Saturday, March 17, 2018

Hokkaido Tour 7-14 March 2018

It was not the first choice for a family tour. The original destination is Europe. However, due to not enough participants, the tour was cancelled.

The first stop is Narita Airport.

The shot was taken inside the airport. After that, the tour guide controls our movement thus not able to take much photo outside the airport.

At New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido, again our movements are also tightly controlled, Unable to take picture of the airport. We are immediately put on a Bus and took an hour or so to go to Sapporo View Hotel.

The next day began our tour proper. The first stop is White Lover Park (白い恋人). Quite a lot to see in the park but I prefer outdoors.

Next stop is Otaru Canal. Its an abandoned port where buildings were converted into restaurants. Can see the amount of ice on roof of those buildings.

Its snow covered and was in the day thus nothing so spectacular about it. I only noticed that the temperature is 4.5 degrees.

Next, we go into one of the restaurants to eat seafood. The crab is huge. Others take photo holding it but I am a Naturalist thus avoid handling wild life even though it was ready to be eaten afterwards. The price is staggering 86,000 yen. We skip the order and just go for the set meal by the travel agency.

After filling the stomach, took a couple of photos of the snow outside. Can't help it as it is my first ever visit to a snow covered country besides HeHuanShan Taiwan many decades ago. Even then it was a brief visit to the mountains.

Next, we visited the Otaru Sakaimachi Shopping street. The Otaru Music Box Museum has a steam operated clock. Unfortunately, unable to record the chime.

The Japanese White Birch is leafless but is still a beauty to behold.

Besides it are Japanese Tree Liliac. The bark is quite nice too look.

An overlooked item is this 常夜灯. Nobody noticed it.

The next hotel is at South Sapporo called Jozankei Manseikaku Hotel Milione. It is a hotel with Onsen (温泉). Had a taste of Japanese hotspring bath after dinner. The view outside the window of the hotel room is quite nice.

Nice of Google Photos to beautify one of the picture but it looked so unreal.

On the next day, since it is Winter, the scheduled Zoo visit is cancelled. So is the motor-sledge ride. Instead we went to a wine factory Otokoyama Sake Brewery Museum.

We then proceed to Glass Forest (glassware) and then to candle making session. Nothing natural so skipped the photo taking session. The night is spent in Furano Natulux hotel. A panorama view (by Google) is taken from hotel room window and the hotel lobby.

The next day we embarked on a 200KM trip north to Monbetsu Prince Hotel. Opposite a Pachinko Palor. No event for the day. Took a few photos out of the hotel room window again. The first one is an auto-panorama by Google.

After dinner, there is a demonstration of how the Japanese make "MuaChi".

The water quality is a bit weird. On filling the cup, the water was murky then turn white after a while.

I like the "chopping" culture in all the hotels. They provide you with a card to show that you are using the table and when finished, you turn it over to indicate you have done. The English translation is a bit weird though.

The next day we embark on an ice breaker ship to a journey without ice to break.

After that we visited the Okhotsk Tower. It is a tower made specifically to attract tourists. The facility is a bit retro. The 360 view Studio is just a fish eye projection and the story is an anime of a seal. The undersea observatory view is hopeless. All the windows are covered by ocean growth. I rather go outside to take photos.

The next spot is the Okhotsk Tokkari Center. A place to nurse wounded seals. Not much of a show but at lease it is sight to see spotted seals upclose.

Used my cycling video recorder to record some actions. The video below does not work due to unknown reasons. Here is the link Seal demo

On the next day we visited the Okhotsk Sea Ice Museum. Here we get a feel of getting a wet tower frozen straight out of our hands at -20 degrees. The video is a failure. It is supposed to be just a picture. As above, the video does not play.

Next destination, lunch at 花のれん. No English word for the Sushi Restaurant. It has a nice retro telephone and some flora (not sure whether it is real). A fellow tourist was caught in the photo.

Next destination, Abashiri Prison Museum. It was made famous by a Japanese show.

The above is a Ainu wooden statue of a child called Nipopo in Ainu language. Only found in Ohotsuku area. First made and sold in 1954 by inmates of the prison. Used as good luck charm.

Next stop Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi the northern most point of our tour. On the way, captured a number of ice scenes at the sea.

At the hotel, I managed to catch view of the Black Tailed sea gull. it was taken at a great distance away from the hotel room window.

While doing a morning stroll, took a picture of a waterfall nearby.

The next day took the route back south and on the way visit the Waterfall of Oshinkoshin.

On the way, take a stop between Lake Kussharo and Lake Mashu to 硫磺山. An active volcano that spills sulfur steam.

A video shows the steaming sulfur is here.

Next we went to 白鸟飞来地 at Lake Kussaro. Here I managed to take shots of Japanese Whooper Swans.

Nearby is also the Mallards in pairs.

Next stop is Lake Mashu, the clearest lake in the world. Unfortunately, it is all frozen up at this time.

Third spot of the day is Lake Agan Ainu Kotan. An aborigine handicraft area. Its here I experienced quite heavy snowing for the very first time.

We settle down at New Akan Hotel nearby. Thereafter, to go the lake to do fishing on ice. Unfortunately, nothing caught. Had to use the ticket to get free fish tempura to eat. Quite salty but nice. The scenes are taken from the hotel room.

They had a small firework display at night. Photos taken from hotel room window also.

The next morning, took the opportunity of late departure time to walk around the hotel. Managed to capture the photos of two Mallards

The rest of the day is an uneventful trip back to Sapporo. Captured a few photos on the way from the Bus. Before we settle down in the same hotel in the fist day, we visited the Winter Olympic site.

Dinner is not supplied so we venture out to Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade (狸小路商店街) in search for dinner. It is a very long street for pedestrians only. Full of products. Captured a couple of photo of a Shinto Priest.

Dinner is at Ippudo 一風堂 札幌狸小路店. Very nice Ramen.

The next day visited Mitsui Outlet Park for shopping. Its like Orchard Road with many branded products. Thereafter, back to New Chitose Airport to fly back to Narita and then Singapore.

This is not a nature walk series. Its just a normal tour with flora and fauna in mind. There are lots of photos and videos which Google Photos does not allow me to add into the blog.

These are some photos taken along the way but just do not have location indicated so not sure where exactly is it.

A large Nipopo statue on the coast.