The closest street to the rising sun is in Nemuro (Photo: Amanda Ho)

Nemuro: The Most Eastern City

Most Eastern City of Japan

The closest street to the rising sun is in Nemuro (Photo: Amanda Ho)
Amanda Ho   - 3 min read

Nemuro, being the most eastern town in Japan, has the honor of having many places listed as being the “most ~ in Japan” or the “first ~ in Japan”. For example, the most eastern school in Japan, the most eastern train station in Japan, and so on. Being on the east side, naturally it is here in Nemuro that the first sunrise could be seen.

Apart from driving, the easiest way to get to Nemuro is by train, though infrequent, a day trip from Kushiro is possible with some planning. There are six trains a day from Kushiro, taking about two and a half hours on the local service, while the rapid service is slightly faster.

Nemuro station is the last stop on the JR Nemuro Main Line, also known as the Hanasaki Line. It is the furthest east that any train will go. As usual when I was looking for a sign that declares this as the last station, I came across the sign that says Nemuro has the first sunrise! Many people come to Nemuro to watch the sunrise on New Year’s Day.

Taking a walk around the train station, one would realize that there is something different here. As many Russian fishermen visit the city, apart from Japanese and English, there are signboards in Russian. At the souvenir shop, Russian goods are available for sale, and Russian visitors can be seen at local stores.

Nemuro may be far out in the east, where it is not on the itinerary of many tour groups, but she certainly has no lack of sightseeing opportunities on offer. There is the usual tourist information center just outside the train station, where loads of tourist information are available. The bus center is also located in the same building, where long-distance buses terminates. In July and August, fog and mist often shroud the area. In contrast to most of Japan where summer temperatures reach above thirty degrees, it is just a cooling twenty-odd degrees in Nemuro. As a result, bus tours only operate from mid-July to mid-September. To make it convenient for tourists, the tours’ scheduled start and end times coincide with the departure and arrival of the rapid trains. There are two routes, an eastern loop and a western loop. I would recommend at least two nights in Nemuro to thoroughly explore the city.

Sights in Nemuro are conveniently summarized in this map.

Amanda Ho

Amanda Ho @amanda.ho

I still clearly remember the day I first landed in Japan, and since then it has been my goal to set foot in all 47 prefectures. I try to look for less touristy areas, preferring the countryside to the city. I'm always amazed by the many Haagen Dazs and ice cream flavors available only in Japan.