A straight road to the sunrise – a shining, magical landscape

The sun rises from the end of the road that looks like it extends to the heavens. April 1 at 5:15 a.m. Minami-10-sen, Makubetsu

Before sunrise, as I head out of Obihiro across the Aikoku Bridge that spans the Satsunai River and head east towards Tobetsu in Makubetsu, after about 1 km there is a straight, uphill section of road, beyond which there is a red glow in the sky. The light gradually becomes brighter until the sun appears across the entire width of the road – just like the ‘Road to Heaven’, a popular tourist spot in the town of Shari in the Okhotsk region.

 Amid the expansive fields of Tokachi, straight stretches of roads that look as if they reach to the heavens are dotted here and there. The Minami 10-sen road that runs almost east-west through Tobetsu in the town of Makubetsu is one of those roads. Here, just twice a year – in the period after the spring equinox and just before the autumn equinox – the sun can be seen rising from a point that is an extension of the road. Each time is a magical spectacle that’s limited to just a few minutes.

 The angle at which the sun rises changes slightly each day. Because of this, the spectacle cannot be seen on other days. The next time this spectacle can be seen here will be around 5:10 a.m. on September 11.
(Words & photo by Kitaba Satoshi)


Tobetsu in Makubetsu