Sunday, May 17, 2009

Japan ~ Hokkaido Trip Jul 2007

It's has been two long years !! I must admit that I'm guilty, I have been sleeping on the pictures taken during our Honeymoon trip to Hokkaido in 2007 !!! Until the roadshow for Foto-hub @ Raffles City came by. I decided to select out some pics to print into a book.

Original price of the book is about $56.90, during the road show, they had a special price of $26.90 and if you were among the 1st 8 daily, you can do the books @ $9.90 !

I think I'm crazy enough and had went to queue for the 1st 8 !! Managed to get one book for the Hong Kong Trip done !

And to think Dear dear was crazy enough to go and queue for me to have our Japan trip photos printed into books as well. He did one and booked another slot to complete another book.

One of my favourite pages !




Kind of stress when doing it as I have to complete the layout and get the project ready in 90 mins ! The sight of the timer on the right hand corner of the screen made worse. That was seriously worse than taking exams !

Probably, I should have blog this up. Truely, I missed Japan ! Hope that I can go there again someday with Xavier with us.

This is gonna be a really lengthy post. Bear with me at the same time, do enjoy viewing the pics !

It was a 10 days tour starting from 17th July 2007.

17th July 2007 ~

While waiting for our flight, we had our breakfast @ Burger King


Domestic flight transfer to from Narita Airport to Sapporo Airport. We were getting closer to reach Hokkaido ! Hokkaido is the second largest, northernmost and least developed of Japan's four main islands. Here's the beautiful sunset ...


Finally !!! Hokkaido here we come !! Our first stayover was @ Hotel Nikko Chitose for a night. It was kinda cold out in the open... Brrrrrrr... freezing ...

18th July 2007 ~

The serenity view of Hokkaido taken from our room. Pretty clean place I would say.

Look out for the cute little houses behind me. Don't they look like those we saw in Doraemon cartoon.. Hee.. small, cute & simple !

One last pic @ the hotel entrance before we set off to Ainu Museum. My heart almost died during the mid of the tour in the museum when I discovered that due to the cold weather, the camera battery ran low and empty !!!

Shiraoi Ainu Museum ( also known as "Poroto kotan") The museum is located in Shiraoi, a neigbouring town of Noboribetsu.


"Ainu" are the native inhabitants of Hokkaido.

The museum exhibits the Ainu cultural & lifestyle in an outdoor reproduction of a small Ainu village and also various tools & other goods inside a museum.

Traditional Ainu dances are performed at several intervals throughout the day.

Housing ~

Kotan House are made of cogon grasses, bamboo grass, barks, etc.

The length lay east to west or parallel to a river. A house was about 7 meters by 5 meters, with an entrance at the west end that also served as a storeroom.

The house had three windows, including the "rorun-puyar," a window located on the side facing the entrance (at the east side) , through which gods entered and left and ceremonial tools were taken in and out. The Ainu have regarded this window as sacred and have been told never to look in through it.

Inside the Kotan house ~

A house had a fireplace near the entrance.

The husband and wife sat on the fireplace's left side (called "shiso") . Children and guests sat facing them on the fireplace's right side (called "harkiso"). The house had a platform for valuables called "iyoykir" behind the shiso.

Smoked salmon ~

The Ainu stored in storehouses called "pu" most of the foods obtained by fishing, hunting, gathering wild vegetables, agriculture and other activities so that they could survive the winter or famines.

Salmon are hanged on the roof top to dry and smoked.

After the Museum tour, we had our lunch @ one of Hokkaido Fresh seafood market.


You shop for fresh seafood like Squids, Sea Urchins, Sashimi, Snails, Lobsters, Crabs, etc on level 1,

My greatest enemy !!! Creature with many legs !!! OCTOPUS !!


This was our lunch. Yummy, piping hot steamboat.....


Hairy crabs but it's SWEET !!

After the fulfilling lunch, you wouldn't want to miss out the great view of the Pacific Ocean

and of course we were busy snapping away with our camera, non stop !!


Our next stop was to Jigokudani (aka Hell valley), situated at Noboribetsu. This is the main source for Noboribetsu's hot spring water.

Hell Valley is a spectacular, appropriately named valley which emits hot steam vents, sulfurous streams as well as other volcanic activities.






Followed by Bear Runch on the next destination.

YES !!! They will wave to you ! Spot the waving bear !!!

Bear doing "gong xi gong xi" act !

Clapping his hands?

We can feed the bears with food. Per pack costs about 100 Yen.

The bears there were smart and also good in catching the food thrown down to them !

While waiting for the rest of the tour group members, we wandered around on our own to take some pictures

and to fill our tummy with some snacks which were of course unresistable when you see them!


On our way to Lake Toya, a small Sunflower field was spotted by the bus driver. SURPRISED !!

He was kind enough to stop along the road side and allowed us to go into the field to have a fast pcture taking with the sunflowers !!! Yippee !!




Next stop, we arrived @ Lake Toya

for some scenary pictures taking


and proceeded to Toya Kanko Hotel. This was where we experienced sleeping on tatami mats !

I just simply loved the simple arrangement

And how I wish I get to see this view from my window every morning !

and of course not forgetting to put on the Japanese style robes !


Had a nice sulphur hotspring bath before the dinner. It's like a big feast, where everyone dined together.



After the dinner, despite the cold weather, we went to Lake Toya for an after dinner evening walk

and enjoyed a fireworks display before returning to our rooms and call it a day.

Anyway, we found this big Doraemon in a corner of the Hotel !

19th July 2007 ~

As usual, we woke up with excitement and anticipation of going out to take pictures after our breakfast. This was the morning view of Lake Toya.


This time round, the travelling was longer. Managed to snap this while the bus was moving. No matter where and what the place was, it scenary just looks great !

We stopped by to have our lunch at a place where they had a nice, beautiful park.




Had a simple yummy hotpot Udon.


One funny thing which i remembered was, every place we stopped for our meals, we would start to look for plugs to charge our camera battery ! hahahahaha....

Enjoying Lavender flavour ice-cream !!!!

Next stop, we arrived @ Otokoyama Sake Brewery & Museum. It exhibits old sake brewing equipment and the history of sake brewing in woodblocks prints.


Otokoyama is one of the finest sake in northern Japan, and has been awarded numerous gold medals in wine and spirit competitions both in Japan and oveaseas.

The natural underground water used for brewing is funneled through a rock at the side of the brewery and made freely available to visitors for their enjoyment.



That was the second last visit of the day. Dinner was at Ramen Village.



Ramen meant for the GIANT !!

After which, we went to check in at Cresent Hotel

and went to Asahikawa shopping street for some shopping spree and great bargains.

Found Macdonald's there

and tah dah !! They got McPork !!

Zzzzz.. Oyasuminasai ... Gotta wake early for tomorrow again .. Zzzzzz

20th July 2007 ~

Enjoyed the fresh clean air in the morning. Pictures taking in the rice & potato fields




Potato flowers in bloom !




This is the highlight of the tour! Lavender farm !!

Tomita Farm ~

Situated in a small town, Furano, in Central Hokkaido. It is famous for its rainbow flowers display.

Strolling along the lavander field, you will feel very relax as the mild sweet smell of lavander hanging in the air plus the cooling climate in Hokkaido during summer, coupled with a gentle breeze.

Starting from the Traditional Lavender Garden


This is Irodori Field




Overview of Irodori field






Sakiwai Field


Beautiful lavender ...



The red pretty flowers are poppy flowers. Opium is made from them.







In the farm, not only you find lavander, but also other kinds of flowers. There are marigold, yellow daisy, lilies and other beautiful flowers blooming across the land.





After our lunch, we went to "Kanno Farm" which was just further down the roadside.

There were also lavender farms too !






The wind were pretty strong ! Imagined our camera being blown off, when we set to self timer to take our pics !




Along the way to Mt Daisetsu, we visted another scenary spot. This is the " Gin Ga no taki" ~ Silver River Waterfall

This is "Ryu Sei no Taki" ~ Shooting Star Waterfall



We drove up to Sounkyo Gorge, situated at the foot of Mount Daisetsu-zan.

Next, followed by a ride on the Sounkyo-Kurodake Ropeway (Gondola: Capacity is 101 people !!)


The Kurodake ropeway took us up from Sounkyo in 7 minutes to the 5th Stage of Mt Kurodake, a magnificient mountain among Daisetsu mountains. The Daisetsu Mountain range consists of : Mt Kurodake, Mt Keigetsudake, Mt Ryoundake and Mt Kamikawadake.

@ the 5th stage,we took a short 15 mins ride on the Kurodake Chair lift, up to the 7th stage of Mt Kurodake.



During the 15 mins ride, we got to enjoy a spectacular paronama of Mt Kurodake !!




If you ever wonder who took the pics for us... It's our dear tour guide !! We took pictures for one another !!

We had reached the 7th stage of Mt Kurodake


A glimpse of snow through the viewing machine






Time to go back down !


We checked into Sounkyo Kanko Hotel after that.

Went to take some pics outside the hotel before dinner. Isn't amazing ! I could wear shorts out in the freezing cold temperature !



Had a nice dinner


and ended the day with a nice hotspring bath !

21st July 2007 ~

We visited Ishiya Chocolate Factory


where you can see the manufacturing line of the yummy yummy "Shiroi Koibito" – the famous Hokkaido chocolate sandwiched between baked cookies.




There were also alot of handmade sugar craft. Their handicrafts were really impressive !!




We also got to visit the Chocolate Factory Gallery where the chocolate maker’s personal collection of valuable toys were displayed.

Here's prince charming on the horse and carriage with the princess ! Hahahhahaha

You'd better stop telling lies !!

The place is really like a miniature themed park!


Spot me among the flowers !!


Little white glass house !! I was simply in love with it !

Little tree house !!

Enjoying my ice-cream in the rose garden...

Pink rose in full bloom !!

Followed by a Shopping spree @ Li Xiao Lu, where you can find some good bargains on their local delights, bags and clothing and yukata.

The picture below shows the 5th street. They are all linked by covered walkways.

There are 8 streets altogether.





Then, we went to Odori Park in the northern city of Saporro, Hokkaido, Japan, where you can find the Saporro TV Tower.

The Sapporo TV Tower was built in 1957, measuring 147.2 metre high TV Tower with an observation deck at a height of 90.38 metres.


We went for some tree and easy shopping and chanced upon this big mouse and cheese.. Prob it was screening in Japan during that period.



It's dinner time !! We had teppanyaki ! Kobe beef is one of the top grade beef in Japan.

Japanese Kobe beef is well marbled and very tender. Thumbs up !

Let me show you the certificate for Kobe Beef !!

We checked into APA Hotel & Resort after that & went for some shopping at the nearby malls..

22nd July 2007 ~

We headed to Otaru Music Box Museum.


There are thousands of music boxes on display and for sale.



You can also DIY your very own musical box ! Select the characters you want and your favourite tune !



@ Yume no Oto "Character house"

This shop below sells all kinds of Hello Kitty Merchandise ! Simply for the Kitty Lovers !


Took some pictures as we went along the way ..



Yummy 5-tier ice-cream !!!! Shiok !!!

A group pic during lunch !




On with the tradtional riskshaw and of course not forgetting to take a pic with the Japanese hunk !


It's time to bid goodbye !! Happy time flies !!! Bye, Hokkaido. We hope to be back here again in a different season !! Some pics taken during the bus ride, on our way to Saporro Airport.



Here's what everyone would be having. Cartons and cartons of loots !! hahaahaa.. All the yummy snacks are in there !


There are alot of shops selling yummy snacks @ the airport too !!

We had reached Tokyo !

Catch the Rainbow bridge (Tokyo)!


Rainbow Bridge is a suspension bridge crossing northern Tokyo Bay between the Shibaura Wharf and the Odaiba waterfront development in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Completed in 1993, the bridge spans 570 metres (1,870 ft) and carries three transportation lines on two decks:

Upper deck: Shuto Expressway No. 11 Odaiba Route
Lower deck: Route 357 (also known as "Rinkō Dōro", Portside Avenue) and the Yurikamome automated train

This was in the night view.

The towers supporting the bridge are white in color, designed to harmonize with the skyline of central Tokyo seen from Odaiba. There are lamps placed on the wires supporting the bridge, which are illuminated into three different colors, red, white and green every night using solar energy obtained during the day.

It's not easy to capture a nice shot of the bridge with the dim lighting and your hand got to be very stable, no shaking, no tremble. In the end, we piled up our bags to serve as our tripod and set on the self timer mode !!


Last night with the tour was @ Narita Gardens Hotel

23rd July 2007 ~

Everyone was busy checking out. Time to go on our seperate ways .. One with our local tour guide and one with the Japan TG.

We took the train and continue with our free and easy programme in Tokyo.

Look @ our barang barang.. As if moving house !!

Our first stop in Tokyo was to Asakusa Kannon officially known as "Sensoji"

This is the front gate of the temple, which was rebuilt in 1960, 95 years after the former gate was lost by a fire.


Below showed "Nakamise".

This is the front approach to the main hall, with many souvenir stores on both sides. It is always thronged with visitors.

This is Hozomon Gate. This two storied ferroconcrete gate was constructed in 1964. Rare sutras printed in China during the 14th century and some Important Cultural properties are preserved on the upper level.

Behind me showed "Tenyu-an house which is a replica of the Fushin-an in Kyoto, a highly celebrated 18th century tea ceremony house now lost.

After the prayers...

Another pic @ the gate before we left.

Spotted this cute little car with a red bull advertisement.


Our next destination was the Imperial Palace. Started our way from Tokyo Main Station.


In search of the Imperial Palace East Gardens...

Yeah !!!! Finally found it !!

Nijubashi Bridge of Imperial Palace.It is said that the Nijubashi Bridge is the most photographed scene in Japan.





Our next aim to go.. Tokyo tower !!

Getting nearer !!

We've reached TOKYO TOWER !!

Tokyo Tower is really one of few icons of Tokyo. Tokyo Tower is a tower in Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan, at 35° 39′ 30″ N 139° 44′ 43″ E, whose design is based on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

The Tower is 333 meters tall (9 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower, or 33 if the latter's TV Antenna is not included) making it the world's highest self-supporting iron tower.

Unlike the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower is located in the middle of a city block. The tower only weighs about 4000 tons, which is extremely light compared to the 10100 ton Eiffel Tower, and it is painted in white and orange according to aviation safety regulations.

From dusk to 11 PM, the tower is brilliantly illuminated in orange. The lighting is occasionally changed for special events; for the Japan premiere of The Matrix, for instance, the Tower was lit in neon green.


The first floor houses an aquarium, home to 50,000 fish, the third floor is a wax museum and an attraction called the Mysterious Walking Zone, and the fourth floor a Trick Art Gallery.

There are also two observatory floors, the main observatory (at 150 m) and the so-called "special observatory" (at 250 m); both afford a spectacular 360 degree view of Tokyo and, if the weather is clear, Mt. Fuji.

Some views from the main observatory floor.

This is the day view of the Rainbow bridge.

Overview of Tokyo in day time.

This is a coin maker machine. We had personalised a coin with a Hello kitty coupled with a Tokyo Tower design and had our names and date imprinted on it. Kinda fun !

We can look all the way down to the ground from where we were standing. Everything's so tiny !!

Evening view of Rainbow bridge. the colours explained the name given ..

Beautiful Tokyo in the evening view..

The miniature Tokyo Tower !

One last pic with Tokyo Tower before we left for our next destination.


We went Shinjuku after that and went back to Hotel and call it a day !!



24th July 2007 ~

A whole day dedicated just for DISNEYLAND !!!

Here's what you see after you walked out from the Train Station.

Queuing up excitedly to buy tickets !

Yippee !!! Got 'em !

Just before the entrance of Disneyland !

Here's Mickey Don !

Minnie Me !!

One with the big Pooh Bear !!

Can I borrow your bunch of balloons please ..

Finally !! I got to see my dream castle in real !!




And we queued for 2 and a half hours for the Honey Pot Ride !!!








We went around taking pictures and sitting on the rides !



A glimpse of the day time parade. We waited for the evening parade instead.




It's seriously hard to catch these characters to take pics !! Look further below and you will know why I said that. Especially those more popular characters. Only kids have the power to draw their attention !!



The two Ds.. Donald and Don !! hahaahahah


I caught Chip and Dale !!


Spot the old kid ...


Where Chip and Dale stays ..





Minnie's house !




These were taken during the night parade.




It's pretty hard to capture the night view of the castle. Alot of pics turned out to be blurred ..

Went for a game of shooting and we got to claim prizes for over 85 points !



We reluctantly went home after Disney closed for the day.

25th July 2007 ~

Ikebukuro is the nearest station to our hotel. About 3 mins walk. Pretty near.

Day 9 in Japan was spent shopping around for our wanted stuff and also visiting whatever we saw on our way.

Went to their poilice museum and was hoping to buy their police bear to add to my collection. But unfortunately, their's was not to my liking. Not sure what animal was that. Definately, it'snot a bear and wth no uniform as well. Hence, I gave it a miss.



26th July 2007 ~ The last day was also last minute shopping !

Anyway, we stayed at Hotel Metropolitan during our Tokyo stay.

Found a gigantic Hello Kitty !!

Just nice for the Ultraman fanatic !

So reluctant to leave ..

Goodbye Japan ...

2 comments:

Dana Mummy and Daddy said...

What a lovely honeymoon! Must have taken you very long to post all the details and pics up to the blog! Great Job :) Hokkaido's a really lovely place. I was there too (with ASA hols) in 2007. Your post brought back many fond memories! :D

xavvy said...

Dana's Mummy, yeah... It took me quite a few days to load and refresh my memory for a trip of two years ago !

Hope to bring Xavier there someday !

=) Glad tt the pics brought back the fond memories to you.

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