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Shimamui Coast in Shakotan, Hokkaido prefecture, Japan. | ©663highland / Wikimedia Commons
Shimamui Coast in Shakotan, Hokkaido prefecture, Japan. | ©663highland / Wikimedia Commons
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A Guide to Hokkaido's Best Seaside Towns

Picture of Dave Afshar
Updated: 30 January 2017
Though commonly associated with winter sports, hiking, and Sapporo Beer, Hokkaido is home to some of the most breathtaking coastal villages and beach towns in Japan. While swimming is usually not an option outside the summer season, these historic towns and quaint villages are worth putting on a winter coat for.
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Kamoenai

With a population of just 1,100, this small fishing village is a must for nature lovers and travelers looking to get out of the city. Don’t be fooled into thinking there is nothing to do here. Kamoenai offers visitors a number of activities including camping, fishing, swimming and hot springs. Like most of Hokkaido, local seafood options here are cheap and delicious.

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Shakotan Town

This mid size town boasts some of the most beautiful seaside views in all of Hokkaido. Shakotan’s three capes (Cape Shakotan, Cape Kamui, and Cape Ogon) draw tourists from all over the country and the world. The capes overlook the town’s jagged, rocky coastal line and the Sea of Japan. The sunset here is truly a sight to behold.

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Furubira

A former mining town and neighbor to Kamoenai, Furubira is known for its rocky cliffs, vegetation, hot spring, and the Zengenji temple. The seafood specialty here is taroko (cod roe), which is shipped all over the rest of Japan from this small town.

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Yoichi

Located in the southernmost part of the Shakotan Peninsula, Yoichi is a drinker’s paradise. Known for its wine and whiskey, it is home to the internationally recognized Nikka Whiskey Distillery, which offers visitors daily tours of its facilities. While the guided tour is not available in English, guests are welcome to explore the facilities in their own time. If drinking isn’t your thing, the local farms offer a variety of delicious fresh fruit.

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Tomari

Another fishing village, Tomari attracts travelers all year round. They come for local seafood, hot springs, and a gorgeous view of the sea and nearby mountains. Those with an adventurous palate will not want to miss the local specialties, including uni (sea urchin), namako (sea cucumber), and squid.

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Iwanai

One of the oldest towns in Hokkaido, Iwanai is home to many families who have lived in the area for generations, resulting in a Japanese accent that is unique to residents of the town. Iwanai is best known for its sushi restaurants, Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, hot spring resorts, festivals, and a ski resort.