OHAI-YO fellow readers!
Ii suppose I've mentioned this quite frequent already but I for one am super excited to start writing on this ever since I got back, which was actually yesterday!
[Japan here we come!]
I do realize that for most of my travel post in this blog, I would have majority of the TeamTehTarik members to come along with me on the trip but due to the circumstances of the trip, I only had the ever reliable resident photoblogger SafrizOnline to tag along with me to chase after the many adventures that we will be facing during the trip! Surprisingly enough that this is going to be the first time for the both of us to really explore what it is like in the Land of the Rising Sun!
Before I begin, once again I would like to mention that I will be segregating my posts into 4 separate posts, which are:
TTD Travels : Tokyo Baby!
Also do be warned, there are going to be a butt load of pictures so stop that download right now!
As many would have guessed, my parents came along with the trip to Japan with the both of us so it was huge fun having them around for once. Funny enough that throughout the entire trip my mom was busy snapping away pictures and immediately posting them on her Facebook so frequent that it would put KennySia's microblogger title to shame. Nevertheless she was rather pissed at me seeing that she wants to take proper photos of us and I for one am not known to stay still during photos.
[See what I mean? *poke*]
Our trip took us around 7 hours to reach Narita Tokyo airport and from there was another 1 hour transit flight to Hokkaido. We were told that it was gonna be uber cold when we get there. I for one was brushing that thought aside since I have been living in the cold country before.
This was far worse.
[This was taken in full speed landing, and you can see, WE'RE LANDING ON FRIGGIN SNOW!]
Once we reached Hokkaido, we were greeted by a snow storm that looked as if it was going to blow the plane away and was pelting the plane hard with snow pellets!
[Reached safely in Hokkaido!]
So our first destination was to a sleepy town of Noboribetsu which not only houses one of the largest hot spring in the island but also several active volcanoes which I believe heats the hot spring from the ground below.
Once we were there, our first stop was LUNCH!
[our lunch area was a large hall with rows of wooden bench tables!]
[large assortment of sashimi and seafood delights!]
[Steamed rice and prawn!]
[Miso soup with seafood]
I was told that one of the things Hokkaido is famous for is its food. Comparatively to the ones that people would find in Tokyo for example, the food here is much fresher and nicer especially the seafood. For one it does look kinda weird to share a large dining hall with a bunch of strangers but doing so in the middle of a snowy winter, it does have that warm fuzzy feeling while having lunch.
Once we were done, we decided to have a first look at what Noboribetsu looks like.
[The view from outside our restaurant]
[Crack of sunlight after a snow storm]
[it was so cold, I had to buy a hot coffee from the vending machine!]
For our next travel destination, we went to visit one of the active volcanoes that I mentioned earlier. Seeing that Japan is in the middle of the volcanic belt, it is common to see mountains with steam coming out of its edges around Hokkaido. In fact, the one that we visited was the Shikotsu-Tōya National Park had an eruption as recent as 2000!
[the view of the volcanic pool, with the strong sulfuric smell!]
[went down and obviously did not take the sign seriously!]
[Sign to the park]
One of the most amazing thing about this place is that despite the dangers of a volcanic eruption in this park, people here seem rather unfazed with the whole scenario. They were even showing videos of the eruption in 2000 and people were still happily snapping photos as the spot where I took my pictures! Crazy...
So, once we were done with the park, we headed to our resort for some rest. The best thing about the place is that not only it incorporates everything about traditional Japanese culture but it also houses one of the best hot spring bath in the country, because of its location not 10 minutes away from the volcano park mention earlier.
[This is a shot of our entire room! Where are the beds you ask?]
[The hotel staff makes our beds on the tatami while we are out for dinner!]
Since that the town itself is kinda small, there is not really that much to do around at night except for a few things. While exploring the town at night, we found your local watering hole for people to have a drink and of course one of Japan's favorite pastime, Pachinko!
[Moving around was even difficult with the blizzard coming back!]
[SafrizOnline ask me to find the big yellow rat. Where am I going to find such animal?]
[Luck looking good... looking goooddd...]
For those of you guys who do not know what Pachinko is, its basically similar to your slot machines in the western country only instead of coins you use metal balls which you shoot inside the machine to get it into the designated slots. Of course I couldn't figure for the life of me what some of the words mean but I had fun with the machine making a lot of noises! :D
The other thing that you can do after a long day is to hop inside a Japanese hot spring public bath (onsen). This one was an experience of a kind because of the nature of the place itself but I'm going to save that one for the next post because I got nicer pictures from the other hotel then here!
[Japanese Bath time!]
Basically, that was the end of the first location that we had in Japan. Slightly a slow and easy day for us, considering that we just arrived in Japan and needed our rest for the next couple of days. Do bear in mind however our activities went even more crazier as the trip progressed, which will also translate to the things that I am going to write next!