Steel City Muroran and Its Hidden Charms
Muroran, in southwestern Hokkaido Prefecture, flourished as an industrial city, mainly in steel manufacturing. After the 1970's, the city declined with industrial sector changes and other factors. But in recent years, tourism is up with popular night factory viewing, retro architecture touring as well as dolphin and whale watching. British photographer Alfie Goodrich discovers Muroran's wonderful people and photogenic charms.

Dolphin and Whale Watching

From spring through summer, board a tourism boat for watching 18 kinds of marine animals, including seals, whales, and dolphins. You can sometimes see large groups, numbering up to 1,000, of the Pacific white-sided dolphins, called Kama-iruka in Japanese.

Muroran Yakitori

Yakitori is chicken grilled on skewers, but in Muroran there's a twist on the popular dish. It's made with pork. In 1930's, low-priced pork was available in the city and so replaced chicken. This favorite dish among factory workers is served with a dollop of mustard.

Beach House - Furukawa Bettei

The hotel, 30 minutes from the city center, faces the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy its cliff-edge open-air bath at sunrise for a breathtaking scene.

Access

To reach Muroran from Tokyo, fly from Haneda Airport to Shin-Chitose Airport. From there, it is about 2 hours by bus.