Published: August 21st 2010August 20th 2010
Shiroi Kobito -- Clock Tower
The best view of the park in my opinion!
I HATE IT HERE IN HONG KONG!!!
OK, Hong Kong is fun, but compared to Japan, it is LIKE HELL!!!! Though 9 days in Japan is totally not enough to make me feel like living there forever, the temptation is so great. It was so amazing on the first day, getting off the plane and finding ourselves in Hokkaido! Hokkaido looked quite different from Hong Kong, with almost no tall buildings.
It was still early in the morning, so our hotel room wasn’t ready. We dumped our luggage at the Hotel Gracery and went to the Shiroi Koibito factory (the famous white chocolate biscuit manufacturer, in case you don’t know). Well, it was nothing I imagined. Of course it’s nothing like Willy Wonka’s factory, but it’s FAR more elegant than what I’ve imagined. Oh no, don’t think it’s a big square metal block of muck, it actually looks like those big solemn clock towers or churches, like something from a dream. It doesn’t even LOOK like a factory.
Anyway, we went inside (to get away from the rain) and it was every bit as amazing as I had hoped. Real factory for us to see (the biscuits were quite
funny, some of them were crooked) and there were beautiful teacups on exhibit. Not cheap ones that will crack easily, but those with brand names “Royal Worchester” and “Royal”. How I wished I could have one of those!
After we browsed through all of the hand-crafted cups, we found ourselves in the gift shop (always my favorite place). There, I discovered an amazing exhibit - and an extraordinary activity! You could make your own biscuit, chocolate house and stuff! Then I went in to the activity room and I was welcomed by the tempting aroma of white chocolate and I literally begged to go in. Well, I succeeded, and quickly put on my chef’s hat and apron. I could personalize my own Hokkaido shape white cookie - with white and black chocolate icing. I spent ages decorating the cookie to perfection.
After that, we had to go, but we stopped right in our track as I discovered an ice-cream tuck shop. SOFT ICE-CREAM!!! Yum! My favorite! I chose rose flavour, which was quite special. Highly recommended, the best rose ice-cream I’ve ever tasted. My tip: if you go to Hokkaido next time, be sure to try the ice-cream!
Shiroi Kobito -- Main Building
Yet another picture of the park.
By the way, there’s a carnival every hour. Bubbles flied around, animated figures (chefs, owls - you name it) all sung and everything in the park moved! Check it out next time, it’s so cool!
The next day, we took the JR to Noboribetsu, which was located in the countryside. We first went to the Nixe Castle. There was a beautiful aquarium, where I saw many cute sea creatures. There was even an area for people to touch different kinds of critters. Then there was this amazing penguin show and those penguins were led by trainers. So cute! Everyone crowded to see the baby penguins waddle by. Luckily, I got in front and took a picture. Cheese, penguins! There were beautiful, quaint structures everywhere. There were mosaic floors and painted walls which made the place look elegant.
Then, we rode the bus uphill to the Date Jidaimura, known as Ninja Village by tourists. There were ninjas everywhere, and they were fierce indeed. There was a particularly scary house, where the rooms were tilted and there were fake staircases to lead you to wrong paths. For a while I was afraid I might never get out of that terrifying
Shirio Kobito -- Museum
My favourite cup of all --a floral cup for hot chocolate! Such an elegant and classy design!
place. Anyway, we escaped and even had the luxury of having our lunch in the Ninja village. The meal was great, though a bit expensive; the bowl of ramen had some funny seaweed in it! Check it out!
Finally, we headed for the bear park, which was really famous. We saw a bear show, where the bear did tricks in exchange for food. It even went on a swing! On the streets, we met a few ogre statues. For some reason, the Japanese must be very wary of these ghost-like statues, for we were the only ones who dared to take pictures! So much for Noboribetsu. Back in Sapporo, we feasted on crabs at a local restaurant. The crab meal that night was excellent! I ate until my tummy nearly burst.
The 3rd day was a bad day, as it was pouring. We went to Otaru and the only exploits worth mentioning were eating a delicious seafood bowl at 黑澤水產 (highly recommended) and making my own pretty dolphin music box.
Let’s forget about Otaru and talk about the wonderful world of Furano and Biei. We first rode the JR (again) and then the twinkle bus to the
Shirio Kobito -- Museum
A hand-crafted white chocolate cake.
beautiful lavender fields of the countryside. The schedule for that day was quite full as we had 3 twinkle bus tours in all. First was the Furano --> Biei course. On the way, we saw lots of beautiful views; colourful or plain, expansive or petite, they were equally beguiling. At last, we arrived at the famous Farm Tomita. The land was covered with all sorts of flowers: lavender, red, orange, and yellow - a veritable rainbow of flowers. Too bad there were so many people there! Be sure to try out the lavender soft ice-cream. It tasted so good!
That was pretty, but it wasn’t even the prettiest flower field I saw that day. The winner of the contest … Biei. See if you agree. That night, we went up to the JR tower. The scenery was beautiful and it was something quite different from Hong Kong.
And now, we were down to the last day of our trip in Hokkaido. We went to the Sapporo Tower, which wasn’t as tall as the JR tower. I especially liked the mascot of the tower. There was a clock tower too, and it was magnificent and grand. It was the
Shirio Kobito -- Museum
Personalizing my own Hokkaido shape white cookie - with white and black chocolate icing.
oldest mechanic clock in Hokkaido, but it was still keeping good time. Cool!
Anyway, that was the end of our trip in Hokkaido. We then flew to Tokyo (surprise, surprise) and checked into the Metropolitan Hotel. I really liked my dinner that night - a curry burger! Sweet!
On the second day, we went to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. Pity we couldn’t take pictures inside! There was an enormous cat bus inside the play area. We had a contest trying to throw as much “black monsters” outside as possible. If you go there, you have to catch the bus which runs from the JR station to the museum. You can definitely recognize it; there are many cute “cats” painted on it!
Then, we went to the Fuji TV Tower. We went up to the spherical observatory on the 25th floor. I found a cute dog. He even took pictures with us. Smile, doggie!
There was this amazing Toyota museum with all those special cars in it. There was a show that I’d like to recommend, which is a film showing how a race car overtook the others and won. There was also a car simulator,
Shirio Kobito -- Tuck Shop
I've tasted the best rose soft ice-cream ever there!
where you could really try to drive and it was so cool!
And then we planned to go to the Sony Explora and we found in dismay that it was CLOSED! So we searched and found instead… a Sega amusement center! As it was a Thursday night, no-one was there. We got to play our favorite games with very little waiting. There was one called the Pink Panther, where you had to be a detective and solve the case of the stolen diamond. We played for 2 whole hours!
The next day, we went to the science museum. We first watched a show in a 360° view. Then we played in the science area, and saw a lot of the dinosaurs. I even bought a beautiful shell book priced originally at 4000 yen for 1000 yen! Guess why? They have been trying to sell it for 19 years and weren’t very successful. The book was about a collection of rare seashells donated in 1991 by some rich guy. The photos were gorgeous and the book was a steal at 1000 yen.
Next, we went to the Ueno Zoo and the Tokyo National Museum. There was nothing much
Noboribetsu -- Nixe Castle
Quite an "ancient" design, if you ask me.
to see, except for some little critters.
On the 8th day, we went shopping in Seibu. We bought some beautiful chopsticks, as my dad thought that they would be better than the ones in Hong Kong.
Finally, it was the last day. We went to the Yasushi shrine library, where my dad searched for some exotic archival material.
We finally had to say goodbye to Japan. I hope that I can revisit these beautiful places in the future!
There are more photos below