Read More: Hokkaido’s Best Food (by Region)
This time round, I decided to hunt down the source of oysters in Hokkaido. From a sign outside Go Tsubo, they said that their oysters came from a place called Akkeshi. Which is a town pretty far east in Hokkaido.
To put it into perspective, a typical tourist route in Eastern Hokkaido would usually only go as far east as Kushiro. Which was a 4-hours train ride from Sapporo. Akkeshi was another 1 hour train ride further east from Kushiro via a much-less frequent local train that comes once every 2-3 hours. So it was pretty off the beaten track. If you want to visit, I suggest you rent a car and drive there from Kushiro (more on this at end of the post).
Read More: Our visit to Akkeshi in June 2016
If you a planning a trip to Akkeshi, I recommend reading Kimi Tour Guide’s blog which highlights the key sights in Akkeshi. Over here, I’m jsut going to share with you our favourite spot in Akkeshi: Akkeshi Gourmet Park Conchiglie （コンキリエ）.
Akkeshi Gourmet Park was one of Japan’s many roadside stations a.k.a. michi no eki (道の駅). Basically when you are driving long distances, you will need rest stops right? Along the expressways, the rest stops are called SA (service areas) and PA (parking areas). Michi no eki are the equivalence for non-toll national highways. So if you’re driving along non-toll roads for long distances and looking for places to take a break, you should keep a lookout for signs that point to “Michi -no-Eki 道の駅”.
Since Akkeshi was Hokkaido’s oyster town, the moment we stepped into the building, we were not surprised to find a snack kiosk called “Oyster Cafe”. But don’t be mistaken, the snack kiosk didn’t just sell oysters. They sold all the usual perk-me-ups you would find at roadside stations, like coffee and ice-cream etc.
Akkeshi Gourmet Park was located on a small hill. So you can grab a snack and enjoy the scenery of the town below through the large windows.
Another mandatory feature of any roadside station was the souvenir shop. Usually at these roadside stations, you would find numerous local produce for sale at the souvenir shop. So here at Akkeshi Gourmet Park, there was plenty of oyster food products!
There is really no need for you to go anywhere else in Akkeshi to stock up on your oyster souvenirs. Whatever you could possibly think of that could be made with oysters, they had it here.
Some of the products even had the Akkeshi Gourmet Park logo.
Now, having a snack kiosk and souvenir shop is expected for any roadside station. But having an aquarium was not.
I was rather amused that there was a small aquarium with a few tanks of interesting-looking fishes at Akkeshi Gourmet Park. Admission was free.
I loved the display of oyster shells in all sizes. Look how huge some of them were!
And they also had this thing that looked like a windchime made of oyster shells. The folks here definitely loved showcasing their oysters.
Heading upstairs, there was an observation deck with binoculars for you to look out at the scenery surrounding the roadside station.
It was rather gloomy while we were there, so we didn’t get much of a view. Sighs.
After we were done checking out all the facilities at Akkeshi Gourmet Park, there was only one thing left to do. Eat.
There were two restaurants at Akkeshi Gourmet Park. One served set meals while the other was a BBQ restaurant. We decided to have lunch at the restaurant serving set meals. The restaurant was absolutely packed during lunch time!
Basically they had oysters-everything here. For starters, we of course had to order a platter of freshly shucked oysters. Because that’s really the best way to have oysters, isn’t it?
For the folks who didn’t eat raw food, they could have oysters porridge. Yes, oysters porridge.
Or if you are not feeling so adventurous in your food choices, go for something conventional like fried oysters.
Most of the time when I have fried oysters, the oysters are teeny and dry and coated with a thick layer of crumbs. However, the fried oysters here were like Oooooo…… The oysters were plump and juicy with just the right amount of crumbs surrounding it. Check out all the juiceeee… (or oil. Whatever.)
And look at that – they even had kids meals! If you’re thinking, “You mean kids eat oysters too??” Nope. Their kids meal didn’t have oysters in it.
And for the fickle-minded (like me) who absolutely cannot decide how I would like my oysters done, just go for the oyster bento set. Where you would get oysters done in 6 different ways.
“What do you mean 6? I counted only 5 in the bento!” Wah, I thank you for being for so conscientious and reading all my nonsense to notice that. The 6th is that bowl of miso soup next to the bento. Where there were huge oysters inside too!
So yeah… here’s my oyster feast. Steamed oysters.
Raw oysters (soaked in some sauce that I couldn’t identify).
And you can refer to the bento photo for the Japanese egg omelette with oysters, and the little tiny seasoned oysters on top of the rice. So yup, 6 different types of oysters.
After we had our lunch, we went to kaypoh (Singlish for ‘busybody’) what they had at the BBQ restaurant.
Basically all the food for BBQ were displayed outside the restaurant, and you just pick what you want and pay accordingly.
Check out how big the hotate were!! That’s my hand for comparison. でっかい !!!
And of course, there were oysters.
Hubby and I decided that the next time we were back in Akkeshi again, we were going to try the BBQ restaurant!
While Akkeshi Gourmet Park was reachable via train to Akkeshi station, to explore the rest of Akkeshi would require a car. So I would recommend that you rent a car from Kushiro for the day trip.
Besides Akkeshi Gourmet Park, there were a couple of other sightseeing spots in the Akkeshi / Kiritappu area. Because of the gloomy weather, we didn’t visit many of them during our trip. But here’s the list of places I had marked out for our drive around the region, complete with map codes:
- Akkeshi Seafood Market (Map Code: 637 162 597)
- Cape Aikappu & Akkeshi Natural History Museum (Map code: 637 040 468)
- Ayamegahara 厚岸あやめヶ原 (Map Code: 973 261 156)
- Cape Namida 涙岬 (Map Code: 614 241 819)
- Marshland 藻散布沼 (Map Code: 614 362 170)
- Biwase Observatory 琵琶瀬展望台 (Map Code: 614 458 145)
- Kiritappu Observation Deck きりたっぷ展望台 (Map Code: 614 589 626)
- Cape Kiritappu 霧多布岬 (Map Code: 614 560 804)
Information on Akkeshi Gourmet Park:
Address: 〒088-1119 厚岸郡厚岸町住の江2丁目2番地
Getting There: Akkeshi Gourmet Park was located quite near to Akkeshi station. Head North (the direction AWAY from the sea) and look uphill for the big pink building.
Map Code (what is this?): 637 191 592
Secure a room in Kushiro!
Read more posts from the same trip!
Pin this up for later!
Get off the beaten track in Japan
This post is part of my ‘Japan Off-the-Beaten Track‘ series, where I feature some of my favourite spots in Japan that are less commonly visited by tourists!
Visit our Japan Travel Blog
Get more Japan travel guides & sample itineraries on our Japan travel blog!