Jul 22, 2017

Hokkaido Spring Day 4: Nakajima & Maruyama Park, Mt Moiwa Ropeway

I wasn’t quite sure what to do on my fourth day in Hokkaido so I decided to focus on my main theme for this trip – Cherry Blossoms. I sought the advice of the staffs at my hostel (The Stay Sapporo) and decided to get myself to the local parks first.

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I crossed some gorgeous red poppies frowing by the sidewalk along the way. Aren’t they amazing?


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Decided I would hit up Nakajima and Maruyama Park to hopefully find some Cherry Blossom trees still in bloom. I walked to Shiseikanshogakko-Mae Station and then took a train to Nakajima Koendori Station, the journey was estimated to be around 20 minutes and cost 200yen. But before that, I decided to grab an early brunch at NAKAU, an affordable franchise fast-food restaurant in Japan. I got myself a mini Gyudon and Udon set for just 450yen. I didn’t buy any drinks with my set but NAKAU, like most franchise fast food restaurants in Japan serves free iced tea on the side so a big plus for that! People always think that Japan is expensive but for a developed nation, Japan's commodity cost sure is low.


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Nakajima Park was a nice and relatively small park. There were quite a number of people enjoying the park and there was even a mini Horticulture and beer fair when I was there. It was unbearably hot that day though and I wasn't quite in the mood for beer. But I did enjoy the flowers and managed to get myself some much-hankered Milk Tea from the Vending Machines. If there's anything I'd complain about Hokkaido, it would be the expensive vending machines. Having been pampered by the low-cost machines in Kanto and Kansai, I found the machines in Hokkaido so overpriced! A simple milk tea would cost nearly twice as much here. I paid 160 yen for my humble bottle of tea (500ml).


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There were so many beautifully potted flowers at the fair. I wish I could bring them back home but I knew they wouldn’t last in Singapore =(


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Nakajima Park offered a surprising amount of activities despite its scale. There was a big pond within the park and happy couples or families could be seen canoeing on it. Many people could also be seen picnicking under the trees.


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Little kids were running and trying to catch something around the pond. They were an interesting and lively bunch xD


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There was even a National Important Cultural Property on the perimeter called Hoheikan which I didn't explore. Another cultural property that I did explore was the Hassokan - a little wooden hut designed to showcase how life would be like in the 17th century Japan. If I'm not too wrong, Hassokan means ' Eight Window Home' and true to its name, the little hut had eight windows.


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Next up was Maruyama Park and the first sight of the Park took me by such surprise. I have never seen SO.MUCH.PEOPLE in a Park before. It felt like the entire population of Hokkaido was crammed in the park smoking away. Everyone was barbecuing and you can see the smoke from miles away haha.


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Things were definitely a lot more bustling in Maruyama as they also had a pretty large amount of stalled decked out for the Park Goers.


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Just beside the Park was Hokkaido Shrine. The tutelary shrine for Hokkaido was built in 1869 and is surrounded on three sides by mountains. There was a beautiful stretch of Cherry Blossom walkway that leads up to the main entrance of the shrine. Unfortunately, I was a couple of days too late as telltale-d by the waning flowers and sprouting leaves on the branches. The enormous cedar woods around the shrine were so tall and beautiful.


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I finally settled down for a bite of authentic Japanese street snack - BBQ squid (Ikura) and Sapporo Beer. It was exciting to finally bite into this snack that Natsume-Sensei likes so much and get my first gulp of Sapporo beer. But if I'd be honest, I'd say the squid was a little too tough for my liking but the sauce made up for it and well, I've never been a fan of Beers.


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I walked to the nearest Bus Terminal and caught Interloop Bus 10 to Mt Moiwa Ropeway, according to Google's direction. However, as you can see from the Vlog, the bus doesn't take you to the Ropeway and I had to hike my way up. I stopped over at a dollar shop along the way to get a bottle of water and some random stuff.


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A return ticket on the Mt Moiwa Ropeway puts me back at 1700yen. If I had arrived earlier, I would be able to purchase a single trip up and then hiked down. But it's all an equivalent exchange I guess because the sunset on top was worth every penny. I can't imagine how much more beautiful the mountain would be when autumn comes and cloaks the landscape in hues of orange and red.


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This is the view from the top. It was glorious and I hope my camera managed to capture the beauty of the fading twilight.


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There was a souvenir shop in the mid section of the monutain before you get to the peak. It’s a pity my camera can’t capture the colour but the view outside the window is so glorious!


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It was pretty hot during the day but once the sun goes down, and on the peak, it started to get really cold. Especially since yours truly is dress up in this get up. Now don’t be fooled, I actually have skin coloured fur tights under the Neko tights so that keeps me warm. But still not warm enough to not feel cold on the top of a mountain in the middle of spring xD


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I had my first Ramen dinner in Toriban. I wanted to go to the famous Ichigen or Shingen Ramen shop since they had such raving reviews but the queues were too much for a very tired me.


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So I popped over to Toriban which the Hostel staff also recommended. I even had a discount coupon from the Hostel but I lost it so there goes my extra egg T_T.


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I like Ramens but I've never been a fan - it was just too heavy and greasy for my stomach. The thick broth from many ramen makers would make me feel queasy in less than half a bowl. So I opted for the "Ladies Choice" bowl which was a Shoyu (Soya Sauce flavor) base with hints of peppercorn. I added an extra egg because you can't have ramen without ramen egg! The bowl cost me 870yen in total! It was very nice and flavourful and I enjoyed it.


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And this makes the end of my day. Hope you enjoyed this little window into my world ^^.

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