Monday, February 27, 2017

(Updated) Trip To Muroran - Hokkaido

(Updated photos on 27 February 2017) 

I had to book the nearest hotel away from Sapporo during the Snow Festival's peak weekend as all the hotels in Sapporo were fully booked. The closest I could book online was at this unknown town called Muroran. I was a bit skeptical of this quiet and peaceful town but it brought us wonderful surprises instead. It snowed for the first time during our trip and the countryside's cape was spectacular.

We took a 2.5 hours bus ride from Sapporo Station to Muroran.

We saw many snow capped mountains and thick forests enveloped
in pretty white snow. It gave me a sleepy & peaceful feeling
of a cold winter.

The Donan Bus passed through a tunnel and many
miles of scenic landscapes along the Hokkaido Highway.

 Finally, the bus reached the T-Junction where I saw the whole
Pacific Ocean for the 2nd time in my life! The first time was in
San Francisco back in the 90s.

 The Donan Bus driver was so polite like a robot
and dropped us off at the small Muroran bus terminal.
He bowed and zoomed off.

We walked less than 1 km and checked into a brand new hotel
that had a beautiful onsen inside for the guests.
There is a post office, right opposite the hotel and my wife
took all her postcards inside to write them. She was still writing
inside until 5 pm of their closing time. She was the one who
insisted that I should never be lazy and send postcards to
all my blogger friends while she posted to all our mutual

We walked to the nearby supermarket to look-see!
Goodness! Look at how cheap the Fresh Hokkaido Milk!
One liter for less than RM5.00!!

Waaaaah Mabuk! 6 big cans of Sapporo Beer
for less than RM40.00!

Japanese brand alcohols are often sold in Giant Mineral Water Bottles.
Many drink sake like plain water.

That night snow fell from the skies! My wife was so excited
and danced happily like a child on the street.

 We enjoyed the hotel's buffet breakfasts that served plenty of
Japanese food with some Western dishes. That saved our money for
lunch as we ate till our stomach bursts.

 It was a very cold morning at -3 degrees C and we walked out
to catch a single coach train to Bokoi town.

Bokoi is a tranquil and typical countryside town in Hokkaido.

Oh My God! My nightmare began as I had to walk up the steep hill 
for 3 kilometers on the roads filled with snow and ice. 

 Finally, we arrived at this cape that overlooked the cliff and Pacific Ocean.

 Haute Couture By Twilight Man. Ahem!

 This is the famous light house at Cape Chikyu.

I stood and admired at this light house covered in snow for a long time.
It is very lonely and stands alone by the sea to give
out precious light to all the passing ships.
It never complains about the cold winter.

Ding Dong Bell.

 We pulled our Wedding Bells again happily for
many years of happiness & good health.

We walked over 20,000 steps that day in the bloody cold winter
just to admire the cliffs, capes and ocean views! This small town 
does not have buses to this part of hilly areas.

 Which way? In Hokkaido areas, they don't display much
signboards with English words. Not even inside restaurant's
menus. Sigh!

Pacific Ocean @ Muroran's Bokoi hills.

Panoramic landscapes by the ocean.

 We posted this lovely scenic postcard to Blogger Lina before
going to see the actual place.

Oh Well.... We saw all white snow & frozen rivers instead
at the same spot as the pretty postcard.

The end of my Hokkaido postings.
Next post will continue with Xi'an in China.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Otaru City Of Canals - Hokkaido

I would vote Otaru as the most interesting place to visit in Hokkaido. It is a small harbour city which you could make a day trip from Sapporo by train. We only covered Sapporo, Otaru, Muroran & Chitose towns during our trip.

We walked out of our Sapporo hotel to visit a small Buddhist Shrine
which is located on the next block. Here is the nice entrance
to the shrine.

This is the Amitabha Buddha's Shrine which was closed on that day.

Our hotel is just next block to this Hosui Susukino Train
Station in Sapporo. It is very easy to reach everywhere once
you are inside the train station. We connected our way to the main
Sapporo Station and hopped to the line that took us to Otaru.


It takes slightly over 1 hour by a normal train which passed 
through many picturesque snow scenery and mountains along 
the way. Here at the Otaru Station, there is a Tourist Information
Booth where there was a friendly lady who spoke Japanese,
English, Mandarin and Cantonese!! She advised us to take the
public bus to the end of the bus route and get off.

 My postcard pose at the lovely old buildings with European
architectures during Hokkaido's colonization during the 1800s.

They have many lovely old warehouses and herring mansions that line
along the famous Otaru Canal.

 We had to stop by the world famous Hokkaido Ice Cream parlour.
They have the purest lavender and melon flavours. Too many to choose.

Here is my yummy 6 flavoured ice cream! Sluurrpss!!

There are many fresh seafood restaurants along
the many streets in Otaru.

It was my first time seeing Snow Crab alive!

The prices scared me!

We took a ropeway (cable car) up to Mount Tengu.

Mount Tengu is a very popular ski resort in Hokkaido.

This is the panoramic view of Otaru Town with its harbours
and the Shakotan Peninsula across the seas.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

68th Sapporo Snow Festival 2017

We just got home after a week long holiday in Hokkaido, Japan. It was a wonderful experience for my wife to see real snow falling from the skies for the first time. She screamed so excitedly like a happy child again. In the past, she had seen plenty of snow in China and even South Korea during our ski trip but the snow didn't fall from the skies then. 


Our overnight flight took over 8 hours from Kuala Lumpur
to Sapporo at Hokkaido, Japan. We had difficulty to sleep well
even with the front row's spacious "hot seats".

 This is the New Chitose Airport which is very huge and
made headlines recently when the China tourists had
a nasty brawl inside with the airport officers over the
unexpected delays due to snow storm.

 They have many interesting facilities inside the airport
such as retail shops, seafood markets, museums,
children's play lands and even a spa with a hot spring
onsen for the public to relax.

 They have ample sitting areas to have coffee or browse
your smartphones with free WIFI which was very powerful.

The famous ROYCE chocolate factory in Hokkaido
took up large areas to house their chocolate museum,
cafe and retail shops!

There are so many types of chocolates here!

 We saw many cute and lovely cakes, desserts and ice cream
sold in many shops. They are so creative and innovative!

This is one of the many seafood mini markets indifr the airport
that sold all kinds of seafood catch from Hokkaido's famous seas.

 They sold many frozen crabs, fishes, squids and everything
from the ocean..... Yes, inside the airport!


 We took a train from the airport and arrived at this Sapporo's
JR Station which was full of people and excitement inside.

 It is always packed with locals and the thousands of tourists 
who arrive each day to discover Hokkaido.

 My wifey outside the Sapporo's JR Station.
It was -3 degrees C.

Yours truly posing outside the Sapporo's JR Station.

The snow festival was held in 3 different park areas in Sapporo
but we only visited the main one at Odori park.
They had many stalls selling barbequed seafood, sake
and souvenirs.

There were many snow sculptures on display and we came
here because Sapporo's Snow Festival has always been rated
the BEST. It is different from Ice Carvings.

Yours truly with 2 cute Japanese cartoons.

 They even built Donald Trump.

 Everything was so white and would hurt our eyes!
So we wore shades.

You could guess who is this singer?

 The snow man and I.

We made our way walking through their mile long shopping
area underground and spotted this talking robot who was
so talkative, friendly and welcomed everyone in
any language you wished to speak.

We stayed for 2 nights at the popular red lights area in Susukino
district and my wife's eyes went wide seeing the hot
GROs wearing skimpy G-strings ogling at their
customers at the full window views of the drinking clubs!

We enjoyed so much eating the Japanese barbeque
food which was delicious and hot to keep warm
together with a bottle of sake wine.

We toasted and cheered "Kampai"

Happy Valentine's Day 
to all the readers!


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