4 days
Activity Level
★★☆☆☆
Canoeing
3 hours

Canoeing and Cultural Interaction Tour in Onuma Quasi-National Park

On this 4-day tour, we put ourselves into the beautiful scenery created by the volcano and fully enjoy the food grown in this fertile land thanks to the volcanoes.

Mt. Komagatake had a massive eruption in 1640, and the volcanic mudflow blocked a river. The explosion created Lake Onuma, Lake Konuma, Lake Junsai, and 126 small islands in those lakes. This terrain is called “Nagareyama terrain,” consisting of small mountains around the lake and small islands in the lakes. It makes the Onuma-Quasi National Park unique.

We will hike at this active volcano, Mt. Komagatake, paddle through among small islands in the lake with a canoe, taste the gifts of volcanoes, and get an insight into the life coexisting with the volcano.

Onuma Quasi-National Park was registered as a wetland under the Ramsar Convention in 2012 to protect nature, including migrant birds, and it attracts many nature lovers. The Onuma area is located next to Hakodate, which opened as one of Japan’s first trading ports after abolishing the Japanese isolation policy in 1854. Therefore, the Onuma area incorporated Western-style agriculture for the first time in Hokkaido and has continued to produce high-quality agricultural products, especially fruits and dairy products, until today.

MAP

Hakodate city, Nanae town, Shikabe town, Yakumo town, Esashi town

Highlights

No. EM000024 Canoeing and Cultural Interaction Tour in Onuma Quasi-National Park

Area Hakodate city, Nanae town, Shikabe town, Yakumo town, Esashi town
Length 4 days
Price From JPY 240,000
Season June - October
Group size Minimum: 4 Maximum: 10
Activity level 2*★★☆☆☆
Activities • Hiking
• Canoeing
• Cultural Experiences
Meeting point Hakodate Airport (HKD)
Price includes • 3 nights accommodation on single occupancy basis
• Meals( 3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners)
• All the activities
• All transport as described in the itinerary
• Snacks and refreshments
• English speaking Japanese guide(s)
Clothing • Warm/ Wind proof/ Waterproof jacket
• Trekking Shoes
• Comfortable and moveable clothing and changes for the hiking
Items to bring • Water bottle
• Rain gear
• Sunscreen
• Sunglasses

Traveler’s Digest

DAY 1

We will meet the rest of the group around 1:00 pm at Hakodate Airport (HKD). Once everyone has joined the group, we will spend some time getting to know each other and having a briefing for our upcoming adventure program before heading to Mt. Hakodate, only 20 min away from the airport by private van.

Mt. Hakodate, a symbol of Hakodate city, is known for its beautiful night view. Many tourists visit this place throughout the year. Mt. Hakodate is not only a popular tourist spot, but it also has abundant nature, including 800 types of natural plants. It is also possible to hike the mountain while looking down at historic buildings such as churches and temples in the Motomachi area. We can also see the Tsugaru Strait, which also marks the biogeographic boundary of the Blakiston’s Line. There are entirely different ecosystems between Hokkaido and the main island, Honshu.

Mt. Hakodate was once used as a fortress in the old times during the war. We can see six parts of ruins during hiking, including the battle command center and storage. It is a secret place since there are not many signs to direct people where to go. It is an easy hike for only 90 minutes from the foot of the mountain (75m/246ft) to the top of Mt. Hakodate (334m/1095ft).

After the hike, we will take a cable car down to the mountain. With a 1-hour drive, we will arrive at our accommodation surrounded by the beautiful forest. Our hotel for the first night is located at the foot of Mt. Komagatake, which you will hike on the next day.

DAY 2

Today, we will go for a morning hike to Mt. Komagatake. This active volcano is a landmark of the Oshima Peninsula that spreads out in front of us. Originally Mt. Komagatake was a cone-shaped active volcano like Mt. Fuji, but now it has become a unique square-shaped mountain due to repeated eruptions.

We will start the hike for 1.5 hours (2km/1.25miles) from the middle part of Mt. Komagatake (500m/1640ft) to a place called “Horseback” (approximately 900 m/2952ft). We will overlook Lake Onuma, which looks like it has been decorated with floating islands and spotted small mountains. By looking at the formation of the entire terrain of this volcanic ash zone, we will understand the geographical relationship between Onuma Quasi-National Park and “Funkawan,” which means volcanic bay.

Enjoy one-plate lunch using local ingredients after descending from the mountain. In the afternoon, we will visit some farmers in Nanae town, the birthplace of Western agriculture in Hokkaido. Have a pleasant chat with the farmers and purchase their products like vegetables, meat, firewood, and even charcoal. We will use all of it for our tonight’s BBQ dinner at a cozy day campsite by the lake. At dinner time, we will make our next day’s canoeing adventure plan with the canoe guide and do some gear checks and lessons after that.

DAY 3

Our following day is a fantastic paddle for 3 hours from Lake Onuma to Lake Konuma. These lakes are full of floating islands and small mountains, which we saw from “the Horseback” at Mt. Komagatake on the day before. It is time to see how the canoe adventure we discussed with the guide last night works!

In the afternoon, we will learn about the “Umami” taste and charm of the finest Japanese dashi kelp “Makombu” from a local fisher in Shikabe town. Japanese cuisine is healthy, and it is trendy worldwide recently. Japanese cuisine is based on “Dashi” stock, mainly made from Japanese kelp. The excellent nutritional balance of Dashi could be one of the reasons why Japanese cuisine was selected as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. We will learn how to make “dashi“, essential for Japanese cuisine. To understand the essence of Dashi, we will take a short boat trip to visit a kelp breeding ground and a waterfall that supplies nutrients to the sea. After that, we will visit a kelp workshop and try to make true kelp dashi. Hop on a van and drive for 1 hour to Esashi, one of the most historical towns in Hokkaido. This evening, we will enjoy dishes with plenty of kelp and Dashi at a local restaurant.

DAY 4

Today’s itinerary starts with a “zazen and morning porridge experience” at Shogakuin, a local temple. We place ourselves in a quiet meditation hall and take a leisurely breath to prepare our breathing, body, and mind and heal. In Buddhism, eating is also part of the training. Through trying the traditional Japanese way of eating, we can feel gratitude for food and touch the spirit of Japan. We may have a mysterious feeling that the simple porridge tastes very delicious. By doing zazen meditation, we can do some deep introspection and deepen our trip experiences.

After having a refreshing morning experience, we will be on the road for 1 hour and visit Mr. Chiba, the glutinous rice farmer. His grandfather moved to Hokkaido to cultivate the land from Iwate prefecture as a pioneer. Here we will experience a traditional Japanese food culture, “Mochi-Tsuki,” pounding rice cakes with a constant rhythm. After pounding, we can taste freshly hand-made mochi! The farmer, Mr. Chiba, will take us for a backyard tour to see his rice fields and show us rice milling too.

 Enjoy chatting and lunch with him and his family members with the Japanese iconic scenery “rice fields.” We will also touch with the spiritual culture of rural areas such as Buddhist altars “Butsudan” and Shinto altars “Kamidana” set next to each other in his house.

After all the beautiful experiences, we head to JR Yakumo Station and say our goodbyes.

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