Monday, June 26, 2017

Hokkaido 2017: Day 1 文化を習って、火山を見た。


Shiraoi Ainu Museum and Village アイヌ民族博物館

All huts face the same direction and bears are regarded as gods of the mountains.

Traditional Ainu folk dance

Shiraoi Ainu Musuem and Village
http://www.ainu-museum.or.jp/en/

The first attraction we visited was the Shiraoi Ainu Museum and Village. The Ainu (Means 'human'.) people aren't really considered Japanese but they are the indigenous people of northern Japan. They believe that gods exist in all things, such as nature and animals, and that each entity comes from its own world and will return when it has completed its role. (source)

We were just in time for the Traditional Ainu folk dances, which happens every other hour. The hosts spoke only in Japanese but fret not, they have their scripts printed in a couple of languages which you can borrow. ◡̈ The songs and dances were really interesting and the village was incredibly tranquil and pretty.

(There's this section, though, where some bears and dogs are kept in incredibly cramped cages. ): You're not supposed to feed the animals but there was no one guarding, so there were a couple of visitors throwing food in and shouting at the animals to wake them up. )': Several complaints have been made online so hopefully, something gets done soon! )


Jigoku-dani 地獄谷

Earth boiling water.

Jigoku-dani (Hell Valley)
http://www.noboribetsu-spa.jp/?lang=en

Next stop was Hell Valley at Noboribetsu. This was basically my secondary school Physical Geography dream come true. Hot steam vents (Fumaroles, I think.) and white clouds of sulphur smoke littered the entire landscape. It was the first time that I saw how 'alive' the earth, which was really cool. I could't stop staring at the little boiling bubbles the earth was cooking!


Shoyu (Red) Ramen from Ippontei 一本亭の醤油(赤)ラーメン

Ramen Ippontei
http://good-hokkaido.info/en/ramen-ippontei/

For lunch, Mum found Ramen Ippontei which was included in the Michelin Guide Hokkaido 2012 Special Edition. It's a really small restaurant, which closes the minute they finish selling what they have prepared for the day. When we went there, it was actually full house (Everyone was Japanese. We were the only foreigners.) so we had to wait for a little while, which was totally worth it. I ate the bounciest noodles ever, incredibly al dente! And the broth was so rich but wasn't too overwhelming... It was the best ramen I had during the trip. :D

The only thing is that the people (Family?) who run the restaurant only speak in Japanese but if I remembered it right, they have got a menu in English so you can just point to whatever that you want. There are pictures anyway, so.

But just in case, Google has this really useful app called Google Translate. Download it, click on the camera icon, hover over Japanese words and tadahhh! The app will translate them into English for you and it's pretty accurate.


Aboard the gondola lift at Usuzan Ropeway 有珠山ロープウェイ。

Going up Mount Usu, which last erupted on March 31, 2000. That's Showa Shinzan, a baby mountain. (more)

Lake Toya 洞爺湖 and Showa Shinzan 昭和新山

Clouds casting shadows on Lake Toya 洞爺湖。

Gin’numa Great Crater formed during the 1977 eruption. (more)

Usuzan Ropeway
http://usuzan.hokkaido.jp/en/

The last attraction for the day was Mount Usu. It's an active volcano that has erupted 4 times in the last 100 years. We took the gondola lift up the mountain and the view at the peak was breathtaking. I don't exactly go for scenery but I was really wow-ed. It was just so beautiful... You could see the whole of Lake Toya (And how the clouds were casting shadows on it.), Showa Shinzan and the crater, which had smoke emitting out of it and I couldn't stop staring. It really reminded me of 君の名は and I was telling my brother that it would be life-changing if we could go over to the other side. Haha. We will literally go over to the other side if we go near it. Hahaha. Anyway, for the sporty ones, there are different hiking trails which you can take and each has its own duration and unique features. There are actually several blogs on the Internet detailing these trails, so Google away to find your best route! ◡̈

At the base of Mount Usu, there are several exhibits about the history of the place and of course, a pretty big souvenir shop. Hee. The souvenir shops that we went to on our trip sold mostly the same things and prices were consistent. Mum was looking out for certain snacks from Potato Farm but they were OOS. One of the sales people told us that it was because Japan doesn't have enough potatoes at the moment. :\ (more)


Standard Japanese-Western style room for 3-4 people.

The dinning area.

Pretty fireworks for the hotel wth.

The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort
http://en.nonokaze-resort.com

And finally, we checked into the best hotel everrr! As mentioned earlier, Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc. did all the bookings for us so we really had no idea how grand this was. Thank you, Megumiさん, for including this into our itinerary! ♡ The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort, of course, overlooks Lake Toya and the service, food and rooms were a-mazing!!! The 3 of us were like, it would be very okay if we could just spend the rest of our trip in this hotel. Hahaha.

(Psst, if you're looking out for hotel deals, check out HotelsCombined! It compares prices for hotels across credible and top travel sites for you, so that you can get the best deal with just a few clicks.)

We were given the Standard Japanese-Western style room. And it had everything, including skincare from Shiseido, pyjamas and yukatas! Dinner and breakfast were buffet and the selection was so good... Gosh, best hotel everrr! Seriously. And oh yeah, there were fireworks at night. Like whuttt??! We, including the parental units, really didn't want to leave. (۶ꈨຶꎁꈨຶ)۶~~♥♥♥

But all good things have to come to an end and greater adventures awaited us. Like cakes and ice-cream. Hahaha. See you in the next entry! :DD

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Hokkaido 2017 Diary 北海道の日記
Day 0: Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel Inc.+ Arriving at Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport)
Day 1: Volcanoes + Best Ramen + Best Hotel Everrr (Chitose → Noboribetsu → Lake Toya)
Day 2: Prettiest fields + Yummilicious cakes in Otaru (Lake Toya → Otaru → Sapporo)
Day 3: Shiroi Koibito Park + Outlet window-shopping (Sapporo)
Day 4: Pretty flowers + Telly Tower + Red bricks (Sapporo)

(For more photos, please check out my Instagram @charlenejudith.)

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2 comments

  1. Those are wonderful pictures! Really helpful as I'm planning my trip. Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. You're welcome! Glad that they helped. :D

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