Arrived in Kushiro for an hour’s layover before I catch the train to Nemuro. 

A local just called me sugoi “amazing”*. Yeah, I know. 

*For carrying a backpack and day pack. 

Rotten eggs on the Senmo Line

We were passing through pretty mountain forest, a pair of sika deer beside the track, when the stench of Hydrogen Sulphide filled the train. The source became apparent as we approached Kawayu Onsen. 

Mount Io was belching steam from its volcanic vent, like its namesake moon of Jupiter. 

Another amazing sight on this line! 

Senmo so far

The Senmo Main Line has been pretty scenic so far, running right alongside the coast, the bright green interspersed with wildflowers, then farmland with a backdrop of 1.5 kilometres tall Mount Shari. 

Abashiri arrival

Abashiri is apparently famous for its punishing jail and for its drift ice. I hope not to experience the former and have arrived too late for the latter. 

It was a very pleasant train ride on the Taisetsu Express, beginning in rural scenery before moving along a stony river valley through verdant Mountain forest. 

Plus there was power on board. Always a great thing when you are trying to keep your devices going. The view out the window was the real draw card. Our back carriage became the front when the train reversed at Engaru. I’ll have to post all the video later. 

Arriving late into Abashiri I had a choice of late night eateries near the station. Because proper family diners are so rare in Australia I chose Victoria Station. A salad bar was a bonus. Surprising how busy it is after 9pm too. 

Have to get up early tomorrow for the next train. 

Taisetsu 3 to Abashiri

Leaving Asahikawa for Abashiri. It’s not a geographical extremity but it is a good staging point for the next day. This older train has power sockets, unlike some of the newer ones here. 

Soya Sauce

Some beautiful scenery as we travel down the Soya Line. We started through rolling rural fields of cattle, but then it got really spectacular as we followed the Teshio River. 

At one point the train emergency braked and stopped while it was inspected. Not sure what was wrong and I hope that I don’t miss the next connection. 

Hokkaido is so green! Wish I knew what the plant names were, especially in the undergrowth. 

Wakkanai Breakwater – the old end of the line

Years ago the semi arched concrete tunnel of the Wakkanai breakwater used to protect passengers and goods as they disembarked from their train, presumably to catch a ship elsewhere. 

The winds here are strong, though today the wind turbine overlooking this small city is just steady rather than dizzying. It carries the scent of seaweed and the cries of gulls. 

There are no more tracks through the breakwater and the only sign of its railway heritage is a pair of iron wheels from a steam engine and it is a Japanese Coast Guard vessel rather than a liner that is berthed beside it. 

North leg 5 – Sarobetsu Express to Wakkanai 

The last train for today, from Asahiyama to Wakkanai. We were in Asahikawa in January to visit the Asahiyama Zoo. It was the coldest I’ve ever experienced, almost -13 degrees C. Nothing like that today!