Wearing Yukata is very common and you will find that every hotels will put a Yukata in your room. But wearing Yukata on the street will only to common in the hot spring resort area but not in the city.
Another thing to note that is wearing Yukata has to fold your left inside and then your right. Dun do it wrong like put your right inside and then to your left, this method of wearing is only for death people.
Otaru is a romantic town. Stroll along the Otaru canal and discovered the old warehouse along the side of the canal. Previously, this canal is an very important river for Otaru, this river is used to transport goods to Otaru, therefore you can found alot of warehouse along the canal. But now, this canal is a tourist attraction.
Playing Pachinko is very popular in Japan and also very additive. My tour guide said that you have to use your right hand to find tune to an angle for the ball bearing to fall to the center of the board so that it will fall into the hole and activate the jackpot. If you hit the jackpot, ball bearings will fall out. These ball bearings can be exchange into gifts but not money as it is illegal in Japan to exchange into money. But i heard there is a back door out to actually change those bearings into money. But only the locals know how.
My tour guide told me that there is one incident that a young mother actually hooked on playing Pachinko, so one day, during summer, she brought her few months baby to play Pachinko, she put her baby inside the car and leave a tiny air gap in the window. But as it is summer, the car got very hot and the baby got sufficated inside the car. And this news got onto the national TV and was a topic for a week. So after this incident, now most Pachinko center hired babysitter to take care of those babies while the mothers playing the game.
This is one of the few sign board that actually have english explaination of the hell valley.
Below is what it say:
HISTORY OF JUGOKUDUNI VALLEY
Mt Kuttara, the central crater of which is where kuttarako Lake is located, began volcanic activities again in its western foot in the Holocene epoach ( 10,000 years ago in the present). Thousands of years of repeated phreatic explosions produces the geographical deatures around Jigokudani Valley High volcanic energy in the form of magma is believed to be stored underground. Gas is emitted and hot water spouts out actively even now.
PLANTS AROUND JIGOKUDANI VALLEY
Altough the elevation of Jigokudano Valley is only 210 yo 260 meters, such alpine plants as Marsh tea and Crowberry, grow there. This is because the surrounding environment is very severe for plants due to such emitted gas as hydrogen suifide or the presence of the highly acidic and moisture absorbing trass. Such severe conditions, like severe weather on high mountains, impede growth of plants other than Alphine plants.
THE NOBORIBETSU PRIMEVAL FOREST
In 1924, the forest around Noboribetsu-Onsen hot springs was nationally protected and designated as the " Noboribetsu Primeval Forest". In those days, the forest comprised mainly typical gigantic trees found in south Hokkaido such as Mongolian oak and Castor aralia. Later, however, the forest changed much as a result of logging activities in the last years of WW II and the ddestructive forces of Typhoon Toyamaru in 1954. You can still find towering Querus crispula trees here and there. From these, you will be able to imagine the former glory of the primeval forest.
We went to tour around Japan best brew beer Asahi Beer factory, you cant take picture inside the factory but it is worth to tour around. Japanese's technology is really very advance. While we were touring the factory, the large production line, we only saw 2 workers maintaining that large line. The whole production line is totally automated, from producing the beer till the packaging all automated.
I got to know that the whole factory only consist of slightly over 100 workers, wow that is impressive.
This Ishiya Factory produced the best white chocolate in the country, you an get it anywhere other than in Hokkaido, not even in toyko or in other cities as they dont export out of hokkaido. A very good gift to bring back for your friends and relatives.
The factory is a very fun place to tour around as they have a mini toy museum, a tour to see how the chocolate is made, a cafe that serve very nice hot chocolate and also a very romantic place to hang out the factory as they have a mini garden and a beautiful fountain at the compound.
The most exciting day in the trip, the lavander farm, i have waitied for this day for very very long. And finally i have seen the lavanders. They are very beautiful and at one corner of the farm, they have this rainbow field make out of different colours of flowers. They are so beautiful
If you're travelling free and easy on a short trip in Hokkaido, here are the places you should get to, and are easily accessible by train:
Otaru - quaint old town with rich culture
Nakafurano - Lavender (summer) and skiing (winter)
Noboribetsu - Hot spring baths "on-sen"
Hakodate - a self-contained islet between Hokkaido and Honshu peninsulas
Sapporo - busy city, heart of Hokkaido
Shin-Sapporo - modern extention of Sapporo City, newer generation lifestyle.
Teine - Pronounced "tay-neh", a shopping haven.
Asahikawa - New industrialized city in mountainous zone of central Hokkaido.
Otaru - Shopping and sightseeing. Preserved fish, fresh fruits cheaper than in Sapporo.
Pictured here is the picturesque town of Otaru where very old buildings are juxtaposed with very modern ones. Indeed an experience not to be missed!
Melon season is around June-August, therefore prices of melons are competitively low. The Hokkaido variety is more tasty than melons from the rest of Japan so it will be good to try some. Melons from Hokkaido cost more in other parts of Japan.
Melon-flavoured snacks are also available, like Melon ice-cream, Kit-Kat in Melon, Melon flavoured chews, etc.
Pictured here are melons from a street market in Otaru, Hokkaido.
As you emerge from the Nakafurano JR Station, take a right and you will see this bridge. Walk through it to get behind the station, and walk straight down that road. A map will be present as you emerge from the end of the bridge. A map is also present outside the Station before the bridge.
One of the key attractions of Hokkaido in the summer months, is viewing lavender.
There are several farm locations in the Asahikawa area, though I would highly recommend "Nakafurano" over others like "Lavender Station" and "Furano". "Lavender Station is most central but trains getting there are irregular and only at certain times of the day. More trains go to "Nakafurano" which is therefore the most ideal location.
From Nakafurano Station, you can walk to farms located 10-15 minutes away. Large maps in English-Japanese of the area are erected in key locations you just cannot get lost!
Pictured here: Nakafurano Lavender Fields, 15 min walk from Station.
Something that seems to delight Westerners, as these music boxes are getting rare and not normally available for sale outside Otaru!
Remember the name for these boxes is "ORGEL". I forgot and asked the locals for directions to this shop, using Japanese equivalent of the words "music box". It didn't work! It was after some lengthy explanation on what I meant, that struck familiarity into the minds of the locals.
Sweeter smelling and less pungent than Western varieties, the Japanese lavender is a must-see in the summer months starting 2nd week of July to end August. Best viewing areas are located in the East-central areas of Hokkaido, where the air is cooler and fresher.
After dinner, you can stroll along the street of the hot spring resort area. They have a few convenience stores which is 24hrs. Alot of souvenir stores selling local tibits and delights. And also there is a hell god temple, this hell god is the god tha over look and control the hell. Take note, the large hell god satute will change its face at exactly 8pm. So dun miss it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dining inTatami can be a very advanturous task. Well why i said that, it is because, you will be wearing your Yukata while dining, the sleeves of your Yukata is very long, so you have to make sure those sleeves of yours dont get to drink the soup on the table.
Another thing is that you will be kneeing while eating, this will killed your legs as it will get cramp in no time. You can sit cross legged if you want but it is also very uncomfortable. And also ladies, pls to extra careful if you are sitting cross legged make sure nothing is expose below..................................
2-5-2 Chuoku kitagojonishi, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0005, Japan
Good for: Couples
Let's start by saying that this hotel was quite a bit outside our normal budget of about 10,000 a...more
This hotel is located about 30 min. by car from Otaru Station, though there is regular free shuttle...more