Muroran cruise

Sapporo: the vibrant capital of Hokkaido

Shikotsu- Tōya National Park

Noboribetsu Onsen

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The Gateway to Hokkaido

Muroran, 130km south of Sapporo, overlooks the Uchiura Bay and is surrounded by mountains. It’s the access point for the island of Hokkaido and its capital. With a population of nearly two million, Hokkaidō’s vibrant capital Sapporo is the fifth-largest city in Japan.

It’s worth lingering, as the city is generously endowed with parks and gardens. The mountains that attract skiers and snowboarders rise up to its south, and the dramatic coastline around the Shakotan Peninsula is less than thirty minutes away. Sapporo is also synonymous with its beer, which has been brewed here since 1891; a visit to the handsome, late nineteenth-century Sapporo Beer Museum and Bier Garten is a must, as is a stroll through the grounds and museums of the Hokkaidō University Botanical Gardens, which date from the same era.

Follow the picturesque coastal road around Uchiura Bay from Muroran and you’ll reach the eastern side of the Shikotsu-Tōya National Park, one of Hokkaidō’s prettiest lakeland and mountain areas, but also the most developed, thanks to its proximity to Sapporo. Both the park’s two main caldera lakes – Tōya-ko to the west and Shikotsu-ko to the east – are active volcanoes and surrounded by excellent hiking trails. 

Between the two lakes lies Noboribetsu Onsen, Hokkaidō’s largest hot-spring resort, worth visiting to soak up the otherworldly landscape of bubbling and steaming Jigokudani (Hell Valley).

Pretty as the location is, the best reason for visiting Tōya-ko is to see the nearby active volcano Usu-zan, around 2km south, and its steaming “parasite volcano” Shōwa Shin-zan. You can also take a bus to the Nishiyama Crater Promenade, a 1.3km boardwalk across the recent break in the earth’s crust that ends at an eerily abandoned elementary school.

This is just one of the fantastic destinations of our cruise around the world: MSC World Cruise 2020.

Must see places in Muroran

Discover excursions in Muroran


    A dìfferent planet
    A dìfferent planet

    There’s nothing quite like a cruise to Japan. The very quintessence of Eastern culture, it has long excited the imagination of the West, with a great many of its joys etched indelibly into the minds of folk who live oceans away.

    Sushi and sake, anime and manga, samurai, ninja and the bullet train: everyone knows something of this island nation’s culture, but there’s far more to discover beyond these highly enjoyable stereotypes. Prepare to be pleasantly disorientated. 

    One of the joys of visiting Japan is experiencing the ordinary ways in which the Japanese aesthetic enters into everyday life. The presentation of food, a window display or the simplest flower arrangement can convey, beyond the walls of any museum or gallery, the essential nature of Japanese art. 

    An MSC cruise to Japan will reveal the major attraction of this “Land of contrasts”; it may be the world’s laziest travel cliché, but those who visit Japan find themselves constantly surprised at the easy co-existence between the country’s past and present. 

    Discover Japan and its unexpectedly beautiful landscapes, its charmingly courteous people and its tangible sense of history and cherished traditions – few will be able to resist the chance to get to grips with its mysterious, yet tantalizing, culture.