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!

Chiang Mai – The Big Gallery

Photography

Going to Chiang Mai was an impulsive action where I wanted to take a break from all the craziness at work (not that crazy). I do believe that taking little breaks every now and then does give me some recharge (or not).

Also – this year is where I am taking a strategy to do more shooting and getting more holidays. In fact, I am trying to get into holiday once every month. Which means that I will be shooting more.. and spending hell a lot more money.

The following are the gallery of photos that I’ve taken in the 3 days 2 nights in Chiang Mai. In short – I must say, I like the place. Very nice indeed and I do plan to come here more often for my quick little breaks. The coffee is great indeed. And lets not bring up about, just absolutely awesome.

Nara – Mochi Making at Nakatanidou

Travel

After spending time in Hiroshima – I then head to Osaka to revisit places where I used to eat – like Kuromon Market. One of the main thing that I wanted to do in Osaka is to take a day trip to Nara, which is not so far from Osaka. Apart from looking at deers (yes there were a lot of deers), and there were instances in which the deers were harassing me because I was holding some food. They were very smart I must say!

But the cool part about Nara in which I have seen many videos were the mochi making. I am definitely fascinated and I must say taking the photo below really made my trip to Nara worth it!

Timing for this was extremely perfect! The action, the faces – its just amazing. I love it. In fact to add to that, here is the video!

I must say – I did hogged the whole show, because I was sitting and observing the guys inside the window, and suddenly they decided to open the sliding door and start their show!

This was the result. It was warm and soft. Really awesome. Note that the warmness is due to the massive pounding. The taste was really brought up by the … sweat? no? who cares. It was damn good. One of the best mochi I ever had. Honestly 🙂

I also took the opportunity to eat some local Nara food in this quaint restaurant. Not sure the name, but the food was good.

I would totally recommend people to go to Nara. But to choose the right time because there were so many of Chinese tourist at that time. Note that when I was in Nara, it was a week leading to Chinese New Year, thus  mainland China was about to start their long holiday! No choice “lah”, had to face the crowd. But honestly, they were so much more behaved compared to previous years.

 

Jobless in Japan – Day 10. Hiroshima

Travel

This is my fourth city after Nagano, Kyoto, Kagoshima and Nagasaki of my jobless south tour of Japan. The way the route was designed is to go as far as I can first (long train journeys) and then move to shorter ones. In fact – after looking at the last 4 cities. It may not be a bad idea to have long travels on the train as long as those are Shinkansen.

According to Wiki – Japanese: çiɾoɕima) is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu – the largest island of Japan. Hiroshima, a name meaning “Broad Island”, gained city status on April 1, 1889. On April 1, 1980, Hiroshima became a designated city. As of August 2016, the city has an estimated population of 1,196,274. The gross domestic product (GDP) in Greater Hiroshima, Hiroshima Urban Employment Area, is US$61.3 billion as of 2010. This is 1/5 of Malaysia with 1/30 of the population!!!

Day 6/7 – Jobless in Japan : Exploring Kagoshima and Sakurajima

Fun Posts, Travel

 

Kagoshima is the furthest point that I am going in this trip. The strategy that I am employing is to go to the furthest point during the initial part of the trip (i.e. 3-4 hours train rides) and then followed by shorter train ride as I move back to Tokyo. Though this is the furthest point, it is not halfway point. Halfway point is planned to be in Osaka which is towards the end of next week, where I will spend approximately 2 days – just enough for two rounds of Endo Sushi (yes – it is a reason to go to Osaka) and scallops at Kuromon Market!

 

Kagoshima

Kagoshima is a a port city, it is nearer to South Korea than to Tokyo. In fact, the weather in Kagoshima is an opposite reflection of the weather in Nagano. Few days ago – I was trekking in cold winter and now – it felt like I am in spring. The weather is approximately about 12-15 degrees Celsius. Pretty nice if you ask me.

The train ride here from Kyoto is quite long. It took more than 4 hours and required a switch of train in Shin-Kobe. As it is still a Sakura Shinkansen – there was no need to switch platform. Just need to change train. The following map shows the route that I took from Kyoto to Kagoshima: