The Land of Fog: Kiritappu-shitsugen

Kiritappu-shitsugen is the best named marsh in Japan! 😊 The Chinese characters for its name (霧多布湿原) mean ‘A wetland with frequent fogs’. Kiritappu-shitsugen has an area of 3,168ha and is located in Hamanaka Town in the Akkeshi District. Biwase Observation Deck offers a panoramic hillside view of both the Pacific ocean and Kiritappu-shitsugen.
On our latest reporting trip, we visited the Biwase Observation Deck just after lunch. The morning had been cloudy and we were afraid that the view from the observation deck might be obscured by fog. When we arrived the weather seemed to be changing, so we hurried up to the observation deck. At first we could vaguely see Kiritappu-shitsugen and Hamanaka Town. Then: for the first time in my life, I literally watched a fog ‘roll in’.

Wafts of white mist flowed in from the ocean. Within 15 minutes, the view of the marsh went from being relatively clear, to fuzzy, to totally white! It was as though a white curtain had been dropped in front of us. I had never experienced such a thick fog. Later, when we told the local people what had happened, they just smiled and replied, ‘That is Kiritappu-shitsugen’! The next day we decided to try again. The weather had been bad in the early morning, but we hoped it would clear up around noon.

This time we had better luck! As we climbed up onto the observation deck the weather gradually improved and we were able to get a clear view of Kiritappu-shitsugen and Hamanaka Town. It was impressive, but to tell the truth, I prefer Kiritappu-shitsugen when it is covered in fog!

James McGill

Welcome to the Japanese Ramsar site,


Slide shows

JR Hanasaki-line
Akkeshi to Hamanaka
Wetlands and wildlife