Day 2 – Full Day at Lake Toya

Photography

This is day 2 of a 14 day trip to Hokkaido. Going thru the west side of Hokkaido island starting from Chitose where I landed, and then headed over to Lake Toya for a quick over night before I head over to Hakodate.

In Lake Toya – it is a quick lay over on the way to Hakodate.

Ukimido Park

The photo above is Ukimido Park – which is a shrine at the end of the “small cape”. Initially – I wanted to take the photo much earlier during the day, but I was scared away from a goose, or maybe a swan. Memories of being chased by a goose when I was young still fresh in my mind!

Silo Observation Deck

After visiting the park, I then headed over to Silo Observation Deck. Its somewhere about 5 mins away by car. Ample parking space and it has a nice shopping area for those who wants to buy souvenirs. Note that there are a lot of tourist.

Because the weather is shit, there’s nothing much to see. I just took a picture and went to the cafe nearby.

Cafe Bahler
Cafe Bahler
Pulling out the soft serve.
Pulling out the soft serve.

At the viewing platform, there’s a cafe named Cafe Balher. Serving coffee and soft serve. I didn’t try any.

Mount Usu Memorial Park

As I was driving out of Silo Observation point, I remember a park that I came across while going for dinner the day before. It’s Mount Usu Memorial Park. It has some of the fun art sculptures . One of it is the picture of the face.

Surfing Beach

Distance between Hakodate and Lake Toya is not very far but I decided to take the long way round thru the coastal road because… I can. The coastal side of Hokkaido island is very pretty, it’s facing the northern Pacific Ocean. Well – right across is California (not swimmable of course).

I was trying hard to find a place to stop, despite having to have pinpoint place to stop, I couldn’t find the entry(perhaps driving too fast) but of course the entrance was very small. And I can’t stop from enjoying the beautiful view of the coastal lines. Weather was cloudy making it more dramatic than ever.

The photo below is the picturesque view of the coastal lines. As you can see the rocks on the left is wave barriers.

Cape Esan Light House

Just before I reached Mount Esan, I could not help but noticed a light house. Probably won’t be seen by the roadside thus you would need to map it out. It looks pretty abandon as the offices are not opened. There’s a small road that leads to the lighthouse and there you would see the lighthouse. It’s pretty serene indeed. If I am not in a rush, I wouldn’t mind having a picnic here, rolling on the grass with the daisies.

View of the lighthouse
View of the lighthouse
Rolling daisies
Rolling daisies
The lighthouse sign
The lighthouse sign

Mount Esan

Mount Esan is an active stratovolcano of the Kameda peninsula. It is located in Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan. Mount E is part of Esan Prefectural Natural Park.

Driving to Mount Esan was not difficult at all. Just need to be a bit careful as the road up is pretty narrow and have sharp corners. Would have been great if I am on the bike! Driving a Prius is not the best, but I for cost purposes, this is the best option.

View from the observatory
View from the observatory
Site view of the observatory
Site view of the observatory
Selfie
Selfie
That’s Mount Esan
That’s Mount Esan
Some shrine. Scary indeed
Some shrine. Scary indeed
Mountain vegetation
Mountain vegetation
More mountain vegetation
More mountain vegetation

Uni Murakami

After checking in to the hotel, I went to have Uni don at Uni Murakami. Supposedly the place for Uni. The Uni itself is good but the rice is normal rice. Perhaps it’s the normal Hakodate style. It was really expensive. JPY4860.

That’s it for day 2!

Day 1 : Noboribetsu Jigokudani and Lake Toya

Photography

Noboribetsu Jigokudani or the hell valley is the first stop that I went to after getting out of the plane.

Thank god that I managed to get a good sleep in the plane, the drive was not so bad. Though I was slightly grumpy at the airport because the wait for the car rental took so long. Initially the person mentioned that it’ll be 15 mins, but actually it took 30 mins. I realised that the rental place is really far!

Similar to Owakudani, coming over here smells the same. Rotten egg all over. Strange enough, they don’t have the black eggs in Jigokudani.

This place is living truly to the hell valley where they somewhat use the “hell” icon pretty much everywhere. As per the photo above, can see the “satan” logo as the indicator on the toilet!

After Jigokudani, I drove up slightly higher and rich Omuya Pond. Its a pond with a large pool of hot water!

The colour of the water is somewhat turqoise-ish! Perhaps a bit exaggerated from my processing of the photos!

After finishing at Omuya Pond, I continued driving upwards towards the Lake Kuttara lookout point.

The view is ok, wish there were no trees blocking it!

Clearly – there are not a lot of people coming to this part of the world as it was only my car at the parking lot.

After checked in to my hotel, had dinner in town – Aigawa Sushi. It was pretty decent.

Aigawa Sushi – http://www8.plala.or.jp/aikawa_toya/

Ginza Backstreet

Photography

When I was in Tokyo last year on my solo trip, I stayed in Tokyu Stay. Not far from the main Ginza street. This has been my favourite place to stay. It is smacked between Tsukiji Market and Ginza. Was easy for me to walk to Tsukiji for breakfast, and back in hotel in 5 mins (for those usual morning “runs” in the toilet).

The photo that I am showing below, I think taken from my hotel room. I think! Not particularly sure because I cannot remember and there weren’t any gps tagging as I was indoor! But anyway, I suspect, its not far from the hotel as I don’t remember being on any observation tower in Ginza. The best was on top of Matsuya Ginza (I think!).

Ginza Backstreets

Ginza Backstreets


The other good part of staying in Ginza is that, when you wake up in the morning and do my street shoot, there are always an abundance of subject to capture. I don’t need to travel far to start utilising my rangefinder.
Ginza Street

Ginza Street


I remember back in 2016, I stayed in Minato. Yes it was much cheaper, but the access to public transport was a bit far, and there weren’t much subjects to shoot around there. But then again, I might be wrong as I have not gotten back to rangefinder and hard core street shooting back then. In fact, that trip, I just used my iPhone if I am not mistaken!

Anyhow, I always enjoy my time in Japan. Looking forward for my next trip, but I am telling myself that I need to diversify the places that I go to! Let’s see…

Looking forward for my holiday break

Photography

I still remember back when I was extremely active in photography. Every single weekend, I will be going out to the streets to shoot photo. Be it landscape, architecture or even street. Over time, I improved my skills and now, to me I can say that I am generally good in comparison to other amateurs.

Years passed by, my priorities changed. I have picked up many other hobbies like drawings and motorcycling. Recently – I gave up motorcycling because I didn’t have enough time to ride. I guess, there was a bit of fear in me and that kind of prevented me from riding every weekend. Yes – it was a very expensive hobby, but sometimes, we grew over it and change our priorities. Now – I am back at doing photography, but not as active as before.

The focus of my photography now, is more to do it during my holidays. This year, I’ve been going on holidays for quite often. In fact, to my count – I have been to the following places:
1. Chiang Mai in January
2. Yangon in February
3. Japan in March/April
4. Bangkok in April (slightly extended from my work trip)

In May – I was supposed to go to Manado for a colleague wedding, but due to work commitment, I had to change my plan. I regretted that to be honest, but I guess we need to focus on work. Holidays need money!

My next trip will be in 2 weeks time where I will be heading over to Hokkaido for 2 weeks break. In fact, it’ll be driving trip. First time ever. I have not done a driving trip before so I guess this is the time to try. It’s during summer thus it’ll be quite fun!

The following shows the video of my trip. This is the plan. All hotels has been booked and I am looking forward for the trip.

In preparation for the trip, I have started imagining what kind of photograph that I want to shoot. It is extremely important as in my previous holidays, I was not prepared for the photography aspect and felt that my gear was not good enough to enjoy the holiday. This time around, I went to a crazy extend where I bought a new camera! My Leica M10, though its very good, it is not suited to do landscape. I have not decided whether I will bring it along as it’ll add more weight! Still thinking about it. Let’s see.

In addition to the camera, I also gotten myself a set of square filters to help shoot landscape. Its an expensive investment I must say, but I guess square filters are things that you will buy once, and you will use if forever. One of these days, I should blog about it. I have not gotten the chance to fully try it. The weather has been very demotivating. Sigh. I have 2 weeks to go and I do intend to try it out!

Lee Filters!

Lee Filters!

I have a lot of expectation for my trip, especially on the photos. I hope I don’t disappoint myself!

Cafe Hunting – Blue Bottle Aoyama

Travel

One of the joy in life is to go cafe hunting whenever you are on holiday. This morning I woke up quite late – as I was extremely tired from the major flight screw up on Sunday. I lost a whole day of walking and a seat in first class. So this morning, instead of having coffee around my hotel, I decided to go and have coffee in one of the nice cafes. I do have a list from my friend but it seems to that the place that I wanted to go was closed!

So – googling around and found Blue Bottle not too far. Quick walk and wow, managed to find the place. Pretty nice looking place indeed. Didn’t expect the coffee shop to be this nice. I’ve been to blue bottle before and bought a whole bunch of coffee beans and latte. It was awesome. And the queue was pretty looooong indeed. This morning – it was great.

So this morning I had a small lot Guatemalan coffee – single origin drip. Pretty nice flavour. Not too strong, not too sour. Just nice and clean! Love it. Now I am deciding whether I want to bring any coffee beans back today or not. Maybe I’ll buy a bag or two or three. So that in case I don’t have time – I still have some coffee!

Also – to pair with my coffee is toast with poach egg. Something simple. Didn’t bother to eat anything fancy. But one thing for sure in Japan – their toast are just awesome. In my mind – I always think if I should just get my bread supplies from Japanese bakery like Sun Moulin. Then again – I should be cutting in carbs and not be consuming too much bread.

Ok then… to end this post. Just a view of of my sloppy travel look…

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