Three dorm students and one dorm parent embark on a road trip to Shiretoko and back again.
To Shiretoko and Back Again
The Dorm Fall Break 2022
Words: Will Downer
Photos: Omar Kassem
After several weeks of hard, productive work from the HIS students, it was finally time to take a well-deserved hiatus from school to enjoy their fall break. For most of the dorm students, this meant traveling back to family or friends. For the few students that remained at the dormitory, however, an incredible opportunity to travel across Hokkaido arose; a chance to view the spectacular sights of Hokkaido’s natural beauty; to dive deeper into its infrastructural origins. The students embarked on a three-day road trip orchestrated by HIS teacher and dormitory house parent Ian Aseltine. Together with Mr. Aseltine, three HIS seniors and dorm students Omar, David, and Will would travel to the tip of Northeastern Hokkaido and back.
The first stop was the Abashiri Prison Museum. There, they learned about how the inmates of Abashiri Prison built one of the first major roads in Hokkaido: a road 228 kilometers in distance. It was this first act of infrastructural construction that led to the rest of Hokkaido being shaped into the beautiful place it is today. The Abashiri Prison Museum was a truly fascinating and informative first location, and the past labor of the prisoners opened up the possibility for the road trip to continue.
Continuing to one end of the island, the four arrived at Shiretoko National park, a natural world heritage site located on the northeasternmost peninsula of Hokkaido. This rural and rugged location, located a near eight-hour drive from Hokkaido’s capital, is striking.
There, the dorm students had the opportunity to fully take in the natural beauty of Hokkaido as they walked the four-and-a-half-kilometer trail that wove through the breathtaking Shiretoko Goko lakes. The walk came with natural beauty and education about the importance of native animal species and respecting their habitat.
All in all, the fall break trip was a great opportunity for the dorm students to explore and learn together while enjoying their time away from school!