With some R&R in the books we were off to our next city destination, Hakodate. Japan’s first port opened to foreign trade, we were eager to explore and see what outside influences still remain in the city.
Episode 8: https://youtu.be/TRPULh6VAIs
After another filling Japanese breakfast at our resort hotel in Noboribetsu Onsen we made our way to Noboribetsu Station to catch our train. The resort was generous enough to drop us and our bags off at the bus station where we waited for our bus.
The bus ride to the train station is a quick, albeit turbulent, ride and we had plenty of time to get off the bus and to our platform. It was the same imposing train we took from Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station up to Sapporo Station about a week prior. The train trip was almost 3 hours, which was plenty of time to do what we do best on a train, eat.
As with most train trips, we were well stocked with food. I had an onigiri which would have been rather fitting for breakfast. It had a half egg and some pork embedded in the rice ball. A sort of spin on bacon and eggs. We also finally figured out what was in the basket. On our first train in Hokkaido there was a lady walking up and down the aisle with a basket covered by a towel. We knew she was selling something, but we never saw what. Until this trip, when someone across the aisle from us bought one of her snacks. It was a Hokkaido special ice cream. After seeing this we pointed and paid for our own. It was delicious.
We opted to walk to our hotel from Hakodate train station, a 15 minute walk according to Google Maps. I think more like a 20-25 minute walk with our luggage! It wasn’t necessarily a challenging walk, just a few breaks where in order.
Upon check-in we had a surprise. Our room was tiny! The sort of stereotypical room you would expect to find in Japan. They managed to fit a desk, double bed and small sitting chair in this room hardly big enough for the bed. It was cozy, as Nicole likes to say. Most importantly, it was clean and had everything we needed for a couple nights stay.
Despite the fact that it seems all we did was eat all day, we were quite hungry and ventured out of the hotel in search of food. Our hotel was in a rather touristy area of town, and as such the restaurants all seemed rather touristy themselves. That didn’t suit us this night, a quick visit to the information centre at the train station was in order. There we got a map of the area with some suggested restaurants where locals eat pointing us the right direction.
It wasn’t long until we came across an interesting looking izakaya, or Japanese bar, and we were sold. The menu was in Japanese only, but we were able to pick some good dishes out with the help of Google translate and pictures on the walls. It turned out to be an excellent dinner, which really did us in. It had been a week and we were still feeling a bit of jet lag, and stuffing ourselves didn’t help on the tired front. Sadly it was not even 7pm and we were ready for bed.
We took the long way back to the hotel, exploring as best we could. But we finally found ourselves back in our tiny room, tucked into bed ready for a good nights sleep. Tomorrow we had a full day to explore Hakodate and discover some of what it had to offer.
There were several locations featured in this episode
- Noboribetsu Onsen Kyo Takinoya – A beautiful onsen resort hotel where we would get some R&R for the next 2 nights. We introduced you to a beautiful Japanese breakfast and gave you a better view of the entrance to the hotel.
- Southern Road Bus Station – We sat outside the bus station filming our thoughts on Noboribetsu Onsen (In the wind, sorry!), and then caught our bus to the train station.
- Noboribetsu Train Station – Cute little train station with a Noboribetsu welcoming demon out front. Off in the distance we saw what looked like an amusement park, but some research after the trip revealed it was actually Noboribetsu Marine Park Nixe.
- Hakodate Information Centre – We were in need of some help finding a restaurant where the locals would eat and the information centre at the train station came through with a map and several suggestions.
- Hakotami-Shokudo Izakaya – This Izakaya was not one of the recommendations we were given, but we happened upon by chance after a few of the suggestions didn’t pan out. It definitely fit the bill of a non-touristy option as they only had a Japanese menu.
- La Vista Hakodate Bay – Our home for 2 nights, and a tiny home it was. Our room was extremely small, but comfortable and clean. We were lucky to have gotten this room as this was the number one hotel according to TripAdvisor and we booked Hakodate quite late in our planning process. They had several other larger options, but none available when we booked.
Thanks for watching/reading!