Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hokkaido

Coming directly from a 19 flight, I thought I would not enjoy my Hokkaido trip. I was wrong. The 2-day trip in a snow covered city proved to be a worthwhile experience. That's saying a lot especially coming from someone who has a love and hate relationship with snow. While walking around the city, the sceneries reminded me of the movie I recently watched, A chorus of Angels (Kita no Kanaria Tachi). The movie was entirely shot in Hokkaido

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monday morning mist 
frozen handshakes, chilling bows 
an ice-cold kingdom 



Straight from the airport, I went to Sapporo Beer Museum. Beer lovers should not miss this place. The place showcases the history and developments of Sapporo Beer, one of the leading beers in Japan.

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After a quick lunch, left my things at the hotel and went to Otaru Canal. The canal was already crowded when I arrived there. It is a popular destination to photo enthusiasts like me. The canal during blue hour is just marvelous. The opposite side of the canal was comparably empty so I positioned myself there and continued clicking my camera until my fingers fell off. Until this time, I didn’t know the reason why the photographers prefer the other side of the canal.

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You are left with no choice, except to love the snow! 

Hokkaido is celebrating its annual Snow Festival during my visit. I've got to witness the creativity of the artists in using snow as their media. Everyone was not minding the negative temperature at all. Yes, including me.

The Snow Festival began in 1950, when local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. In 1955, the Self-Defense Force joined in and built the very first massive snow sculpture, for which the Snow Festival has become famous for now. more here
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The next day, I went to Chitose. It was winter wonderland indeed. It would have been better if I witnessed the light-up but as I was running out of time, I was contented already. I have to be contented so I’ll leave the city without any regrets.

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Around the area, you got to see the Lake Shikotsu, one of the famous lakes in Northern Japan. The lake is hypnotic and majestic. It could invite you for a dip but just be careful or else you’ll end up like one of the ice statues.

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Going back to city, the ice sculptures were about to be destroyed. It signals the end of the festival. Can't help but wonder why they have to destroy them. It took lots of time to finish one ice masterpiece. Or the space will be used for other means.

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That Hokkaido experience was fast. Thought it was just a dream. I had a great time despite constantly fighting with jet lag. Maybe soon I'll return to Hokkaido. Maybe not.

 hokkaido 09/totomai 
2013/02/24

30 comments:

  1. you have taken me on a fairy tale ride through the snow. your photograhic ability is nothing less than awesome. thanks for makeing this sunday morning a good one.

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    1. Thanks OG. glad to know that this was a good way to start you sunday :-)

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  2. What an interesting post, and such lovely photos :)

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  3. Wow, your beautiful loving travelogue of Hokkaido has convinced me to put it on my list of places to travel during my year of international destinations (YID)

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    1. please do visit hokkaido. you won't regert it :-)

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  4. Wonderful sights and images, this was an amazing trip that you won't likely soon forget, and one can even forgive the cold and tiredness to view this much beauty.

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    1. i have to force my eyes or else i'll be like a zombie. a winter zombie. haha. thanks Josie

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  5. What a magical trip you took to a winter wonderland. I'm in awe of all the shots you took. Amazing stuff!

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    1. Thanks TWG. I have to pretend that I enjoy the snow haha

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  6. What a beautiful post. I wonder if the destruction of the ice sculptures in order not to offend the gods?

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  7. wow! that is the only word that came to mind seeing these photos.. thank you for this trip through a magical land.. and lovely haiku too

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    1. thanks LIR. i am inviting you all to visit Japan :-)

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  8. oh wow, it is such a fascinating place, the 8th picture makes me wish i were there right now, the ice seem to be stalagmites, cool!

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    1. Thanks Ms Beth. i never though i will enjoy hokkaido knowing that i dont like snow that much haha

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any thoughts to distill?

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