#GKtrip special part 8: From Hakodate to Meiji-mura

In the previous installments of our #GKtrip series from our trip in December 2017, we’ve covered some of the major locations appearing in Golden Kamuy. This time, we’re going to discuss briefly some other Golden Kamuy-related destinations that we visited during that trip.

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Let’s Go to Meiji Prison! A Little Bit of Abashiri in Aichi

By David R. Krigbaum
Wayfarer Daves Travel & History Blog [website] [Facebook]

Abashiri Prison was built on the northern edge of Hokkaido, a location remote enough it almost rendered a walled prison redundant. Though things have changed and it’s not the far frontier it used to be, it’s still a distance to travel and seeing it can take some doing with plane flights and/or long train rides. But those who want to see Abashiri while visiting central Honshu have an alternative, Meiji-mura.

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#GKtrip special part 7: Poroto Kotan, the Ainu village

We stayed the night at Sapporo, and in early morning, we took the train towards the small town of Shiraoi. It’s located on the train line between Sapporo and Hakodate (which is also covered by JR Pass). We wanted to visit the Ainu Museum “Poroto Kotan” (Ainu Minzoku Hakubutsukan) in the town. The name Poroto Kotan means ‘the village by a big lake’, and it was indeed next to a lake.

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#GKtrip special part 6: Abashiri, the dreadful prison

We took the Taisetsu train (also covered by JR Pass) bound for Abashiri. It was not a short ride, and powerful as it was, the Taisetsu was no Shinkansen. It took us an almost four-hour ride from Asahikawa to finally reach the city in the Okhotsk subprefecture. It’s already dark so there’s not much to see outside, but at least I had the JR Hokkaido free magazine. Coincidentally, the current edition’s Ainu culture page discussed about the ezorisu (Hokkaido squirrel). One of the experts in the article mentioned how Asirpa in Golden Kamuy made citatap from the squirrel. It seemed like Golden Kamuy was now everywhere in Hokkaido.

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#GKtrip special part 5: Asahikawa, home of the 7th Division

The Kamui Limited Express[1] left Sapporo, heading to Abashiri. We soon left the urban areas with their tall buildings, speeding through vast expanse of whiteness where sometimes farm buildings or houses cuddled together can be seen in the distance. Hokkaido is one of Japan’s biggest islands, yet it’s sparsely populated. Unlike in the Honshu heartland, where towns seem to be joined into one vast sprawling urban area, here towns are separated by large farms and lands left to the mercy of nature.

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#Gktrip special part 4: Otaru

Otaru is one of the Hokkaido towns which serve as an important setting in Golden Kamuy. The tattoed convicts were told to head to Otaru. The 7th Division men under Tsurumi also made Otaru their base. Asirpa’s kotan is said to be near Otaru too.

Otaru was a major trade and fishing port since the early days of Hokkaido colonization by Japan, and it was designated as an international trade port in 1899. Since Noda Satoru presumed that it would be easy to get foreign things in Otaru at that time, he could introduce things in Golden Kamuy that would have been rare or still unheard-of in Japan at that time, including ski and Sugimoto’s muffler.

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#GKtrip special part 3: Golden Kamuy x Consadole Sapporo match

We’re still on our first day of #GKtrip, and our next destination was Sapporo Dome, to watch a Golden Kamuy x Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo collaboration match. Consadole was going to face fellow J-leaguer Sagan Tosu, and for the game, special Golden Kamuy collaboration goods would be sold.

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#GKtrip special part 2: Historical Village of Hokkaido

We spent most of December 1 – which we dubbed Day 0 – flying, first to Tokyo where we passed immigration, snatched our JR Pass and changed to a smaller domestic plane to New Chitose, the airport closest to Sapporo. We arrived quite late at night, and the JR Pass counter in New Chitose had closed, so it was a good thing we had exchanged our passes in Haneda. We could use them to ride a train from New Chitose to Sapporo – a ride that also brought us passing Kita-hiroshima, Noda-sensei’s hometown.

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#GKtrip special part 1: Planning the trip

Early in December 2017, we went on a trip to Hokkaido and some other prefectures in Japan to visit places that appear in Golden Kamuy or serve as models for buildings and locations in the manga. Now that we have returned, we’re going to make several posts that detail our journey, that hopefully can help you plan your own #GKtrip.

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