f Six Hundred & Fourteen; Le Buddies Hokkaido Journey Part 1! (Hakodate)

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Six Hundred & Fourteen; Le Buddies Hokkaido Journey Part 1! (Hakodate)

February 8, 2014 / , ,


ALOHA! 
I'm finally here to blog about my Hokkaido trip 2 months back!!
Never expected myself to be able to experience snow so soon 
(I thought I would need to wait til I'm like 30 years ago before I can
afford to travel to somewhere with snow. hahah I really thought so!)
But anyways, as mentioned before,
this Hokkaido trip turned out to be so unexpectedly enriching,
for my mind & soul.
*inserts dramatic emotional music*

Traveling has never been my priority but from this trip,
I came to realize how traveling can really leave positive impacts.
So now, I tell myself, to stop allowing monetary concerns to stop me from
exploring this amazing world.
Money can always be earned back..
so travel while you can!
The world is our playground :)

Alrighty, lemme start!
We transited at Tokyo (Narita Airport) 
and then took the domestic flight to Hokkaido, Sapporo (New Chitose Airport)

For this 10 days trip, we mainly covered Hakodate, Niseko & Sapporo.
We were deciding between:
-Sapporo --> Hakodate --> Niseko --> Sapporo
OR
-Hakodate --> Niseko --> Sapporo
We decided to go with the latter, even though we landed in Sapporo.
We thought it would be better to explore Sapporo a few days at a go,
instead of like 1-2 days and then travel to other places and then back to Sapporo.

Day 1

Mandatory plane-shot.

Blue jacket and skirt c/o Izzue, i.t Singapore 

Took the railway from New Chitose Airport to Miami Chitose,
& then took the express train to Hakodate.




Le strong buddy,
who had to carry my luggage for me whenever there were stairs.


We bought our 4-Days Flex Rail Passes at the JR Information Desk.
This pass allowed us to have unlimited access to JR Hokkaido lines on any 4 days;
that can be used over a period of 10 days.
On other days when we traveled lesser, 
we would pay for each travel instead of using the pass.

Psst.. They have this FREE WIFI passcode thing for use at the stations,
so do get the code the counter! 
You know you need it~~


We had some time to spare, so after settling the tickets,
we went upstairs to grab some food.






The only pathetic snow I saw.........

le buddy being annoying as usual!


Reserved seats = you will be guaranteed a seat for your journey
Non-reserved seats = depends on your luck.
So if you have a long journey especially like more than 1 hour,
do book your reserved seats in advance at the stations!!

& so.. by the time we reached our hotel in Hakodate,
it was already dinner time the next day.
Okay I think it was late afternoon/early evening,
like around 5pm?
Checked in to our hotel, Comfort Inn hotel (budget!).
By the way, our room was really quite cramped but to me
it was good enough.
I just needed a room that is clean and had a clean toilet. :)

Went out to search for FOOD!!!!!!
Ramen was all that we could think of.

Pretty decent ramen, especially when we were famished,
everything tasted good.


Very clear & light broth, with the "homely" taste.

Gyoza

By the way, the sun sets very early during Winter in Hokkaido.
So by 3+pm, the sky will start to turn dark & by 4+ pm,
it would have been 'night' time.
Not quite used to it..
To us, it felt kinda gloomy once the sun sets?

So we decided to explore the Hakodate Bay area to see the gigantic Christmas tree.
Took the bus to get there.
Great that our hotel was near to the station and had a bus-stop right in front.



This cute couple smiled for my camera!
Look how friendly they are.
LOVES IT.

Le gigantic christmas tree



Tourist shot 101

Chanced upon this Lucky Pierrot,
which turned to be one of the famous eatery in Hakodate!

I love the cozy interior.
A lil' messy, but cozy to me.

I chose the swing seats :D

I don't know why,
but it's just really shiok to have ice-cream in that extremely cold weather.

This burger was so awesome!!
Big, chunky, juicy & well-marinated.

Day 2

Outer jacket from i.t Singapore

We woke up at like 630am for our tour at the Hakodate Morning Market,
just a short walk from the JR Hakodate Station.
Apparently, we expected it to be crowded so we were kinda kiasu and woke up early.
Eventually.......
when we reached, the morning market was quite empty. hahahahah.





What you can expect from the morning market:
Several stalls selling fresh seafood,
& restaurants that help you to cook/prepare them on the spot.

Humongous crabs









This was interesting to watch..
So there was a pool of squids swimming around,
& they looked really cute!
I have never seen them like that before!!!
but I could not bear to do it......
I could not bear to catch them and kill them on the spot :/
Customers can 'fish' for the squid,
& get the owner to prepare the squid in their preferred style to be eaten on the spot.
I actually love eating squids..
but for once,
I did not even feel like trying the fresh squids :X

I did try squid that morning,
but it was Squid Bun.

I was just curious when I saw the black bun,
and decided to buy one to try.
hahahah i still prefer my yam bao, char siew bao, tau sar bao.....

Finally stopped at one of the eateries to have our breakfast.
First time having such fresh, raw sashimi for breakfast!

Thick and fresh slices *inserts heart-shaped emoticons*

The soup was made of the huge crabs.
Very sweet, rich & tasty broth.

These two sets caused us a total of approximately SGD$30 (2400 Yen).
For breakfast, it seemed pricey;
but come to think of it,
if you were to have these in Singapore, 
it would cost way much more than $30!
That's the thing about dining in Hokkaido..
Each meal costs more than an average meal that you will usually pay for in Singapore,
because you can't find hawker centres/kopitiams around..
but.. for the good quality and freshness,
it is worth it and still relatively cheaper than most Japanese restaurants in Singapore.

We wanted to have more fresh sashimi slices,
so we hopped to another small stall,
which was very Japanese style.


I literally flew to heaven.



There were several other eateries.
Very competitive!
A donburi could cost you just approximately SGD$6 (500 Yen)
(the sets we had were relatively pricey prolly because of the broth!)

I love the morning market!

Went back to the pantry at our hotel,
because I wanted to grab some fruits from the breakfast buffet.
hahahahah

Headed back to the hotel room to rest for awhile,
before our next spot.



The tourist information counters at the stations are our best friend for the trip

We went to grab the map for some attractions in Hakodate.
Took a bus from our hotel to the next destination:
Goryokaku Park

The Goryokaku Tower, 107 metres tall,
is where we visitors can get a panoramic view of the star-shaped fort, Goryokaku.

I think this site will be much more beautiful during other seasons,
especially with the cherry trees in Spring.
Since it was beginning of Winter,
most of the trees were 'botak' and 
there was no snow (yet).. we did not really get to see a magnificent sight.
It was still a pretty stunning view nevertheless.



Traveled down and walked to the Goryokaku,
to explore the area.


In the centre of Goryokaku, you can find the Hakodate Magistrate Office (Bugyosho),
a restored building that was once used as a government office ran by samurai.
You can actually pay to go inside to explore the rooms (which we didn't).




Next stop: Motomachi Area

Le buddy planned for this trip,
and all the places that we went, were planned by him.
When he told me that we are going to see the slopes,
my first thought was,
"Serious?? Slopes??"
But guess what,
this location left me with such beautiful memories.


On the way up the slope, we finally saw some pretty trees!
hahahah it was quite depressing to see bald trees everywhere..
so when we saw these, I was excited!





We finally reached the top of the Hachiman-zaka slope,
and this was what I saw.
"HUH? You call this beautiful?!!"

My sentiments exactly.
But wait.......
This was only because the sky was covered by the thick grey clouds!
It started raining (& hailing) soon after.
So we decided to stop by one of the cafes to hide from the hail.


After a short 20minutes rest in the cafe,
we decided to try our luck again.
And this time, this was what we saw:


I don't know about you,
but this was so beautiful to me!!!!!!!
I think my photo did not do enough justice to the view.
I was so blown-away by the sight & literally grinned like an excited kid. :) :) :)

There were many slopes at that area, this was the view from another slope.
Breath-taking..



There were a few churches, with very unique designs.






:)

Our next location was supposed to be Mt. Hakodate,
but we were hesitating whether to pay for this visit because by then,
the thick clouds came by again,
& it started drizzling again.
The view would not have been nice if it was covered with the clouds..

So we went down the slopes to the Hakodate Red Brick Warehouse 
(near the Hakodate Bay Area which we went on Day 1)



Le buddy had his beer alone,

while I went out to another stall to have my crepes.
We are cool like that. hahahah!

I forgot what flavour I chose,
but it was so sinfully delicious!!

Some chewy rice-mochi snack



Left the place and decided to go ahead with Mt. Hakodate
Walked up the slopes once again.
I am never a fan of slopes, but surprisingly it was not that tiring.
I guess I was hyped up and just really happy I did not really bother about the slopes!

Paid for the tickets, and took the cable car up.
We wanted to catch a view of the place before the sun set.
(yes, it was at 3+pm)

AND THEN.. GUESS WHAT?
IT STARTED SNOWING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I could not contain my excitement!!!
My very snow experience!!!!!
I don't know what was the temperature (negative definitely),
but I just took off my glove to touch the falling snow flakes,
caught them to observe their shapes,
and excitedly danced around!!

:D :D :D


Soon after, the sky went pitch dark,
and we headed to the viewing gallery.
Beautifully lit-up :)



Left Mt. Hakodate and went for our dinner at Daimon Yokocho.

I love this place!!
There are 26 'retro' style small eateries that you can find here.
Most of them are so small, and can only contain 8-10 pax inside.
It was more like a room.
We stepped into one of them which sold Yakitoris, and felt so cozy instantly.
In fact, this turned out to be one of the most unforgettable moments for both of us.

Once we enter, the owners greeted and welcomed us.
We sat beside a 60+ years old Japanese man,
and he started chatting with us.
He could not speak English very well, neither could we converse in Japanese,
but throughout the whole dining time,
we talked quite a lot.
There was another senior couple present, 
and they could not speak English at all.
So the Japanese man became our 'translator'.
We did not talk about anything deep,
but just really casual conversations that felt very heart-warming.
Soon, another Japanese man came in,
and he was just as friendly and tried to chat with us too.
(with the 'translator' passing the message of course. hahah!)
The husband of the senior couple treated us to one sake,
& there was so much laughter in the 'room',
despite the language barrier
& even though we barely understood each other.





Bacon with mochi,
Left the place feeling so happy :)

We went back to the hotel to rest for awhile..
and one hour later..
we had one of those "YOLO" moments,
and decided to head back to Daimon Yokocho to have ramen.
HAHAHAHAH!
Nobody talks about calories when travelling okay?!

I hoenstly think you can get pretty decent ramen from any random ramen stall that you can find.
SLURPSSSSSS.

From this trip, we found out that the authentic Japanese ramen,
has no tamago (egg) in it!!

That summed up my Hakodate experience :)
The next day, we traveled to Niseko for our snow-skiing/snowboarding.
Will be back to update soon!!! 

Part II: Niseko
Part III: Sapporo


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