Hokkaido Travel Guide

12 Best Things to Do in Nemuro | Visit Hokkaido

What are the best things to do in Nemuro? If you are curious to know them all then please keep reading.

Nemuro is the easternmost city of Japan, located in Hokkaido region and mostly famous for watching the sunrise, fresh seafood, and diverse wildlife. It lies on the Nemuro Peninsula. When you decide to travel to this amazing port city you can experience many interesting things throughout the year.

In fact, some of them are quite rare to be observed, such as Hatsuhinode – the first sunrise of New Year from Cape Nosappu, View of Steller´s Sea Eagles in Lake Furen area, and Alpine cherry blossom in spring season.

Many visitors from other parts of Japan come to Nemuro aiming that they want to see the first sunrise of New Year. Though, watching the first sunrise at any time of year has become one of the top things to do in the city.

Cape Nosappu Monument. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Before I share the best things you could do and see in Nemuro I want to ask you a question. The question is – have you ever heard of this city before? Maybe you have heard of it or maybe not. As I am your today’s guide now, I will help you to explore it through my travel experience.

To be honest with you, Nemuro could present a new world that remained as hidden for many years from your own world. It is very diverse with its natural wonders including rich flora and fauna.

I recommend Nemuro as one of the top honeymoon destinations in Japan. You will know why I tell you so but now just listen that I am not married yet!

1) The Earliest Sunrise and Hatsuhinode at Cape Nosappu

Cape Nsappu, Nemuro. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The city could be very cold in winter as temperature drops below freezing. An extreme weather condition in winter cannot be an obstacle. Gear up! Once I headed to Cape Nosappu and experienced splendid view of Hatsuhinode (First Sunrise in New Year).

Here the sun rises in a more orange and yellowish color creating an amazing atmosphere that should not be missed by you. This year in 2016, I was there to see the New Year sunrise, it was truly magnificent!

Every day (except extreme weather condition in winter) in the very early morning at Nemuro’s Cape Nosappu tourists gather to enjoy the view of the earliest sunrise of Japan. A moment ago, I have told you that Nemuro is one of the top honeymoon destinations.

Can you guess why have I said that? It is because – watching the new sunrise at Cape Nosappu sounds very romantic. You and your lover would hold each others hands and gaze at the sunrise until it lighten the sky.

One of the interesting facts of Nemuro is – the sunrises in Nemuro at about 3:30 AM in June. It is 2 hours earlier than Naha City in Okinawa. Nemuro beats Okinawa! Want to view sunrise at 3:30 AM in summer? Then quickly get off the bed and get ready to go to Cape Nosappu.

Before getting into this place you will see a spot known as Meiji Park. In fact it is the gateway to Cape Nosappu. To be honest, there is nothing much to do in Meiji Park but it is quite a nice place with three beautiful silos.

2) Watching Steller´s Sea Eagle in Lake Furen

Steller’s Sea-Eagle. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

All of us have so many wishes that often change. One of my winter wishes is to watch Steller’s Sea Eagle in Nemuro. Before visiting Nemuro for the first time of my life I had a wish to see these birds. Even though watching steller’s sea eagle wish came true a long time ago I still wish to see them every year in winter.

This wish has not changed! I could see these species of eagles’ hours after hours since I believe they are not boring creature. You can head to Lake Furen area to see not only Steller’s Sea Eagle but also other species of birds such as White-tailed Eagles including wild Japanese red foxes.

It is a safe place for thousands whooper swans (migrated birds from Siberia), Steller’s Sea Eagles, Japanese cranes and more than 300 kinds of birds species. Don’t you wish see them all? In winter, Lake Furen turns to a frozen lake that looks awfully beautiful with those graceful birds.

I think Lake Furen is the best place to watch Steller’s Sea Eagle in the world. Therefore, don’t miss this chance when you come here in winter season. Remember, bird watching is one of the enjoyable things to do in Nemuro peninsula.

3) The Late Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)

Chishima-zakura at Seiryuji Temple, Nemuro. Photo Credit: Nemuro City Tourism Association Blog.

In general, Japan’s cherry blossom viewing season starts in late February and ends early April. It is different here in Hokkaido region so is for Nemuro.

In fact Hokkaido is a popular destination for viewing late blooming sakura in Japan. Have you noticed that before? During spring many visitors come to Nemuro to see it at Seiryu-ji temple (A Buddhist temple).

The temple’s grounds look amazingly beautiful with thousands of cherry blossoms in late May. If you wish to see the last cherry blossom of the year in Japan then head to Nemuro before end of May – I repeat again “Before end of MAY”.

Please bear in mind that Nemuro’s cherry blossom is the last of all in Japan. It is certainly an interesting thing to be experienced during spring in this port city.

4) Kurumaishi at Cape Hanasaki

Kurumaishi at Cape Hanasaki, Nemuro. Photo Credit: Robert Thomson at Flickr.

What is Kurumaishi? Do you think that it is a name of a food or lighthouse? SORRY – it is nothing but a stone which is designated as a natural monument of Nemuro city. It shapes spreads out radially that resembles a car wheel.

It is a unique stone that can be one found at Cape Hanasaki in Nemuro. If you don’t believe me then just go for an expedition searching for a stone like this in the whole world and I know you would get back with empty-handed.

Cape Hanasaki and the Lighthouse, Nemuro. Photo Credit: Yamaguchi Yoshiaki at Flickr.

Visitors who explore Nemuro hardly skip this attraction. So, I hope you won’t miss visiting this unique destination.

While on the other hand, Cape Hanasaki is seen to be one of the 10 most beautiful places in Nemuro. Its lighthouse, blue ocean, blue sky and nearby landscape would be very charming to experience especially on a sunny day.

To see Kurumaishi (wheel shaped rock) you have to go under the Cape Hanasaki Lighthouse. Yeah, it is located there and please pose as many as ways you want before someone takes your photograph. Then share the photos with friends and family – I think it would be a big surprise for them all.

5) Shunkunitai Wild Bird Sanctuary

View of Beautiful Sunset in Shunkunitai. Photo Credit: Hiroyuki Sakai at Flickr.

Shunkunitai is a perfect spot for bird watching. If you are a birdwatcher and interested in wildlife photography then you would better head to this place. Having a large number of different species of animals and birds, it has become a quite popular destination in Nemuro.

That’s not the end, in Japan it has been recognized as one of the top bird-watching spots. I have visited this place and I believe everyone should visit this amazing place before leaving Nemuro.

Whether you believe it or not, this is a bird paradise lies between the Sea of Okhotsk and Lake Furen. It is about 8km in length and 1.3km in width.

When you look at the surroundings you would experience seashores, marshes, forests, green grasslands, pathways including endangered species of birds and wild animals. It is said that there are about 250 species of wild birds.

Graceful birds like red-crowned crane, white-tailed eagle, Chinese egret, black woodpeckers, and Steller’s sea eagle are quite impressive to watch here in this wilderness.

Please before heading toward Shunkunitai, make sure you don’t forget to charge your camera battery fully knowing that you will be real busy capturing the beautiful landscapes and birds. And please check out this amazing bird watching accessory here.

6) Nemuro Crab Festival

Crabs are being served to the visitors. Photo Credit: huu-hokkaido.com.

In Nemuro, two major food festivals are held every year in fall season, they are: Nemuro Crab Festival and Nemuro Sanma Festival.

Nemuro crab festival is held in early September where thousands of visitors are gather in one place to taste yummy crab’s dishes such as crab in oden & soup, grilled crabs and boiled crabs.

If you like eating these fresh seafood then you are welcome to this festival. Measure your crabs before eating them, they look pretty massive than the usual ones found in other parts of Japan.

If you are a vegetarian then I guess this is not the right place you should go, better get to a confectionery store where you could find out delicious popular sweets of Nemuro.

7) Nemuro Sanma Festival

Eating and Grilling at the same time!

The Nemuro Sanma Festival brings the same atmosphere like the crab festival. I don’t know if you are aware of Japanese Sanma. It is a fish which we call it as Sanma but you probably call it Saury or so called Pacific Saury.

Sanma that are caught in Nemuro and other parts of northeastern parts of Hokkaido look quite fatty and their taste awfully delicious!

Do you know that you can grill your own Saury in this festival? You can do it and be a cook for a while hence a charcoal grill is offered to visitors to grill fresh saury. Come here in mid September to participate in this festival.

Have as many as grilled sanma you want but make sure you consume them properly. In fact crab and sanma are the typical seafood for the locals, so enjoy eating them and explore something new.

8) Eating Nemuro Sushi

Delicious sushi in Nemuro. Have it before you leave the city. Photo Credit: rc! at Flickr.

Eating sushi is one of the top things to do in Nemuro. As you see that Nemuro Peninsula is surrounded by the Pacific Sea in the south and the Sea of Okhotsk in the north. It is abounded in many marine products such as fishes, crabs and many more.

A large amount of fresh seafood is caught as a result supply of seafood is enough to fulfill locals demand. The restaurants located all over Nemuro offer you various seafood dishes and one of them is certainly the great Sushi.

If you are out there now and want to have something, then don’t forget to go to a restaurant that specially offer sushi dish for you. Good luck. The sushi taste will never be forgotten by you once you try it, I bet you!

9) Cycling/Bike Riding – Fun Summer Outdoor Activity

Bike Riding! Photo Credit: Robert Thomson at Flickr.

Compared to other parts of Japan, Hokkaido’s summer is very short and so is for Nemuro Peninsula. Locals here wait for summer to get rid of windy cold weather.

I am not kidding with you, if you visit Nemuro even in spring and autumn season you need to wear a light weight jacket. However, cycling/riding bike in a shiny sunny day in summer is an enjoyable thing to do.

There are bicycle rental services in the city from where you can rent a bicycle and then take a ride to different roads. Beautiful scenery of the sea, birds, animals, flowers, forest and grassland can be seen along the way.

Just make sure that you don’t interrupt wild animals knowing that often they cross the roads. Let them roam around on their own way and you enjoy your ride.

10) Amazing Cape Ochiishi

Deer at Cape Ochiishi, in Nemuro. Photo Credit: Hiroyuki Sakai at Flickr.

The first time I visited Cape Ochiishi I was stunned seeing the Sea otters and seals. They were pretty cute to look at. A local who lives not far from Cape Ochiishi told me that they don’t appear quite often. Therefore, I can’t tell you that you would see them every time to get there at Cape Ochiishi.

Though I believe you can spot few seals and birds from the cliff that surrounds the cape. There is a footpath which takes you to discover the beautiful natural beauty of the cape. I have seen beautiful irises, rhododendron parvifolium, and few wild deer while walking through the footpath.

Taking a stroll through this would be a pleasant experience, no doubt about that. The lighthouse looks gorgeous along with the Pacific Ocean from a far distance. It is really windy there; you can’t expect a day without it. The wind seems to me the best friend of Cape Ochiishi.

The best time to visit the cape is certainly in summer. I don’t think you would like to visit it during winter because it is really freezing out there at that time, so never think of visiting it in winter. The cape has been designated as a national special natural monument where things are pleasant and unique.

11) Summer Festivals in Nemuro Peninsula

The Golden Shrine! So Beautiful. Photo Credit: Toshio Hito at Flickr.

Japan is a country that celebrates many festivals during the all four seasons. One of the things that mostly attract me while celebrating any summer festival is the warm sunny weather.

Like other summer matsuri (festival) that are held throughout Japan, Nemuro’s summer festivals sound quite similar. For example, dancing at the parade, wearing summer yukata & colorful attires, singing, fireworks display and drums performance.

In Nemuro, you will get familiar with two most famous summer festivals, they are: Nemuro Minato (Port) Matsuri and Kotohira Jinja Reitai-Sai. These two festivals bring a lot of joy to the hearts of every Nemuro citizen. They join the parades wearing beautiful attires and that looks very colorful in a sunny day.

Nemuro Minato Matsuri is held in mid-July for two days. It is the best time for boat rowing race in Nemuro port. I have seen people enjoyed while participating in the race. The other festival – Kotohira Jinja Reitai-Sai is all about carrying a golden shrine and marching it with in downtown.

The festival starts on 9th August and ends on 11. I think you don’t have enough time to enjoy both festivals in a single trip, so better make a plan to enjoy at least one.

12) Crab Ramen

Hokkaido crab ramen. Photo Credit: shirokazan at Flickr.

Ramen is a quite popular winter dish in Japan. I have tasted variety of ramen dishes throughout Japan especially northeaster part of it. I once had tasted crab ramen only in Nemuro, that was the last time till now.

Probably if I ever go there next time in Nemuro I would eat it again for sure. The taste was great as well as the smell. It was super!

I think this is one of the best ramen dishes that could help you warming your body temperature during freezing cold winter in Nemuro. And it is a unique local specialty that every tourist should try.

Crab ramen is served at most of the restaurants scattered in Nemuro peninsula, just order a bowl of it and enjoy having it. If you want to know how to make ramen dishes at home then learn from this great ramen cookbook.

Would you like to visit Nemuro?

If you think that all these places and things could make a great trip then why are you waiting for! Just make a plan and discover the easternmost city of Japan.

There are other beautiful places you can visit such as Northern Natural Flower Garden, Onneto, Lake Chouboshi, and Hamamatsu Seashore. Oh, you can spot Tuffed Puffins on the islands around Nemuro. They are rare birds in Japan and can only be found there in Nemuro.

Nemuro may not have lavender fields like Furano has but it does have a great diverse nature that Furano and other parts of Hokkaido miss out.

On behalf of all Nemuro locals, I welcome you to visit this city either in Summer or Winter. Good luck and wishing you the best.


  1. Wah i think i have changed my mind after this. Nemuro sounds so stunning and special 🙂 . is it possible to spot birds eg. cranes, eagles etc in summer ?

    • Hi, I agree with you that Nemuro is stunning! The best time to spot Steller’s Sea Eagles and White-tailed Eagles in winter season. And if you wish to see birds like Red-crowned Cranes, Grey Heron, Water Rail, Japanese Robin and etc. then head to Shunkunitai Wild Bird Sanctuary in summer. Thank you.

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