© Ronald Tan

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

13th May 2009 – Nice weather when I woke up around 7am. As it was still early, I went to Onsen to freshen up. Nothing beats having a hot spring bath in the cool morning hours.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Using the 2 coupons issued yesterday, we went to the restaurant for our breakfast. There was quite a selection available.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

This is what I have taken for the first round. It’s a buffet so 10 or 20 rounds is fine as long you don’t burst your stomach. 😛

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Morning walk around the lake. The weather and fog have cleared up.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

A magnificent mountain beyond the Nakajima Islands (captured in zoom mode). Looks like Mount Fuji?

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Sukara against the clear blue sky.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Duck-shaped boats for hire.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Shikotsu-Toya National Park – Signboard with information about Lake Toya and Mt. Usu.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

The counter for cruise ride around Lake Toya.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Flowers along the banks of Lake Toya.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

The Pleasure Boat ride that we wanted to take yesterday to see the fireworks.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Tranquil place for relaxation. Although the sun is out, but it’s still chilly whenever the wind blows.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

A really amazing place to be!

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

More beautiful sakura!

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Spotted the boat that was used to launch the firework displays.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Checked-out and went to the bus stop opposite Kohan Tei to wait for the bus to JR Toya Station. The morning wind is extremely chilling and that is why we left out luggage at the bus stop and went to hide behind a building. Ha ha!

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Bus ride to JR Toya ¥320 per person. Bus walkway was quite cramped and there isn’t any place to put our luggage so we just left it on the seats where it’s not occupied.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

The view in front of JR Toya station.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Entrance of JR Toya station.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Lake Toya was chosen to host the Group of Eight summit in 2008. We were glad that we have also visited Lake Toya. 🙂

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Tickets from Toya to Hakodate on Hokuto 8. ¥4830 per person.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Waiting for train to arrive.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

After the conductor checked our tickets, we were told to wait at a certain platform as we did not purchased reserved seats.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Inside the train, it was quite comfortable ride for me as I was enjoying music on my phone. My wife was playing PSP throughout the journey!

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

I guess it was more comfortable for this chap here! Wahaha! Oh yes, the seats can swivel so that it can face each other (see above) – ideal for groups of 3 or 4 while traveling.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Menu showing the prices of food that can be ordered on the train.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

After 1 hour and 45 minutes journey, we reach Hakodate Station.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Hokuto trains.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Interior of Hakodate JR Station.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Entrance of Hakodate JR Station.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

At Tourist Information Center (JR Hakodate station), we purchase 1 day pass for unlimited rides on bus (excluding airport bus) and streetcars (trams) at ¥1000 per adult. Alternatively, you may also just buy 1 day pass for streetcars only at ¥600 per adult. We also got a free guide book for “Romantic Hakodate”.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Walk 5 mins from JR Hakodate to our hotel. We were allowed to check-in even though it was only 1.30pm. It was stated check-in timing only at 3pm during our reservation and we were planning to leave our luggage if we reach early.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Toilet.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Lunch time – we went around searching for “Lucky Pierrot” – a fast food chain that can only be found in Hakodate. Finally found it after asking a kind person.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Checking out the menu as I heard that Lucky Pierrot serves whale burger. I wanted to try it out of curiosity but couldn’t find it.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Omelette rice, side dishes, ice cream, shakes, drink, etc are available as well.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Inside of Lucky Pierrot. It was starting to drizzle a bit outside. 🙁

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Lucky Pierrot Chinese Chicken Burger ¥350.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Lucky Pierrot Egg Burger ¥380. Look at the sauce and egg flowing out……it’s absolutely delicious!

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Yeah! The rain has stopped! After the fantastic lunch, we went to the bus station to take bus to to Fort Goryokaku. It is accessible by streetcars (trams) as well but will need to walk further (20mins). Since we had the unlimited rides for bus as well, we were advised by the service staff in Tourist Information Center to go for bus as it will only take 10mins walk.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

On the bus and checking out the ticket and payment machine.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Goryokaku Tower. You can pay ¥840 to go up the tower to have a bird’s eye view of Fort Goryokaku.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

A ship display in Goryokaku Park.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

History of Goryokaku?

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Scene of flowers can be seen almost everything.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Cannons used in olden times.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Tulips of various colors.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Goryokaku Park is a popular place for hanami with over 1500 cherry tress. But we are a couple of days late and the sakura have withered already.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

This is where I would park myself to enjoy hanami. 🙂

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

A playful shot of our shadows.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Some duck-like animal? I am unable to correctly identify it. Haha!

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Taking the streetcar (tram) to Yunokawa Hot Spring.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

The locals use these streetcars frequently too so it’s quite packed at times. Be prepared to stand.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Yunokawa Hot Spring.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

A free foot bath near the Hakodate Tramway’s Yunokawa Onsen Station (opened all day and night).

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

You can soak your tired legs here.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Another kind of trams. We will be taking it back to Hakodate Eki Mae station to go back to hotel and equip ourselves with more warm clothing. In the afternoon, despite have sun shining, it was quite cold. We reckon that it will be much colder in the night, especially when we up high at Mount Hakodate (our next destination).

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

This tram is quite empty this time round and we managed to get seats.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

On our way back to hotel, a cute sign on the walkway – Crab at Hakodate Morning Market. There are several kinds of the same sign with different content along the walkway.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Hakodate Morning Market. It is closed now.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Getting our dinner from a ramen stall opposite Hakodate Morning Market.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Seafood Ramen ¥1050.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Charsiu Miso Ramen ¥730.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Amazing view from the top of Mount Hakodate. We took a bus from Hakodate Station Bus Terminal and the fare per adult one way is ¥360. But as we have purchased 1 day pass for unlimited rides on bus (excluding airport bus) and streetcars (trams), we did not need to pay as it can be used here. The journey takes about 30 mins to top of Mt. Hakodate.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

You can also take the Mt. Hakodate Ropeway to the top of Mt. Hakodate at ¥640 one way / ¥1160 return.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Even with extra clothing, it is still cold here as the wind is extremely chilling (around 9 degrees temperature). My wife is not out in the open for long as she went to seek warmth in the building (shopping in a souvenir and food store). Ha ha!

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

My opinion is that the night view from Mount Hakodate is indeed true to what multiple sources have quoted “among the top 3 best night view in the world”.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Mount Hakodate. Although the night view is nice and romantic but I wasn’t prepared for the huge crowds (tour groups, school excursions, etc) on top, jostling for space to capture the view on their cameras.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Took the bus back but alighted at Jujigai and walk to Hakodate Beer.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Time is 8pm but the inside was quite empty (other 1 more table was occupied other then ours). Most shops closed quite early here in Hakodate.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Menu for the drinks and food.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Me with the set of 4 different kinds of beers for sampling. The set is priced at ¥1260.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Ordered a plate of assorted sausages at ¥850 to go with the beer.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Red Brick Warehouse (Kanemori Warehouse). It is very quiet here.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Near the bay area. There are sightseeing boats here but it’s already closed for the day.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Red Brick Warehouse (Kanemori Warehouse).

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Some restaurants are found here but seems like most are closed.

A Day in Lake Toya & Hakodate

Although weather is cold, I had the craving to slurp on Hokkaido Milk ice-cream ¥62. Ha ha!

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  • Yann

    Hi Ronald,

    This is a lovely blog, the little details that you include are especially helpful to me. I am wondering if there is a reason why you did not purchase the limited period rail passes – 5-days or 7-days? I am undecided if I should go for those passes.

    Cheers,
    Yann

  • Hi Yann

    Thanks for the compliments, glad that you like it!

    I didn’t purchase the JR passes as I traveled from Tokyo to Sapporo (Chitose) on domestic flight. As I was traveling on Star Alliance flight, I was able to get air passes for foreign visitors which allows you fly anywhere within Japan for around 11,000 YEN per flight.

    I personally think that the JR pass is only very valuable if you intend to travel more than 2 times on the Shinkansen. Also it depends whether you have the time, as taking train from Tokyo to Sapporo will take 10 hours. Hope this helps!

    Any other questions, please feel free to ask.

  • Sue

    Hi Ronald,
    Found your site while searching for info to plan for my Hokkaido trip, and love every photos that you took. All the details you have captured were invaluable as I was absolutely clueless as to how JR Lake Toya Station is or even a deserted Red Brick Warehouse in the night would look like except for a few vague photos found on websites. Thanks to you now that I have a glimpse of it and know what to expect for my forthcoming trip, in March. Now that I’ve seen Hokkaido in its flora and fawn here, on your site, I’m all set and will brave it out for an all white Hokkaido.

    I do have a question, though. I’m marvelling at the fantastic photos you took of the night scene at Mt Hakodate. Did you use a tripod ? If not, how did you manage to hold the camera steady despite the windy conditions. Was there any structures to support ?

    Before I came to your site, I was a bit sceptical about the so-called claimed on being “the top 3 best night view in the world”, I have to admit that after seeing those photos you took, I immediately made a bold mark on my itinerary to make time for this stop over, by hook or by crook.

    Cheers
    Sue

    • Hi Sue

      Thanks for the kind compliments. Glad to be of help!

      For the night scene at Mt Hakodate, I didn’t use a tripod at all and I vaguely remembered that at the viewing point, there is a chest level stone railing all around and I used it to place my camera. But it’s still rather unstable due to slight movements of our hands and the wind (it was really windy and cold when I went). I managed to get an acceptable shot after a few tries. If you can bring along a tripod, then it will be most useful here. The main issue is that you probably have to jostle for a prime location for the best shot. 🙂

      I have always recommended going to Mt Hakodate. My brother went after I did and he loves it too! I hope it will be fruitful for you as well!

  • Xinping_4

    Hi Ronald,

    Love the pictures that you took in Hakodate especially night view of Mt Hakodate . What camera did you used to captures it ?

    • Hi Xin Ping, glad that you love the photos. It was difficult for me to capture photos as there was a huge crowd when I went, need to fight for the good view space.

      Oh, during my Japan trip, I was using Fuji FinePix F200 EXR. 🙂

  • Dgu168

    Good pic. I will add Lake Toya to my trip just because  your pic.