I’m back from my trip to Asia! I love traveling but those long flights are pretty killer… Our total travel time to get to Sapporo was 23 hours, ouch. It’s worth it to see how cultures are different in different countries.
Over the next three days, I’m going to be posting about my trip. We started out in Sapporo and slowly made our way south via a tour bus. Then we took a bullet train to Tokyo and ended in Hong Kong before coming home. Today will be all about Hokkaido.
Hokkaido is in northern Japan, with Sapporo as its capital. It gets cold, with snow in the winters, and this prefecture is also known for produce and meat. It’s where a lot of good seafood comes from! This is going to be a major photo dump – here we go!
^^^ Otaru is a beautiful little town. It really reminded me of Europe. Isn’t this a cute family pic?
Japan has some awesome handmade trinkets – specifically this tourist town was known for glass and music boxes
We shopped at many outdoor and underground malls
We went to a ski jump museum on the tour.
Look at this amazing view! Looks so scary though – Don’t think I’ll be trying ski jumping ever…
We also went to see the Ainu people, an indigenous people of Japan. We learned about their culture and way of life. They are bear hunters and also have Shiba Inu dogs to help them hunt.
We also went to a Hot Springs area while the sun was setting to end the day. Such a beautiful view.
Hokkaido is known for their hot springs and public baths. And incase you’re wondering, yes, you have to go naked! Basically you have to shower there for a good 15 minutes or longer before you can soak into the public baths. They are typically gender separated, and all you get to cover up is a little face towel. The baths are filled with mineral water, at the hottest temperature of 43ºC which translates to 109.4ºF. So hot!!! You literally soak in for a few minutes and then immediately go into a cold water bath. All this helps with your circulation and increases blood flow so it’s beneficial for your body. Awkward at first, but it gets easier!
The next day we ventured to Lake Toya, a volcanic lake in Hokkaido.
And then we got on a boat!
Look at this amazing view!
Later that evening, we went to the top of Hakodate to watch the sun set and the city come to life.
We went to Towada-Hachimantai National Park to see the Fall colors. We missed the changing of the leaves to red by one week but we got to see a few Fall leaves.
We also took a little hike – Hokkaido is so green
And now Lake Tazawa. Legend has it that a princess desired eternal beauty. A god told her to drink from these waters but she drank so much of the water that the Goddess Kannon cursed her and turned her into a water dragon. Then a prince caught a large fish from these waters and developed an unquenchable thirst. He continually drank the water and was also turned into a dragon. Eventually these dragons fell in love and their passionate love prevents the lake from freezing during the winter months. Also, the princess gets jealous of couples that takes pictures at this lake, which ends relationships…
We took the chance anyway!
Those were some of the main places that we visited. Here are some fun shots from the Hokkaido portion of the trip.
The sewer tops at the fish market were so cute! Lots of great seafood comes from Hokkaido – scallops, cuttlefish, crab, fish.
Remember when I said that produce is a big thing in Hokkaido? Look at the size of this apple!
Some of the hotels we stayed in were Wester style (your typical hotel), but there were a few that were Tatami style. It’s a traditional Japanese-style room with straw-like mats and no shoes allowed.
While you go out for dinner, employees come and make the beds for you:
^^^^ Traditional Japanese meal in our kimonos
We wore kimonos every night to dinner – look how cute my little Mingus is!
This is what a traditional meal would look like – all prepped for you. Coolest thing? Look at that ice dome that holds my sashimi!!!
We also ate at a lot of buffets for breakfast and for dinner.
Look at my breakfast tray! Ahem husband… I expect this caliber of breakfast every morning!
Then there are these adorable pancakes that you can pick from during dinner. How could you eat such artwork?
We found a little shop that made fresh mochi – one of MG’s favorite desserts so we had to buy one. You pick a skewer and then add your own paste (miso or black sesame, or red bean). Just for fun, if you choose a skewer with a red tip, you get another free stick! Of course MG gets lucky. He had two servings of these things! You should have seen how happy he was when he found out he won.
The roasted mochi from the temple was my favorite dessert!
We also went to a traditional Japanese tea house where they served green tea and a sweet cake.
And one of our last snacks… grilled cow tongue. My in-laws are the cutest!
Hokkaido is a rural area of Japan, definitely not a city-life feel. Lots of greenery, lots of farms, and not much to do after 8pm. It was such a fun experience to see differences in lifestyle and learn about the Japanese culture.
Have you been to Hokkaido before? What did you do? Is this on your bucket list?
Come back for Tokyo tomorrow!
We took a tour by Signet Tours through Hokkaido