Date of Travel: 09/02/2012
Unlike the previous day, we asked the hotel staff if they knew whether the buses and trains to Asahikawa were running before we actually went to the bus and train stations. It was a good thing we asked too, as neither were running. Hence, we decided to split our day into two parts; visit the Historical Village of Hokkaido in the morning, then head back to Otaru for another walk along Sakai Machi Street since all of us enjoyed it so much.
We took a train and a bus to reach the historical village. This village is actually an open air museum exhibiting buildings from all around Hokkaido built in the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The whole village was covered in snow at the time we visited, which really made the place even more beautiful.
Many of the buildings had exhibits of how people used to live back in those days. We entered an old ryokan, an old restaurant, and many more. Just walking around on the tatami mats and smelling the scent of the wood used in the construction of these buildings really brought a sense of nostalgia to the place. It really did feel like people used to walk through the halls of these buildings, only for the buildings to be unused and left as museum exhibits.
We entered a building that used to be a Sake store. Inside, an old couple were grilling mochi and heating up Amazake for visitors to try. To my surprise, the Amazake was delicious! It must’ve been just that one place along Susukino Street that we tried a few days prior which was horrible. We sat down with the old couple and tried communicating (us speaking in broken Japanese, and them speaking in broken English). It was a lot of fun! Two other lovely female tourists also joined in the fun.
Shortly after, we realized how much time we had lost while chatting, and went to explore as much as we could before the next bus left. We entered a few other buildings, such as a sweet shop, a pottery shop and others. As we were heading back to the exit to catch the bus, J.C. and Brownie kept on taking photos of other buildings despite me rushing them to hurry it up (it was their idea to go to Otaru afterall). However, we exited the building just in time to see the bus take off!
With the next bus only coming an hour later, we headed back into the village. We played around with a snow sled available for visitors, and were once again joined by the two female tourists. After a few rounds, we headed to the nearby café to have some lunch. We discussed several options on what to do after lunch. J.C. was keen on going back to Otaru, while I was against it as I wanted to be back in Sapporo for the snowboarding event at Odori Park at night time. Brownie was on the fence. We even discussed splitting up for the afternoon. After deliberating for a few minutes, a bright idea suddenly popped into our heads. We were barely done looking around the village, so why not spend the afternoon looking around some more?
There was so much to see around the place that we still weren’t finished exploring every building by the time the sun started to set. While the inside of the buildings were pretty, the shadows caused by the sun setting among the fields of snow were also beautiful. We started heading back to Odori Park shortly after where it was my turn to be a nuisance! While waiting for the bus to arrive, I decided to head off to the toilet. Just as I was about to enter, Brownie pointed out that the bus had arrived. I looked at my watch, and saw that the bus wasn’t meant to depart for another 5 minutes. As Japan’s transport system usually runs to time, and that I REALLY needed to go, I hopped into the toilets anyway much to the dismay of Brownie and J.C.. This caused Brownie to go into a panic mode. He quickly hopped on the bus to notify the driver that I was in the toilet. However, he had no idea how to translate it into Japanese, and said “Tomodachi wa toilet desu”, which literally translated to “my friend is a toilet”, and got a smile from the bus driver in response. I hopped into the bus a minute later, and the bus left four minutes later at the scheduled time (as I predicted), but I got hammered by Brownie and J.C. regarding my poor decision making for most of the bus trip back anyway! Still better than the alternative of relieving myself on the bus though…
We arrived back at Odori Park just in time to get a good spot to watch the night time snowboarding event. The tricks were not as impressive as the previous time we were there, but the atmosphere was better. Towards the end, they were doing group jumps which were fun to watch. It was a great way to enjoy our last night in Sapporo. Admittedly, my hands were absolutely freezing taking videos despite wearing gloves! We walked back to the international snow sculpture competition section to see who the winners were. Hong Kong won with their amazing dragon sculpture, though India was a close second in our eyes. New Zealand’s attempt at the Waitomo Caves was still a disappointment, though nowhere as bad as Singapore’s attempt to sculpture a knot…
We headed back to the accommodation for dinner again. I’m sure they weren’t too happy as it was quite late by the time we returned (kitchen closes at 9pm, and we ordered just before that). The meal was just as delicious as previous days nonetheless. We did eat in the reception area rather than our rooms since our futons were already setup. After dinner, we headed back up to our rooms, and starting packing in preparation for the third leg of our trip. I can only look forward to the adventures that awaits once we arrive at Fukuoka for the Kyushu leg of our trip!
Subway from Sapporo JR Station to Shin-Sapporo Station – 310 yen
Bus from Shin-Sapporo Station to Historical Village – 200 yen
Bus from Historical Village to Odori Park – 230 yen
Nakamuraya Ryokan – 5,775 yen
Breakfast from convenience store – 375 yen (mixed sandwich and Oolong Tea)
Lunch at Hokkaido Historical Village – 730 yen (Soy Sauce Ramen)
Dinner at ryokan – 900 yen (Buta-don)
Hokkaido Historical Village entrance fee – 550 yen
Laundry – 250 yen
TOTAL (cost for whole trip in brackets)
9,320 yen (258,343 yen total)
Total Cost of Hokkaido Leg excluding Airfares
57,908 yen (11,582 yen per day)