In the vicinity of the Central Wharf is the Muroran Tourist Association (in the former Muroran Station building; a 10-min. walk away) with a corner where ships' passengers and crews can experience Japanese culture.
More information and maps of Muroran port.
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The origin of Muroran's name is derived from the Ainu word "Mo Ruerani" that means "the bottom of a little slope". The little slope, in front of the former Senkai Temple in Sakimori-cho, is noted in connection with the name of Muroran.
In the late 16th century, the Muroran region came under the administration of the Matsumae clan. Muroran was developed as a trading post between the Ainu and the Matsumae clan people.
In 1892, the Port of Muroran was opened for the wooden bridge construction at Kaigan (former Tokikaramoi); at the same time, the main road began construction from Hakodate to Sapporo as the first step of Hokkaido Colonization Plan.
With the opening of a ship route from Muroran to Mori and railroad extension to Iwamizawa, Muroran's municipality was started on August 1, 1922 as the core of the major land and sea traffic in the pioneer era of Hokkaido. Since then, Muroran has been developing as an important transportation hub and a center of the steel industry.
Hakucho Bridge spans the Port of Muroran and is the largest suspension bridge in eastern Japan. Hakucho means swan.
Itanki Beach is a popular hang out for swimming and surfing during the summer months. The beach is very wide with fine brown sand.
Muroran holds eight specific scenic sights called Muroran-Hakkei. The most famous of them is:
The Earth Cape has a white lighthouse and panoramic blue ocean. Some pairs of falcons live around there.
The city is very organized. They have free busses to take you to 4 or 5 stops. Things to see and do at each stop. Also some free souvenirs - kites, calligraphy samples, and cotton candy! Also free maps. It makes a great inexpensive day in a non touristy city. See a temple, check out a department store, walk through a grocery store...all interesting.
Typical Muroran tourist spots include the precipitous cliffs of Cape Chikyu, which on fine days afford panoramic views of the horizon that remind visitors that the earth is round (120 m from sea level to the lighthouse)
The area around Mt. Sokuryo, known as Sokuryozan Ryokuchi (Mt. Sokuryo Green Space), is loved by local citizens and is known as a treasure trove of wild birds. With an area of 119.5 ha, the green space is home to approximately 500 species of plants as well as countless wild birds and insects. The mountaintop commands a grand, 360-degree panoramic view and features a monument inscribed with a Japanese tanka poem by a famous poet who visited the mountain in June 1931. At night, six steel towers are illuminated with blue, green and orange lights. Although it requires time and physical strength (a 40-min. walk from the cruise ship berth), why not climb to the mountaintop to view the cruise ships from there.
When you board a taxi, note that the vehicle's left rear door is opened and closed remotely by the driver. You are not supposed to open or close it by yourself. Furthermore, you are not supposed to tip taxi drivers, as the service is included in the price.
If you do not speak Japanese, or your destination is not a well known place, it is recommended to give your driver the precise address of your destination on a piece of paper or, even better, point it out on a map, since the Japanese address system can be confusing even to local taxi drivers.
One of Japan's newest and nicest cities, Sapporo's population has grown from seven in 1857 to nearly 2 million today. Being a new city, especially by Japanese standards, means it has little in the way of traditional architecture and the like of cities such as Kyoto. But what it lacks in "Japanese-ness" it makes up for with its lovely open, tree-filled boulevards to enjoy in summer and excellent snow (and facilities to cope with said snow) in the long winter.
About 90 minutes from Muroran.
The currency in Japan is the yen. It comes in denominations of ¥10,000, ¥5,000 and ¥1,000 notes, as well as ¥500, ¥100, ¥50, ¥10, ¥5 and ¥1 coins.
ATMs in Japan are becoming more useful, and most can be used to withdraw funds from overseas accounts. Post offices also offer ATMs. Major credit cards are accepted at a majority of stores and restaurants in large urban areas, but if you plan on spending any time in rural areas, be sure to carry sufficient cash. Japan is still very much a cash society and some stores, hotels and restaurants-regardless of location-refuse credit cards.
Don't tip, as it's considered rude!
Cafes which offer free WiFi for customers are springing up all over the country. Costs vary, with some coffee shops offering free Wi-Fi services and others charging by the hour for cable-enabled PCs
Shops and department stores in Japan are generally open daily, including national holidays (with the exception of New Year's), from 10:00 or 10:30am to 7:30 or 8:00pm. Some specialty shops are closed Sundays and national holidays. Department stores are sometimes closed one day a week on an irregular basis, but since closing days vary for each store, shoppers can always find stores that are open.
Public Holidays in Japan
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