Monday, January 9, 2012

Winter Holiday in Hokkaido in December 2011 - Section 4

Welcome to the fourth section of my winter holiday in Hokkaido, Japan in December 2011. This section will explain the return driving journey from Kutchan to Otaru, visiting the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen and exploring Otaru, as well as my train journeys to Hakodate, New Chitose Airport, and Kushiro.

Part 1 ~ The Return Journey to Otaru and Shopping in Sapporo

On Saturday (17 December) we woke at about 10 o' clock to pack up all our remaining pieces of baggage for the return journey to Otaru. My dad cooked up breakfast for us, and we all had a shower after that. Before we left for Otaru, we loaded up all our baggage into the boot of the car, and checked every corner of our chalet to see whether we had left nothing behind.

I was happy to be returning to Otaru as I hated to be stuck in the middle of nowhere. I feel like I'm in the middle of nowhere whenever I am in Kutchan or Niseko. Because my mum was sick when she was there, it is unknown whether I may have the desire come to Kutchan or Niseko ever again when I grow older in future.

The view of the living room in the Notoro chalet, just before we left for Otaru

The view of The Chalets at Country Resort before we left for Otaru

After locking up the chalet, we went to the reception house to return our chalet key, then began our journey back to Otaru. Before we left the chalet compounds, I took a picture of the quiet railway track between Hirafu and Kutchan Stations on the JR Hakodate Main Line. On the journey back to Otaru from Kutchan, we drove through a mountainous area, instead of taking the route via Yoichi.

We decided to stop at a wine display shop along the mountain for a restroom break along the way. These are some pictures that I took during the journey. The driving journey from Kutchan to Otaru took about 1 hour 30 minutes via the mountainous area.

Outside the reception house of The Chalets at Country Resort Kutchan

The snowy and quiet railway track on the JR Hakodate Main Line between Hirafu and Kutchan

The snowy landscape just after leaving from The Chalets at Country Resort

A snowy mountain along the way from Kutchan to Otaru

The snowy forest and weather while travelling on a deserted road to Otaru

Another picture of the snowy forest and road

The Sea of Japan as seen from the mountain

The Christmas Tree in the wine parlour on the mountain near Otaru

The car park outside the wine parlour on the mountain near Otaru

The land covered in snow while on approach to Otaru

After travelling from Kutchan for 1 hour 30 minutes, we were finally back in the city of Otaru. On the way back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru, we decided to have lunch at the Victoria Station Restaurant Otaru, again.

While having lunch at the Victoria Station Restaurant, I ordered 200 grams of sirloin steak with steak sauce. My dish came with a hot stone griller, where I spread butter and grilled my steak pieces over it. It tasted really good this way. After a sumptuous lunch at the Victoria Station Restaurant, we drove to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru.

The exterior of the Victoria Station Restaurant Otaru

A piece of scenery taken from the restaurant

The interior of the Victoria Station Restaurant in Otaru

The special steak menu in the Victoria Station Restaurant Otaru

My main course: 200 grams of sirloin steak with potato wedges, broccoli and steak sauce

The car park outside the Victoria Station Restaurant

Otaru Port on the way back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru

As soon as we arrived at the Grand Park Hotel Otaru, my mum went to the reception counter to do the checking in, whereas I called for a hotel staff member to help us with our baggage. We then received our keys to rooms No. 1401 and 1402, where we would be staying in for the next six days and five nights. 

Once we unpacked all our baggage, we had a good rest in our hotel rooms until around the early evening hours. I also have some pictures of the Sea of Japan taken from my hotel room.

The Christmas Tree in the hotel lobby

The grand entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru

The room for my brother and I: Room No. 1402

Our parents' room: Room No. 1401

A view of the Sea of Japan, taken from my hotel room in the late afternoon

The Sea of Japan during the early evening hours

The Sea of Japan during sunset

A view of our room 1402 in the evening

A view of the Sea of Japan during nightfall

Otaru, as seen from the 14th floor lift lobby, with the JR Hakodate Main Line tracks in the background

After we had a good rest in the hotel room, we decided to go to Sapporo to do some shopping and have dinner. The drive from Otaru to downtown Sapporo took approximately 25 minutes. Once we arrived in Sapporo, we went to look for some new household items.

During our shopping, my brother was feeling a little peckish, so I had to take him to Mos Burger which was just nearby. My dad insisted that I pay for the meal first, and promised to pay me back once he met us at Mos Burger. While at Mos Burger, my brother and I had some fried potatoes and shared some chicken nuggets.

The streets in Sapporo at night, with Mos Burger in the right hand corner

A picture of our light meal, with my brother about to take his french fries

The interior of Mos Burger Fastfood Restaurant Sapporo

After my parents came to meet us in Mos Burger, my mum paid me back my 1,000 yen, and went out to have our main dinner. My dad and I came across another barbecue (yakiniku) restaurant by the name of Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen. We ate at the branch located in Minami-Nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo.

The Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen in Minami-Nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

An advertisement sign on the restaurant's special Christmas offer

The various meat items on display outside the restaurant's entrance

The English Language food menu in the Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen

The interior of the Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen in Minami-Nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

The yakiniku barbecue griller placed under the heater at our table

At the Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen, a yakiniku grill was placed under the heater at our table. We then ordered a variety of meat dishes, such as beef, pork, and chicken. It was one of the best yakiniku feasts we've ever had in Japan.

Some kind of chicken dish ready to be grilled on the barbecue griller

The speciality beef intestine. We even ordered a few second plates for this dish

A platter of beef tongue. We also ordered second rounds for this

Some of the meats being grilled

More grilling of meats! The more, the merrier

Even more meat cuts being grilled on the barbecue griller

Some of the meats ready for consumption

A platter of different beef cuts

The beef cuts being grilled on the barbecue griller

A platter of marinated chicken ready to be grilled on the yakiniku griller

Another mouthwatering platter of sliced beef tongue ready to be grilled

Cuts of beef loin and marinated chicken being grilled on the yakiniku griller

More cuts of beef loin and marinated chicken being grilled on the yakiniku griller

The fire burning over the cuts of beef loin and marinated chicken grilling on the yakiniku griller

Six slices of beef tongue being grilled on the griller

A platter of marinated sliced pork chucks

The pork chucks being grilled

A platter of sliced beef steak ready to be grilled on the griller

The first two slices of beef steak being grilled on the griller

The last two slices of beef steak being grilled on the griller

A large mouthwatering platter of beef intestine ready to be grilled

A platter of beef karubi ready for cooking on the griller

Beef karubi and beef loin slices cooking on the charcoal griller

Another large mouthwatering platter of beef intestine ready to be grilled

Beef karubi, beef loin and beef intestine slices being grilled on the charcoal griller

Slightly more beef karubi, beef loin and beef intestine slices being grilled on the charcoal griller

More beef intestine slices being grilled on the charcoal griller

Another look at the interior of the Yakiniku Restaurant Mikakuen in Minami-Nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

It was about close to 10 o' clock by the time we finished dinner. My dad then paid the bill and we went to our car to go to a nearby petrol station to fill up petrol before driving back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru.

Earlier that afternoon, my mum told us that a reservation at 12.30 p.m. was made for us to go to the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen at Korakuen (Japanese: 小樽朝里川温泉宏楽園) the next day. A visit and a soak in the hot waters of the hot spring would definitely help my mum relieve the effects of her illness, and to make my skin moist.


The streets of Minami-Nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo at night

The car parking area at Minami-Nijo 5th Avenue in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Travelling along the coastal road by the Sea of Japan at night

The harbour by the Sea of Japan at night in Otaru

After filling up the petrol needed for our car, we headed back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru. It was about eleven o' clock by the time we arrived back at the Grand Park Hotel Otaru. As soon as we parked the car, we headed back to the hotel room. I then had a shower and did some things on my laptop computer before heading off to bed at around two o' clock late that night.

Part 2 ~ Otaru Asarigawa Onsen and Exploring Otaru

On Sunday (18 December), we woke up at around 10.30 a.m. and had a shower in preparation for a 1-hour relaxation at the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen. I have some pictures before I left for the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen.

The Sea of Japan in the late morning hours

Our hotel room just after we woke up

A view of Otaru from the lift lobby in the daylight hours

After leaving our hotel rooms and going towards the hotel car park, we got into the car and drove to the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen. The drive from the Grand Park Hotel Otaru to the the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen took approximately 15 minutes.

At 12.25 p.m., we finally reached the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen. My mum went to the reception to receive our private onsen room while my dad went to park the car. We then took off our shoes, put them in a shoe locker near the reception counter, and went to our private hot spring (onsen) room.

The snowy roadway outside the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen

A school of koi fish in the pond in the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen

The lounge in the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen

The staircase and the passageway leading to the hot spring (onsen) rooms

Just outside our private onsen room

The hot spring bath in our private onsen room

The relaxation room of our private hot spring bathroom


After a 1-hour relaxation in our private hot spring (onsen) room, my mum felt better from her illness. It was indeed a relaxing time in the onsen. We then packed up all of our belongings, and went back to the reception counter to return our key. After returning our key, we went to the lounge to have a drink, and my brother I tried crossing the footbridge across the pond.

After leaving the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen, we decided to find a good restaurant to fill up our stomachs for lunch. We managed to find a good sushi restaurant that serves delicious flounder fin sushi.

The relaxing lounge just before we went outside

The footbridge over a pond just outside the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen

The icy pond taken from the footbridge outside the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen

The exterior of the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen house

The Sea of Japan as seen on the roadway from Otaru Asarigawa Onsen to central Otaru

After driving around for 25 minutes, we successfully found a good sushi restaurant, known as Sushizanmai. When we had lunch there, we ordered some sushi items, 2 plates of potato wedges, and 2 plates of shishamo. They were absolutely fabulous in terms of look and taste.

Outside the sushi restaurant, Sushizanmai

Some fishes swimming in a tank prior to consumption

The interior of the Sushizanmai Restaurant Otaru

The first plate of potato wedges

The first plate of fried shishamo fish

A grilled scallop for myself

The seafood sushi platter

My own seafood sushi platter without wasabi

The second seafood sushi platter

The second plate of potato wedges

A cup of chawanmushi for myself

The second platter of fried shishamo fish

After a sumptuous lunch at the Sushizanmai Restaurant Otaru, we headed to a mountain located near the Otaru Aquarium to take some beautiful pictures of the scenery of the Sea of Japan. It was a very scenic and breathtaking drive, which managed to lift my spirits up. No matter where we go in Otaru, I know that the Sea of Japan will always be a beautiful place to be.

We also headed further upwards, and found a cemetery on the hilltop with a golden bodhisattva statue of Guanyin (Japanese: 観音; Kannon), guarding the cemetery. My mum is quite fond of cemeteries as they are quite peaceful and quiet, much to my surprise.

The Sea of Japan from near Otaru Port

A view of house built beside a hillside

A seal farm below the hillside and beside the Sea of Japan

A beautiful view of the Sea of Japan taken from halfway to the peak and near the seal farm

A view of the mountain top with a hotel located just above us

A beautiful scenery of the Sea of Japan taken from the mountain top

Another picture of the beautiful view of the Sea of Japan

The golden Guanyin statue acting as a guardian for the cemetery on the mountain top

The tombstones in the cemetery on the peak of the mountain

A temple located beside the cemetery

A shrine located beside the cemetery

After doing some picture-taking, we headed down the mountain to go to a nearby Homac Super Depot Department Store to purchase some home amenities and stuff. I managed to take some pictures while there and along the way.

A layer of tombstones at a cemetery located just above the base of the mountain

Passing by a hot spring (onsen) house on the way to Homac Super Depot Department Store

The carpark outside the Homac Super Depot Department Store just before nightfall

The entrance to Homac Super Depot Department Store Otaru

The Homac Super Depot Department Store car park at night with snowfall

After purchasing all our necessary home amenities, we decided to head back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru. It was already snowing by the time we exited the department store. We then parked our car in the hotel's car park and I took some pictures before heading back to the room.

The Christmas tree in the Grand Park Hotel Otaru hotel lobby

The marble staircase in the grand entrance hall in the Grand Park Hotel Otaru at night

After we arrived back at our hotel rooms, we washed up and had a nice shabu-shabu dinner. I then arranged with the hotel reception to wake me up at 7.45 a.m., as I was to travel to Hakodate by train on Monday, 19 December. I also did some stuff on my laptop computer, before heading to bed by 1.30 a.m. for a well-earned good night's sleep.

Part 3 ~ Hakodate

The next morning, at exactly 7.45 a.m., the hotel reception gave me a wake-up call. I then leapt out of bed and had a shower. My dad then offered to give me a lift to Otaru-chikko Station for my 9.40 a.m. train to Sapporo. The drive from the hotel to Otaru-chikko Station took between 5 to 10 minutes.

My itinerary for the in-bound journey towards Hakodate would be to take the Rapid Airport train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport, which would depart Otaru-chikko Station at 9.40 a.m., and arrive at Sapporo Station at 10.06 a.m.. Upon arrival at Sapporo Station, I would connect to the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 10 bound for Hakodate, which would depart Sapporo Station at 10.37 a.m., and arrive at the Hakodate terminal station at 1.52 p.m..

I reached Otaru-chikko Station at about 8.20 a.m.. As I had 1 hour 20 minutes before my train to Sapporo, I decided to sit in the waiting room to check whether I had all my necessary items for the day. As I knew that the journey to Hakodate would be long, I decided to have my personal electronic devices to keep me company for the long journey.

The entrance to Otaru-chikko Station

The station concourse of Otaru-chikko Station

After doing a baggage check, I went down to the station platform at nine o' clock to wait for my train to Sapporo. I have some pictures that I took on the station platform. For the first sector between Otaru-chikko and Sapporo, I was to take the Rapid Airport train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport.

The Otaru-chikko Station platform on a bright winter morning

The departure information board for trains departing towards Sapporo at Otaru-chikko Station

After spending almost 40 minutes of waiting on the platform, the Rapid Airport train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport finally entered Otaru-chikko Station at 9.39 a.m.. I then boarded the reserved seat ("u" seat) car and settled into my assigned seat No. 5A for the 26-minute journey to Sapporo. The train then pulled out of Otaru-chikko Station at 9.40 a.m., right on schedule. This is video of the train's departure from Otaru-chikko Station and its travel along the coast of the Sea of Japan. I also have some pictures.

721系 快速エアポート100号 新千歳空港行き 小樽築港駅から発車と日本海

A beautiful view of the Sea of Japan along the JR Hakodate Main Line

My train ticket for the sector between Otaru-chikko and Sapporo

My seat, 5A, during the journey to Sapporo

The Sea of Japan as seen from the Rapid "Airport" train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport

The reserved seat ("u" seat) interior on the way to Sapporo

After travelling for 26 minutes from Otaru-chikko, I arrived at Sapporo Station at 10.06 a.m. on Track No. 6. Knowing that I had about 15 minutes before my next train to Hakodate, I went to see which platform the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 10 bound for Hakodate would be departing from. According to the departure information board, the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 10 bound for Hakodate would depart at 10.37 a.m. from Track No. 8. Immediately, I went over to Track No. 8 to catch my train to Hakodate. While waiting, I did my usual train spotting.

Tracks No. 5 and 6 at Sapporo Station

A KiHa 261-1000 series DMU train operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 3 service bound for Obihiro at Sapporo Station

Tracks No. 7 and 8 at Sapporo Station

The departure information signboard showing the information of my train to Hakodate

According to the departure information signboard, the train that I would be taking for the sector between Sapporo and Hakodate would be the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 10. After 12 minutes of waiting, a KiHa 281 series DMU train, which would later transport me to Hakodate, finally arrived at Sapporo at 10.18 a.m.. Prior to this, it arrived from Hakodate as the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 1 bound for Sapporo.

The Hokuto (北斗) and Super Hokuto (スーパー北斗) are limited express train services that are operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) between Sapporo and Hakodate in Hokkaido, Japan. The fastest journey time between Sapporo and Hakodate is approximately three hours. As the Hokuto is relatively slower than the Super Hokuto, many travellers will opt to take the Super Hokuto whenever possible when travelling between Sapporo and Hakodate. The service is capable of reaching a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).

The Hokuto service commenced operations on 1 November 1965, using KiHa 183 series DMUs, operating at a maximum speed of 130 km/h (80 mph). From 1 March 1994, KiHa 281 series DMUs were introduced on these services, with some Hokuto services being upgraded to Super Hokuto services and reducing travel times by approximately 30 minutes. From 11 April 1998, KiHa 283 series DMUs were introduced on these services at the same speed as the KiHa 281 series DMUs.

The cleaners finished refreshing the train at 10.25 a.m., and we were finally allowed to board the train. I boarded through Car No. 2 to get an easier view of the Green Car (first class) cabin. During boarding, I went to my assigned Seat No. 9A for the journey to Hakodate after settling my ticket and baggage. The seat beside me remained empty throughout the journey.

The LED destination panel for my train to Hakodate

My seat, 9A, for the journey of 3 hours 15 minutes from Sapporo to Hakodate

The front view of the Green Car interior on the KiHa 281 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 10 bound for Hakodate, at Sapporo Station

At exactly 10.37 a.m., all the doors were closed, and the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 10 bound for Hakodate finally pulled out of Sapporo Station for a travel time of 3 hours 15 minutes towards the suburban city of Hakodate near the Tsugaru Strait. Here are some pictures and videos which will explain the sector between Sapporo and Hakodate.

キハ281系 特急スーパー北斗10号 函館行き 札幌駅から新札幌駅

My Fixed 3-Day Green-type Hokkaido Rail Pass

My Green Car (first class) train ticket for the sector between Sapporo and Hakodate

A view of Minami-Chitose Station from the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 10 bound for Hakodate

New Chitose Airport, as seen from the JR Chitose Line between Minami-Chitose and Tomakomai

My 2 cups of orange juice

The rear view of the Green Car cabin of the KiHa 281 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 10 bound for Hakodate, while en route to Hakodate from Sapporo

My box of almond chocolates purchased from the on-board trolley service

A view of a field somewhere along the JR Muroran Main Line

A view of the Pacific Ocean, taken from the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 10 bound for Hakodate on the JR Muroran Main Line

A snowy landscape somewhere on the JR Muroran Main Line

キハ281系 特急スーパー北斗10号 函館行き 車窓から長万部駅に到着

Oshamambe Station as seen from the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 10 bound for Hakodate

A snowy view of the Pacific Ocean

A snowy landscape somewhere between Oshamambe and Goryokaku on the JR Hakodate Main Line

A view of a snowy field and forest along the JR Hakodate Line

The rail bridge for the upcoming Hokkaido Shinkansen under construction

キハ281系 特急スーパー北斗10号 函館行き 五稜郭駅から終着函館駅

After a travel time of 3 hours 15 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Sapporo, I finally arrived at the Hakodate terminal station at 1.52 p.m. on Track No. 5. Having all my belongings with me, I alighted the train and decided to take some pictures in the station before heading towards the downtown area. These are some pictures.

Hakodate Station is the main railway station serving the city of Hakodate in Hokkaido, Japan. It serves as an interchange station for the Esashi Line, Hakodate Main Line, and the Tsugaru-Kaikyo Line, which links to and from Aomori Prefecture in Honshu via the undersea Seikan Tunnel.

When I stepped out of the station, I saw that like Wakkanai, Hakodate was really cold and snowy. I decided to find a restaurant in downtown Hakodate to have lunch. These are some pictures of a snowy Hakodate.

Tracks No. 5 and 6 of Hakodate Station

The KiHa 281 series DMU train I took, which would later become the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 13 back to Sapporo at Hakodate Station

A KiHa 183 series DMU train, about to depart Hakodate as the Limited Express "Hokuto" No. 11 bound for Sapporo

The ticket barriers at Hakodate Station

A bus stand just outside Hakodate Station

The station building of Hakodate Station

A view of downtown Hakodate in a really snowy weather

A tsunami warning sign on a street in Hakodate

After walking for 10 minutes, I found a restaurant behind a narrow road. I then asked for a table and the waitress provided me with a food menu. I had some yakitori with steamed rice while there After having a sumptuous lunch, I paid my bill and left the restaurant. As it was getting really cold, I decided to head back to Hakodate Station to keep warm.

After arriving at Hakodate Station, I decided to see what was on the second floor. I then discovered an interesting Kato Model train display set, which was equipped with buttons for users to make the trains move.

The interior of the restaurant where I ate at in Hakodate

The English Language food menu at the restaurant

My first course: Kushi Katsu with steamed rice

My second course: Kushi Yaki set

The exterior of the restaurant where I ate at in Hakodate

Hakodate Station located just across the road

A view of downtown Hakodate while getting closer to Hakodate Station

The entrance to Hakodate Station

The interesting Kato Model train display set on the second floor of Hakodate Station

An E5 Series Shinkansen "Hayabusa" model in the train display set

The concourse of Hakodate Station

At around 3.05 p.m., I decided to head to Track No. 7 to catch my train back to Sapporo. While waiting, I discovered a 789 series EMU train on the platform. The train was operating on the Limited Express Super Hakucho No. 40 service bound for Shin-Aomori, which would leave Hakodate at 3.55 p.m. via the undersea Seikan Tunnel on the Tsugaru-Kaikyo Line. My itinerary for the return journey towards Sapporo would be to take the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 15 bound for Sapporo, which would depart Hakodate Station at 4.28 p.m., and arrive at the Sapporo terminal station at 7.28 p.m..

The Hakucho (白鳥) and Super Hakucho (スーパー白鳥) are limited express train services operating between Shin-Aomori and Hakodate in Japan. They are operated jointly by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido). Half of one car (car No. 1) provides Green Car (first class) seating, which seats up to 16 passengers on the Hakucho service, and 15 passengers on the Super Hakucho service. The Hakucho service uses 485-3000 series EMUs, whereas the Super Hakucho service uses a converted 785-300 series 2-car EMU set, and 789 series EMUs.

These services started on December 1, 2002, initially operating between Hachinohe and Hakodate, in collaboration with opening of the Morioka to Hachinohe sector on the Tohoku Shinkansen. However, when the Tohoku Shinkansen extension between Hachinohe and Shin-Aomori was opened on December 4, 2010, the services were moved from Hachinohe to Shin-Aomori.

As the Hakucho service is relatively slower than the Super Hakucho, many travellers when travelling between Shin-Aomori and Hakodate, will opt to take the Super Hakucho service whenever possible. I have some pictures of the train.

The KiHa 281 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 13 back to Sapporo at Hakodate Station

The 789 series EMU train operating on the Limited Express "Super Hakucho" No. 40 service bound for Shin-Aomori at Hakodate Station

The front view of the Green Car cabin on the 789 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Hakucho" No. 40 service bound for Shin-Aomori, at Hakodate Station

The rear view of the Green Car cabin on the 789 series EMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Hakucho" No. 40 service bound for Shin-Aomori, at Hakodate Station

Tracks No. 7 and 8 of Hakodate Station

At 3.38 p.m., a KiHa 281 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 12 service from Sapporo, arrived at Hakodate Station. The train would later become the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 15, which would later take me on a 3-hour ride back to Sapporo at 4.28 p.m.. I managed to film a video of the Limited Express Super Hakucho No. 40 bound for Shin-Aomori leaving Hakodate Station.


After filming the Super Hakucho train departure from Hakodate, I boarded my train to Sapporo at 3.55 p.m., 33 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Once I reached the Green Car cabin, I settled all my necessary items and settled into my seat No. 5A for the 3-hour journey back to Sapporo.


The KiHa 281 series DMU train, which would later take me back to Sapporo as the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 15 at 4.28 p.m.

789系 特急スーパー白鳥40号 新青森行き 函館駅から出発

The front view of the Green Car cabin on the KiHa 281 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 15 bound for Sapporo, at Hakodate Station

My seat, 5A, for the 3-hour journey back to Sapporo

The rear view of the Green Car cabin on the KiHa 281 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 15 bound for Sapporo, at Hakodate Station

After all the passengers for the train were on board, we finally pulled out of Hakodate Station at 4.28 p.m., heading for a 3-hour journey to Sapporo. The sectors between Hakodate and Higashi-Muroran, as well as the sector between Higashi-Muroran and Tomakomai, were non-stop journeys. To get to the point, here are some pictures and videos which will explain the sector between Hakodate and back to Sapporo.

キハ281系 特急スーパー北斗15号 札幌行き 函館駅から発車とグリーン車

A snowy landscape just after we departed from Hakodate Station

My Green Car (first class) train ticket for the sector between Hakodate and Sapporo


The Green Car cabin of the KiHa 281 series DMU train while on route to Sapporo from Hakodate

My 2 cups of orange juice on my tray table

My seat, 5A, in its fully reclined position

The Green Car cabin of the KiHa 281 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 15 bound for Sapporo, on the way back to Sapporo from Hakodate

The night scenery somewhere along the JR Muroran Main Line

キハ281系 特急スーパー北斗15号 札幌行き 車窓から苫小牧駅に到着

At Tomakomai Station

A dark landscape on the JR Chitose Line

Passing by New Chitose Airport

The Green Car cabin view on the KiHa 281 series DMU taken from my seat

Approaching Shin-Sapporo Station
At Shin-sapporo Station

Passing by a train yard in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

Passing Shiroishi Station

The Green Car cabin of the KiHa 281 series DMU train while on approach to Sapporo

Arriving at the Sapporo terminal station

After a journey time of about three hours from Hakodate, I finally arrived back at the Sapporo terminal station at 7.32 p.m., 4 minutes behind schedule, on Track No. 2. the train originally scheduled to arrive at Sapporo Station at 7.28 p.m.. However, because of the slippery railway tracks somewhere on the JR Hakodate Main Lines and the Muroran Main Lines, it had to reduce speed for safety reasons.

Tracks No. 1 and 2 of Sapporo Station

The Sapporo Station concourse

The entrance to Stellar Place Sapporo Station

Daimaru Department Store Sapporo as seen near the station
The JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo at night

I then contacted my parents about my arrival at Sapporo Station and went to the entrance to Bic Camera Sapporo, where I waited for them to fetch me. We then drove to Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant, a Korean Barbecue restaurant, in Atsubetsu-ku for dinner.

I've known this restaurant since June 2009. There are two branches in Sapporo, which are in Atsubetsu-ku (厚別区) and Toyohira-ku (豊平区) respectively. Among these, I only know the branch in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo.


Once we entered Boku-zen, we put all our shoes in the shoe compartment, and a waitress showed us to our table. We then looked at the food menu and decided on what to order for dinner. We ordered a wide variety of meat items, including beef, pork, and chicken. We even had second rounds. It was indeed a filling dinner feast at Boku-zen.

The signboard at the entrance to Boku-zen

The barbecue (yakiniku) griller at Boku-zen

The food menu at Boku-zen

A platter of beef tongue

Some pieces of beef tongue being grilled

3 pieces of scallops with butter in a pan being grilled beside the pieces of beef tongue

Most of the meats still being cooked before consumption

A plate of beef intestine

A plate of chicken koniku

A platter of french fries

A large platter of meat intestine

More pieces of meat being grilled

Certain pieces of meat ready for consumption

Another plate of beef intestine

Even more pieces of meat being grilled

The interior of Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

The self-service drink area in Bokuzen

After a nice and filling dinner feast at Boku-zen, it was time to head back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru. We paid the bill, got our shoes, and went to the car park to claim our car. I have some pictures outside Boku-zen just before heading back to Otaru. It was already snowing by the time we left for Otaru.

The car park outside Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

The entrance to Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

The night snowfall while on approach to Sapporo

After we reached our hotel room in the Grand Park Hotel Otaru, we had a hot shower, and changed into our pyjamas to settle in for the night. I did my usual stuff on my laptop computer before heading off to bed at around one or two o' clock late that night.

Part 4 ~ Another Train Journey to New Chitose Airport (a.k.a. Chitose 2)

On Tuesday (20 December) I woke at around 11.30 a.m., close to 12 noon. I had a shower before changing up to get ready for another brief shopping trip to New Chitose Airport. It was a rest day for my family at that time. Wanting to do something more constructive, I decided on this shopping trip.

At 1.10 p.m., I went to Otaru-chikko Station on foot for approximately 15 minutes. My itinerary for the in-bound journey towards New Chitose Airport would be to take the Rapid Airport train No. 140 bound for New Chitose Airport, which would depart Otaru-chikko Station at 1.40 pm. and arrive at the New Chitose Airport terminal station at 2.46 p.m.. I arrived just in time for my 1.40 p.m. train towards New Chitose Airport.

As soon as I reached Otaru-chikko Station, I went through the ticket gate and it was onto the platform for my 1.40 p.m. train to New Chitose Airport. According to the departure information board, I was to take the Rapid Airport train No. 140 bound for New Chitose Airport.

The Sea of Japan taken from my hotel room in the afternoon sky

The grand entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru

The walkway beside the road linking the hotel with Otaru-chikko Station

The platform of Otaru-chikko Station in the mid-day hours

The departure information board detailing the details for the Rapid "Airport" train No. 140 bound for New Chitose Airport at Otaru-chikko Station

After waiting for approximately 10 minutes, the Rapid Airport train No. 140 bound for New Chitose Airport, finally arrived at Otaru-chikko Station at 1.39 p.m.. I then boarded the reserved seat ("u" seat) car and settled into my Seat No. 8D for the journey to New Chitose Airport. Once the clock struck exactly 1.40 p.m., the train finally pulled out of Otaru-chikko Station for a journey of 1 hour 06 minutes towards New Chitose Airport. Here are some pictures and videos between Otaru-chikko and New Chitose Airport.

The reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the Rapid "Airport" train No. 140 bound for New Chitose Airport

My seat, 8D, for the journey to New Chitose Airport

721系 快速エアポート140号 新千歳空港行き 小樽築港駅から手稲駅

My reserved seat ticket for the journey between Otaru-chikko and New Chitose Airport


The front view of reserved seat ("u" seat) cabin on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 140 bound for New Chitose Airport

The rear view of reserved seat ("u" seat) cabin on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 140 bound for New Chitose Airport

A pair of reserved seats ("u" seat) on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 140 bound for New Chitose Airport

At Sapporo Station

Passing through Naebo Station


At Shin-sapporo Station

A snow-covered road beside the JR Chitose Line


Passing by some houses in the city of Eniwa

At Chitose Station

721系 快速エアポート140号 新千歳空港行き 南千歳駅から新千歳空港駅

After a short journey time of 1 hour 06 minutes from the suburban port city of Otaru, I finally arrived at the New Chitose Airport terminal station at 2.46 p.m. on Track No. 1. Having all of my belongings with me, I alighted the train and went up towards the main station concourse before exiting the station. After taking the elevator to the third floor of the domestic flight terminal, I took the escalator to the fourth floor, where the aviation model shop Flyers was located.

The station platform of New Chitose Airport Station

The ticket gates at New Chitose Airport Station

The domestic flight terminal concourse taken from then second floor

The entrance to Oasis Park on the fourth floor

The domestic flight terminal concourse taken from the fourth floor

The interior of Oasis Park on the fourth floor

The entrance to the Flyers aviation model shop

After arriving at Flyers, I looked through the various commercial aviation passenger aircraft models that were on display. Like I mentioned earlier, it is located on the fourth floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport, and specialises in aircraft models and magazines for aviation fans. From the Flyers aviation model shop, I purchased two new Japanese commercial airplane models. They are, as follows:

1) ANA - All Nippon Airways Boeing 747-481D ANA Official Precision Models Scale 1:500 (NH 50034)


ANA - All Nippon Airways Boeing 747-481D ANA Official Precision Models Scale 1:500 (NH 50034)

2) JAL - Japan Airlines Boeing 777-246 Hogan Scale 1:500 (BJE3002)


JAL - Japan Airlines Boeing 777-246 Hogan Scale 1:500 (BJE2006)

After purchasing my airplane models, I went to a cafeteria by the name of Pronto Caffé and Bar to have my lunch. Having a good review through the food and beverage menus, I had a plate of spaghetti carbonara, which cost 730 yen, and a cup of coca-cola, which cost me 250 yen. It was a rather nice and filling lunch.

The signboard of the Pronto Caffé and Bar

My main meal: 1 plate of spaghetti carbonara with a cup of coca-cola and ice water

The interior of the Pronto Caffé and Bar New Chitose Airport

The food and beverage menu of Pronto Caffé and Bar New Chitose Airport

The entrance to Pronto Caffé and Bar New Chitose Airport

After paying the bill for my meal, I went to the Royce Chocolate World to purchase six boxes of Royce chocolates for 2,520 yen, using my MasterCard. On the way, I managed to take a picture of a Japan Airlines Boeing 777-289 aircraft, registered JA010D. After purchasing the six boxes of Royce chocolates (three of which would catch the attention of my housekeeper), I went to Baskin Robbins to have a couple of scoops of Chocolate-Holic ice-cream in a cup.

A view of the runway and tarmac of New Chitose Airport taken from the domestic flight terminal

A Japan Airlines Boeing 777-289 aircraft, registered JA010D, wearing the old "Arc of the Sun" livery

The entrance to the Royce Chocolate World located on the right-hand side of the picture

My 2 scoops of Chocolate-Holic flavoured ice-cream in a cup at Baskin Robbins

The Baskin Robbins ice-cream parlour in New Chitose Airport

After 1 hour 15 minutes of shopping, I decided to head back to New Chitose Airport Station at 4.05 p.m. to catch my train back to Otaru-chikko. I was originally scheduled to take the Rapid Airport train No. 185 bound for Otaru at 6.34 p.m., and arrive at Otaru-chikko Station at 7.39 p.m..

However, I knew that I would to wait quite long and pointless, so I decided to go to the ticket office and change my reservation to an earlier train. The ticket attendant was kind enough to re-book me a reserved seat ("u" seat) on the Rapid Airport train No. 165 bound for Otaru, which would leave the airport at 4.34 p.m., and arrive at Otaru-chikko Station at 5.39 p.m.. I was on the platform by 4.15 p.m..

The ticket gates at New Chitose Airport Station

The New Chitose Airport Station platforms

A 785 series EMU train, operating on the Rapid "Airport" No. 163 service bound for Asahikawa via Sapporo. This train would later function as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 31 service between Sapporo and Asahikawa

At 4.16 p.m., the 721 series EMU train, which would later become the Rapid Airport train No. 165 bound for Otaru, arrived at New Chitose Airport Station. I was on board the train by 4.20 p.m. for the 1 hour 05-minute journey to Otaru-chikko. As soon as I was on board, I settled into my assigned seat No. 6D for the journey.

After all the passengers for the train were on board, the Rapid Airport train No. 165 bound for Otaru finally pulled out of New Chitose Airport Station at 4.34 p.m., with me taking video of the train travelling from the airport to Chitose Station. Here are some pictures and videos between New Chitose Airport and Otaru.

The reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the Rapid "Airport" train No. 165 bound for Otaru via Sapporo

My seat, 6D, for the journey back to Otaru

My reserved seat train ticket for the journey back to Otaru-chikko

721系 快速エアポート165号 札幌経由小樽行き 新千歳空港から千歳駅

The night scenery along the JR Chitose Line on the way back to Otaru

The rear view of the reserved seat ("u" seat) cabin while on approach to Sapporo

JAL - Japan Airlines Boeing 777-246 Hogan Scale 1:500 (BJE2006)

ANA - All Nippon Airways Boeing 747-481D ANA Official Precision Models Scale 1:500 (NH 50034)

721系 快速エアポート165号 小樽行き 琴似駅から手稲駅


After a travel time of 1 hour 05 minutes from New Chitose Airport, I finally arrived back at Otaru-chikko Station at 5.39 p.m.. Having all of my personal belongings with me, I alighted the train safe and sound. Before walking back to the Grand Park Hotel, I filmed a video of the train departing Otaru-chikko Station.

721系 快速エアポート165号 小樽行き 小樽築港駅から出発

After filming the train's departure, I walked through Wing Bay Otaru to access the Grand Park Hotel Otaru. I had some rest in the hotel room before heading to downtown Otaru for dinner. After finishing dinner, I went back to my hotel room to arrange with the hotel reception to wake me up at five o' clock the next morning. I also set my alarm on my mobile phone to five o' clock the next morning at the same time.

This was because I was to travel to Kushiro the next day. I then charged and packed all my electronic devices and battery chargers I needed the next day. As with Hakodate and Wakkanai, the train journey to Kushiro was going to be long. Having a quick shower, I changed up and headed to bed just before midnight.

Part 5 ~ Kushiro

The next morning, which was on Wednesday (21 December), I was given a wake-up call by the hotel reception at five o' clock. I got up and had a shower, before changing up for the journey to Kushiro. Having all my necessary items with me for the day, my dad offered to ferry me to Otaru-chikko Station, eventually leaving the hotel by 5.25 a.m..

After a short five-minute drive from the hotel, I arrived at Otaru-chikko Station by 5.30 a.m.. I then went to the station's waiting room to do a baggage check. After checking whether I had all my necessary items for the day, I headed down to the station platform.

My itinerary for the inbound journey towards Kushiro would be to take a JR Hakodate Line local train bound for New Chitose Airport, which would depart Otaru-chikko Station at 6.06 a.m., and arrive at Sapporo Station at 6.45 a.m.. This train would become the Rapid Airport train No. 62 between Sapporo and New Chitose Airport. Upon arrival at Sapporo Station, I would connect to the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 1 bound for Kushiro, which would depart Sapporo Station at 7.03 a.m., and arrive at the Kushiro terminal station at 10.51 a.m..

The station platform was rather deserted when I was on it. Once again this made Otaru-chikko Station look like a haunted railway station at this time of the wee hours of the morning. However, the waiting area near the ticket office and barriers was still well-lit.


The station concourse of Otaru-chikko Station in the wee hours of the morning

The relatively deserted station platform of Otaru-chikko Station early in the morning, which easily makes Otaru-chikko Station look like a haunted railway station

The departure information board for trains bound for Sapporo and the other outskirts of Hokkaido

After spending 15 minutes of waiting, the local train bound for New Chitose Airport finally entered the station at 6.05 a.m.. Once I boarded the train, I quickly found a seat for the 40-minute journey to Sapporo. After the train departed Otaru-chikko Station at 6.06 a.m., and while travelling along the coast of the Sea of Japan, the sun started to rise. These are some pictures I took on the way to Sapporo.

The early morning sunrise over the Sea of Japan on the JR Hakodate Line between Otaru-chikko and Sapporo

The early morning sunrise while getting closer to Teine

The early morning sunrise while getting closer to Sapporo

After 40 minutes of travel on the JR Hakodate Main Line from the suburban port city of Otaru, I finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 6.45 a.m. on Track No. 6. Realising that I only had about 10 minutes before my next train to Kushiro, I checked the departure information signboard of my train to Kushiro.

According to my departure information board, the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 1 bound for Kushiro would depart at 7.03 a.m. from Track No. 7Sapporo Station was really packed with passengers, heading for either business or leisure, especially at this time of morning. Without wasting anymore time, I immediately headed over towards Track No. 7 from Track No. 6 in preparation for my next segment towards Kushiro.

The Super Ozora (スーパーおおぞら) is a limited express train service operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) between Sapporo and Kushiro in Hokkaido, Japan. There are a total of seven trains per day in each direction, with the fastest journey time of approximately 3 hours 35 minutes. The service mainly runs over the Chitose Line, Sekisho Line and the Nemuro Main Line on its route.


The service commenced operations on 22 March 1997, and currently uses KiHa 283 series DMUs as the main rolling stock. Services are normally formed of six or seven cars, but are occasionally lengthened between eight to ten cars on certain days and months. Green Car (first class) accommodation are available on all services, with the exception of trains No. 2 and 13.

Sapporo Station, shortly after I arrived from Otaru-chikko

The departure sign board showing the information of my train to Kushiro

Sapporo Station, as seen from Track No. 7

After 10 minutes of waiting, a 6-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 1 service to Kushiro, finally entered Sapporo Station at 6.56 a.m. on Track No. 7. This was a good for a 7.03 a.m. departure towards Kushiro, with a journey time of approximately 3 hours 48 minutes.

I immediately boarded the train through Car No. 2, and then into Car No. 3, which was the Green Car (first class) carriage, in order to get a clearer view of the Green Car cabin. After settling my tickets and baggage, I settled into my assigned Seat No. 7D for the long journey time of 3 hours 48 minutes towards the southeastern suburban port city Kushiro.

The KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 service bound for Kushiro, finally enters Sapporo Station

The LED destination panel of the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, in Japanese at Sapporo Station

The refurbished Green Car cabin of the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, during boarding at Sapporo Station


A pair of refurbished KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) seats

My seat, 7D, for the journey of 3 hours 48 minutes to Kushiro

The rear view of the refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, while awaiting departure from Sapporo Station

Another photograph of the newer generation of the Green Car interior on the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, while awaiting departure from Sapporo Station

At exactly 7.03 a.m., all the doors were closed, and the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 1 bound for Kushiro finally pulled out of Sapporo Station for a long journey time of 3 hours 48 minutes towards the southeastern suburban port city of Kushiro. Here are some pictures and videos which will explain the sector between Sapporo and Kushiro.


キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら1号 釧路行き 札幌駅から新札幌駅

At Shin-sapporo Station

The view of the refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, from my seat while stopping briefly at Shin-sapporo Station

My seat, 7D, in its fully reclined position

A snowy landscape in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

Somewhere near Kitahiroshima

My consecutive 3-day Green-type Hokkaido Rail Pass

My Green Car (first class) ticket for the sector between Sapporo and Kushiro


The sun rising over a town between Sapporo and Chitose

A snowy landscape along the JR Chitose Line

Another snowy landscape along the JR Chitose Line

Passing Sapporo Beer Teien Station

My 2 cups of orange juice on my tray table

Passing by some houses in Chitose

More houses while on approach to Minami-chitose Station

The rear view of the refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, while nearing Minami-chitose Station

Chitose Outlet Mall Rera as seen from the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro

The front view of the refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, while entering the JR Sekisho Line

Overlooking the track heading to Tomakomai, Higashi-muroran and Hakodate

The Toyota Rent-a-car area near New Chitose Airport, as seen from the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro

A snowy plot of land along the JR Sekisho Line after sunrise

Another snowy plot of land along the JR Sekisho Line after sunrise


キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら1号 釧路行き 座席から追分駅を通過

An open plot of land in the snow

Crossing a bridge over a river covered with snow and ice

A roadway bridge near the city of Yubari

Several railway tracks covered in snow near Shin-yubari Station

Passing Shin-yubari Station

Overlooking the railroad bridge heading to Yubari

A view of Yubari from the train to Kushiro


A mountain, road bridge, and a river in the city of Yubari in the snow

The view of the refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, from my seat on the JR Sekisho Line

The view of the refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, from my seat in a JR Sekisho Line tunnel

Passing Shimukappu Station

A snowy landscape between the city of Yubari and the village of Shimukappu

A river located somewhere between Shimukappu and Shintoku


Bypassing a freight train on the JR Sekisho Line

A snowy land and forest near Tomamu Station

At Tomamu Station

The cellular telephone use area in the KiHa 283 series DMU train

The rear view of the refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, while en route to Kushiro

A snowy plot of land between Tomamu and Shintoku

The view of the refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, from my seat while approaching Shintoku Station

A plot of land covered in snow while nearing Shintoku Station

At Shintoku Station

Passing by some houses in Shintoku

The front view of the refurbished Green Car cabin of the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, while en route to Kushiro

A snowy landscape along the JR Nemuro Main Line between Shintoku and Obihiro

Passing Mikage Station

Passing by a vehicle yard near Obihiro

Meeting up with the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 4 bound for Sapporo at Nishi-obihiro Station

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら1号 釧路行き 車窓から帯広駅に到着

At Obihiro Station

The view of the refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, from my seat while at Obihiro Station

Passing by a housing estate in Obihiro

A view of downtown Obihiro from the train

The snowy landscape on the JR Nemuro Main Line between Obihiro and Kushiro

The front view of the refurbished Green Car cabin of the KiHa 283 series DMU train to Kushiro, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, shortly after departing from Obihiro


The view of the refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro, from my seat between Obihiro and Ikeda

A snowy landscape between Obihiro and Ikeda

Crossing a river via a railroad bridge between Obihiro and Ikeda

The ferris wheel near Ikeda Station


A bright and snowy landscape between Ikeda and Kushiro

A snowy landscape and roadway along the JR Nemuro Main Line between Ikeda and Kushiro

A snowy landscape, town and roadway along the JR Nemuro Main Line between Ikeda and Kushiro

A snowy landscape along the JR Nemuro Main Line between Ikeda and Kushiro

Another snowy landscape along the JR Nemuro Main Line between Ikeda and Kushiro

The first sights of the Pacific Ocean

A view of the Pacific Ocean between Ikeda and Kushiro on the JR Nemuro Main Line

A beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean taken from the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 bound for Kushiro

Passing Shiranuka Station

A marshy area by the Pacific Ocean near Kushiro

Crossing a railroad bridge onward to Kushiro

After travelling for 3 hours 48 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Sapporo, I finally arrived at the Kushiro terminal station at 10.51 a.m. on Track No. 1. Before heading out for lunch and seeing what was outside the station, I decided to take some photographs of the train and a video of its departure back to Sapporo. The train then became the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 8 bound for Sapporo.

Kushiro is a small port city located in the southeast of Hokkaido, Japan. Facing the Pacific Ocean, it is home to approximately 170,000 to 200,000 residents. It is one of Hokkaido's major port cities.

Kushiro Station is the main railway station serving the southeastern suburban port city of Kushiro in Hokkaido, Japan. It is an interchange station for the JR Nemuro Main Line and the JR Senmo Main Line. The Super Ozora limited express service that links to and from Sapporo, starts and terminates here.

The KiHa 283 series DMU train which took me to Kushiro from Sapporo earlier

Platform No. 1 of Kushiro Station

The newly-refurbished Green Car (first class) cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, at Kushiro Station

The KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, at Kushiro Station

Another picture of the KiHa 283 series DMU train, functioning as Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, at Kushiro Station

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら8号 札幌行き 釧路駅から出発

The station platforms of Kushiro Station from Tracks No. 2 and 3

After doing some picture-taking on the station platform, I decided to find a good cafeteria for lunch as I was feeling rather hungry. Just within the station compound, I found a restaurant called Restaurant Mamejizo. I had a lunch of Katsudon while I was there. I also have some pictures of downtown Kushiro taken from the station.

A view of downtown Kushiro taken from a nearby taxi stand outside the station

Another view of downtown Kushiro taken from the entrance to Kushiro Station

Outside the Restaurant Mamejizo in Kushiro Station

Inside the Restaurant Mamejizo in Kushiro Station

The food menu at Restaurant Mamejizo in Kushiro Station

My lunch of Katsudon at Restaurant Mamejizo in Kushiro Station

As soon as I paid the bill for my meal, the clock was finally showing 12.20 p.m.. My itinerary for the return journey towards Otaru would be to take the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 10 bound for Sapporo, which would depart Kushiro Station at 1.25 p.m., and arrive at the Sapporo terminal station at 5.17 p.m.. Upon arrival at Sapporo, I would connect to a Rapid Airport train No. 171 bound for Otaru, which would depart Sapporo Station at 5.44 p.m., and arrive at Otaru-chikko Station at 6.10 p.m..

I then went to check to see which platform the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 10 bound for Sapporo would depart from. According to the departure information board, the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 10 bound for Sapporo would depart at 1.25 p.m. from Track No. 1. Without wasting anymore time, I decided to head back to Track No. 1 for my train back to Sapporo at 1.25 p.m.. While waiting for the train, I decided to review my train ticket and check whether I had all of my personal belongings with me.

The train departure timing on the departure information board on Track No. 1 at Kushiro Station

The station platforms of Kushiro Station

After spending approximately 45 minutes of waiting on the platform, a 9-car KiHa 283 series DMU train finally entered Kushiro Station at 1.03 p.m. on Track No. 1. The train had arrived from Sapporo as the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 3 earlier and was to undergo extensive cleaning before becoming the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 10 bound for Sapporo. The entire cleaning process took no more than five minutes.

Once the cleaning process had finished, I was on board the train at 1.10 p.m.. I took a good picture of the non-refurbished Green Car cabin. Although the seats were old, they still felt comfortable. I then settled all my belongings and sat in my assigned Seat No. 5A for the journey back to Sapporo from Kushiro, which would take 3 hours 52 minutes.

The KiHa 283 series DMU train, which would later take me back to Sapporo at 1.25 p.m., as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 10 bound for Sapporo

The LED destination panel of the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 10 bound for Sapporo

The non-refurbished Green Car (first class) cabin of the KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, at Kushiro Station

My seat, 5A, for the journey time of 3 hours 52 minutes back to Sapporo from Kushiro

The view of the yet-to-be refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, from my seat while at Kushiro Station


At exactly 1.25 p.m. and after all the passengers for the train were on board, all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 10 bound for Sapporo, finally departed Kushiro Station at 1.25 p.m., as scheduled. I was then on my way for a relatively long journey time of 3 hours 52 minutes towards the hustle and bustle of Sapporo. Here are some pictures and videos that will explain the journey back to Sapporo from Kushiro.

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら10号 札幌行き 釧路 (発車) ~ 大楽毛 (通過)

My Green Car (first class) train ticket for the sector between Kushiro and Sapporo

Passing by a forest on a sunny winter's afternoon

My 2 cups of orange juice resting on my tray table

A view of the Pacific Ocean taken between Kushiro and Ikeda on the JR Nemuro Main Line

Another beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean, taken from the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 10 bound for Sapporo from Kushiro

My seat, 5A, in its fully reclined position

The rear view of the non-refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, while en route to Sapporo

The area for cell phone use on the KiHa 283 series DMU

A miniature Christmas tree by the conductor's room

The front view of the non-refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, while en route to Sapporo

A plot of land covered in snow with the sun shining

The view of the yet-to-be refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, from my seat while travelling between Kushiro and Obihiro

At Ikeda Station

Passing by a house in a small village near Obihiro

Arriving at Shintoku Station

The snowy landscape just after departure from Shintoku Station

The snowy landscape between Shintoku and Tomamu in the early evening sky

Another snowy landscape taken from the JR Sekisho Line

Passing by some mountains on the JR Sekisho Line


キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら10号 札幌行き 座席から新夕張駅を通過

The sun setting somewhere along the JR Sekisho Line

Passing through Oiwake Station

The almost dark landscape between Oiwake and Minami-Chitose Station on the JR Sekisho Line


キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら10号 札幌行き 車窓から南千歳駅に到着

The rear view of the yet-to-be refurbished Green Car cabin on the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 10 bound for Sapporo, while at Minami-chitose Station

Night falls as the train travels along the JR Chitose Line

Approaching Shin-Sapporo Station

After a relatively long journey time of 3 hours 52 minutes from the southeastern suburban port city of Kushiro, I finally arrived at the Sapporo terminal station at 5.17 p.m., as scheduled, on Track No. 5. Once I alighted the train with all my belongings, it became an out-of-service train. I had about 20 minutes before my next train back to Otaru-chikko.

From Track No. 5, I walked over to track No. 4 to catch the Rapid Airport train No. 171 bound for Otaru, which was scheduled to depart at 5.44 p.m.. However, due to certain unforeseen circumstances, I was stuck at Sapporo Station for an additional six minutes.

The KiHa 283 series DMU train, which transported me back to Sapporo from Kushiro earlier

Tracks No. 3 and 4 of Sapporo Station

A KiHa 261 series DMU train, operating as the Limited Express "Super Soya" No. 3 service bound for Wakkanai, entering Sapporo Station

At 5.50 p.m., the Rapid Airport train No. 171 bound for Otaru entered Sapporo Station. I then boarded and settled into my assigned "u" seat No. 10A for the 26-minute journey to Otaru-chikko, leaving Sapporo Station at 5.57 p.m.. There is a video of the train travelling from Teine to Otaru-chikko Station, along with some pictures.


The reserved seat ("u" seat) logo on the 721 series train

The interior of the reserved seat ("u" seat) cabin on the 721 series train operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 171 bound for Otaru while awaiting departure from Sapporo Station

My reserved seat ticket for the final sector between Sapporo and Otaru-chikko

721系 快速エアポート171号 小樽行き 手稲駅から小樽築港駅


After a 26-minute journey from Sapporo, I finally arrived back at Otaru-chikko Station at 6.23 p.m. on Track No. 1, and did not stop filming until the train departed the station. I then walked through Wing Bay Otaru to get back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru. I then had a well-earned rest in the hotel room until my family came back.


The station concourse of Otaru-chikko Station at night

The passageway between Otaru-chikko Station and Wing Bay Otaru

The grand entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru from the marble staircase

The grand entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru at night

After resting in the hotel room, we all drove to Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant at 8 o' clock in Sapporo for dinner. Once we entered Boku-zen, we put all of our shoes inside the shoe compartment, and a waitress showed us to our table. We then looked at the food menu and decided on what to order for dinner. We ordered the same variety of meat items, including beef, pork, and chicken. We even had second rounds. It was indeed a filling dinner feast at Boku-zen. I have some pictures right here for your preference.


The exterior view of Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant


The logo of Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant


The cover page of the food menu of Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant


A closer look into the food menu of Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant


One of the food grillers of Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant


A small platter of french fries


A small platter of pork intestine


A platter of the various beef cuts


A platter of chicken koniku


Our first platter of beef tongue


A platter of pork cheek


An aerial view of our meal


Various pieces of beef and pork being grilled


Another beef intestine plate


Various cuts of beef, pork, and chicken being grilled on the barbecue griller


A platter of pork karubi


More cuts of beef, pork, and chicken being grilled on the barbecue griller


Beef tongue and chicken koniku being grilled


Even and even more grilling of meats


Our second platter of beef tongue


Buttered scallops in a pan


The remaining scallops and beef tongue being grilled


A platter of beef intestine


Various pieces of beef karubi and intestines being grilled


Another platter of beef karubi


Some pieces of beef karubi being grilled on the griller


Our rented Toyota car outside the entrance

After another nice and filling dinner feast at Boku-zen, it was time to head back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru. We paid the bill, got our shoes, and went to the car park to claim our car. Soon enough, we finally left the compound of Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo by 10.35 p.m., finally arriving back at the Grand Park Hotel Otaru by 11.20 p.m. after the short 45-minute late night drive.

The Christmas Tree in the entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru


The grand entrance hall in the Grand Park Hotel Otaru at night


My room, which I shared with my brother

After we reached our hotel room in the Grand Park Hotel Otaru, we had a hot shower, and changed into our pyjamas to settle in for the night. I did my usual stuff on my laptop computer before heading off to bed at around one or two o' clock. Prior to going to bed, we packed up most of our baggage for our flight back home to Singapore the next day.

This concludes the fourth section of my winter holiday in Hokkaido, Japan in December 2011. Please stay tuned for the 5th and final part of the blog, which focuses on the return flight to Singapore via Seoul.

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