Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hokkaido... Meet cold.

Hi All,

Filling in the rest of my winter break with my recount to Hokkaido (北海道 )!

It means “North Sea Circuit”. It is Japan's second largest island. The largest city on Hokkaido is its capital, Sapporo.

Hokkaido is known to be extremely cold, and guess what?

It is!

We got a nice deal for a 3-day trip; the travel package included coupons for meals, a bus tour and the plane tickets.

We left Mishima quite early. Our flight left from Tokyo International Airport (東京国際空港) known as Haneda Airport (羽田空港) in the outer part of Tokyo. We landed in Sapporo, or some where near lol.

We visited one of Japan’s most well known breweries, Sapporo beer factory. It wasn’t a long tour, but it seemed longer because 1) I was dead tired, 2) it was completely in Japanese!

That night we tried to explore a little of Sapporo but it was snowing and way too cold for a girl from tropical island.

The next day we had the bus tour and that was—How long bus tours are, exhausting for no apparent reason. We made some stops on touristy areas and food places. The landscape however, just snow. The bus tour was our entire second day in Hokkaido.

That night we stayed at a traditional Japanese hotel, Ryokan (旅館). Which of course includes onsen (hot springs/baths). They typically feature tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and other public areas where visitors may wear yukata.

The next day we traveled to Mt. Hakodate. A forested mountain that’s not difficult to climb at all; though I slipped a few times and that many more close calls. “The night view from the summit is renowned in Japan as one of the best in the country, and one of the top three in the world”... Of course we saw it in the middle of the day and 90% covered by falling snow. When we got a glitter of sunlight we took like a thousand pictures though lol.

Then the long exhausting trip back… I woke up that morning at 7am and I knew I wouldn’t return to Mishima until around midnight… ever had that feeling of wanting to sleep so bad but knowing full well you won’t get to for hours upon hours to come?

... Yeah, that feeling.

All in all a really wonderful trip for relatively cheap.

Well that's all for my winter break -- a pretty fantastic one really. Maybe the best one I have ever had. Really loving Japan.


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