We all know that the earth is round, but standing on the the flat ground and walking on an infinitely straight path everyday, it is difficult to visualise or physically experience this phenomenon, such that we easily take this common sense fact for granted.
It is no surprise then that when I stumbled on Cape Chikyu (地球岬) in April, I was completely awestruck by the unparalleled view of the horizon, where the sky seemed to touch the sea indefinitely. It was not a straight line as we often see in photographs but distinctly curved, giving one the feeling of standing on top of the world, embracing Mother Earth in all its natural beauty. At the same time, you sense the smallness of your individual being - just a speck in this grand creation that is our earth. Standing at the top of the cape in the observatory is no great achievement as in climbing and conquering a mountain, but I would think the emotions are still the same - humbling, refreshing, staggering, even. At the observatory, there is also the Bell of Happiness, which locals believe will bring you happiness and fortune if you ring it. The sound of the bell rings across to the sea, only adding to the magnificence of the surroundings. You can also see a white lighthouse standing nearby, sitting on a patch of green field at the edge of the cliff, overlooking the glittering ocean.
If you were to ask someone where Cape Chikyu is, chances are he would not have heard of it. Before my visit, I myself had never heard of this scenic spot at one of the southern tips of Hokkaido. Cape Chikyu is located in the city of Muroran, more known for its history as an iron industrial town. Muroran looks like the apex of a triangle on the map, poking into the Uchiura Bay. It is a shame how overlooked this scenic spot is, since it could be easily incorporated in a trip to more well-known attractions such as Noboribetsu and Lake Toya. Even amongst locals, Cape Chikyu remains an understated destination; I suppose we can truly call it one of Hokkaido’s hidden gems. I hope more people can discover and enjoy the natural beauty that Cape Chikyu has to offer, and leave with the same inspiring and incredible experience as I did.