Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Japan 2013 - Day 9: Niseko and Mt Yotei on the way back to Sapporo

Our last day in Hakodate. It was hard to leave as there were still so many things to see that we couldn't squeeze in to our itinerary. Maybe next time...

For now, we had to look forward to yet another long journey, driving all the way back up to Sapporo (about 250kms away). 

first half of our route to Sapporo (the star to the right of point B is Mt Yotei)

About 170kms drive from Hakodate is Niseko - a famous mountain resort (and skiing) site in Hokkaido. It was summer when we went there though so no skiing nor snow. 

we stopped by Niseko View Plaza Farmers Market

gave the boys a break from the long drive and have a breath of fresh air

this was a shop where local farmers sell their produce.
These were the photos of the farmers. 

hiding from the burning hot sun

couple time while the kids were sitting under a more shady place

Mt Yotei veiled by these clouds. We waited for a few minutes for the clouds to clear but it seemed they wouldn't clear any sooner. 
It would have been a great view of what was said to be the Mt Fuji of Hokkaido.
oh well, had to take this photo anyway

as we drove along the road, we saw that the clouds were slowly clearing. We stopped by Seicomart (one of our favorite convenience shops in Japan) to grab pre-heated lunch. We thought maybe we could find a place somewhere so we could have a picnic. And we did!
As we were driving, we followed the signs (not minding the prompts of the GPS) leading to this park in the middle of nowhere....
and we had full view of Mt Yotei, here still capped by clouds and some snow

family photos with Mt Yotei as our scenic backdrop. You couldn't get as natural as this.

good thing we still had extra time, we were able to linger in this place for an hour!
No better way to spend lunch time than here - fresh air, pre-packed food, family together and 
an unblocked view of the mountain.

our hopes were up as we saw the clouds clearing...
The unveiling of Mt Yotei

happy nature photographer

and finally, it's clear! It was all worth the wait.

finishing up so they could play around

satisfied customer (belly full)

our little photographer in action again

we were able to take several photos of the mountain as the clouds slowly cleared up - PRICELESS
we drove to a nearby park for a different view of the mountain

my boys' jump shot

like models of this little blue car :)

So that was it for our Mt Yotei close encounter. We wouldn't forget the experience nor the view. Maybe on our next visit we can see snow and go skiing!

As we drove back to Sapporo, we realized we were able to drive almost 3/4 around the mountain! That's something.

the second half of our route back to Sapporo

From Niseko, we drove northwest towards Nakayama Pass. It's almost halfway between Niseko and Sapporo. We knew we were driving up mountain ranges, but didn't realize we were that high already.

proof that we were driving on a highway very high up in the mountains 
as we drove along Nakayama Pass. I just had to take photos of these as travel log :)

Few more kilometers away and we were back to the city of Sapporo. Our last night in Hokkaido and we were already feeling sad about it.

We checked in at Sapporo Nada Inn, a small accommodation which is like a bed and breakfast type. The owner/reception was a nice, middle aged man. He could speak good basic English, which was a big help as we asked how we could spend the last night in Sapporo. Apparently, we could walk from his place to the shopping streets of the city. He gave us a map and showed us how we could go there.

Sapporo Nada Inn
Chuo-ku Minami 5-Jo Nishi 9-1016-14
Sapporo 064-0805
Phone: +81-11-551-5882
Email: sapporoinnnada@jcom.home.ne.jp
Japanese style quad w/ shared bathroom = 14,600 yen 
credit card payment has 5% commission
Parking fee = 600 per night
Booked thru booking.com
(+) within walking distance from shopping area
(-) parking fee 600 yen per night, but is just in the backyard (not sure if they are paying parking to the govt)
(-) shared bathroom

underground shopping street. Now where were we again???

who would have thought that we would be seeing a Kopitiam in Sapporo? 
We didn't read anything about this on any travel blogs or books.

This was our last night in Hokkaido and I was hoping I could find souvenirs to bring home. Unfortunately, I didn't find that much that fit my requirements (snow globes and fridge magnets were not that popular). But we did find something we didn't expect to see - a shop selling toys where the boys bought cars and hubby found spare tires for his Wild Willy! That's what we call lucky find. He has been looking for a spare tire for months in Singapore since Ira got one of the wheels punctured (don't ask how) but he couldn't find any. Who would have thought we needed to travel to Japan to get one? :) Now that's one souvenir that's very useful and my hubby would surely treasure.

Ira with the Wild Willy and its punctured tire way back 2012

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