Located in southwestern Hokkaido, about 130km south of Sapporo, Muroran runs along the coast and takes up most of the peninsula area. The southwest coast of the peninsula is formed of huge 100 m cliffs and faces Uchiura Bay, while southeastern coast of the peninsula meets the Pacific Ocean. The large, deep, water port dates from 1872 made the city an industrial hub and the town’s nickname “the city of steel”, gives you more or less a feel for what one can expect.
Despite not being a tourist hotspot, visitors can expect an authentic taste of Japan that is undiluted. Natural splendour abounds, 5 km from the port will find you at the foot of Cape Chikyu. Hike the 147 metres to the observatory on to witness some stunning vistas across the arching Pacific Ocean or travel to the Jigoku-Dani Hot Springs. Known as “Hell Valley” because of the bubbling, sulphuric, waters, the 24-acre natural park is also home to the famous Jacuzzi loving snow monkeys. Lake Toya said to be 110,000 years old is also a must for nature lovers, with its lava domes and pyroclastic cones that make up the Nakajima islands at the centre of the Lake. So lovely is the lake that it is considered one of the 100 Most Beautiful Scenes of Japan. Unsurprisingly gastronomy is centred around fresh seafood, with sushi and sashimi being high on the list of offerings. However, meat eaters should not despair, as the town offers some fantastic Teppanyaki options, so make sure you visit hungry!