Sharing the Beauty of Samani Town
Last month we had Ms. Kyoka Sonoda from Urakawa High School come to our office for an internship to learn more about tourism administration.
During her time with us, we asked her to write an introduction of "what you would like to promote to inbound tourists." Below is what she wrote.
Sharing the Beauty of Samani Town
Samani Town is located in the Hidaka district of Hokkaido between the towns of Urakawa and Erimo. It is also known as the Mt. Apoi Geopark which was designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark. Samani has a prosperous fishing industry with an abundance of fresh seafood including salmon and sea whelk. Even though Samani is a small town with a population of around 4,000 people, the people here are kind and the town is packed with amazing sights.
※UNESCO Global Geoparks are designated areas that strive to conserve geological heritage of international value, understand the natural environment and regional culture brought about by the geological heritage, promote scientific research and education, revitalize the region in order to promote sustainable development and nature and humanity living together in harmony.
The one place that I love the most in Samani is the Parent and Child Rocks. I will introduce the fascinating sight of the Parent and Child Rocks throughout the seasons.
As the name states, the Parent and Child Rocks are a set of three differently sized rocks lined up in a row. There is an Ainu legend about how an Ainu chief who after being defeated in battle, went into the sea and became a large rock. The enemy chief shot an arrow at the rock and broke it into three pieces.
In spring, the cherry blossoms begin to bloom and the snow begins to melt. The stark contrast between the rocks and the cherry blossoms is very stunning. As you can see from the photo, it leaves a striking impression when viewed from uphill.
In summer, the Fureai Beach is a lively place and the people along the beach become part of the scenery. The Parent and Child Rocks float beautifully above the sparkling water. Summer is my favorite season here.
During winter, the snow accumulates on the rocks and gives us the most striking view out of all the seasons. For anyone who loves photography, I hope you will visit during winter and take amazing photos of the scenery that can only be seen during this time of year.
As you can see, the seasonal faces of the Parent and Child Rocks is a major draw.
Located right next to the Fureai Beach and Mt. Kannon is an oyaki shop, a local favorite.
As shown in the photo, the warm oyaki is stuffed to bursting with sweet red bean paste surrounded by tender cake, giving you a perfectly delicious bite evey time. The owners of the oyaki shop are very kind and make each oyaki with care. One oyaki costs only 110 JPY so I highly recommend you give it a try!
Eating oyaki while watching the sun set across the Parent and Child Rocks is the perfect end to any day.
Please come visit Samani Town and see for your self!
International Day of World's Indigenous People on Aug 9
The Samani Public Library created 3 short, animated stories based on local Ainu legends, include the story behind Mt. Apoi's name. The stories are narrated in Ainu and in Japanese, complete with English subtitles.
These animations were made with the intent to better understand Ainu culture and their way of life. These stories will also be used for educational purposes, such as part of the Samani Elementary School and Samani Junior High School "Hometown and Apoi Studies" curriculum and social education programs.
- The Legend of Mt. Apoi
Why is the symbol of Samani, Mt. Apoi, named as such? What does the annual "Apoi Fire Festival" have to do with fire?
Ainu narration, English subtitles: https://youtu.be/vYvoynA_QCc
Japanese narration, English subtitles: https://youtu.be/C__ybTiZu0E
- Tale of the Three Rocks
Parent and Child Rocks, Sobira Rock, and Fuyushima's Hole Rock, how are these three rocks connected?
Ainu narration, English subtitles: https://youtu.be/t7DWRXazrc8
Japanese narration, English subtitles: https://youtu.be/ocH4abNUSVw
- The Legend of Hotafunpe
Hotafunpe, a whale-shaped hill in West Samani is actually...??
Ainu narration, English subtitles: https://youtu.be/ZDUdfNsydv8
Japanese narration, English subtitles: https://youtu.be/4Xgy0zf1P9A
Underwater Images, Before and After a Red Ride 2021 Geoparks & Oceans
An article from Mt. Apoi titled "Underwater Images Before and After a Red Tide 2021" was published by the UNESCO Global Geopark Network in a digital magazine called "Geoparks & Oceans."
New publication on Geoparks and the Oceans.
1) The Red Tide Event in 2021
At the end of September 2021, a widespread red tide event, which decimated marine life, occurred along the Pacific Ocean coastline of eastern Hokkaido, where the Geopark is located. According to research institutes in Hokkaido, the species of the genus Karenia (K. mikimotoi and K. selliformis), a marine dinoflagellate, was detected in parts of the red tide plankton. Along the Samani coastline, many dead sea urchins and sea whelks were discovered, and it is predicted that some marine life will take approximately 7-10 years to fully recover, creating a very grave situation. Mt. Apoi Geopark continues to report updated information. (2021 Samani Area Marine Vision News)
September 28, 2021 Empty sea urchin shells along the Samani coastline
2) Images Before the Red Tide
A local Hidaka kelp fisherman once said, "kelp grows due to photosynthesis under the rolling waves, creating its own marine ecosystem." In order to better understand these words, we took underwater footage in 2019 and held a movie screening for the local community.
Underwater footage, "Samani's Kelp and Ocean Life"
These showings started an open dialogue between locals who knew about kelp fishing and those who did not, and those who knew little about the ocean floor topography, sediment, and marine life. We heard many voices that day, including locals that hope the abundant ocean life will continue for many years to come. We hope to continue to educate and inform our community about the importance of the ocean's ecosystems.
Kelp at Fuyushima district in Samani, Hokkaido
July 3rd Geo-Holiday
The bright green of parsley plants and the deep blue of the Samani fishing harbor as seen from the viewing platform on Cape Enrumu gave us the feeling of summer. We could also see some kelp drying beds from here.
At Cape Enrumu we ran into some visitors from Sapporo and Chiba prefectures. Here is a conversation that happened between our participants and the visitors.
- Cape Enrumu is located south of the national highway, so it was a little difficult to find the place. I could see the sign along the highway from one side but not the other, so I passed by it. I saw the stairs from the highway, so I thought this must be the place and came here.
- Since you came all the way here be sure to climb the stairs up to the viewing platform.
- We are touring around Hokkaido and Cape Enrumu is listed as a point of interest.
- What is a kaisho?
- The butterbur plants in Hokkaido are large and impressive. I remember making an umbrella with the butterburs when I visited the Hidaka region 50 years ago. Stories about the edible butterbur flowers and angelica tree shoots are interesting.
- This was the first I had heard that this was the place that the Samani Junior High school students were raising and planting seedlings as part of their Dream Project.
- Seeing the kelp drying beds while driving through Samani was impressive.
- I took my time looking at the exhibits in the Folk Museum.
In order to sustainably conserve and utilize the geological, natural, and cultural heritage that are the assets of Samani in the future, this event aims to develop an awareness and foster momentum so that many people can reconsider the charms of the town and rediscover the charms of Samani with certified guides.
This course was held at the suggestion of a certified guide. It is a once in a lifetime encounter with visitors and participants from out of town. It is also a great opportunity to take a leisurely stroll.
Samani Public Library KAN x KAN Lectures: Reading Picnic
The Samani Public Library KAN x KAN Lecture series held a "Reading Picnic" outside on the library's lawn. The librarian held a talk where they recommended various books that they had handpicked for the event. As someone who always picks my own books and ends up reading the same things, it was a breath of fresh air.
- A librarian is a professional staff member at a prefectural or municipal public libraries, who select, order, and accept library materials, classify, catalog, check out, and provide reading guides.
- The KAN x KAN Lectures is a series of lectures co-organized by the following facilities: Samani Public Library, Samani Folk Museum, and Mt. Apoi Geopark Visitor Center. These lectures cover a wide range of topics that highlights the culture of the area, and can be anything from outdoor activities to workshops. These are held about once a month, along with various mini-lectures. The "Explore Apoi" nature excursions were held in May along the foothills of Mt. Apoi.