Beating the Heat at Ranshima Beach, Hokkaido
|Ranshima Beach, Rumoi, Hokkaido|
Japan's summer is muggy, but the irony of this season is that it oftentimes rains (especially in the Kanto region) and the winds feel like autumn (in rural areas of Hokkaido). Nevertheless, people still take the chance to enjoy while the sun is warm enough for leisure and recreation.
I was one of those who took the chance to beat the heat along with my friends and spent a barbecue day at one of the most popular beaches near Sapporo---Ranshima Beach.
Ranshima Beach is located between Otaru and Sapporo. To get there via train from Sapporo, just take the JR train going to Otaru Station. Drop at Otaru Station and take another train that leads to Kutchan via Hakodate Line. It will take you two stops to arrive at Ranshima Station and from there, you can take a five-minute walk towards the beach. The total travel time is an hour, one way.
You can expect a crowded beach especially during the peaks of the season between July and August, but after the Obon Week (usually from August 13-16) beach goers decrease in numbers. It's not a big deal as summer can still be enjoyed until late September in Hokkaido.
Once you get there, it's best that you bring a shade like a tent or a parasol to prevent you from getting sunburned. Make sure to bring sun screen!
If you're driving, there is a 24-hour parking fee for 700 yen (7 USD) but during the peak season it gets packed by 12 noon so be sure to arrive there at least by 10am so you can also choose a nice spot for yourself on the sand.
This beach is one of the cleanest among those near Sapporo. It's also open for barbecue and swimming, although I cannot promise you that the water is warm. In Hokkaido the water is always ice cold!
Pets are allowed in this area, too. You can freely cook your favorite food on your grill but remember to put the garbage at the gomi station for environmental purposes.
My friends enjoyed the Filipino barbecue I prepared and Shingo was our master griller. I couldn't swim in the cold water so the girls ran there and swam instead. It was also our friend Kaitlyn's birthday, so Hilary bought her a cake! What a great way to celebrate one's birthday!
We bought enough food and drinks from the supermarket and it cost us about 6,000 yen (60 USD) altogether (big bottles of drinks, sea food, and lots of vegetables).
After swimming and eating, we had some cold kakigori (shaved ice) that was located just in the corner of the beach. A cup costs 250 yen (about 3 USD) and you can choose a lot of fruity flavors. If you're familiar with Slurpee of 7eleven, you'll definitely have an idea of the taste.
|Photo by Ajai Arif|
|Photo by Kazuhiro Kuwahara|
Ranshima Beach was awesome! I can't wait to return there next year!