【Sightseeing spots and food at Lake Saroma】
【Sightseeing spots and food at Lake Saroma】Superb local food on a driving route along the coast of Okhotsk Sea.
“Lake Saroma” is known as the biggest brackish water in Hokkaido.
Around Lake Saroma, there are number of sightseeing spots that many people stop by on their course of driving such as Wakka abiogenesis flower garden which is Japan’s biggest of its kind, an amusement park, and a gorgeous flower garden.
Besides, you can enjoy seafood caught in the Okhotsk Sea and Lake Saroma.
You can find interesting spots and delicious food around Lake Saroma while feeling comfortable breeze under the sky so blue, the color called Okhotsk blue.
Let’s find out what is so attractive about driving along the Coast of Okhotsk Sea.
1. What is Lake Saroma?
※ This content was originally from “Hokkaido Labo”. The original content is available here.
The sunset is absolutely stunning.
Lake Saroma is famous for its beautiful sunset. There are many great viewing spots around the lake. The sight of the sun going down into the lake is overwhelming.
This beautiful scenery attracts many people. You can never get tired of seeing it.
Lake Saroma is “the birthplace of scallop farming”. It used to have the largest catch of scallops in Japan and still is one of the best production areas.
Scallops caught in Lake Saroma have large, sweet and firm texture muscle.
There are many places that serve scallops in many different cooking ways around the lake.
2. Sightseeing spots around Lake Saroma
There are many great spots with magnificent scenery that changes seasonally and the spots where you can have fun with your family.
Let me introduce some spots where you might want to stop by on the course of your driving along the Lake Saroma.
2-1 Wakka abiogenesis flower garden【from the middle of May to September】
“Wakka abiogenesis flower garden” is situated on a narrow sandbank between the Okhotsk Sea and Lake Saroma. The garden of 200~700 meters width stretches about 20km long.
This is the largest abiogenesis flower garden in Japan which is recognized as Abashiri Semi-National Park. It is amazing sightseeing spot where as many as 300 kinds of grasses and flowers can be seen blooming from May to September.
“There are many ways to enjoy this garden. Some people stroll around seeing grasses and flowers, others go cycling in the comfortable sea wind from the Okhotsk Sea. The scenery from the horse drawn carriage “Dream Wakka” is also wonderful.
“Wakka abiogenesis flower garden” offers you an amazing scenery created by rich nature in Okhotsk area.
2-2 Kitami Family Land (roadside rest area “Ai land Yubetsu”)
“Kitami Family Land” is located on a hill to the west of Lake Saroma.
It is conveniently located on the National Route 238, adjacent to a roadside rest area “Ai land Yubetsu”. It is a popular spot to stop by while driving around this area.
They have 20 kinds of amusement rides including a “cycle monorail” and Go-Karts with about 800 meters long course. They are loved by everyone from children to adults.
The most popular one is the “Ferris wheel” standing right in the center of this amusement park.
It is the only Ferris wheel in Japan which has a panoramic view of Lake Saroma.
The sight of Lake Saroma seen from the top of this Ferris wheel is outstanding!
It is the special seat to have this sight all to yourself.
There is a forest called “Ikoi no mori” just next to the amusement park. 2.4km long hiking trail offers you a great view of Lake Saroma and hiking in clear air. Although great spot as it is, only some people know about this hiking trail. It is the spot worth visiting.
2-3 Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park【from May to early June】
In spring, from around Golden Week (early-May holiday season in Japan), many flowers start to bloom in Okhotsk area.
The park within 20 minutes’ drive from “Ai land Yubetsu”, “Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park” has its tulip garden in full bloom from the middle of May to early June every year.
Approximately 1,200,000 colorful tulips of 200 kinds planted in a 70,000ha of garden bloom at the same time. It is just awesome!
There is also a Dutch windmill. You cannot even believe you are in Japan.
Actually this windmill is an observation tower. You can have a panoramic view of the tulip garden from the top.
The annual tulip fair is held around the time tulips bloom. It attracts a lot of tourists.
It is the highly recommended spot to visit around this time of the year. You can see both the romantic view with the atmosphere of foreign land and expansive scenery of Eastern Hokkaido, Okhotsk area at the same time.
3. Restaurants around Lake Saroma / Where to eat oysters and scallops.
If you are anywhere near Lake Saroma, you cannot miss seafood caught in Lake Saroma like fresh, tasty scallops.
Let me introduce some great restaurants around Lake Saroma.
3-1 Rest house Tokoro
“Rest House Tokoro” is located on the National Route 238 (Okhotsk Line) in Tokoro, Kitami. During lunch time, the place is crowded with a lot of locals as well as tourists.
There is a sushi counter in the restaurant where they serve fresh seafood.
They have as many as 100 kinds of menus such as the ones using fresh seafood caught in the Okhotsk Sea and Lake Saroma as well as curry and ramen noodles.
The most recommended menu here is the dish using scallops as the banner above the counter shows. It says “Tokoro port, the best scallops in Japan.
One of the most popular menu, “Hotate zukushi teishoku” (full-of-scallops set) is the value set that you can try various kinds of scallop dishes like scallop sashimi, fried scallop, scallop cooked with salt, scallop cooked in sweet soy sauce, scallop pickled in salt and so on. Even miso soup has young scallop shells. If you want to eat scallop, this is the menu for you.
Sashimi is all about scallops. Scallop muscles and strings are generously served.
Plump, sweet and fresh scallop has many fans.
They also serve the popular local dish in Kitami, “Okhotsk Kitami Shio Yakisoba” (fried noodle).
It is the fried noodle stir-fried with scallops and onions produced in Kitami. It comes with “the magic water (scallop extract)” that adds more flavor to the noodle.
Some people like to sprinkle some lemon juice over it.
“Rest House Tokoro” also serves various kinds of dishes using seasonal ingredients produced in Okhotsk area such as scallop rice bowl, sushi, and “Full-of Oysters Set” around oyster’ s season.
If you get hungry while driving around this area, this is where you should stop by.
3-2 Sencho no Ie
“Ryoshimaru Sencho no Ie” (Captain’s house) is located across from Lake Saroma Tsuruga Resort.
It serves as a restaurant in a daytime as well as being a popular inn.
“Sencho no Ie” is located near Lake Saroma.
There is no doubt that the seafood they serve is fresh from the Okhotsk Sea or Lake Saroma.
From the end of March to June, fishermen start fishing after the floating ice leave the sea. You can eat various kinds of tasty seafood around this season.
“Sencho no Ie” serves the menu limited to this season. For example, the set using both scallop and crab can be served only during this season.
The most recommended is the set of two kinds of rice bowls, three kinds of dishes in small bowls, and miso soup.
They also have the variations for rice bowls like “Sanshokudon” (rice bowl with three kinds of toppings) and “Goshokudon” (rice bowl with five kinds of toppings) so that customers can try many kinds of toppings.
If you go there in spring, the set including “sea urchin rice bowl” is recommended.
Sweet, melting sea urchin tastes excellent!
Sea urchin is usually expensive, but you can try it for a reasonable price here.
“Horsehair crab” and “sea urchin” in spring, “scallop” and “Hokkai shrimp” in summer, and “oyster” from fall to winter. You can enjoy seasonal seafood caught in the Okhotsk Sea and Lake Saroma here in “Sencho no Ie”.
Now is the best season to go for a drive in Okhotsk. This is the best lunch spot where you can try many kinds of seafood all at once.
3-3 Hokusho Suisan factory store
“Hokusho Suisan factory store” is also located on National Route 238 (Okhotsk line) in Saroma.
The store is adjacent to the marine products processing factory. They deal with seasonal marine products and delicacies.
It stands just in front of Lake Saroma. This location enables them to get fresh seafood.
The recommended menu here is “scallop burger”, known by those who knows good food around here.
Between the buns, sandwiched a plump fried scallop caught locally.
Fresh fried scallop, fluffy buns, fresh lettuce and tomato, and mayonnaise. All these ingredients make a perfect harmony.
It is something found only here. You can take it out or eat it at the store while looking at the view of Lake Saroma.
There are many spots you can have fun and taste delicious food around Lake Saroma.
Especially on National Road 238 (Okhotsk Line) that goes along the Coast of Okhotsk Sea, there are some scenic spots you can see soothing scenery of Eastern Hokkaido and many restaurants you can eat seasonal seafood caught in the Okhotsk Sea and Lake Saroma.
The best season to enjoy driving in the Okhotsk area has come. Until the end of summer, we will have great season with cool breeze from the sea under the sky in Okhotsk blue.
Let’s take some time going around and experience a lot of fun and eat great food in Okhotsk area.
※ This content was originally from “Hokkaido Labo”. The original content is available here.