Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Our trip to Hokkaido this summer almost didn't happen. Other plans had fallen through and fallen through and we kept putting it off and off and off... But we went, and had an amazing time! It was a little random - I wanted to go to Hakodate and U wanted to go to Shiretoko (think completely opposite sides of the island) - but U managed to take nearly two weeks off so we had 10 wonderful days in Hokkaido. (Don't worry, I'm not going to try to cram it all into one post, I have too many photos! And besides, I want to drag it out as long as possible for my own benefit!)

We started and ended in Hakodate - and both fell in love with the city. I kept jokingly asking U if there were a university there for him to work at... but sadly there isn't, sigh!

We started things out perfectly - after a long day of trains we arrived in the evening, checked in to our hotel, showered, and set out for dinner - and found a beer garden just steps from our hotel. We didn't get much further, enjoying Genghis Khan (grilled lamb and veggies) over a portable grill on a picnic table in a park, a refreshing breeze blowing from the ocean a few blocks away, enjoying a gorgeous summer evening under the stars.

We crammed a whole lot in to the next day - starting with melon and raw fish in the morning market for breakfast, then going to the star-shaped fortress of Goryokaku and the newly-rebuilt magistrate's office.

Goryokaku Tower 

Finding the infamous Hakodate fast food chain Lucky Pierrot to be a popular lunch choice we got take out and found ourselves a bench by the ocean and watched a stray cat hunt the seagulls and pigeons that eagerly awaited our hamburger crumbs.

Lucky Pierrot's best seller: the "Chinese Chicken Burger" was... ummm... interesting? 

Then I dragged U to not one but THREE museums - which he put up with amazingly well (he claimed he enjoyed it! the boy knows how to humour me!) ending at the old British Consulate where we melted in the tea room and had tea and scones with jam and whipped cream (not the same as clotted cream but still yummy). A short meander along old and very European streets brought us to the foot of the ropeway up Mount Hakodate.

We got up to the top of Mount Hakodate, along with approximately half the population of Japan, with plenty of time to watch the sun set in a blaze of pink and golden clouds.

And then plenty of time to stand four or five rows deep and attempt to take the famous photo of Hakodate lit up at night...

 Undeniably very pretty but the hordes of people trying to take this picture? Muuuuuuuch less pretty!

The perfect start to a pretty amazing holiday!


  1. Every time I read a post about Hokkaido I tell myself this wide-open-spaces-loving nomad really, really, really! has to go there.

    Now you tell me they have scones and cream, too? Oh my!

    1. Yes, you do... just wait for more pictures. You're going to love the two national parks we visited!

      Scones and cream, yup! In an old (and very hot) British house. But not real scones or real cream, so don't get too jealous.

  2. I didn't know the burger although I visited Hokkaido last month.
    It looks very delicious.

    1. The burger was... umm... I'm not a fan. The chicken wasn't a very good quality and the sauce wasn't my favourite. It was interesting to try, but I wouldn't order it again. But, Lucky Pierrot is definitely something to check out when you go to Hakodate - there are stores all over the city and they are very unique!

  3. we took the exact same picture - shared with a million high school students on a school trip :( Our drink at the bar was very noisy! next time I get married I am insisting on a honeymoon in tuscany, like I wanted. But, Hokkaido was lovely.

    1. I think everybody takes that picture - it sure seemed like it when we were up there! Not that most people would have ended up with a picture that looked half decent - for example the kid taking a (anything but smooth) video with their hand-held game console?!

      Honeymoon in Tuscany, eh?! I'm thinking beaches in Thailand?


    1. We didn't visit Sapporo!

      But why didn't you visit me when you were in Tokyo, huh? huh? huh?! ;)