I've added a new page to the blog - "Travel"
Being granted with the opportunity to explore around Japan, let's start with the first stop - Hokkaido.
Hokkaido, located at the northern most on Japan is no doubt everyone's favorite place to visit.
The best soft serve?
The background of your desktop monitor you're always looking at?
YES. This is Hokkaido. And I'm going to begin with the southern part of Hokkaido - Hakodate, a place I've explored over the last week.
函館へようこそ!Hakodate, is a city and port located at the southern part of Hokkaido, Japan, also the third largest city in Hokkaido, after Sapporo and Asahikawa. I've arrived to Hakodate by plane via their airport, Hakodate Airport. I'll be splitting "Hakodate" into a few parts.
From the airport, you'd be able to board the City Shuttle Bus, which will ferry you to several different location for a price between 230-420 yen. This shuttle bus will serve you from Hakodate Airport to Yunokawa Onsen, Hakodate Station, Bay Area.
|The beautiful red leafs during Autumn|
The transportation system here in Hakodate is not that bad. However, it differs pretty much from Singapore. There is small fleet of buses. Missing a bus will probably get you an hour of waiting time. There's also tram that's available here. Just like in Hong Kong, they're traveling in the middle of the road, with the cars.
Traveling around will require a ICAS nimoca. This is just like the EZ-link we're using in Singapore. You can buy the card/topup the card in the buses/trams themselves for 2,000 Yen (500 Yen Deposit + 1500 Yen Stored Value). Each trip around will cost between 210-250 yen (S$2.50-3).
Alternatively, you can collect a piece of ticket and pay when you alight. Do note that they're boarding from the backdoor and alighting from the front door. Taxi is very expensive here in Japan and it will cost 550 yen upon boarding and each increment will be by 80 Yen. It will cost about S$20 for a 5km trip. Very costly..
For tourist. There's also Hakodate Bus One-Day Pass "Kanpass" that is for sale at tourist sites such as Hakodate Summit Bus, Goryokaku Tower etc. 1 Day passes will cost 1,000 Yen and 2 Day passes for 2,000 yen. Both buses and trams are available using that card.
I guess everyone is hungry...Let's start with some food, shall we?
Address: (Hakodate Bay Area Mainstore) 23-18 Suehirocho, Hakodate 040-0053, Hokkaido
Be sure to try out Lucky Pierrot at Hakodate! Lucky Pierrot is a home-grown fast food restaurant with 17 stores located only in Hakodate. The interior of each Lucky Pierrot looks slightly different and is very distinctive. I've been to 2 different outlets, one at Hitomi and another one at Hakodate Bay. They offer a wide range of food from burgers, soba, curry rice, omelette rice and more. I was told by my friends around that the Shrimp Burger taste nice. I can promise you that they're filling.
The cost of a plate of curry rice, blueberry milkshake, onion rings and gyoza cost about 1,300 Yen (about S$16) and the plate of soba cost about 750 yen (S$9.10)
|Lucky Pierrot Carbonated Can Drink|
|Lucky Pierrot - Curry Chicken Rice|
|Lucky Pierrot - Pork Soba Noodles|
Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse:
Address: 14-12 Suehiro-cho, Hakodate 040-0053, Hokkaido.
If you're taking local tram, please alight at Jujigai. Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse is in walking distance from Jujigai Tram Station.
Just opposite of the Lucky Pierrot at Hakodate Bay, lies a row of red brick houses which now serves as a shopping mall that sells souvenirs - Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse. This row of red buildings is originally the first commercial warehouse of Hakodate.
|Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse|
Address: 23-18 Suehirocho, Hakodate 040-0053, Hokkaido
If you're taking the local tram, you can alight at Jujigai Tram station and the few places are all within walking distance from the tram station.
The Hakodate Bay area offers an extensive view of the harbor. I was strolling along the bay along Hakodate Port. Just after the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse, I found a Starbucks and decided to settle down for a moment and enjoy my frappe with the beautiful scenery. I do not drink atas coffee back in Singapore, but now.. Let me enjoy myself first :p
|Starbucks in Hakodate Bay. Featuring the great view|
Address: 33-14 Motomachi, Hakodate 040-0054, Hokkaido
This is located at the foot of Mount Hakodate. The Motomachi neighborhood is filled with historical buildings such as the Old British Consulate. You'd be able to find a wide variety of beautiful western style building here. Do not forget to take more photo here!!
|Gothic-style Roman Catholic Church in Motomachi|
Address: Hakodateyama, Hakodate 040-0000, Hokkaido
The sun here sets at around 5pm. So just before it sets, I took the opportunity to go up to Mount Hakodate. Mount Hakodate is also in walking distance from the Bay Area. However, there's a steep slope that you'll have to walk up before taking a bus/ropeway to the top of the Mountain.
|The steep slope preceding the Rope ways/Buses on Mount Hakodate|
It will be the best for you to get onto Mount Hakodate just before the night falls so you'd be able to catch all the 3 views of Hakodate - with the sun, the sunset and the night view. However, please take note of the timing of sunset! Sun will start to set pretty early at about 5pm.
The view of Mount Hakodate is rated with a three star rating in the Michelin Green Guide Japon. So when you're around Hakodate. Don't forget to go up there!! There's 4 way of which you'd be able to reach the top of Mount Hakodate - Hiking, Driving, Bus and Cable Car. The cost of tickets for cable car for a return trip will cost around 1,200 Yen (S$14) and 800 Yen (S$9.75) for bus. Unfortunately, the cable car is closed for maintenance and is due in November. As such, I've went up by bus. It's truly a pity that the cable car is closed as there's many more things that I'd be able to see if I'm in it. But well..
|Bus to Mount Hakodate. Time for buses is here too.|
|View of Mount Hakodate before Sunset|
|View of Mount Hakodate after Sunset|
There's also a souvenir shop at the top of Mount Hakodate with a restaurant. You'd be able to get some Shiroi Kobito, Calbee Jaga Pokkura and more there. Just another thing.. the weather up there is much colder especially when the wind is blowing at you, so don't forget to wear more! At the same time, the queue for bus back down is horribly long. So if you're getting up here by bus, be prepared to miss at least one bus.
|Doraemon sold in the shop too!|
This is my itinerary for 1 day in Hakodate. Now.. how much do I spend? I can assure you.. it's less than S$50 (this amount includes transportation, Mt Hakodate bus, food and beverages)
Places covered: Motomachi-district, Mount Hakodate, Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse, Hakodate Bay.
Link to Part 2 here