Saturday, February 24, 2018

Day 3 in Hokkaido - Out of My 8 Days, 7 Nights (Mostly Self-Drive) Summer Trip to Japan

Noting that my travel mates were still deep in dreamland, i took a quick shower and popped out alone to drive our rented car to the nearby Suitengu Shrine!

Frankly, there's nothing much that caught my fancy even though the peacefulness of the place does make it very suitable for retirement; as evidenced by a number of residences in close proximity to the shrine.

Pathway leading down to the main activity street in Otaru; Sakaimachi Street. Not directly per se as it requires a turn to the left of less than 100 meters to reach Otaru Music Box Museum; the mouth of Sakaimachi Street.

And after going through my eight days in Hokkaido, the above washroom at the entrance of Suitengu Shrine would claim the dishonour of being the worst toilet

On my way back to our airbnb in Otaru, i chanced upon a historical building; the wood-based former suhara residence that was built in 1912. 

Packed and all ready to leave.

Taken from the balcony of the Otaru airbnb; no prize for guessing what's at the end of the staircase as those who have read my post on Suitengu Shrine would know it leads there! Yes, that's how bloody close we were to the shrine

On our way to the first stop for the day.

Google Map brought us through a small road that didn't seem right; it was narrow and could only take in one direction at a time! Well, i took the opportunity to take a shot of the baseball competition on the field. 

Greeted by this plot of stunning flowers outside the building that housed the ticketing counter for the ropeway to Mt. Tenguyama

View on top of Mt. Tengu was spectacular and there were five different observatories where you can go crazy with the selfies! It would have been better if the weather wasn't so hot. Nevertheless, we had a fun time as there were quite a number of activities on the summit. 

Our first meal of the day - an incredible soup curry meal at Curry & Cafe Celan

Melted strawberry pocky sticks due to the hot sun shining into the car; Alex didn't give a damn and proceeded to finish them in a mere seconds. 

The car needed its meal too and since we would be taking about two hours to reach Lake Toya, we thought it's better to fill up the fuel tank at the city. 

Cost - 3,380 yen; close to about S$43.

Now going through the mountainous road to our next destination; Lake Toya even though we would still be making a few stopovers along the way. 

I was attracted by its name; 天神十字街 - the god's cross street! 

Views along the way; not that difficult to drive around so long you keep to the designated speed limit. As the vehicle commander, i was strict in making the driver adhere to my commands! 

Stopped over at Road Station Akaigawa where we had some delicious bread! 

More roads ahead of us. 

It can be a pretty sight, especially when we drove past sunflower fields! 

The partially hidden Mount Yotei - at 1,898-meter tall, it's an inactive volcano known for its resemblance to the most famous mountain in Japan; Mount Fuji.

We were driving towards Mount Yotei actually as i had planned for another stopover at this place known as Meisui no Sato Kyogoku; known also as Fukidashi Park

That's the place where you can get naturally ice-cold spring water! The water's super good to drink and i regretted not buying the plastic containers with bigger capacity. :(

Sadly, i didn't allocate much time to explore the surroundings of Mount Yotei and had to bid it goodbye after a while. With Hokkaido being a huge island, i can now understand why my friends would choose to travel there so often! 

Something in the sky caught my attention.

Paragliders!?!? I know i am pretty near to this amusement resort known as rusutsu resort so my bet was that they originated from the resort as part of the activities. 

Panorama of Lake Toya in front of us - you can also take the same at Silo Observatory. If that's not sufficient, you can even book a helicopter for a better view! 

Lake-Hill Farm - aside from taking pictures of the picturesque cottage and its backyard, many people would also queue for the gelato. For my case, i would strongly recommend the grilled sausage

Towards our accommodation at toyako onsen town and the lakeside view (2nd and 3rd photo) with Mt. Usu at the back! Don't play play; this Mt Usu is an active volcano and its last eruption was in year 2000.

Using Google Map (our savior for this self-drive trip) to navigate towards our accommodation for the night; Daiwa Ryokan! And once we were done with the checking in, it's time for dinner! 

Even though it's just a short distance from Daiwa Ryokan, we still chose to drive to Wakasaimo as i am unsure if the place (within the building) i had identified for dinner would still be open! 

It's already closed and without a backup, we were in a fix on what to have for dinner. 

We didn't even have the mood to check out the local food souvenirs for sale on level one of Wakasaimo! As it's a small town, i am just keeping my fingers crossed that there will be other eateries open for business at 6.30pm.

Lucky star shone on me as we randomly picked Ramen Ippontei (一本亭) from the brochure and it's still open! Why did the lucky star only shine on me and not the others? Because the ramen ordered by the rest didn't taste as nice as my shio ramen! 

After a satisfying meal, we drove back to Daiwa Ryokan as it's nearer for us to walk to the hub of activity in summer; the Toyako Onsen Summer Festival.

Pity, the sun has set at Lake Toya and it was too dark for me to capture the lake's glory. 

The fireworks cruise ship; an intimate way of getting closer to the fireworks that sprung to life every night in summer at Lake Toya. 

As the fireworks would only start from 8.45 pm, let's soak our tired feed in the foot bath that's open to the public! If you prefer to keep your hands warm, there's also the option of hand bath

Fireworks time! 



Detailed Postings for Day 3

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