This year we had 25+1cute baby on the tour, some joined from Boston whose meeting us in Japan. We departed for Chitose from Honolulu on direct flight, flight was full but everybody comfortably enjoyed our long flight. Only concern was typhoon coming up from Okinawa side…
Arrived in Chitose, we walked over to our hotel which was conveniently located inside terminal. Hokkaido was raining but it was not too bad, just worried about weather from tomorrow.
Everybody refreshed and ready to go from early morning! Restaurant was opened at 6:30am but most of us are (I guess hungry?!) there already. Enjoyed great choices of buffet breakfast, weather was cloudy but we started to see blue sky as we are driving to Asahikawa side. Go away typhoon! Today we enjoyed ramen for lunch and sake at brewery. Surprisingly or not, most of us enjoyed tasting more than the tour itself. Now we are ready to go onsen town “Sounkyo”.
Onsen, massage, great dinner buffet was too much fun last night in Sounkyo. Today the weather is nice and sunny! Good weather for flower viewing in Furano. Crossing our fingers for full bloom flower field and nice weather. There is was, beautiful patchwork of field filled with different crops and flowers, lavender was all in full bloom. It is just breath taking. This is what they are known for in Furano. You owe it to yourself to see this beautiful scenery one after another.
Such wonderful scenery in mind we are leaving for Sapporo city. Weather still nice some of us made dinner plans in Sapporo for crab, sushi and jingiskan (Lamb BBQ). Just as we are arriving in Sapporo it started to rain a little but no need umbrella yet. After arriving at hotel we are ready take stroll in Sapporo, before going to the hotel we had chance to drive around main part of city, Odori park was filled with flowers and greens, some beer gardens are opening up here and there, jazz festival would take place in Odori park during the sunmmer month. Not only us but everybody in Hokkaido seems to be enjoying their short summer in outdoor.
Free day all day, majority wanted to go shopping/sightseeing in the city so we conducted excursion on foot. Walked from hotel – Old Hokkaido Government building (Took nice picture in front of main building with flowers) – Odori Park (Water fountain, flowers, food stands) – 2jyo fish market – 100 yen store – Tokyu Hands ans etc. Weather was still holding up too.
Visited Nikka Whisky in Yoichi, they are known for “Taketsuru” named after founder of the company which is awarded as one of the best in the world. Yoichi city is also known as fruits produce. We visited cherry farm. All you can eat, just pick them, eat in orchard and spit out seeds on the group. Some ate more than 40 cherries. Then we visited Otaru city – fish cake (kamaboko) factory – music box shop – glass ware – Otaru canal in leisurely pace. Some of us had dinner at sushi restaurant, big surprise was the chef came to our room and make sushi right in front of us which was very amusing and interesting. When he came out from other side of small shoji window we are so surprised. This was fun and great dinner.
Otaru to Noboribetsu onsen, we stop in Shiraoi Ainu Villege, the museum tour was given by a curator , his passion for split the words about Ainu was very touching and made us understand and wanted to know more about them. Lunch was local dish called “salmon chan chan yaki”, salmon, sea foods and vegetables are cooked in grill. Tonight we are staying at one of the old onsen resort in Japan, soon as we arrived in this small onsen town, smell sulfur and steam coming out here and there. Our hotel had huge onsen with different tabs, interesting one is walking exercise path. Most of us didn’t miss this chance to take onsen bath on our last night in Japan.
We are going home….sadly. Left hotel 11am, stop at natural foot bath in Oyunuma river near our hotel, this was nice! Please visit if you are in Noboribetsu. Although typhoon was approaching north from Okinawa side we were not effected by any bad weather, people enjoyed summer in Hokkaido with full bloom lavender and flowers, food and shopping is great but the most importantly Japan offers many different faces in distinctive four seasons, now we saw summer, next we have to come back in winter for snow festival!
Posted by Linda Okabe
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