FC: Sapporo Snow Festival Travels through Northern Japan Winter 2013
12: Ice sculptures at the Susukino site, Sapporo
18: Asahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa City - Unique Zoo with winter animals and two daily parades of the penguins through the zoo
20: views from Otaru: 1. The Steam clock near the music box store 2. Trying Squid (Hotate) cooked in its shell 3. Along the Otaru Canal 4. In front of one of the illumination statues during Otaru Winter light festival 5. Sakaimachi Street
22: 1. Drunk snowmen in front of a liquor store in Otaru 2. Otaru canal lit at night 3. Having Donburi-style meal - Salmon row eggs, King crab, and shrimp on rice with Miso soup 4. Trying octopus on a stick
23: At Noboribetsu: views of Hell Valley (Jigo-kudani). The very active volcanic area is used for a popular hot pools (Onsen) Dai-ichi Takimotokan at the bottom left. Strong Sulphuric smell and many very hot pools. Terrific!
24: Visiting Hokkaido Shrine near Maruyama Park Sapporo
25: 1.Tourist Information Center in Otaru - note the temperature outside 2.A view of the rocky sea near Otaru 3. Snow angel 4. Having Hokee fish for breakfast 5. A view inside Ishiya Chocolate factory in Sapporo, maker of the famous Shiroi Koibito cookies 6. Downtown Sapporo
26: Holding King Crab at Otaru Fish Market (Costs approximately $100 for this guy)
27: Cross Country skiing at Maruyama Park, Sapporo
29: A visit to Sapporo Beer Factory and museum
30: Bottom left: Vibrant Hotel, Otaru - my base of operations (Previously a branch of the Bank of Hokkaido, a charming hotel with lots of character, located on "Wall Street" of old Japan). Middle picture: The Chicagai, Sapporo's extensive underground Streets system: Safe, warm, lots of shops, covers pretty much the entire downtown area (many performances during the festival were held underground).
33: Page To the left: Views from Tsuronoyu (Nyuto Onsen) - great old natural baths, terrific food, the outdoor pool (Rotemburu) feels hot and pleasant even with the cold and snow outside. Unforgeable experience. This Page: Diagram of the Seikan tunnel which is the longest undersea tunnel (54 km.) in the world, connecting the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu. The tunnel's deepest point is approx. 700 ft below sea level. Took us about 25 minutes by Shinkansen train from one side to the other. Pictures 2-6 show the Aoyama residence in Kakunodate. This is a complex of several buildings with art effects depicting the life of a Samurai family. The city has a number of well preserved Samurai residences that are interesting to visit.
35: Left Page: Taking the Basho Cruise from Hon Shiogama to Matsushima, a 50-minute boat ride between beautiful little islands, following a path the famous poet Basho took in the area in the mid 1600's. During the Tsunami of 3/2011 Hon Shogama was floded and certain areas in Matsushima collapsed. During my current visit everything appears to be back to normal. Notice the Temple of Godaido at the bottom right overlooking the bay. Above: Sun rise over Matsushima, one of the most scenic spots of Japan. Rainbow over Matsushima bay. View of Matsushima bay from Godaido island, ringing the bell at Godaido, Having grilled and fried Oysters, a Matsushima specialty.
36: Views from Chuson-Ji in Hiraizumi - I was very lucky to have a guide through this new world heritage site where 4 generations of the Fujiwara family are buried. It was build to inspire national tranquility (pure land). Top left - Basho and me.Top middle - bamboo grove
37: Climbing more than 1,000 frozen steps to reach the top of Yamadera (in the snow), seeing wild goats on the way, the views are amazing! Note the Haiku (short poem) by the poet Basho about Yamadera at the bottom
38: On top of Mount Zao, watching the "frozen Mnsters" (frozen trees -Juhyo in Japanese) under extreme weather conditions
39: On the way back from Zao Onsen I stopped for dinner at Kuroge Restaurant in Yamagata where I cooked my own Yamagata Beef. Delicious! All the other pictures show the port of Hakodate City in Hokkaido. This is a lively city with a terrific morning fish market and really friendly people
40: Above: A picture with a group of Korean tourists at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, in front of the statue of Colonel Clark, one of the founders of the University Below: Walking Puchy in Hokkaido University, nice outfit for puchy! | Top: My main mode of transportation - the Shinkansen train, it helps to have a JR pass! Top middle: Hokkaido University Museum, one of the oldest buildings in town. Right and below: Views of Otaru Station from my hotel room, in the back - Mount Tenguyama.