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A Murakami Fan's Guide To Hokkaido

A Murakami Fan's Guide To Hokkaido
With tranquil aquamarine waters and the all-around scenic beauty, Lake Shikotsu is the perfect picnic spot. Credit: Shutterstock
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Explore the city's connection with Haruki Murakami, and travel to the towns he has based his stories on

Antara Chatterjee
February 04 , 2023
03 Min Read

If you are a Haruki Murakami fan, you must know of this phenomenon when hordes of similar literature nerds and Murakami fans gather at a sheep farm in Hokkaido every year. The Matsuyama Farm in the far north of Hokkaido, an annual gathering of literature fans, is now a thing. 

“If you’re a literature lover, why don’t you do a bit of “聖åÂœ°å·¡ç¤¼” (pilgrimage to sacred places)? One of the locations of the Academy Award-winning “Drive My Car” (based on stories by Haruki Murakami) is in Hokkaido. Hokkaido appears many times in Murakami’s stories. If you’re an old fan of his, you could also chase a sheep as in ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’.” Said Ikuya Takahashi, founder of ika.異化 / Japanese Literature Amplifier and a resident of Tokyo.

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A lot of people who have read Murakami know that Hokkaido has featured in multiple stories, from appearing in his short stories collection Men Without Women, to his famous surrealist novel, A Wild Sheep Chase; Hokkaido and its charm has lingered in the writer’s works always. Here are some places you can visit in and around Hokkaido if you are a fellow Murakami fan.

Bifuka

The town of Junitaki is the setting for A Wild Sheep Chase. Although that is a made-up place, the description comes very close to Bifuka which is also approved by his fans as the inspiration behind its fictional counterpart. Stay at a sheep farm and spend your days reading his books and imagining yourself as the main character.

Nakatonbetsu

If you have watched Drive My Car, or better yet, read the book, you will know that the female lead, the young chauffeur, is from this town. A lot of fans go to visit this town during springtime. The residents are known for keeping this quaint little town shiny and clean, which makes it even more beautiful to explore on foot.

Kho Plaza Hotel, Sapporo

Many believe that this hotel in Sapporo was the inspiration behind the Dolphin Hotel in his novel Dance Dance Dance. You can book a room here as it is at the centre of the city and well-connected, and live as if you were living the story.

Lake Shikotsu

Although no known mention of this beautiful lake has been made in any Murakami works, its beauty is something that shouldn’t be missed if you are on a trip to Hokkaido. With tranquil aquamarine waters and the all-around scenic beauty of the place, plan a nice picnic at the lake’s edge during a summer day, and you might get inspired to write something of your own.

RELATED: Fooding Through Hokkaido

ALSO READ: Did You Know about the Town Built Inside an Active Volcano?


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