A culturally rich day awaits at the Esashi district, one of the oldest areas in the Hokkaido Prefecture. Discover how fishing has shaped Hokkaido’s culture and folklore by visiting several historical sites. The town's heritage is wonderfully preserved, and a visit here takes you back in time.
Settle in for a leisurely drive north across the island to Esashi, one of the oldest districts in the Hokkaido Prefecture. Much of life here revolves around the sea, as you will discover by watching a joyous performance of a folk song that tells the happy story of herring fishermen who return to port with a bounty of fresh fish.
More folkloric tales await you at famed Heishi Rock, a bulbous mushroom-shaped formation that rises out of the sea. According to a 500-year-old legend, a fortune teller threw a bottle of magic potion into the water here in hopes of coaxing the herring to return after they suddenly vanished. It worked, and the bottle morphed into the Heishi Rock. The rope that you will see dangling from the rock is part of an annual purification ritual and it makes an interesting photo!
Continuing on, you will soon arrive in downtown Esashi, where you’ll visit the former residence of a merchant, which has been transformed into a museum full of fishing artifacts. It is only natural that the lunch that follows will include the seafood dish “nishin soba,” a comforting concoction of smoked herring and buckwheat noodles in a savory broth.
Follow your guide for another glimpse into daily life by strolling Esashi’s most historical street, which is flanked by well-preserved ancient buildings.