Mikasa City Museum
By Shawn Clankie
I must have passed the Mikasa City Museum a dozen times on my way to and from Furano over the years, always meaning to stop, but never getting around to it. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had this thought. It’s a large museum in a rather small town, so there must be something to see, I always thought to myself. One day recently, I was making good time coming back to Sapporo and decided to finally take a break at the museum and have a look around. I’m so glad I did. The Mikasa City Museum is separated into two large sections, one to your left and one down the corridor to the right. The left exhibition room was a complete surprise. I had always thought of ammonites as rather small snail-shell-shaped fossils. These were different. They were huge. The largest one is 1.3 meters in diameter, and there is a room full of these monsters. In total, there are over 600 locally found ammonites, as well as dinosaur and other fossils. I was pretty stunned. The display of all of these fossils is beautiful. From the ammonites exhibit, I then had a look at the right display room. This one focuses on Mikasa’s history, particularly as a coal mining town. One of the most interesting exhibits here were the early sleeping quarters of a miner. I spent the better part of 90 minutes wandering the museum’s exhibits. It was fascinating. For most people, Mikasa is a place to gas up or get a snack before the hour drive through the wilderness to Furano. The next time you are headed in that direction, schedule an hour or two at the Mikasa City Museum. It will be time well spent. Mikasa City Museum (Nishiki-cho 1-chome 212-1, Ikushunbetsu, Mikasa) is open from 9 am-5 pm daily except Mondays. Admission is 450 yen for adults, and 150 yen for junior high and elementary school children. Preschool and below is free.