Sango-sō Gunraku


Known as salt pickle or grasswort in other parts of the world, coral grass, an otherwise humble marsh plant, gets its moment of fame in September when it turns bright red. There are a few boardwalk viewing spots over Sango-sō Gunraku (literally 'coral grass clusters') about 10km west of town at Notoro-ko (能取湖).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hokkaidō attractions

1. Abashiri Prison Museum

5.75 MILES

Some of the original Meiji-era prison buildings were restored and relocated to this oddly pleasant museum park. The Kangoku Hakubutsukan (penal museum)…

2. Okhotsk Drift Ice Museum

6.16 MILES

Come here to see videos of the drift ice in winter and small tanks of the fascinating creatures that live beneath it, such as the tiny kurione (sea angel)…

4. Koshimizu Gensei-kaen

15.73 MILES

This is a spectacular 20km stretch of wildflowers along the coast between Abashiri and Shari. Visit in early summer and catch it at its peak, when more…

5. Bihoro Pass

26.01 MILES

This lookout point on Rte 243, which runs between Abashiri and Mashū, has a fantastic panoramic view over Kussharo-ko, with Naka-jima in the middle.

6. Kussharo-ko

27.3 MILES

Japan's largest caldera lake is a rich blue on sunny days. A small volcano peeks out from the centre, creating the island Naka-jima – best viewed from the…