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Sunday, 22 April 2018

Hokkaido 8D7N - Day 6 (Kushiro and Lake Akan)

For Day 1 click HERE
Day 2 Click HERE
Day 3 Click HERE
Day 4 Click HERE
Day 5 Click HERE

Destination: Hokkaido Japan
Duration: 8D7N 14th Dec to 21 Dec 2017
Mode of Travel:  Hokkaido Passion Package Tour with Chan Brothers Travel
Flight: SQ to Tokyo, Air Do/ANA domestic to Hokkaido
Damage: S$3451/per pax (including all transportation, 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 6 dinners)
Tipping for tour guide and drive ¥6400/per pax (approx. S$80)
Travel Buddies:  Voo family of 4 with 2 teenage boys
Weather: 1 to -16 degrees with plenty of snow
Currency: We divide Yen with 80 to convert to S$
Time difference: 1 hour ahead of Singapore

Day 6

Outline itinerary of Day at Kushiro and Lake Akan
Kushiro Fisherman's Wharf MOO
The Tancho Sanctuary
* Ainu Kotan Village
* Lake Akan

Last look at the morning view from the room.

Breakfast of the day.

Buffet breakfast with limited choices but was good enough, never able to have heavy breakfast.

Porridge with small sides is always my fav in winter.

We set off and conveniently passed by a site to view swans.  Luck wasn't with us, only saw 2 cranes which were like a hundred metres away.
The above pic was taken by zoom lens, which could be easily missed by naked eye.  After about 10mins at the lonely pond, we left.

Kushiro Fisherman's Wharf MOO
2-4 Nishiki-cho, Kushiro City, Hokkaido

It's such a deserted place, nothing much to see, it's disappointing.

Not much choices in the building, we settled lunch here.  Very simple meal prepared by an elderly couple.

Some ramen.

Grilled pork but not grilled enough.

Katsu don was nice.

2 snaps of the surrounding before getting back into the coach, should simply struck this off the itinerary.

Cold but not bitter, despite of a waste of time at Kushiro Fisherman's Wharf MOO.

Rokkatei Honten 六花亭
They have quite a few outlets, seen one in Otaru, not sure the exact address of this we visited.

They sell pretty looking cakes and desserts.

Marusei Butter Sandwich was their signature bake.  They had quite a few packages from as little as 4pcs.  But whether getting a box of 4pcs or a box of 40pcs, price was the same when divide out.
In Japan they don't do sales with "buy more get cheaper price" tactic.  I grabbed a few boxes, seriously not cheap but I forgotten the actual price.  It's like S$2/pc.

It's thick cream with tasted like wine raisins kiap with 2 rectangular butter cookies.  Crazy addictive but the expiry date was like about 10 days.  So it's better to buy towards the end of the trip.

The Tancho Sanctuary
Minami, Nakasetsuri, Tsurui-mura Akan-gun, Hokkaido

Tancho Sanctuary had a heart warming story......
The endangered red-crown wild cranes were attracted to this area like more than 50 years ago.   During then the students from a school nearby fed the cranes.  However this was not able to continue as the school was closed and of course the students weren't around.  Ms Watanabe Tome couldn't bear to see the cranes go hungry in winter, she fed the cranes.

A lady with strong character she must be, she refused to get any funding from the government.  So the government build her a house and a beverage vending machine at site.  She used the money from the vending machine to get food for the cranes.  That went on for about 50 years till she became an old granny of more than 80 years old.
This was the house we saw nearest to the park, but we were not sure if this was Granny Crane's house.  The beverage vending machine was not there any more as Granny Crane had passed away recently :((

Story told by our tour guide and I did a bit of research online to get Granny Crane's name.  Information was very limited.  I didn't manage to find out more about Ms Watanabe Tome or even a photo of hers, very frustrating.  If any reader knows anything about this, please please kindly contact me, I would like to know more.

We kept a distant to observe and keep our voices low.  It was really really fortunate that we saw a big herd of red-crowned cranes.

A few flew above and pass us, we happy like shit.

They were huge.  Later I found out they could be around 150cm tall, that's as tall as me sia.

This was one of the most unforgettable experience we had in Hokkaido.

There were 3 fat and grouchy cats outside the house when we left.  So fat.  Why cats fat cute, I fat ugly lolxx....
  We were on the road for an hour or so before reaching the next attraction.

Our coach dropped us and drove away with our luggage to the hotel so that we enjoyed another attraction hands free.  This is the pampering and ease of joining group where F&E travel couldn't enjoy.

So here's the rear of Ainu Kotan Village.

Ainu Kotan Village
4 Chome-7-19, Akancho Akankoonsen, Kushiro, Hokkaido
The place wasn't big with about 20 to 30 lovely woody shop houses at both sides of it's main street.

This little place was build so that beautiful skills of Ainu wood crafts may carry on, and of course attracting curious tourists like me.
 Ancestors of Ainu people was a minority native staying in Japan, most of them in Hokkaido.  They were illiterate depending on wood craft for livelihood.  Many had married with Japanese, pure Ainu people are rarely known or seen now.

The shop houses were very cute, wonderful escape from the urban.
 We strolled down the street slowly, enjoying the down to earth peace, loving every inch of snow, every piece of wood.

Each shop had it's own unique decorative shop front, very attractive and fascinating to me.

Finally reached the entrance, towards our hotel which was less than 10mins walk away.

New Akan Hotel
Akanko Onsen 2 Chome 8-8 Akan-Cho Kushiro City, Hokkaido

The curtain opened to this view.

We had another traditional Japanese tatami room which felt more like a residential house than a hotel room.

Got neck massager.....

Torch light.....

Origami papers... and also adult movies rental lolxx...

Yukata here looked very new.

The beddings.

The washroom.

And this Marimo toilet roll holder lolxx... Marimo is a green moss ball that grows in Lake Akan.

Exploring a bit around the hotel, this was it's souvenir shop.

We found Marimo in here.

  From what I learnt, they could as tiny as a marble and grew as big as a foot ball.

The hotel's game arcade.

The hotel loans umbrellas and down jackets which were at the entrance with no supervision.
 Not sure would there be people greedy enough to steal them.

We walked out around 3pm but was dark already.  Behind the hotel was Lake Akan.

It was all frozen, nothing much to see, we left shortly.

We walked along the street with one long stretch of souvenir shop selling wood crafts, very similar to what we saw in Ainu Village but mostly small items.  Ainu Village had more bigger decorative items.

I bought key chains for my friends which their names were carved on the spot.
Very skillful and was done like in a minute.

Cute bo?

We saw this weird cat which kept rubbing my son's legs but wouldn't let him touch or carry.
Roamed for an hour or 2 until we were cold and tired before heading back to the hotel.

Ditched the heavy winter wear away, into Yukata for dinner.

Buffet dinner with high ceiling and a full view of Lake Akan.

Plenty to chose from.

My tray.

Plus this pot that looked like a mini mookata.  Had beef with cabbage, yummy big time.

I ate more desserts than mains.

Waffle with mochi was soooooooooo good!

When we were back from dinner, our beds were already made.  The boys went to enjoy onsen while I continued to love and hate my menses.