Date: June 29, 2014
Note: This blog entry cannot be viewed on iPad or iPhone as it is too large to fit into the memory. Please use Safari or Windows Explorer or Firefox to view it. Sorry… Usually I break it up to different parts. But my wife asked me to do only 1 huge blog. Hahahaha. :) Actually I think it is Vimeo problem. It cannot load all the video thumbnail images.
We decided to do a Self-Drive vacation in Hokkaido.
To be safe, get an International driving license from AA (Automobile Association of Singapore) for $25. You can use this to rent a car in Japan.
This is the first time we are taking ANA Dreamliner 787. There are a lot of technology on this plane. The kids are excited about it. ANA runs a promotion not long ago, I saw it on the paper, and without much thinking, I have decided to book the tickets. The tickets is about $2,620 for 2 adults and 2 kids.
The only condition is once you book it, you are not able to change it or cancel it.
OK. The kids are ready. Let’s fly. The time is 4:30am in the morning.
After almost 7 hours flight, we finally arrived in Terminal 1 of Narita Airport.
We then took Jetstar domestic flight ($904 for 2 adults and 2 kids return tickets) from Tokyo to New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido.
As Jetstar flies from Terminal 2 of Narita Airport, we will need to take a Free Shuttle bus there. Make sure you have about 2.5 hours time for the transit.
On the Jetstar flight, this Nissin Curry instant noodle is the most delicious to eat from the menu.
After we reached New Chitose airport. We immediately went to the Nippon Rent-A-Car counter. Hmmm… Interesting… There is no one here.
Wow! All these counters are car rental counters. And every counters there is no one there too.
After following the instructions at the counter, a man came to fetch us by bus.
We finally got our rented car. A Toyota Prius. A hybrid car, when you stop at the junction, the car make absolutely no sound.
Renting this car is about S$1,000 for 7 days. We pumped two times petrol (including the car returning).. and it cost about S$100 for the 7 days journey.
All cars comes with GPS. Simply key in either the MAP CODE or the Phone number of the destination you want to go, and walah… the GPS will bring you there.
The only thing is while you are driving, it does not allow you to key in new destination for safety reason.
We need to drove 2.5 hours to reach Rusutsu Resort.
The speed limit sign says 50KM/h on the local road all the way. But every one else is driving like more than 100KM/h especially the trucks. So, we reach there much earlier than that.
Renting car to do a self-drive vacation is not a bad idea at all.
To rent a car, go here. http://www.nipponrentacar.co.jp/english/
As I said, we did not plan any thing at all. The only thing we book in Hokkaido in advance is the hotel. We going to stay 3 nights in Rusutsu Resort, and 3 nights in Lake Shikotsu Onsen Hotel.
This is our deluxe family room at the North Tower. Quite big, with 4 beds (consider to have 2 bed rooms).
This is another 2 beds in the room. During summer time, this room becomes a favourite as it shields all the sunlight from outside.
Yes, It is summer time in Japan, and the day light is from 4:30am to 8pm. Very bright in early morning.
The room fare also comes with 3 days amusement park entrance tickets and 2 meals a day for everyone.
To book the Rusutsu Resort hotel, go here. http://en.rusutsu.co.jp
Remember, when you bring kids to vacation, you need to stay near by or in an amusement park.
It’s our 2nd day in Japan. Good morning!
I got myself a very healthy breakfast. Basically, within Rusutsu, there are 5 restaurants you can choose where to eat for breakfast and dinner.
Almost every day, we eat the nato - fragmented beans. This is the secret to long living in Japan.
Here we are on the first day, we spent our day in the amusement park. Lot’s of roller coasters ride, and others.
You got to love the blue sky in Hokkaido. So blue.
There is enough to play for a full day spending in Rusutsu.
Kay Kay loves all the roller coaster ride. Because he has finally made it to 110cm barely. Every ride, he has to be checked for height. And the operator simply close one eye and miss the 1cm shortage. Hahahahaha.
The sky is so blue that you can still see the Moon on the right hand side. (heap, that white crescent spot).
We first warm ourselves up with his small little harmless roller coaster truck ride. Jay Jay is big enough to take one by his own self.
The most important thing is it is friendly to 110cm kids. Wahahaha.
Zombie looks kids!
The kids favourite. Pirate Ship. I personally don’t like this at all.
I also did not sit on this ride. The kids sit two times. It looks so fast, and so fast. Wahahaha
When Kay Kay sit on it the second time, he said “OK. Mommy, that’s enough. I don’t want to sit this anymore.” Wahahaha
Jay Jay taking picture with a flower.
What a luck! Buy four of the colours, and the red one wins. And we did not buy the red one win. :(
In Hokkaido, you can find a lot of Dandelion. So, let your kids blow the Dandelion. It is nice. And they love it!
Ya… Let them blow...
Let’s find more dandelion.
You can buy some sands and then start to wash off the sands to discover your precious stones.
Kids love this kind of thing. See what Kay Kay found...
Kay Kay: “It’s all mine”.
Don’t forget, Hokkaido Soft Ice Cream is fantastic!
Safari shooting. Mommy win with 11 shots.
Let’s sit on the longest ride. We called it Purple roller Coaster.
Look at Kay Kay and Jay Jay both having fun on the purple roller coaster.
This time, I sit with Jay Jay!
Kay Kay loves to sit on this water roller coaster too.
Water did not splash us.
We keep on sitting on this many time.
Mommy & Jay sit together this time.
Weee…. Here we go again.
Look at the operator. He has so much fun and he use to mic to sing.
Love the blue sky white clouds.
Can tell we have so much fun here.
It’s time to check out Mt. Yotei, riding the Gondola up.
One huge white clouds blocking it.
Still cannot see the Mt. Yotei.
Many couple come and ring this lover’s bell. Green mountain at the back, blue sky with white clouds. Nice.
Let’s get back to the park.
They even went to the kids area. Those rides for really young kids.
By the time we are hungry it is already 3:30pm in the afternoon. Most of the restaurant already close for the lunch. So, we have to walk 5-10 minutes outside the Rusutsu resort area and eat in this restaurant just outside the resort.
And Kay Kay found his new love. The Fish roes.
There is a indoor 2-storey merry go round inside the hotel area.
Night turn dark around 8pm. So, we went to the french restaurant to eat our dinner. It is included in the room fees.
What a healthy dinner. The menu even says “Anti-Aging”. It is 842Kcal. The beef is nice!
The beef is nice! Very nice. It is healthy and nice!
At night time… the sky looks very clear. You can see the stars too here at Rusutsu.
Twinkle twinkle little stars… that ends our 2nd night here in Hokkaido.
Good morning. Day 3 of our vacation. We decided to drive out of rusutsu.
Like what I said, we never plan for everything and makes it easy for us to do the planning on the spot. Wahahaha.
This is our guide book.
Yes, it is in Japanese. Don’t worry. It has lots of pictures.
And you can guess almost what they are saying. There are pretty nice pictures and you can see the map where you want to go.
The most important info you need is the PHONE NUMBER. So, today, we are going to Otaru.
The plan is as follow:
1. Eat lunch just outside the Otaru Aquarium. There are fabulous seafood restaurant there.
2. Visit the Otaru museum and there are train you can sit.
3. Visit the Otaru Canal.
It is going to be a 2 hours drive to reach Otaru.
And Mt. Yotei greets you to have a fantastic drive.
Once you key in your destination, it is from point A to point B. So, you have to look out for any interesting stop in between.
This is sort of like adventuring Hokkaido. You don’t know what is out there waiting for you.
So, the first stop we saw is Yamanaka Dairy Farm.
A lot of people stop here for the milk.
And of course the ice cream.
An old couple driving this kind of bike with a passenger seat. Nice! This is the first time the kids saw this.
It is summer, most of the places are decorated with flowers such as daisies. Nice!
Next, we stop at Tonden Farm Factory. We nearly miss this place. Thanks for the accident not far from here where we are able to drive slow and saw this place and make an almost emergency turning into this place.
This is a farm place where there are a lot of animals you can feed. You buy the carrots for 100 yen here.
Yeap! Horse. You can feed horse with Carrots.
There are more dandelions here too.
You can see Mt. Yotei from far here.
The kids fed the horse.
Of course, you can feed the seep here too.
Feeding the little sheep.
Wow! This cow looks awful.
You can also feed the sheep running freely.
All the animals loves carrots.
Oh ya, ostrich also eats carrot.
There are some rabbits too.
Ducks also eat carrots.
The mommy sheep eating carrots and the baby sheep drinking milk.
It was a nice stop over place for kids. All the animal you see, you can feed. It is also very nice place to get some souvenir too. There is a restaurant upfront, and if you hungry, you can stop here for a meal. For us, NOPE! We have better lunch place too go to.
Finally we are close by Otaru. From here you can see almost the entire Otaru. We are about 25 minutes away from the Otaru Aquarium place.
They even show you how far away you are from all famous location.
Otaru is ahead.
Otaru is quite a huge place.
Let’s us fly!
25min later, we reached Otaru Aquarium area. We are not visiting the Aquarium this time. We will leave it to our year end trip. :)
So, we found a car park to park our car. Unfortunately that car park is for having lunch at this dining place called Otaru Shukutsu Marina dining. This is not the one we want to go. But then, the one we want to go has long queue and lots of tourist bus. And this one is not full and almost empty.
So, I told my wife, we are eating seafood, right?
We are eating it rawm right?
So, why do we care which restaurant we go to, as long as we know the seafood are all from the same place and it is raw.
So, let’s eat here.
Both Kay and Jay love to eat this!
So happy lor...
Most of the things are raw and very tasty.
Very fresh sotong/squid.
Nice BBQ clams..
Best of all… Uni (Sea Urchin)
And Kay Kay also felt in love with Uni, so, one box is not enough for 4 mouths already.
2nd box is on the way!
And it cost only 3,500 yen which is slightly more than $40. Cheap, fresh and good!
Lovely beef Cha-han (friend rice). I saw many people order it, so, I also “Cha-han kudasai”.
Lots of different kind of sea weeds to eat. Very nice!
We are super full after the big feast. O-ishi desune.
How can we forget about the Sapporo beer.
Next destination is the Train Museum in Otaru.
In this museum, you can see the history of train in Japan.
You can sit down and start thinking how Japan has such a nice and sophisticated train infrastructure.
The train model is very good. Especially, it can move.
There are a few train model you can choose, and each train will come up from the shed. And the turn table will move.
I must say, Japanese are excellent in doing fine details. These picture models tells you the story.
The train schedule. Wow. This is very old.
This is a snow plowers train. It is a train they designed it since 1918. No wonder Japan is super power country during that time.
OK. We did not know the timing. But by the time we get to outside to see the train, the LAST train is about to move. 3:30pm.
We are just in time to catch the last train. We are sitting on a steam engine!
It is a short 500 meter ride. But you get the feeling of steam engine.
When it reach the end, it has to turn around. So, they demonstrate how the train can turn around using the turn table. Observe the mechanical arm that pull the turn table around. Quite cool.
This is the mechanical arm that pull the turn table with it around.
After the train turn around, it goes to the junction there.
The steam engine going home.
The steam engine reversing.
Oh ya, the steam engine run on coal fire. You can see the fire burning and boiling the water.
We get to sit on it again for the return trip.
Bye bye and good night!
We are sitting on No. 3 engine.
Good night train. have a nice rest.
Run run run, the train is coming.
Outside the train museum, there is a train restaurant.
The kids had their ice cream here. Warm and nice.
The interior is quite nice.
We are back to the Otaru Canal again. After so many years. This time the kids has grown up a bit.
The canal is still the same canal.
OK. It is time to go back. And the kids will take a nap in the car.
It looks a bit foggy outside.
Wow, we are driving on top of the clouds.
I love this picture. It is like Mt. Yotei is spitting out a fire clouds.
By the time we reach hotel, just nice for dinner. We had our dinner in the Japanese restaurant at the Tower suite.
We have a nice view on Mt. Yotei. But the kids were asleep. So, we try wake them. They have already had a power nap for 2 hours.
We are back to the hotel! After the power nap, all look fresh.
Lovely cup. Nice Sake.
This is the kids meal. Wow, Kay Kay love the fish roes.
Mommy eating the Uni Fish roes rice.
My Calory control meal. This is the appetiser.
White and green asparagus.
Even the rice, they need to cook it for you in front of you. It will take 25min.
Wow, white asparagus rice.
This is my Calory control anti ageing Japanese set menu.
After the satisfactory dinner, we went for bath and Onsen and then, watch the music fountain at Rusutsu resort.
Oh ya, we went Onsen Day and Night in Rusutsu and Lake Sukotsu.
Congratulate Michelle Wie for winning the US Open. There is no English or very few English or Chinese channels in Japan hotel. But we get to watch US Open, FIFA 2014 live.
Jay learned how to play Otello.
On the forth day, we need to change hotel and we need to go to Lake Shikotsu.
My simple breakfast.
So, It is 2 hours drive. So, we plan to get there before 6pm.
So, in the morning, we spent another 2 hours at the amusement park. The kids gets to choose which ride they wanted to sit the most.
We finally get to sit on the train.
We even get to say good bye to little pony at Rusutsu.
We checked out and move out by 11am.
Self driving in Hokkaido is very safe. We get to roam every where we wanted to go.
The first stop we stop is Lake Toya.
Behind Kay Kay is Lake Toya.
Lake Toya is so big. Kay Kay hang on, I need to fly you there.
At that time, we don’t even know what come next.
Mommy… look there are helicopter here. Let’s take picture with the helicopter. Yipee!
We were at this place.
And we saw this here.
What? 4000 yen per person. And Jay and Kay get to counted as combined 1 person. So, the whole family go up helicopter for only 12,000 yen?
Which is about S$150? So cheap? Mai-Tu-Liao, let’s go.
And this is the first time we get onto the helicopter.
The helicopter is a strange helicopter with only two blades. Cool!
Get on the helicopter.
Fly for 5 minutes.
Get off the helicopter.
Let’s take picture wigh the helicopter.
This is the place where we found the helicopter ride. By accident.
Lake Toya is huge. It is one of the lake that does not freeze during winter.
the kids need to balance the helicopter weight. So, they have to sit together. Kay Kay sitting on Jay’s lap.
The kids are so happy.
The tour guide pilot is showing me the active volcano over there. Hmmm… sounds fun. That shall be our next destination.
This is the first time we all sit on a helicopter tour. COOL!
Bye Bye Helicopter.
They found dandelions again.
Next stop. A bit hungry. Let’s stop at Lake Hill Farm.
Here we are. Enjoying the breeze. Have our Ice Cream again.
Flower flower everywhere.
OK. Just now when we were at the helicopter, we were introduced the Showa Shinzan. It is a live volcano. So, we shall visit there.
Before it last erupted, it does not look like what it is now.
that is no joke. Still got smoke come out.
It is a live volcano. The kids are thrill.
Before we go up, let’s eat.
I must say, the Ramen is delicious.
This is the Ramen store. Just beside the ropeway station at Usuzhan. Nice and delicious.
Let’s take the Usuzan ropeway to the volcano top.
The kids love it! Daddy is full of surprise, and always bring them to new things to see. They love ropeway.
They can see a lot of things from the ropeway.
After we reach the top station, there is still a 10 minutes walk.
Really a long walk. With stairs.
But it is all worth it. As the kids really see the smoke coming out from the volcano.
No wonder Lake Toya will never get frozen.
There are many live volcano here.
The volcano has erupted 4 times in this century.
Every day we have fresh milk to drink. Very nice to drink.
It’s about 2.5 hours drive from Lake Toya to Lake Shikotsu. So, around 3:30pm, we better chop chop. And the speed limit is 70km/h, but some one drove above 125km/h. Wahahaha...
But seriously, have you seen a one lane highway? Yeap! One Single Lane. You can over take slow cars whenever there is exit, where they prepare two lanes for you to overtake the vehicle. Wahahaha Speed limit is 70km/h. It is going to be very slow journey.
Wah… need to drive thru such a small route with bears warning sign. Wow. We started to doubt our GPS. Are they avoiding all the express way?
At 6pm, we finally reach Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort SPA Mizu no Uta. It is a fine resort. Wow. I already like this place.
They have a fire place in the lobby, and there is a marshmallow for BBQ in the fire place. COOL!
The fire Place.
There are some Chinese books for you to read at the lobby there.
This is our room. They going to place two more tatami bed on the floor.
The living room can place two tatami beds.
Wow. It comes with a sophisticate bath tub. With volume control, lighting, etc. But it is not Onsen water. But the water is kept warm at 41 degrees.
In room got massage chair too.
Wow.. got a coffee machine for you too.
Never use the bath at all.
Decoration is really fantastic.
First time I see this kind of remote control.
All of us are tired. So, let’s go for Onsen. We have been doing this public bath for the past few days. So, now we have much proper spa place.
The onsen facility here is very good. They have a 39 degree pool, and a 41 degree pool. The shower also comes with adjustable water too. No wonder Kay Kay like this place.
Let’s do a Zombie shot.
We are so happy and I forgot to bring camera or iPhone to dinner. The dinner is fantastic. But the only thing is we eat almost the same type of dinner or breakfast for the 3 days stay here.
There are musician performing at the lobby area.
The kids happily BBQ their marshmallows.
Found a Hokkaido tour guide. So, the whole night was reading it and to decide where to go the next morning. Tomorrow we shall go to Furano.
Wow, a nice Wooden Bat.
This is my breakfast. Lots of veggies and not so much meat. My usual Nato.
Today we going to spent the whole day in Furano. It takes about 3.5 hours to get here from Lake Shikotsu. Half of the journey is by expressway.
The lavender field is just awesome. A bit early though...
The daisy field is full of daisies.
The first stop is Farm Tomita. The famous lavender farm.
They are still planting the flower thou...
Purple is the color.
Kids felt relaxing here seeing so many flowers.
I am on a purple Vespa.
Kay Kay says the lavender smell very good ya.
Ice cream time! Purple lavender ice cream.
The red melon tasted so sweet and juicy and good.
We moved from farm to farm. One big field for the kids to run about.
The kids vs. the farmers. Look at the gorgeous mountain behind. Lovely.
We got Jay, we got Kay, and behind us is Hay. The bear bear is made of Hay.
Taking photo to make wall paper. Nice.
Kids still running on every field we visited. Happily.
See how the airplane fly.
We took lots of photos too.
Every changing Harry Potter photo frame.
Jay with his finger stick out.
Visit to the flower market. But not exactly selling flower thou.
We manage to visit 3 farms today.
After another 3 hours drive. We are back to Lake Shikotsuko.
One nice quiet park.
It’s almost sun set.
Layers of mountain line is breathe taking.
Let’s throw rocks into the lake.
Back to hotel. Doing onsen again with the kids. Mommy enjoys her by her own self.
Everyday we eat fresh meat.
Kay Kay loves his fried rice and tofu.
He loves to eat the raw shrimps too.
Our main dish.
My share of dinner.
I love to mix the rice into the kani soup.
Again, the restaurant is healthy.
I love the desserts here. Especially those tasty jelly. This is my after meal desserts.
It’s BBQ marshmallows time.
Oh ya. In this SPA onsen hotel, you get to choose your own pillow, and bring it back to the room.
Tell her how you sleep. She will recommend you the pillow.
High tech pillow.
Yeap! I am bringing back this pillow back to the room.
It is 6am in the morning. Jay Jay read his Geronimo Stilton at the balcony there.
Since they prepare it, don’t waste it. Today, we going to change room. So, must use the bath tub at least once. Yeap, 6am in the morning. Before our usual onsen. I dip into the hot pool outside.
Wow! This is cool. It has “Micro Bubble” features. So, it actually creates a lot of such small bubbles and make the water become blur blur.
High tech bath tub. With jacuzzi too.
Good morning! My breakfast. Notice the three colourful drinks on the right.
All all very healthy drink.
And the green puree.
Let’s eat! By the time I got my breakfast, the kids already almost finish. Jay Jay even reading book. hahaha
Today, we decided to drive down south to Noboribetsu. 登别. The famous onsen place in Hokkaido.
First stop. Visit the Marine Park Nixe.
Hmm… how does the water stay inside the tube and does not go down below? Strange? The seal swim happily round and round.
Oh no! The theme park is closed on Wednesday.
The aquarium is inside this castle.
Ya, we made it to the penguin walk show.
They love this bridge.
There are at least 3-4 big touch pool for you to touch the sea creatures.
yes, every one gets to touch the sea stars.
Oh ya, we have no idea what is that.
The stingray pool.
The kids simply enjoys touching these marine life.
What a big colourful fat toad. This toad can eat a rat.
This one is much nicer looking toad.
A school of fish. A big school of sardine fish.
A monster corals?
I love to watch all these marine life presented themselves so nice and neat.
Love the jelly fish. Watching and eating them. hahaha
Spotted endanger species.
This one is fat!
OK. The marine park is a very simple park. But it does have lots of fun things inside for the kids. don’t miss all the show. It is quite entertaining.
Next, it is bear park vs. ninja park. The kids has chosen Ninja Park.
So, here we are at the Ninja Park.
Here comes the ninja jump.
here comes the ninja kids.
Very nice scenery inside the ninja park.
I push daddy and Jay Jay away.
Let’s go to the ninja training ground. The maze.
Ninja training ground. The Suriken (ninja star). Hai-yak...
The kids were blur when they see daddy shoot the suriken right on target. And I won myself a free game. 500 yen.
The sumurai sword museum.
Exciting outdoor ninja performance.
Now, let’s train archery.
We got to train the young ninja too.
Its quite fun for the kids.
A very funny meow meow wishing temple.
This is a very interesting temple. It is a cat temple. Drop your money into the box, and then clap your hands, and make a wish, and then, slowly raise your left hand, and wave, and meow.
This place explain what is ninja.
The kids love the ninja show.
The kids vs the Sumurai and Ninjas.
The Geisha show. The gentleman on the right (second) is not the actor. He is an Indonesian Singaporean. he was invited to come up and act together with the Geisha. It was funny and very sporting of him. The whole family crowds of his laugh and laugh. hhahaha
The Geisha Show.
Taking photos with the Geisha.
We visited the monster house.
The ninja town.
Wow. It is almost 5pm after visiting these two theme park. It is time to go back to the hotel.
Today we are switching to a room that comes with own onsen.
The room is much bigger.
there is the onsen pool.
Running at 41 degree.
Outdoor shower room just beside the onsen pool.
Can control the temperature of the onsen water.
The quality of the onsen.
The last dinner. So, he requested more shrimps in his plate.
Going to eat more meat tonight.
Not to forget to open a Sake too.
Jay always happy eating so much desserts here. haha
BBQ marshmallows again.
There are so many audio equipment in the lobby.
All these are speakers.
Next morning. Our last day in Hokkaido.
Let Kay Kay teach you how to do proper onsen.
6am in the morning. So, make sure you wrap yourself in a towel.
dip your feet into the water. for 5 minutes. That will cook your blood and the warm blood will go over all the body.
Next slowly dip your body into the onsen pool.
Always have adult near by to supervise the kid.
Wah… so happy face.
It’s onsen time!
Lets eat a lot today. We have just one last place to visit.
It is Lake Shikotsuko. it is a lake form from the volcano mouth.
And it is one of the clearest lake where you can see thru the water.
today, we going to take this boat to cruise the lake.
So, what so special about this tour? Look at the video.
There are glass panel below the boat. you can see the clear water of Lake Shikotsuko.
Fish fish every where.
The scenes is nice on top too.
The rock formation below also nice.
All these formed by the volcano erupted underwater.
OK. that concludes our vacation.
I managed to dip into the in room onsen pool once more before we drove to New Chitose Airport.
First we must return the car.
Why your bento so nice one?
It’s Uni. that’s why!
I want some!
Finally we are at Tokyo airport.
Narita airport is just too busy. So, we have to take the bus to the Dreamliner.
That concludes our journey this time.
1. Driving in Hokkaido is fun. In fact, it is easy too. Especially when you use the hybrid car, you don’t use a lot of petrol. Although the local road speed limit is 50km/h. You can follow the local traffic which normally drive around 90-100km/h. hahahaha
2. Rusutsu is not bad a place to be for kids. There is a wave pool indoor and a merry go round too. There are shopping places too.
3. The travelling can take one full day from Singapore to Hokkaido. so, you actually only spent 5 days for a 7 days trip.
4. The onsen hotel is excellent if you pick the right one. The one that is friendly to young kids especially.
5. You don’t need to plan in detailed for the vacation. You can do it when you are in Japan. hahaha
OK. Until next vacation.