Welcome to Hokkaido

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
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Trip End Jun 01, 2011


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Where I stayed
The ferry

Flag of Japan  , Hokkaido,
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

From Niigata we set sail north, to the island of Hokkaido, keen to go trekking in the National Parks there and to find out why all nature-loving and thrill-seeking Japanese, of all ages, went misty-eyed whenever we mentioned the name.

We shared our ferry cabin with 22 others, but with bunks divided into sets of four and each bunk with a curtain we had privacy and it was so quiet - Japanese courtesy really coming into its own here. It was a calm sail and the ship had all the necessities - buffet restaurant, large public washroom/onsen, shop selling pot noodles and hot-water dispensers - but it was an unseemly time of arrival and we staggered off the ferry clutching cans of double expresso at 4:30am just as the sun was rising. Even in our sleep-fuddled state we were able to appreciate how lovely the port town of Otaru was as we wandered streets lined with old stone buildings (rare in Japan) and the gas-lamp lined canal (even rarer), past beautifully restored warehouses, shops of glass-wear and smart looking restaurants and cafes. Definitely a good place to spend some time, but we were keen to ditch the heavy backpacks and get settled, so we hopped on the first train and headed east, inland to Asahikawa, gateway to the Daisetsuzan National Park and our ultimate destination.

Best wishes
Nickie
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