthy photos, and where the best restaurants and cafés are. This two-hour tour will acquaint you with the lovely seaside city.
Click here to book a Local Walking Tour in Rumoi.