The Yurapu River flows through the middle of town. This river’s nature is remarkably beautiful. Every year from September through November, salmon return to the Yurapu River from the Pacific Ocean to reproduce. These salmon, being an endemic species, are appropriately and affectionately called “Curved Nose of the Yurapu”. Being rich in nutrients, they are an important food for the regional brown bears before hibernation. During winter, the White-tailed Eagle and the Steller's Sea Eagle, emblems of Japan’s wildlife, migrate from Russia to the Yurapu River to eat the salmon. Usually, spotting these eagles is not easy; however, they can be easily seen along the Yurapu River. The Yurapu River is also famous for being the northern limit of sweetfish and southern limit of willow leaf fish. In the suburbs of town, there are many beautiful mountains. Mt. Oboko, a notable example of Yakumo’s picturesque landscapes, is a sacred place for Ainu people, the indigenous people of Japan. If you are lucky, you can see sunset on the Sea of Japan and moonrise over the Pacific Ocean at the same time from Futamidaira, Mt. Oboko. The mountains change colour throughout the year, especially in autumn. The magnificent autumn colours are a wonder worth witnessing. Many mountain-vegetables, such as bamboo shoots and mushrooms, grow here from spring to autumn. This mountainous region also has many natural hot springs. It is said that each of these hot springs have their own medicinal benefits. In addition, the Yamakoshi region in Yakumo has famous spring water, which is high in calcium. This is because water springs out from the shell stratum, which is about 0.8 to 1.2 million years old. Every day, many townspeople visit it to draw spring water. In Yakumo, you can enjoy wonderful nature activities, such as river fishing, wildlife watching, mountain climbing, mountain-vegetable picking and bathing in the hot springs, throughout the year!
Yakumo is the only city in Japan that faces both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. These seas are each used for the aquaculture of different species: scallops in the Pacific Ocean and abalone in the Sea of Japan. They have also developed different fisheries. In the Pacific Ocean, the main targets are botan shrimp, Japanese surf clam, olive and righteye flounders, dagger-tooth pike conger, squid and salmon. In the Sea of Japan, the main targets are sea urchin, cod, okhotskatka mackerel, squid and cherry salmon. Therefore, you can enjoy a bounty of seafood! In addition, you can see a magnificent sunrise over the Pacific Ocean and sunset on the Sea of Japan.
Major facilities, such as the town hall, police station, hospital, shopping street and park, are concentrated in the central region. You can easily get to all of these facilities without public transportation. Many residents of neighbouring towns visit Yakumo for its readily available medical services and quality shopping experience.
Yakumo station is one of the main stations on Japan Rail’s (JR) Hakodate line, which runs between Hakodate station and Sapporo station. In addition, the Shinkansen is being extended from Honshu to Hokkaido. It will connect New Aomori station (in Honshu) to New Hakodate station (in Hokkaido) by 2015. New Yakumo station will be connected by Shinkansen to New Hakodate station and Sapporo station by 2035.
Route 5 runs through the Pacific Ocean side of town. This highway is a major arterial road in Hokkaido. Moreover, Yakumo has two expressway interchanges: Yakumo and Otoshibe. The main cities of Hokkaido, Sapporo, Asahikawa and Nanae, are all connected by the expressway, and can therefore be easily accessed by car.
In 1878, from the Owari domain (currently Aichi prefecture), vassals migrated to a southern part of Hokkaido and laid claim to the land. This is the beginning of Yakumo town. Since then, many people from different regions have migrated to Yakumo, simultaneously populating and developing the town. In short, Yakumo’s origins are a convergence of diverse migrants. Though Yakumo’s people can seem shy of strangers at first, they make great friends and are remarkably kind. Because of their kindness, you may know more about your neighbours than your relatives. Communication with one’s neighbours is important for the people of Yakumo. Enjoyment of Yakumo life can often be dependent on one’s communication skills, though unrelated to one’s Japanese language level.
Yakumo is not a big city and there are no big, modern buildings; however, it’s a vibrant town that’s full of life. With a flourishing young generation, Yakumo prides itself on being one of the most spirited countrysides around. In summary, Yakumo has all the necessary and important facilities for living a comfortable life, and is teeming with beautiful nature. Therefore, recent migrants say, “Yakumo is a nice countryside”. Have you considered living in Yakumo after retirement? We believe that you would thoroughly enjoy your life in Yakumo.