Hokkaido Prefecture in Japan provides the lovely opportunities for every season. As you know, there are three main cities for sightseeing, Sapporo, Asahikawa, and Hakodate.
This Japan national route 12 (I called “route 12” below) connects between Sapporo and Asahikawa through the cardinal cities, Takikawa, Sunagawa, Biei, Iwamizawa, and Ebetsu. We recognize that’s a very important route.
And a section of the route 12 has around 30 km linear road. This is a very photogenic and famous position for Japanese tourists.
In July (2020), I had a summer holiday and plan to go trip. At this time, I just prepared before one week and found the old travel book in the Sorachi area (Asahikawa, Takikawa, Akabira, and Ashibetsu) in my house.
Finally, I decided to stay for 3 nights in Akabira city.
Akabira is located in the middle of Sapporo and Asahikawa. It is a very convenient network to the National park of Mt. Asahidake or other nature.
As an aside, in this area, there are many cities named ~~kawa or ~~gawa. These mean a river. The name based on important river in Hokkaido prefecture, Ishikarigawa river, Ishikarigawas river is one of the longest and biggest river, going through Asahikawa, Kamikawa, Fukagawa, and Sapporo. Actually, the name of the Ishikarigawa river includes the double meaning of the river. In Japan, the English translation is sometimes miserable and complicated.
Just because of the main route in Hokkaido, we don’t feel inconvenient along route 12 (there are many shops, gas stand, convenience stores).
In particular, we go to the toilet or park for sightseeing in a convenience store (of course, we bought some snacks then due to the Japanese personality or politeness?). In passing, the convenience store’s toilet is really clean.
Anyway, Akabira city was one of the main coal mine in Japan. There is a somehow rural town but it was really interesting for me.
The day before going to Akabira, I talked to my friend. He is an old friend in my younger in Hokkaido. Now, he is working in Tokyo.
I didn’t finish packing and wanted to call off the phone. I said that I would go traveling to Akabira next day.
Conversely, the conversation got lively.
He asked me “why you would go to Akabira. there was nothing.”
That was right. If I drive one more hour, I could arrive at the second biggest city, Asahikawa. Akabira locates around the mountain. I think he wanted to recommend seafood or ramen in Asahikawa. Because they are very famous in Asahikawa. Actually, I also had a similar recognition to him before coming to Akabira. The population is under 10,000 now.
Plus, I’m a little afraid of going there.
But that’s why it was OK, it was perfect.
If I plan to go to Asahikawa, I have been there several times. My imagination is getting narrow.
A place I have never been and is a rural town makes my imagination expand like a child. So, That City Was Too Exciting.
Akabira coal mine was kept and has guided-tour. I think there is some mine you can see outside over the world. But Akabira mine provides the opportunity to come inside.
A half-century before, coal is the most important resource to produce electric and motion energy for trains. The Japanese government paid a lot of money to the coal mine company. And the company provides a lot of benefits and it had a water purification plant. it was really rich.
Unfortunately, the way of growing the town was only resources. After that, there is no job and decreases in population density.
Akabira is that.
Recently, young people in the Sorachi area including Akabira enhance each town together. The guesthouse was open this year in Akabira (Only Airbnb provide). It was the first accommodation in Akabira, the local paper said.
In other words, Akabira city stops the time for 50 years (because young people went to Sapporo or Asahikawa and elder people want a calm life) but the sight resource has been developing.
When you come to Akabira, you can feel like original culture of Hokkaido.
When you come to Asahikawa, the route 12 is still main road in the city. I know there is a famous observatory in Arashiyama park in Asahikawa along the route 12. I firstly dropped there.
The Arashiyama park is a complex combined with Ainu cultural center, Hoppo-yasoen park, and Arashiyama observatory.
The famous Ainu cultural park, Ainu-kotan is also along the route 12.