24 Jun Japan: Lake Toya, Hakodate Snow Monkeys & Goryokaku Tower
Our eventful day visiting Lake Toya, the Hakodate snow monkeys and the famous observatory Goryokaku Tower.
Hakodate was approximately an hour plus to Lake Toya from Sapporo. We decided to drop by Lake Toya which was one of the places to visit apparently. It was kinda late when we left Sapporo and by the time we reached Lake Toya, we spent the sunset there. The travelling was the killer… like whut?
The train ride followed by the bus spending an additional half an hour before we finally reached our destination. Unfortunately, we had to leave quite quickly because the last bus back wasn’t running real late. The view of the bus ride, the stroll along the lake and the snow-capped mountain scenery was pretty awesome.
We arrived back at Hakodate late and lugging our luggage in the melting snow was a challenge! Fortunately, our fancy stay was a short 20mins away. Hakodate Kokusai Hotel is definitely a highly recommended stay because of 2 main reasons. Firstly, it was really close to the train station and secondly, it was even closer to the Hakodate morning market. Where all the fresh seafood is sold. Fresh game strong for sure!
When the morning arrives, the market was bustling!
So needless to say, the first thing on our minds was seafood breakfast because everybody raves about Japan’s morning markets. We were all looking forward to it. Upon stepping foot the market, we were greeted by gigantic live crabs. Similar to when wy & myself visited Seoul’s Noryangjin market, we just had to pick the seafood and get comfortably seated in the restaurant and wait for them to dish out the delicacies. And this was just the beginning.
Apparently the restaurant we settled for brunch had a number of celebrity pictures. I’m not someone who love fish roe to death and usually wouldn’t order all raw seafood in a bowl but man these!! I can’t even. A whole new experience for ’em taste buds.
Hakodate is considered a rather small place and with much lesser tourist spots as compared to Sapporo. So we planned lesser days in Hakodate.
After our brunch, we headed for the Hakodate botanical gardens. My initial plan was to visit the Jigokudani snow monkey park but it was really too far and not practical to go from Tokyo on a day trip. Real bummer. So we ended up with an alternative option.
With an admission fee of 300¥ per pax, we managed to finally see some snow monkeys. However, be warned that they don’t look as good as perhaps the ones in Jigokudani. Unlike those with the snowy background and the fluffy furs. And that most of them don’t give a hoot to us humans lol. Even though they’re not the prettiest to look at, their #donotgive2shits expressions amused me.
There was also a small tropical garden within the premises to look at birds and faunas but since we come from an all summer country, where we have #nottobragbutseriously, Gardens by the bay which is like 10 x nicer so eventually, we only came for the monkeys. Yes.
icon-lightbulb-o TIP!Get to the Goryokaku Tower about 5-ish before sunset for the best view and catch the lights come up. Not great for photographing when it gets too dark. The glass reflects every part of your silhouette and you don’t want that.
After realizing addresses are a whole lot harder to find, we never made it to anything on our whole list of food in our itinerary… until this day. Lucky Pierrot Hamburger joint was smacked right in front of the Goryokaku Tower entrance. Too hard to miss with its location and the exterior decor. The burger portion was huge! Kinda like American-sized burgers. I wanted to say I regret ordering one for myself but I can’t cause I actually wolfed down the whole burger. And I thought the egg burger I ordered would be only eggs with vegetable or something but it turned out to be a big lump of beef patty party o.m.g.
Since we ate sooo much and the night was still young, we went ahead to look for Motomachi park. And we thought we might be the only suckers tourist to climb the stairs up just to take pictures of lighted trees along steep roads? So wrong. Some family even took a cab up for it. Tsk tsk.
There were some churches that were open for visitations too but it was raining, I was in a hurry and my pictures were blurred so I left them out. Oh shit, that 3 big orbs on the left of my last 2 pictures! #justsaying. I think it was the raindrop on my lens that I didn’t notice.
Lady liberty in Hakodate Japan. We got up close and personal.. woot!