Having returned to Wakkanai, I found my rental car in the ferry terminal parking lot and started the long drive down to Sapporo. My car’s GPS estimated that it would take a bit over 6 hours but I knew I would be shaving an hour off that time. On my way out of Wakkanai I stopped at a gas station to refill my car. Whereas in America the gas stations are normally self-service, in Japan they have full-service stations where an attendant pumps the gas, cleans your windows while you wait, and even gives you a towel to wipe off your hands and steering wheel.
The first leg of my drive took me through the interior of Hokkaido before crossing over to the western coastline. While I was driving along I took a few photos with my camera. Don’t worry, as you can see by these images I only took photos during straight sections of road where there weren’t any other cars close to me. I may have been driving well above the speed limit but I didn’t completely throw caution to the wind. At the same time, I kind of wish I had been in the passenger seat rather than being the driver so that I could take in more of the scenery and not have to be paying attention to the road all the time.
Around two hours into the drive I pulled over at a rest area along a beach to use the restroom and eat some snacks I had bought at a nearby convenience store. There were three or four other people walking around the rest area but otherwise it was pretty empty. About 10 minutes down the road I passed another rest area at a much nicer beach and I was wishing that I had stopped there instead. Oh well, I just kept driving.
The highway followed the coast for some time and then cut back into the Hokkaido interior. Eventually I merged onto the Hokkaido Expressway that would take me the rest of the way to Sapporo. I didn’t capture any photos during that final leg of the drive because there were a lot more vehicles on the road there so it was a little too dangerous for that. My speed demon tendencies, however, did not cease and I was weaving in and out of traffic all along the expressway. Half the other drivers were also going way above the speed limit and for about an hour I got to experience something akin to a real life version of Toad’s Turnpike from Mario Kart. When I got close to Sapporo everyone slowed down due to the speed enforcement cameras on the outskirts of the city and my time blazing down the highway came to an end. In Sapporo I found a gas station to fill up my car one last time and then drove to the car rental agency near Sapporo Station. The next day I’d be flying to Seoul but I’d have a little bit of time for sightseeing in Sapporo before departure.