Hokkaido Trip - March 2016


6/2: Going to Sapporo

To Airport

I left home at 1:30pm under sunny and breezy weather. Getting on a bus leaving around 1:40pm to the subway station nearby my home. Changed to a subway train which arrived at Nagoya station around 2:20pm. As I walked to the Meitetsu station, I saw one express train to the airport leaving in a few minutes. So I decide to buy the seat ticket later and jumped in without a reservation. The MuSky 36 left Nagoya at 2:20pm, and it moved under sunny weather with very few people so it was a nice and quiet ride. The train moved smoothly and soon it was passing by Tokoname, crossing the bridge to the airport island and made the stop at the termial on time at 2:48pm. I got off from the train.

Walk to the departing floor of the building, after checking in with automated process machine at JetStar counter for my ticket, I had some time before they can accept my bag so I stopped by at an airport office and processed my passport to be able to be used at automated gate. It was easy and took only 5 minutes. I then went upstairs to watch planes from the deck but there was none. It was sunny and breezy as usual. Come back inside and dropped off bag at 3:30pm then proceeded to the security check. I walked to gate 3, a quite walk to the tip of north wing, and took a seat at lobby to begin reading books to kill some time. The people start coming and the place become packed. I thought the boarding to start around 5:00pm but no sign of the plane yet. Soon we got an announcement that the plane is getting late. The boarding began from 5:15pm.

Centrair Airport but no planes at sight

Flight To Sapporo: GK185 17:25(NGO) - 19:10(CTS)

Getting on board at 5:30pm by walking down a jetway. It's been a while since the last time I used an airplane, and this is the first time using JetStar, an LCC company in Japan. The concern is gone pretty quick, the plane looks prestine and the seat was confortable. The push back started at 5:40pm and began taxing to the south end. The plane took off to north at 5:50pm and flew out straight. I get to see the neighbor of my home. The plane kept the heading and I saw Mt. Ontake and Mr. Norikura around 6:00pm, The plane reached to the Sea of Japan then flew along the coast toward Hokkaido Island. Passing by Hakodate and began slowing down for the initial descent at 6:45pm. The plane reached coastline and moved toward the airport. It approached from the south and landed at 7:15pm as the surrounding was getting dark. Getting off the plane and had to take stairs several floors down to pick up my bag, which came out at 7:30pm and I began walking toward the ground transportation to catch a train to Sapporo.

Jetstar GK185 at Centrair

Departing from NGO

Tokoname, my neighborhood

Mt. Ontake, Mt. Norikura

Flying over Mutsu

Arriving at Hokkaido

A welcome sign by Sapporo Beer at the airport...

Moving to Sapporo

The hallway to the train station was colder than I expected. After buying a ticket to Sapporo for 1,070Yen, I passed the gate and took a seat in a car. The train "Airport Rapid 197" left Shin-Chitose Airport station at 7:45pm. It made many stops as it moved through dark of the night. People in the car looked tired. Arrived at Sapporo station at 8:22pm on time, I carried my bags and began walking down south toward the hotel. The air was pretty cold and was dark outside. At least it was not raining yet, I took advantage to visit the famous clocktower and TV broadcasting tower. Reaching the hotel around 9:00pm and I dropped off my bags to hit the street to eat at ramen noodles nearby called "Sora" where my friend recommended. Returned to the room afterwards and went to bed around 11:30pm. The bed is much nicer than the futon bed I use at home...

Airport Rapid 197, bound for Sapporo

Clock tower and Broadcast tower

Dormy Inn entrance and the room

Dinner at Sora 9:10pm

6/3: Day Trip at Sapporo

Morning Walk in Sapporo

I woke up at 5:00am, the outside was getting bright by minute. Went downstairs for a hot bath in the morning to help me waking up. I have not had it for several months so I felt so good while dipping myself in a body of hot water. Returned to the room and checked the weather. I guess it's going to be rainy but no choice. With an umbrella in my hand, I left the hotel to take a walk until 9:00am under rainy condition. I checked out the former prefectual office building, and a couple more places at the University of Hokkaido.

Former prefectual office building

Inazo Nitobe, Dr. Clark

poplar trees

Come back to the hotel to eat breakfast, which I grabbed on the way back to the hotel. Then I get ready for a few more visits for the first half of the day.

Sapporo Factory Visit

I left the hotel again around 10:00am, walking under the cover of Tanukikoji street to avoid getting wet, then began heading north to Sapporo Factory with an umbrella in hand. The place is now a part of a shopping mall but was the first beer factory. At a part of the property, there is a section showing the history of beer making and some equipment. I learned how Sapporo got its star emblem and the name while reading the panels.

Former Nagayama Resident, Renovated classical looking building

Sapporo Beer Museum Visit

The next stop is the Sapporo Beer Museum. I walked under misty rain, going underpass of train tracks, and in just a few more minutes, I arrived at the destination. The building is a former factory #2. The place opens from 11:30am so I had wait at outside for a little. There was a tour group which decided to take an elevator so I took stairs to beat them. I was the first one to arrive at the third floor, and walked down the spiral stair and checked out the displays of items. Starting from the history part, how the company started, and changes over time. They had bottles during the war which has no marking on company brand.

Sapporo Beer Museum, a former factory, and an old locomotive train displayed,

Posters from days back then

Equipment, stained glass,

Beer bottles, the unmarked ones are from war period.

After getting out from the building, I began heading back to the hotel. I made a stop at Nijo Ichiba (market) area to check out fishmarket and quick lunch.

Lunch at Ohiso Market

Friends' Wedding - Evening

Walked back to the hotel, I do not have much time left. I get dried and changed into a dress suit. I walked to Sapporo station. I made it to the bus leaving at 2:00pm just a minute before the departure. The bus rolled around the town and arrived at the party place around 2:30pm. The ceremony started and people there had a good time. I am glad that my friends were able to hold a wedding ceremony in Japan. The party finished around 7:00pm Took a bus back to the downtown part and had another party until 10:30pm. Going to bed.

6/4: Day Trip at Yoichi

To Yoichi by Train

Hot bath is the way to ger myself started for the day!

I woke up at 5:00am with feeling of some alcohol left in my system. Took a hot bath at 5:30am and sretched my body to get ready for the day. I left hotel at 6:00am then began walking toward Sapporo station under rain.

At the station, I bought a one day pass "一日散歩切符" for 2,260 Yen at 6:25am for today's trip. The train to Otaru is leaving at 7:15am so I ate a quick breakfast while waiting. I also watched trains departing from platforms until the time comes. My train left on time, the 3 door per car has partitions at each door to shut out cold air from the cabin area during cold season so it was weird. The train moved slow under cover of cloud, the ocean I can see is calm.


Series 785/733/721

Series 283/261/183

Arriving at Otaru around 8:00am and changed to a one car train which quickly leaving. The train moved slowly, arriving at Yoichi station on time.

Changing to a one car train to Yoichi 8:03am at Otaru

The rain is not falling so I ran to Nikka Whiskey factory a few minutes before 9:00am to sign up for a tour.

Nikka Whiskey Distilley Visit

The first tour was from 9:30am, it was recommended to make reservation prior to visit but I did not know. So I called them yesterday and being told that I might have a chance to sign up if I come in the morning. So I was lucky that I can get a spot. Under light rain, about 30 people walked around the places, first taken to the stills, then to the fumanting area, swinging by the house/lab Massan lived and storage.

Nikka Whisky Company Entrance

Nikka Black Logo guy

Office and Lab

Factory facility inside.

Stills, some are new, some are old.


The first batch bottles, and the first black bottole.

Notes of Massan

Owner's house and lab

After the factory tour, we were lead out to the buiding which we can taste the samples. So many people were there but still enjoyed it.


Japanese garden

How you reuse retired barrels

Yoichi City Walkaround

After getting out from the Nikka factory, I began walking toward a couple of places, one was fish market, and anothet was local authority house back in Edo period.

Fukuhara Fish Market(国指定史跡 旧余市福原漁場: 〒046-0011 余市町浜中町150)

Back in the time, this area is known for herring fishing. Owned by Fukuhara family, many fishers were hired and others worked in this place between Edo to Meiji Period.

Storage, Vault, main house, I can walk around and theck the place our.In this place, I get to see how people lived in that time period, and equipment. They even talked about how fast the rope deterorates due to salt water.


After the visit, I began walking under cloudy sky, the ocean was just so calm. Walking around a small mountain along the coastline. I was hungry but not yet to go back home.

Unjo House(国指定史跡 旧下ヨイチ運上家: 〒046-0011 余市町入舟町10 )

Unjo House is a branch of clan during the Edo period, to oversee the trading with native "Ainu" people. The house was originally build in 1853, and trading was active until meiji perid.


Coming back to Sapporo

Decided to walk back and felt tired and hungry was I was returning to the train station.


At Yoichi station, I found that the next train is leaving at 1:45pm so I decided to have lunch at a cafe nearby to kill time. The place I went is a place where people with disability get to work. The menu only had two choices, A and B but it was reasonable. 

Lunch at Hama Cafe 1:17pm

After the lunch, I did some gift shopping at the station's store. They are famous for apples so I picked up a few of those.

The station staffs only let people in right before the train is arriving. I could see the railtrack to far away, and very quiet. Soon I saw lights on the edge of horizon and the train came in.

Waiting at the platform, train came in at 1:44pm.

The train left the station smoothly on time with unique diesel sound as it move thru countryside. The train arrived at Otaru at 2:11pm.

Otaru station 2:15pm

The one connecting to Sapporo is leaving at 2:30pm, giving me just enough time to take a look at the exterior of the building. Rapid Airport 190 departed Otaru on time and began travelling back to Sapporo. Since this is a rapid, it took much shorter time than in the morning. The weather is finally clearing out, giving me slight sunshine. At 3:00pm, I was back at Sapporo station. I felt hungry slightly so I had a snack at donut shop.

Snacking at Hara Donuts 3:21pm

I walked back to the hotel and get some rest. Stepped out around 5:30pm for ramen noodles where my friend recommended. Also made a stop at a bar called Ginza Lion which is longest running in Sapporo. Come back to the hotel with full stomach, fell sleep against my will and woke up at 11:30pm. Went to bed for sure later.

Dinner at Fukuraiken 6:00pm

Giza Lion beer hall, the longest running in Hokkaido

Dinner #2. I am already stuffed

Stained glass showing Sapporo Beer

6/5: Coming back to Nagoya

To Airport

Woke up at 5:00am and had a hot bath in the morning before stretching my body. I stepped out from the hotel to grab my breakfast from nearby convenience store. I then finished packing and left the hotel at 6:40am. Walking toward Sapporo Station under a bit chilly air but the sky was clearing up. Bought ticket to the airport and went up to the platform level, getting on Airport Rapid 72 leaving at 7:15am, the train moved countryside to Chitose, I saw many people with running outfit, must be a running event today. The train safely arrived at the airport station at 8:03am.

Tanuki Koji in the morning

Walking toward station

Street car running in the city

Irankarapte (Welcome) 

To Nagoya: GK180: 10:15am (CTS) - 12:05pm(NGO)

From the terminal building, I got on a shuttle bus around 10:00am, hitching a ride for a short period of time to the aircraft. Getting off from the bus and took stairs up to the cabin. The plane was pushed back at 10:18am and began taxing. It took off to north then turned right until the heading is toward south, I can see the whole airport area. The plane soon reaches southern shore of the island. At 11:25am captain announcement, flying over Niigata. However, not much to see on the ground because it was overcasted. Arriving near Nagoya, the plane flew to south and joining on the regular pattern, turning at the south end of Chita peninsla to north for landing.

Departing from Chitose airport

Chitose Airport, Ground

Lake Shikotsu, Mt. Yotei

Approach to the airport, and landing

To Home

After grabbing the bag, I walked to the train station area to check on the next one to Nagoya. There is one leaving in 15 minutes but it would be all reserved type. So I bought MuTicket, stopped by at a convenience store to buy lunch. Taking MuSky #23 leaving Centrair at 12:37pm, then the train moved under slightly cloudy weather. Arriving at Nagoya at 1:10pm, a bit later than scheduled. Since I was carrying big bags, I decided to just take a bus instead using a subway which requires a traisition to another bus. Getting off at a bus stop nearby my home around 2:00pm, dropped by at bicycle shop to give the guy a small gift, walked back home.


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Copyright 2016 - Kosuke Ishikawa / Unauthorized copying of contents, partial or whole, is not permitted.