The trip from Toya Station to Hakodate was a little less than 2 hours. We left around noon, and planned to arrive a little before 2pm. Maybe because we started the day early (I’m not usually a morning person), by noon I was starving! So while everyone else decided to sleep on the train, I decided to order the bento. It was my first time ordering food on a train in Japan. Out of all 5 bentos on the menu, only one was available. And since all the writings were in Japanese, I didn’t really know what to expect. But I was hungry, so I took my chances.
The lady who took the order said, it will take about 15 minutes to prepare. After I paid, I fell asleep. She woke me up when the bento came… and this was what I got.
And IT WAS DELICIOUS! To tell you the truth, I still am not sure what it was… Everyone else was asleep when the food got there, and by the time they woke up, I had finished every bit of it. So I couldn’t ask them what it was… I think it was some kind of fish floss.
After I finished my lunch, I went back to sleep for the rest of the journey. It was a good, satisfying sleep with a full stomach.
We arrived at Hakodate a little bit after lunch time. The Hakodate station felt very large, probably because in the past few days, we’ve been stopping at tiny village and small town stations. Our last city stop was Sapporo, which was only 3 days ago about but felt like weeks!
By now, everyone else but me was starving. So on our way to the hotel, we stopped by a konbini to buy lunch for everyone else. We stayed at the Smile Hotel again, located right in front of the Hakodate Train Station. And there was a konbini almost right next to the hotel, so it was very convenient. The room was pretty big for a business hotel, and Aina got her own bed, which made her happy. There were plugs everywhere (2 near the bed!), making it soooo easy to charge all the gadgets we brought. The laundry room downstairs was clean too, so Ditha and I planned to wash our clothes tonight before we went to bed. And our window actually faced the Hakodate Station… Cool!
After everyone had their lunch and unpacked, we all headed out again. Our itinerary in Hakodate followed Noushka’s previous itinerary when she visited the city a year ago. So on this leg, she was almost like our tour guide… Today’s plan was to go up the Hakodate Ropeway and see the city view from the top of Mt. Hakodate, both in the daylight and after dark. So we were all bundled up, wearing our socks, sweaters, and added our jackets on top. I brought a few scarves and shawls, just in case it got too windy up there. We dressed like it was autumn, even though it was mid summer here in Hakodate. After all, we’ve been living in tropical Singapore for 10 years now…
Hakodate, like most bigger cities in Hokkaido, has a tram system. So instead of busses, we took the trams wherever we went. They had a one-day pass for tourists, with half-price tickets for kids, which was a good deal for us. Since we got to the city in the afternoon and our destination for tonight was only the ropeway area, we decided to skip the one-day pass for today, and opted for the normal ticket. Tomorrow, we’ll be using the one-day pass, which was sold in the Train Station, right across from our hotel.
Anyway, the tram stop for Hakodate Station was located at the intersection next to our hotel. We took the tram to Jujigai Station. I noticed that the fare information system on the tram was the same as those we saw on the buses. Yay, that was easy 🙂
When we got off at Jujigai Station, Noushka pointed to the statue of Sakamoto Ryoma, one of the samurai heroes during the Bakumatsu period in Japan. Of course, Ari had to take a picture there… And when I asked Noushka if she wants her picture taken, Noushka was like, “Oh, I took mine on my last trip”… ah, of course.
It was almost 6pm, which was closing time for the touristy shops, including the shop for the Sakamoto Ryoma memorial place. But Ditha managed to ask the lady in the shop to give her two ema (Japanese wooden wishing plaque), one for Aina and one herself.
The ema here looked particularly fun. It had a blank face for us to draw ourselves, and it’s available for both genders. Aina took the female, Ditha took the male… and soon, they both got busy drawing the faces.
After we hung the wishing plaque, we then walked up to the Ropeway station. Noushka insisted to go by Nijikken-zaka Dori, which turned out to be such a pretty street. We went by huge temples and pretty buildings along the side of this wide street. And the sidewalk was decorated with trees and colorful plants. Even though the climb was quite steep, it was very lovely… And then, at the end of the street, there was this Lady Liberty standing awkwardly there… That was kinda weird.
By the time we got to the Hakodate Ropeway Station, it was the golden hour. Looking at our walking path from the top was amazing.
As usual, Noushka have found another 10% coupon for our Ropeway ticket. I don’t know how she found it, but she’s very good with sniffing discounts. The queue to ride the Ropeway was quite long – it was 15 minutes wait. But from what I heard, this was considered short. The view from the ropeway was amazing though. No wonder the line was long. And it seemed that everyone in the cabin wanted to be on the left side’s window, so that they could take pictures or record a video on the way up. So I joined the crowd… and wow… I guess we were lucky that we got there right on the Golden Hour… the city was glowing and bathed in this beautiful color…
Once we got up to the top, it was apparent that everyone seemed to try to catch the sunset up at the peak of Mt. Hakodate. Aina had a fun time looking through the coin-operated binoculars, though. She was busy stalking people in the city through the binoculars. “Oh, the woman in the red dress is going into the konbini!”… “and that guy is trying to light up his cigarettes!”
So, while Aina was busy spying at the people in the city (and later went inside the building because it was too chilly out there), Ari and I tried to take pictures of the sunset. Unfortunately, that day, the horizon was covered with clouds. Still pretty, though.
After the sunset, we went in and found out how crowded the Ropeway station had become. Aina spent a lot of time in the gift shop, trying to find cute erasers. She’s been hunting erasers since we’ve got to Japan. Noushka and Ditha were also busy shopping for gifts. We found similar stuff sold in Otaru here, too… like the cheese cakes and the dried squids… Although some of the dried squids here were humongous…
There was a restaurant with a view of the Ropeway station. There were two different queues to get into the restaurant: one queue for window seats and another much shorter queue to sit anywhere else in the restaurant. And we thought, since we went all the way from Singapore and Jakarta to Hakodate, we just had to go for the window seat… We were ready to be in the queue for an hour, but despite the crazy amount of visitors in the Station, it turned out that we got called in pretty quickly. Just like the Ropeway, we only had to wait for about 15 minutes, and we got the night view of Hakodate Bay from above… It was wonderful! The food itself was okay, not too special… So they definitely were selling the view. And it was worth it.
After dinner, we went back down the ropeway and headed to the hotel using the tram again. Since Ditha and I were planning to wash our clothes tonight, we got our dirty clothes ready and went to the lobby area to do our washing. It turned out that everyone in the hotel thought about the same thing, “Let’s wash our dirty laundry tonight!”, and all of the washing and drying machines (there were 3 of each) were full, with 1.5 hour of waiting.
After some discussion, Ditha and I agreed to do the laundry tomorrow morning. Since we had planned to have our breakfast in the morning market, that means we had to wake up extra early tomorrow.
Other entries of this trip is at Hokkaido Trip Summer 2015.
Today’s Giant Caplico
Today’s Giant Caplico flavor is Melon! Hakodate is well known for their melons. And this was the first time I encountered the Melon flavor during this trip. The outside was green and melony, the inside was the usual chocolate.
However, it turned out that I still prefer the strawberry flavor… Oh well.