Mukawa River in Mukawa-cho in Hokkaido is the best spot in Japan (apart from sampling the nation’s best smelt fish as featured on the NHK Asaichi TV programme) for:

– fossil hunting, particularly large ammonites
– said to be the best whitewater rafting spot see -Mukawa-Water Rafting
Check out Splash White Water Rafting for its organized rafting activities on the Mukawa River. The Mukawa River located in Central Hokkaido is supposedly one of the best rafting destinations in Japan

– Visit Mukawa Town Hobetsu Museum English website here or see photos of exhibits here: for its great quantity of turtle fossils  [photo] Located in the area of Hobetsu in Mukawa Town, 100 km east of Sapporo. It takes 1 hour by Donan Bus from Sapporo Airport. (It is required to book your bus ride in advance.) Mukawa Town Hobetsu …

Read more about the Hobetsu Museum’s “Biggest collection of sea turtle fossils in Japan” at Jack Lizard’s Mukawa Town Hobetsu Museum page:

“Mukawa Town Hobetsu Museum opened to exhibit Elasmosaurus, found in the mountain of Hobetsu, in 1982. Huge Elasmosaurus welcomes you at the entrance hall, but it is just a beginning of your tour. The museum has fossils of very rare sea turtles, mosasaurus, ammonite and more from ocean in Mesozoic era.”


See also ASAHI news article July 17, 2013
13 connected bones of dinosaur tail found by collector in Hokkaido

The fossilized dinosaur’s tail, which was discovered in 2003 by a fossil collector in a mountainous area in Mukawa, Hokkaido (Provided by the Hobetsu Museum)

MUKAWA, Hokkaido–A rare set of fossilized tail bones of what may be a newly discovered dinosaur species has been found in a layer of sediment in a hillside dating from 72 million years ago here, Hokkaido University and the Hobetsu Museum announced July 17.

The fossil has apparently been buried and preserved in good condition because at least 13 bones of the rear half of the tail are connected. It is believed to be that of a dinosaur of the herbivorous Hadrosauridae family, known as the “duck-billed dinosaurs,” which would have measured an enormous seven to eight meters long.

In Japan, about 60 pieces of dinosaur fossils have been found. However, most are fragments.

“It is rare that a fossil that consists of 13 connected bones was discovered. The fossil had been buried in a place which used to be neither land nor river but a sea. Because of that, there is a high possibility that the bony framework of the dinosaur’s body is also buried and still in good condition,” said Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, associate professor of vertebrate paleontology at Hokkaido University.

Kobayashi said the tail bones were discovered by fossil collector Yoshiyuki Horita, 63, a resident of Mukawa, in a cliff in a mountainous area of the town’s Hobetsu district in April 2003. Horita donated the fossil to the Hobetsu Museum, which is run by the Mukawa town government.

In 2011, Kobayashi confirmed that the fossil is that of a dinosaur. The confirmation led Hokkaido University and the museum to jointly study the bones.

The dinosaur is believed to have lived in the latter stages of the Cretaceous Period of the Mesozoic Era, which were immediately before the period in which dinosaurs are believed to have become extinct.

The tail fossil has bony projections on portions of the joints, which have never been found in other dinosaurs of the Hadrosauridae family.

“Therefore, there is a possibility that the fossil is that of a dinosaur of a type that has never been discovered in the world,” Kobayashi said.

Hokkaido University and the museum plan to jointly start a research project from September to visualize the entire image of the dinosaur.


Other info:

Turtle fossils in Hobetsu Museum

Hokkaido Citizen’s Forest in Hobetsu