Japan · 12 Days · 59 Moments · October 2017

Ariadna's journi to Japan

18 October 2017

Went back to hotel for a bit. Neil stayed napping. I walked around the Factory shopping centre. Then, walked down to Tanukikoyi Arcade. Had a wine while I waited for Neil, who joined me in Susukino entertaining area. We walked back and had dinner in Factory.
T38 in JR Tower, amazing views. Lunch in an udon place.
Walked around Sapporo: Odori Park, TV Tower, Botanical Gardens. Sun came out, unexpectedly, but still cold.
Had breakfast in Nijo fish market. Tuna donburi.

17 October 2017

Checked in in Clubby Hotel. Dinner in Sapporo Station: okonomiyaki. Good and fun.
Drove to Otaru. Walked a bit along the canal. Pissing down so we took cover in a cafe/Swedish shop. I had an apple cinnamon tea, beautifully served. The lady took pity on us and gave us an umbrella.
Lunch in Jozankei. Very nice cafe on the road. Neil had curry, I had Japanese spaghetti. And we shared the best honey toast ever.
Driving day. Stopped a couple of times to see the autumn leaves. After two hours, arrived to Hoheiyo Dam. Parked and got on electric bus that takes you to the damn. Went up a mini cable car to see the view. Walked back to the parking through a couple of tunnels.

16 October 2017

Walked along the lake. Great views. Snacked Potato Cheese Mori (?), strange but nice. Drove back listening to podcasts. Last onsen, very empty, washed my hair. Sake. Dinner.
Late lunch at Lake Shikotsu.
Climbed up Mount Tarumae and then around the caldera of the volcano. Impressive. Looked like lava that has just cooled down. Very windy and at times, very cold. Amazing views. Along the way, a Japanese man stopped to talk to us. Hard to understand, Jehova witness (!). 3:20 hrs. Almost 7 km. A bit of everything: volcano, lake, autumn...

15 October 2017

Onsen. Today I had the nice outside garden with a waterfall. And the water wasn’t as hot as yesterday. Sake. Dinner at buffet.
Walked around an area affected by volcano activity on 2000. We saw newly created craters, flats with the first floor covered in mud, a whole bridge carried meters...
Lunch in Toyako Onsen.
Took the Suzann ropeway up to the Mount Usu volcano. Walked along the rim to see the crater on one side, and the bay on the other side. Quite windy. Lots of steps! But well worth it. When we took the ropeway back down, a group seemed to have forgotten someone behind and the whole carriage was cracking up.
Showa Shinzan is a mountain that rose suddenly during earthquakes in 1943-45.

14 October 2017

Very nice scenic drive to Lake Toya. We stopped at Orofure Pass. Autumn behind us, winter ahead.
Before it became dark, we stopped at a bridge to see the views. Drove back to hotel. Parking was full! Parker where we could. Bought sake in 7-11. Onsen. Super full too. Dinner.
Drove to Ainu Museum. Neil stayed in the car. It has replicas of houses, so quite nice to walk around. Every hour there is a folk show: ritual dance, a kind of didgeridoo (though it looks nothing like it), lullaby...
Lunch at Nr 1 place in Trip Advisor, hand made soba noodles.
Drove up to see Lake Kuttara.
Beautiful sunny day. We went for a walk in Jugokudani or Hell Valley, a volcanic park. Walked up a hill and then down to Oyunuma bubbling pond. Impressive. Walked along the steaming river, passed the warm foot bath and back to the hotel.

13 October 2017

Checked in at Grand Hotel in Noboribetsu Onsen. Western room. Amazing buffet. Which is lucky, as we are spending four nights here. It has everything. Including raclette!
During the 4 hour drive to Noboribetsu, we stopped along the way for a yummy lunch. I had pasta/noodles with seafood. And they gave us a complimentary mushroom rice. So good!
Drove to a lookout to see Akan Mtn. Then, to Lake Onetto (5 colours lake). Today it was green. We went for a walk around the lake and then up the hill, using our bear bells. About 1:50.
Sunshine, so this morning we could see the Mount Oakan over the lake. When we checked out, we were given a complimentary bag with sweet bread.

12 October 2017

Unexpected fun dinner at hotel. We thought it would be a boring buffet, but the table was ser for us with lots of little dishes, with tempura, rice, an individual hotpot, miso, melon... after dinner we had some complimentary ice cream and coffee in the lobby.
We checked in the Hotel Gozensui. I went to the onsen. The interior was quite ugly but it had an outside bath, which was nice.
We had a drink in a bar in the main road. They didn’t have sake, so Neil had a whiskey and I had a soju while we watched Japanese TV.
We went on a boat tour around the lake. We couldn’t see any of the mountains or volcanoes, as it was very foggy, but the shores were very pretty and colourful. It stopped at the Marimo Observation Centre, where we saw the algi balls that we saw in a Japan documentary.
Stroll around Ainu village. Haksap tea, coffee and pumpkin dumplings with ice cream.
Had lunch at a local place, Nabekyu. I had salmon don. Neil had hand made soba soup.
Quick drive to Takimi Bridge. Apparently one of the best spots to see autumn leaves. Beautiful.
Raining. Checked out and Neil drove 1 hr to Lake Akan. We went to the Tourist Information office. We went for a short walk through a very nice forest to see “bokke”, bubbling mud puddles. But they weren’t bubbling much and half of the path was closed.

11 October 2017

Dinner at this izakaya next to the hotel: Genpei.
Very needed onsen. So hot! Warmed me up in no time! Washed my hair, like a local.
On the way back, we stopped at Iozan, an “active volcano” with very yellow, sulfurous vents and bubbling puddles. You can get really close. Impressive!
5.5 hrs trek from Observatory 1, 13 km, to top of Mount Mashu, walking along the rim of a double caldera. Quite cold and grey, but no rain. Amazing views at the top. We saw woodpeckers and a deer. Quite tired...
Lake Mashu. First we stopped at Observatory N3 to take in the full view. In the photo you can see the peak we planned to climb.

10 October 2017

Checked in at hotel Kinkiyu in Kawayu. Went to the very nice onsen, which I had for myself. Had dinner nearby: wonderful sushi, tempura and sake. The couple of Western guys we have crossed in the two last treks, walked in also to have dinner. For sure we’ll meet again. Walked to convenience store to buy picnic for tomorrow.
1 hr walk around Wakoto Peninsula. Autumn is still arriving here. Beautiful views and colours. Then stopped at Sunayu Beach for a last picture. You can make holes in the sand for your own onsen. The lake’s water was warm!
We stopped at the Bihoro Pass to see the view of Lake Kussharo. Beautiful, but the wind was so cold!
Checked out. It was raining. Drove to Cape Notoro, very nice, autumny landscape. By the time we got there, it had cleared. Lunch in Abashiri. Most restaurants were closed! Neil managed to change his bulging battery in an electronics shop.

9 October 2017

After dinner... bingo! People thought it was funny that Neil picked the cute soft toy.
On the way back, we stopped to see two beautiful waterfalls.
Went to 7/11 to buy food for today. We also bought a bell for bears, and since it came with a can opener and a whistle, I used that as a bell.
4,5 hr trek. The Autumn colours were gone. Still, beautiful views, geysers, bear footprints, and lots of ponds.

8 October 2017

Visited the information center. We were told that in most places of Daisetsuzan the colours had already finished. Luckily there is still a spot with Autumn left in the area.
Hotel pijamas. Onsen. Sake. Dinner in sister hotel (better food than yesterday!). We walked back.
30 min walk to a waterfall in the last bit of Autumn left in the area. Beautiful.
Took the Ropeway and then a chairlift. A bit more than an hour clinb up Mount Kurodake, snow included. Missed my walking sticks!
Ohayo! View from the room. Enjoying the autumn leaves is called Kanpukai.

7 October 2017

Big hotel with onsen and a buffet. Great autumn views from lobby.
Patchwork Road around Biei. Beautiful. Must even more amazing when the flowers and the lavender are blooming.
Soba lunch.
Short walk around incredibly blue pond.
Takushinkan Gallery. Photos of the area
Quick visit to the Furano Cheese Factory. Bought cheese tarts to try.
Gooseberry Pension Cute!