Friday, August 10, 2012

Winter Holiday in Hokkaido in December 2010 - Section 3

Here is the third section of my winter holiday in Hokkaido, Japan in December 2010. This section will mainly focus on our return journey to Otaru, part of my myriad train journeys to New Chitose Airport, Obihiro and Lake Toya, and our day around Otaru.

Part 1 ~ The Journey Back to Otaru

The next day, which was a Saturday (18 December), we woke at around close to 9 a.m.. As we were to head back to Otaru later that day, we were relieved to have packed all our bags the night before. The landscape, as usual, was covered in snow, which made me grab some pictures.


The ski lift and snowy road


The snowy landscape on a cloudy winter's day as seen from my room


A view of the room I shared with my brother

At 9.30 a.m., we went down to Melt Bar & Grill to have our breakfast. At Melt Bar & Grill, we had a sumptuous and filling breakfast, including eggs. Even my brother liked the omelets, which he refers to as the Ratatouille omelette.


The Christmas Tree outside the entrance to Melt Bar & Grill


The egg station inside Melt Bar and Grill in the morning


The interior of Melt Bar and Grill


My first plate of omelette with beef bacon, ham and sausages

Some of the ingredients of choice used to prepare egg dishes


My second plate of omelette with beef bacon, ham and sausages


The interior of Melt Bar and Grill from our table

At 12 noon, we took our baggage and went down to the hotel lobby to check out of the hotel. My brother and I then waited in the hotel lobby lounge to wait. This is a picture of the hotel lobby.


The hotel lobby lounge in the Hilton Hotel Niseko Village


The area outside the hotel

At 12.40 p.m., my dad finally came up with our rented car. By 12.45 p.m., we were on board the car and were on our way back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru.


Passing by the snow-covered car park outside the Hilton Hotel Niseko Village


Passing by a forest and open land covered in snow on a sunny winter's day


Passing by a snow forest


Passing by a snowy open land with a few leafless plants

15 minutes into the journey back to Otaru, we decided to stop over at JoJo's Cafe & Bar for a brief lunch break. Lunch was relatively light on that day for us.


The exterior view of JoJo's Cafe & Bar


The interior of JoJo's Cafe & Bar


The drink bar at JoJo's Cafe & Bar


Mount Yotei covered in clouds as seen from JoJo's Cafe & Bar


The menu in JoJo's Cafe & Bar


The Christmas Tree in JoJo's Cafe & Bar


A cup of chocolate brownies and vanilla ice cream for myself


A plate of potato wedges


A bowl of mushroom soup


Another view of Mount Yotei as seen from JoJo's Cafe & Bar

After having lunch at JoJo's Cafe & Bar, we resumed our journey back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru at 1.50 p.m.. The landscape was covered in snow throughout the journey, in spite of the fact that there was no snow storm.

Passing by the snowy mountains


The snow-covered forest during the late afternoon hours


Passing by a forest and open land covered in snow


Passing by a snow-covered forested mountain


Crossing a road bridge covered in snow


Crossing another snowy bridge with a snow-covered forest


A rice paddy field covered with snow in the late afternoon hours


Passing by a snowy rice paddy field


One of the snowy mountains we passed by

At around 3.30 p.m. (2 hours 45 minutes into the journey), we decided to stop at the seaside cafeteria in Yoichi for some light bites and tea. The Sea of Japan was especially beautiful during the sunset, which made me grab some shots.


A cliff by the Sea of Japan in Yoichi


The Sea of Japan flowing gracefully in the winter


The Sea of Japan by the beach which is popular in the summer season


The spectacular view of the Sea of Japan, as seen from inside the seaside cafeteria in Yoichi


Another spectacular view of the Sea of Japan, as seen from inside the seaside cafeteria in Yoichi


A platter of french fries


A platter of fried chicken (chicken karaage)


The interior of the seaside cafeteria in Yoichi


Another spectacular view of the Sea of Japan, as seen from inside the seaside cafeteria in Yoichi, during sunset


The snowy land beside the seaside cafeteria in Yoichi during sunset, with the moon in the background


A cliff by the Sea of Japan in Yoichi, during sunset


The Sea of Japan by the beach which is popular in the summer season during the sunset


The spectacular view of the Sea of Japan, as seen from inside the seaside cafeteria in Yoichi, just before nightfall


The snowy land beside the seaside cafeteria in Yoichi during sunset

By 4.30 p.m., the sun was beginning to set, as it always does in the winter season. We then resumed our journey back to Otaru via the same road we took towards Niseko. The route again took us through the coastal route by the Sea of Japan. Again, the natural beauty of the Sea of Japan made me capture some beautiful shots.


Driving along the coast of the Sea of Japan shortly after leaving Yoichi


The coast of the Sea of Japan while on the way back to Otaru


Another view along the coast of the Sea of Japan while on the way back to Otaru


The beautiful view while driving along the coast of the Sea of Japan during sunset

As we neared the city of Otaru, we decided to stop by at Mount Tengu to see its winter and night appearance. The hill was really covered in snow, and used as a skiing area in winter. These are some pictures which I have taken before going up to Mount Tengu.


The skiing slope in Mount Tengu Otaru


The entrance to the Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway Station

We went inside the ropeway station to get some round tickets to and from the mountain peak. After getting our tickets, we were on the Otaru Tenguyama cable car by 5.15 p.m.. Here are some pictures I took while on the way up to Mount Tengu.


The Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway at the base shortly after we left it


A view of the Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway and the city of Otaru at night


A view of the city of Otaru at night from the Otaru Tenguyama Cable Car


Another night view of the city of Otaru from the Otaru Tenguyama Cable Car

At 5.20 p.m., we arrived at the Tenguyama Peak Station. As soon as we alighted the cable car, we immediately headed outside to see the beautiful scenery of the city lights at night.

There was also a mini-vehicle sliding slope at the peak of Mount Tengu. This is only open in the spring, summer, or autumn seasons.


The Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway peak station


The night view of the city of Otaru from Mount Tengu


The ski lifts at the peak of Mount Tengu

After spending a few minutes in the open cold air outside the cable car station, we went to the Panorama Restaurant Tengu for a light dinner. I sat by the window which overlooked the city of Otaru. The views of Otaru were indeed spectacular, especially at night.

While at the Panorama Restaurant Tengu, I had a cup of hot chocolate and a mini Butadon set for dinner.


The skiing slope as seen from Panorama Restaurant Tengu


A panoramic night view of the City of Otaru from Panorama Restaurant Tengu


A cup of hot chocolate for myself


The skiing slope and the city of Otaru at night as seen from Panorama Restaurant Tengu


A mini Butadon set for myself


The Christmas Tree in Panorama Restaurant Tengu


The interior of Panorama Restaurant Tengu


The logo of Panorama Restaurant Tengu


The souvenir shop outside the Panorama Restaurant Tengu


Another panoramic night view of the City of Otaru from Panorama Restaurant Tengu


The entrance in Panorama Restaurant Tengu


The miniature bear outside Panorama Restaurant Tengu

After spending some time at Mount Tengu Otaru, we decided to head to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru at 5.30 p.m.. We took the cable car down to the base station, and drove to the hotel.

After a journey time of almost 7 hours, we finally arrived at the Grand Park Hotel Otaru just before 7 o' clock in the evening. My mum then checked us in while I snapped a few pictures of the entrance hall.


The decoration tree in the Grand Park Hotel Otaru


The grand entrance hall with Christmas decorations in the Grand Park Hotel Otaru


The room where my brother and I slept

After my mum checked us in, we were in our rooms by 7.15 p.m.. A few porters then came up with our baggage. With that, we had a light supper, and went to bed just before 1 o' clock that night.

Part 2 ~ The First Train Journey to New Chitose Airport

The next day, which was a Sunday (19 December), we woke up relatively late at around 11 o' clock that morning. From the very first moment I awoke, the views of the Sea of Japan from my room was spectacular. This made me snap a few images, after I had a shower and changed up to start the day.


The port of Otaru and the Sea of Japan in the early afternoon


The Sea of Japan in the early afternoon

At 12 noon, we got onto the car and drove to downtown Sapporo for lunch. The journey time between the Grand Park Hotel Otaru and downtown Sapporo. Here are some pictures that I can show to you if you like.


Our hotel as seen from our car


The Sea of Japan beside the cities of Otaru and Ishikari


Passing by some houses in Teine-ku, Sapporo


Into downtown Sapporo with JR Tower Hotel Nikko and Sapporo Station in the background

After we arrived at downtown Sapporo, the very first thing we did was to go the the JR Travel Service Center to Sapporo Station. We then exchanged my JR Hokkaido Rail Pass exchange voucher to a Hokkaido Rail Pass, for use on Limited Express trains for a free 4 days of my choice until 28 December.

At the Travel Service Center, I purchased my train ticket to New Chitose Airport. I was to be on the Rapid Airport train No. 152 bound for New Chitose Airport, which would depart from Sapporo Station at 3.25 p.m. (15 25). I was booked on a reserved seat ("u" seat), which cost me 1,340 yen (S$21.44).

As for the return journey to Otaru-chikko Station, I was booked on the Rapid Airport train No. 181 bound for Otaru, which would leave the airport at 6.04 p.m. (18 04). I was also booked on a reserved seat ("u" seat), which cost me 1,850 yen (S$29.60).


Airport is a dedicated rapid train service operating between New Chitose Airport and Sapporo, Otaru, and Asahikawa in Hokkaido, Japan. Many trains continue to and from Otaru or Asahikawa during the daylight and evening hours. Some trains terminate and start from Sapporo. The service's rolling stock currently uses 6-car 721 series, and 5-car 785 series and 789-1000 series EMUs.

Should a Rapid Airport train operate between New Chitose Airport and Asahikawa, they will function as Super Kamui limited express trains between Sapporo and Asahikawa, using 785 series and 789-1000 series EMUs.

There is no Green Car (first class) seating available on the Rapid Airport and Super Kamui limited express trains. However, reserved seats ("u" seats) are available at a cost of just 300 yen (S$4.80) (half the price for children and free for Japan Rail Pass holders). The fastest journey time between Sapporo and New Chitose Airport by train is only 36 minutes.



The sign to Sapporo Station in the ground floor of the JR Tower


The ground floor of the JR Tower


The surroundings outside Sapporo Station


The Sapporo Station sign mounted above the entrance to the station concourse


The Blue Christmas Tree with silver stars outside the entrance to the Sapporo Station concourse


The entrance to the station concourse of Sapporo Station


The December 2010 train timetable revision manual


The interior of the Travel Service Center of Sapporo Station

After I received my Hokkaido Rail Pass, I went up with my parents to a restaurant in the JR Tower Sapporo Station. As it was only 2.25 p.m., I still had an hour before my train to New Chitose Airport. I knew I had to be quick.


Inside the restaurant in JR Tower


A plate of fried prawn and asparagus


My mum's udon noodle set


My brother's tempura rice


My dad's sushi set meal


A yakitori platter


An overall view of our meal

The clock was already close to striking 3 o' clock by the time I finished eating. Immediately, I went down to Sapporo Station. According to the departure information board, my train would depart Sapporo at 3.25 p.m. from Track No. 5. Here are some pictures which I took while waiting for the Rapid Airport train No. 152 for New Chitose Airport.


The station concourse of Sapporo Station


The departure information timings for Rapid "Airport" trains for New Chitose Airport


Tracks No. 5 and 6 of Sapporo Station


A 789-1000 series EMU set, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 25 bound for Asahikawa


The LED destination panel found on 789-1000 series EMUs


The reserved seat ("u" seat) logo found on 789-1000 series EMUs


The departure information board for trains departing from Track No. 5 in Sapporo Station


The station platform of Sapporo Station, facing the direction towards Otaru and Kutchan


The station platform of Sapporo Station, facing the direction towards Asahikawa, Chitose, and Tomakomai


Track No. 6 of Sapporo Station, with a KiHa 283 series DMU set operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 9 bound for Kushiro on Track No. 7


The 785 series EMU set, operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 152 for New Chitose Airport, finally enters Sapporo Station on Track No. 5 as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 26 from Asahikawa

At 3.20 p.m., a 785 series EMU set, operating on the Rapid Airport train No. 152 bound for New Chitose Airport finally entered Sapporo Station on Track No. 5. The train had arrived from Asahikawa earlier as the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 26, and was to undergo a change of direction at Sapporo.

With that, I boarded the train, and settled into my assigned seat No. 2A for the 36-minute journey to New Chitose Airport.


The interior of the 785 series EMU reserved seat ("u" seat) car


My train ticket for the journey between Sapporo and New Chitose Airport


The Sapporo Station platform, as seen from the Rapid "Airport" train No. 152 for New Chitose Airport

At exactly 3.25 p.m., the Rapid Airport train No. 152 bound for New Chitose Airport, finally pulled out of Sapporo Station. With that, I was on my way for a 36-minute journey towards New Chitose Airport. Here are some pictures and videos which will explain the journey.

785系 快速エアポート152号 新千歳空港行き 札幌駅から発車とuシート


A view of my seat, 2A, shortly after leaving Sapporo


The JR Hakodate Line tracks leading to Abashiri and Wakkanai, via Asahikawa


The 785 series EMU reserved seat ("u" seat) cabin during final approach to Shin-sapporo Station


The name plate of Shin-sapporo Station


Passing by some housing areas in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo


Passing by a snowy open land in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo


Passing by some houses and a park


Passing by Kitahiroshima, a suburb near Sapporo


Some petrol stations and shops in Kitahiroshima


A view of my seat, 2A, in its fully reclined position


785系 快速エアポート152号 新千歳空港行き 千歳駅から南千歳駅


The 785 series EMU reserved seat ("u" seat) cabin during final approach to New Chitose Airport

After a journey time of 36 minutes from Sapporo, I finally arrived at the New Chitose Airport terminal station at 4.01 p.m. (16 01), as planned. Before going up to the terminal building, I snapped some pictures on the platform.


The departure information indicator on the station platform of New Chitose Airport


The LED destination panel on the 785 series EMU


The 785 series EMU set which transported me to CTS earlier


The station platform of New Chitose Airport Station


The interior of the reserved seat ("u" seat) cabin of the 785 series EMU


The ticket gates at New Chitose Airport Station

After taking my usual pictures, I took the escalator up to the main terminal building. When I reached the terminal building, construction works were made on the top floor to make the connections to the international terminal easier.


The shopping area in the second floor of the main terminal building of New Chitose Airport


The Japan Airlines domestic flight check-in counters in the main departure area of New Chitose Airport


The departure flight information screen above the Japan Airlines domestic flight check-in counter


The shopping area of the main terminal building of New Chitose Airport

I then headed to the Flyers hobby shop located on the third floor. According to the shop owner, they were temporarily located on the third floor due to renovation works on the top floor. The top floor, which would have a direct passageway to the international terminal, was due to open somewhere in 2011.


A lineup of shops on the third floor during the renovation of the top floor


Various aircraft models laid out in Flyers

At Flyers, I purchased one plane model. The details are as follows:

1) Japan Airlines Boeing 747-446 "Oneworld" Hogan Wings Scale 1:500 (BJE2069)


Japan Airlines Boeing 747-446 "Oneworld" Hogan Wings Scale 1:500 (BJE2069)


An overall view of the main shopping area as seen from the third floor


A layout of shops on the second floor


The domestic flight arrival lobby at New Chitose Airport


The train departure information indicator in the domestic flight arrivals area of New Chitose Airport

At around 5 o' clock, I decided to head back to New Chitose Airport Station in preparation for my train journey back to Otaru. When I reached the station, the station man told me that it was still early before my train back to Otaru. However, I told him that I was alright waiting on the platform for 45 minutes. Here are some pictures I took while waiting for the Rapid Airport train No. 181 bound for Otaru, which would later depart at 6.04 p.m. (18 04).


The passageway leading to New Chitose Airport Station


The ticket gates at New Chitose Airport


The name plate of New Chitose Airport Station


The two platforms of New Chitose Airport Station filled with trains


The front LED destination panel of the 789-1000 series EMU


The LED destination panel of the 789-1000 series EMU


The 789-1000 series EMU, operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 173 bound for Asahikawa via Sapporo on Track No. 2 at New Chitose Airport Station


A clear view of the station platform of New Chitose Airport Station

After approximately 45 minutes of waiting, a 6-car 721 series EMU operating on the Rapid Airport train No. 170 from Otaru finally arrived at 5.46 p.m. on Track No. 1. The train would soon become the Rapid Airport train No. 181 bound for Otaru, which would leave the airport at 6.04 p.m. (18 04).

As soon as the train was cleaned, I immediately boarded the train at 5.50 p.m., and settled into my assigned seat No. 10D. The journey to Otaru-chikko would take approximately 1 hour 06 minutes. Here are some pictures I took while waiting for a 6.04 p.m. departure.


The 721 series EMU, which would later take me back to Otaru-chikko as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 181 bound for Otaru


The 721 series reserved seat ("u" seat) layout map


One of the reserved seat ("u" seat) interiors of the 721 series EMU used on services between Otaru / Sapporo and New Chitose Airport


One of the pairs of reserved seats ("u" seat) of the 721 series EMU used on services between Otaru / Sapporo and New Chitose Airport


The rear view of one of the reserved seat ("u" seat) interiors of the 721 series EMU used on services between Otaru / Sapporo and New Chitose Airport


The front view of one of the reserved seat ("u" seat) interiors of the 721 series EMU used on services between Otaru / Sapporo and New Chitose Airport

After all the passengers for the train were on board, we finally pulled out of New Chitose Airport Station at 6.04 p.m., as planned. I was then on my 1 hour 05 minute-journey back to Otaru-chikko Station. Here are some pictures and videos which will explain the journey back to Otaru.


The station platform of New Chitose Airport Station as seen from the Rapid "Airport" train No. 181 for Otaru


721系 快速エアポート181号 札幌方面小樽行き 新千歳空港駅から南千歳駅


The reserved seat ("u" seat) cabin as seen from my seat


My return train ticket to Otaru


Passing by Kitahiroshima city at night


721系 快速エアポート181号 札幌方面小樽行き 札幌駅の到着到着放送


Arrival at Sapporo Station


The rear view of the reserved seat ("u" seat) cabin while at Sapporo Station


Pulling out of Sapporo Station


Arrival at Teine Station

The coastline of the Sea of Japan at night


Travelling along the coastline of the Sea of Japan at night while nearing the city of Otaru


The reserved seat ("u" seat) cabin of the 721 series EMU while nearing Otaru-chikko

After a journey time of 1 hour 06 minutes from New Chitose Airport, I finally arrived back at Otaru-chikko Station at 7.10 p.m. (19 10). Before leaving Otaru-chikko Station, I took some pictures inside the station.


The station platform of Otaru-chikko Station at night


The station platform of Otaru-chikko Station at night facing the direction towards Sapporo


The ticket gates at Otaru-chikko Station


The station concourse of Otaru-chikko Station


The entrance to Otaru-chikko Station

After doing my usual photo-taking shots, I walked back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru via the snowy walkway by the road. Once I reached the hotel room, I had dinner with my family and had a hot shower.

As I was to head to Obihiro the next day, I was thankful that I had made my seat reservation earlier that afternoon at Sapporo Station. With that, I decided not to sleep too late and went to bed just before midnight.

Part 3 ~ The Train Journey to Obihiro

The next morning, which was Monday (20 December), I woke up at around 9 o' clock after a good night's sleep.

The very first thing I did was to take a hot shower and change up to start the day right. I also took some pictures of the spectacular view of the Sea of Japan.


The port of Otaru and the Sea of Japan


The view of the Sea of Japan during a cloudy winter's morning


Some ships at the port of Otaru

It was about 9.50 a.m. by the time I finished preparing for my journey to Obihiro. As I had 50 minutes before my train to Sapporo, I decided to walk over to Otaru-chikko Station. The walk between the Grand Park Hotel Otaru and Otaru-chikko Station took approximately just 5 to 10 minutes.


The grand entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru in the morning


The overall view of Otaru-chikko Station

After a short 10-minute walk from the Grand Park Hotel Otaru, I finally arrived at Otaru-chikko Station at 10 o' clock. My itinerary for the journey towards Obihiro would be to take the Rapid Airport train No. 110 bound for New Chitose Airport, which would depart Otaru-chikko Station at 10.40 a.m., and arrive at Sapporo Station at 11.06 a.m..


Upon arrival at Sapporo Station, I would connect to the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 5 bound for Kushiro, which would depart Sapporo Station at 11.51 a.m., and arrive at Obihiro Station at 2.13 p.m.. With that, I headed down to the station platforms to begin my journey towards the city of Obihiro.


The passageway to Otaru-chikko Station


The station concourse of Otaru-chikko Station in the morning


The station platform of Otaru-chikko Station in the cloudy morning


The departure information board in Otaru-chikko Station


The station platform facing the direction towards Otaru and Kutchan


The station platform facing the direction towards Sapporo

After 25 minutes of waiting, the Rapid Airport train No. 110 bound for New Chitose Airport finally arrived at Otaru-chikko Station at 10.39 a.m.. With that, I immediately boarded the train through the reserved seat ("u" seat) carriage, and went to my assigned seat No. 5A for the 26-minute journey towards Sapporo.

At exactly 10.40 a.m., the train pulled out of Otaru-chikko Station. Here are some pictures during the journey to Sapporo.


The reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the 721 series EMU operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 110 bound for New Chitose Airport


Several housing apartments near Otaru-chikko Station


The reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the 721 series EMU operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 110 bound for New Chitose Airport, shortly after leaving Otaru-chikko Station


Passing by a creek on the coast of the Sea of Japan


A view of the Sea of Japan shortly after leaving the city of Otaru behind


A view of the city of Otaru as seen beside the Sea of Japan


Another view of the city of Otaru as seen beside the Sea of Japan


The beautiful view of the Sea of Japan as seen on the JR Hakodate Line between Otaru-chikko and Teine


The Sea of Japan as seen on the JR Hakodate Line between Otaru-chikko and Teine


The coastline of the Sea of Japan as seen on the JR Hakodate Line between Otaru-chikko and Teine


Passing by an old shack by the Sea of Japan


The scenic view of the Sea of Japan as seen on the JR Hakodate Line between Otaru-chikko and Teine


The coastline of the Sea of Japan as seen on the JR Hakodate Line


The coastline of the Sea of Japan as seen on the JR Hakodate Line while nearing towards an area in Sapporo


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


The cabin as seen from my seat


On a railroad bridge on the JR Hakodate Line


A pair of reserved seats ("u" seat) on the 721 series EMU operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 110 bound for New Chitose Airport

After a journey time of 26 minutes from Otaru-chikko, I finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 11.06 a.m. on Track No. 5. I had approximately 45 minutes of layover at Sapporo before my next train to Obihiro. 
I decided to do my usual train spotting while waiting for my train to Obihiro. According to my Green Car (first class) ticket, the train I was to be on would be on board the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 5 bound for Kushiro for the section between Sapporo and Obihiro. The train would leave Sapporo at 11.51 a.m. from the same platform I arrived on earlier on the Rapid Airport train No. 110 for New Chitose Airport.


Obihiro is a city I am quite familiar with, since my 14th birthday. This place is well-known for its pork on rice glazed in special sauce, which the Japanese dub it as Butadon. This dish cannot be found in any other area in Japan, even in Tokyo, the nation's capital city. 
It takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes to reach Obihiro from Sapporo by train. To allow travellers to access Obihiro from Sapporo by train, JR Hokkaido runs two limited express trains 12 times daily between Sapporo and Obihiro. They are mainly the Super Ozora, which continues to and from Kushiro, and the Super Tokachi.

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 is capable of reaching a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).

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

The Super Tokachi (スーパーとかち) is a limited express train service operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) between Sapporo and Obihiro in Hokkaido, Japan. There are a total of five services per day in each direction, with the fastest journey time taking 2 hour 25 minutes. The service currently used KiHa 261-1000 series DMUs and KiHa 283 series DMUs as its main rolling stock.

Green Car (first class) accommodation available on all services, with the exception of trains No. 5 and 8. The service is capable of reaching a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph). Services are normally formed of four cars (KiHa 261 series DMUs) or five cars (KiHa 283 series DMUs), but may be lengthened between six to eight cars on certain days and months.

The service commenced operations as simply Tokachi (とかち) on 1 September 1990 using KiHa 183 series DMUs. From 27 July 1991, four Tokachi services were upgraded to Super Tokachi services using enhanced KiHa 183 series DMUs, which included a bi-level Green Car (first class) carriage.

From the start of the revised timetable on 11 March 2000, KiHa 283 series DMUs were introduced on these services. New and enhanced KiHa 261-1000 series DMUs were introduced on these services from 1 October 2007, which eventually displaced the older KiHa 183 series DMUs previously used.

From 1 October 2009, all the remaining KiHa 183 series DMUs were retired from Tokachi services, and the remaining two daily Tokachi return workings were upgraded to Super Tokachi services, utilising new KiHa 261-1000 series DMUs. As the Super Tokachi is relatively slower than the Super Ozora, many travellers will opt to take the Super Ozora between Sapporo and Obihiro whenever possible, although certain Super Ozora services may make additional stops.

The departure information board at Sapporo Station for trains departing from Track No. 5


The 721 series EMU set, which transported me to Sapporo earlier


A 785 series EMU trainset, operating on the Limited Express "Suzuran" No. 2 bound for Muroran on Track No. 6


An out-of-service 789-1000 series EMU set on Track No. 4


The name plate for Sapporo Station


The station platform for Sapporo Station in the early afternoon hours


A 785 series EMU trainset just after arriving as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 18 from Asahikawa on Track No. 6. This train would later change direction and function as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 112 between Sapporo and New Chitose Airport

After 23 minutes of waiting, a KiHa 283 series DMU trainset, which would later become the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 5 bound for Kushiro, finally arrived at 11.29 a.m. on Track No. 5. The train had operated on the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 4 between Kushiro and Sapporo earlier.

Before boarding commenced for the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 5 bound for Kushiro, the train had to undergo 10 minutes of cleaning. Here are some pictures I took while waiting for the cleaning process to be finished.


The KiHa 283 series DMU set, which would later take me to Obihiro as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 bound for Kushiro


The LED destination panel on the KiHa 283 series DMU in English


The LED destination panel on the KiHa 283 series DMU in Japanese


Track No. 5 of Sapporo Station



At 11.40 a.m., the cleaners told the passengers that the train was ready for boarding. With that, I immediately boarded the train through Car No. 2 to get a clearer image of Car No. 3 which was the Green Car (first class) cabin.

I then found my assigned seat No. 3D, and immediately settled in. The seat next to me would stay empty until the train stopped at Minami-chitose Station.



The KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin


A view of my seat, 3D, during boarding at Sapporo Station


A single seat in the Green Car (first class cabin) on the KiHa 283 series DMU


The rear view of the KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin while waiting for departure from Sapporo Station


The front view of the KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin while waiting for departure from Sapporo Station


At exactly 11.51 a.m., the train pulled out of Sapporo Station for a journey time of 3 hours 51 minutes to Kushiro. Here are some pictures which will explain the sector between Sapporo and Minami-chitose Station.


キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら5号 釧路行き 札幌駅から発車とグリーン車


The JR Hakodate Line tracks leading to Abashiri and Wakkanai via Asahikawa


The Sheraton Hotel Sapporo


My limited express train ticket for the sector between Sapporo and Obihiro


At Shin-sapporo Station


Passing by an open field in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo


Passing by an open field covered in snow in Kitahiroshima


The KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin from my seat


キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら5号 釧路行き 車窓から南千歳駅に到着

At 12.17 p.m., the train made a brief stop at Minami-chitose Station. Quickly, more passengers began to board the train. Most of the transfer passengers were from New Chitose Airport.

A gentleman then came into the Green Car cabin and occupied seat No. 3C. So there goes my personal space! He, too, was heading to Obihiro. After a while, the train departed from Minami-chitose Station. Nevertheless, here are some pictures during the journey between Minami-chitose and Obihiro.


My seat, 3D, during stopover at Minami-chitose Station


Passing by the Toyota Rent-a-car area near New Chitose Airport


The Toyota Rent-a-car area near CTS where we rented our car



Passing by Oiwake Station


A cup of orange juice for myself


Passing Shin-yubari Station


Crossing a river and a road bridge in the small city of Yubari


Some constructions works ongoing in the city of Yubari


A snowy hill in Yubari


The KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin in a tunnel between Shin-Yubari and Shimukappu


Passing by a snow-covered forest in the village of Shimukappu


A snow-covered mountain and forest in Shimukappu


Another snow-covered mountain and forest


A snowy road and hillside between Yubari and Shimukappu


Another snowy forest between Shimukappu and Tomamu


An open field with a some trees covered in a blanket of snow


A coniferous forest in the village of Shimukappu


A coniferous forest and a mountain covered in winter storm clouds


The KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car cabin between Shimukappu and Tomamu


Passing by a snow-covered mountain and forest in the village of Shimukappu while approaching Tomamu Station


At Tomamu Station


A forest with a cloud about to pour more snow


A snowy open land between Tomamu and Shintoku


Another snow-covered field near Tomamu


A snow-covered open land while nearing Shintoku Station


The rear view of the KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin during approach to Shintoku Station


A view of my seat, 3D, during the journey to Obihiro


The snowy town of Shintoku


A snowy landscape shortly after leaving Shintoku Station


The KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin shortly after leaving Shintoku Station


A pair of Green Car (first class) seats on the KiHa 283 series DMU shortly after leaving Shintoku


The snow-covered land by a forest


A snowy road and landscape while getting closer to Obihiro


A single Green Car (first class) seat on the KiHa 283 series DMU, while nearing Obihiro


The cell phone use area in the KiHa 283 series DMU while approaching Obihiro

After a journey time of 2 hours 22 minutes from Sapporo, I finally arrived at my destination, Obihiro Station, at 2.13 p.m. (14 13) on Track No. 1, as planned. Before going down to have my lunch, I took a picture of the train before it left for Kushiro.

Obihiro Station is the main railway station serving the city of Obihiro, Hokkaido, Japan. It is located on the Nemuro Main Line and owned by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido).


The KiHa 283 series DMU train operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 5 service between Sapporo and Kushiro at Obihiro Station



Tracks No. 1 and 2 of Obihiro Station


The Green Car logo on the KiHa 283 series DMU

At 2.20 p.m., I went down to a Butadon cafe beside the station concourse to have my lunch. At the cafe, I ordered myself a huge bowl of Obihiro's famous Butadon. Knowing that I had only 25 minutes before my train back to Sapporo, I could not take too long to eat and purchase the 10 bottles of Butadon sauce. The taste of the pork was extremely tender and fresh, as the flavour melted in my mouth.


The passageway to a shopping area below Obihiro Station


The logo of the Butadon cafe at Obihiro Station


The interior of the Butadon cafe in Obihiro Station


A mouth-watering bowl of Obihiro's famous Butadon for myself

After finishing my mouth-watering bowl of Butadon, I decided to purchase 10 bottles of the special Butadon sauce, each with a capacity of 360 ml. The bottles then cost me 7,800 yen (S$124.80). The bag was relatively heavy, but I had to hurry back to the platform for my train back to Sapporo.

By 2.40 p.m., I was back on the platform towards Shintoku. The train that I was to be taking for the sector between Obihiro and Sapporo would be the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 10 bound for Sapporo. The train would leave Obihiro at 2.56 p.m. (14 56) from Track No. 4.


Tracks No. 3 and 4 of Obihiro Station


The departure information board showing the details of my train back to Sapporo


The name plate for Obihiro Station


The station platforms of Obihiro Station facing the direction towards Ikeda and Kushiro


The station platforms of Obihiro Station facing the direction towards Shintoku and Sapporo


Track No. 4 of Obihiro Station

After 15 minutes of waiting, the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 10 bound for Sapporo finally arrived at Obihiro Station at 2.55 p.m. on Track No. 4. With that, I immediately boarded the Green Car (first class) cabin and found my assigned seat No. 1D. The seat next to me would stay empty throughout the journey.


The KiHa 283 series DMU LED destination panel towards Sapporo in Japanese


The KiHa 283 series DMU LED destination panel towards Sapporo in English


The Green Car (first class) cabin of the KiHa 283 series DMU while at Obihiro Station

At exactly 2.56 p.m. (14 56), the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 10 bound for Sapporo, finally pulled out of Obihiro Station. The journey between Obihiro and Sapporo would take 2 hours 21 minutes. Here are some pictures and videos which will explain the first sector of my journey between Obihiro and Sapporo.


キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら10号 札幌行き 帯広駅から発車


About to cross under a snowy road bridge in Obihiro


My limited express train ticket for the sector between Obihiro and Sapporo


A view of my seat, 1D, shortly after leaving the city of Obihiro


The front view of the KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin shortly after leaving Obihiro behind


Two cups of orange juice for myself


The snowy road and landscape between Obihiro and Tokachi-shimizu


Waiting for track clearance at Tokachi-shimizu Station for a train bound for Obihiro to arrive


Meeting up with the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 5 bound for Obihiro while waiting for track clearance at Tokachi-shimizu Station


Leaving Tokachi-shimizu Station after waiting for track clearance


A snowy open land hidden behind some trees beside the JR Nemuro Main Line tracks


The rear view of the KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin during travel on the JR Nemuro Main Line


A view of my seat, 1D, during the journey on the JR Nemuro Main Line while on approach towards Shintoku Station


The name plate of Shintoku Station


The snowy scenery shortly after departure from Shintoku Station


Passing by a snowy landscape and forest while on the JR Sekisho Line between Shintoku and Tomamu


The snowy scenery as seen on the JR Sekisho Line bridge between Shintoku and Tomamu


Another snowy landscape while getting slightly closer to Tomamu Station


A snowy landscape and mountain between Shintoku and Tomamu


Passing by another snowy forest and hillside while nearing Tomamu Station


Stopping at Tomamu Station


Meeting up with the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 7 bound for Kushiro at Tomamu Station


A snow-covered mountain partly hidden in winter clouds


An open land with the mountain covered in snow shortly after leaving Tomamu Station


Passing by a snowy road and forest in Shimukappu


Passing by a snowy road bridge while in the village of Shimukappu


Passing by a snowy landscape during sunset between Shimukappu and Tomamu Stations


Passing by some village houses in Shimukappu


The KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car cabin in a tunnel between Tomamu and Shimukappu


Passing by a mountain in Shimukappu during sunset


キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら10号 札幌行き 車窓から新夕張駅を通過


Passing by the Toyota Rent-a-car area near New Chitose Airport, while approaching Minami-chitose Station


At Minami-chitose Station, while meeting the luxurious Overnight Limited Express "Cassiopeia" bound for Ueno in the Greater Tokyo Area


The luxurious Overnight Limited Express "Cassiopeia" about to leave Minami-chitose Station, heading to Ueno in the Greater Tokyo Area


A view of my seat, 1D, while at Minami-chitose Station


The KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin while at Minami-chitose Station


Passing through Chitose Station


Passing through Minami-chitose Station


At Shin-sapporo Station


Passing through Shiroishi Station

After travelling from Obihiro for about 2 hours 21 minutes, I finally arrived at the Sapporo terminal station at 5.17 p.m. (17 17) on Track No. 5. The train was then to be taken out of service after arrival at Sapporo terminal. According to my schedule, I had approximately 23 minutes before my next train back to Otaru-chikko Station.

The train I was to take back to Otaru-chikko was the Rapid Airport train No. 171 bound for Otaru, which would leave Sapporo at 5.44 p.m. (17 44) from Track No. 4. While waiting, I decided to do some spotting before and when I headed to Track No. 4 for my train back to Otaru-chikko.


The KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin after arrival at the Sapporo terminal station


The KiHa 283 series DMU that took me back to Sapporo earlier


The KiHa 283 series DMU LED destination panel, indicating that the train is not in service


The Green Car logo on the KiHa 283 series DMU train


The station platforms of Sapporo Station in the early evening hours


A KiHa 261 series DMU set, operating on the Limited Express "Super Soya" No. 3 bound for Wakkanai on Track No. 5 of Sapporo Station


Tracks No. 3 and 4 of Sapporo Station

After 23 minutes of waiting, a 6-car 721 series EMU trainset operating on the Rapid Airport train No. 171 bound for Otaru finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 5.40 p.m. on Track No. 4.

With that, I immediately boarded the train through the reserved seat ("u" seat) car, and settled into my assigned seat No. 3A. The journey back to Otaru-chikko would take approximately 26 minutes.

At exactly 5.44 p.m. (17 44), the Rapid Airport train No. 171 bound for Otaru pulled out of Sapporo Station. Here are some pictures and a video which will explain the final sector between Sapporo and Otaru-chikko.


The reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the Rapid "Airport" train No. 171 bound for Otaru


721系 快速エアポート171号 小樽行き 札幌駅から発車とuシート


The reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the Rapid "Airport" train No. 171 bound for Otaru from my seat


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


At Kotoni Station


At Teine Station


Travelling along the dark coastline of the Sea of Japan


The rear view of the 721 series EMU reserved seat ("u" seat) cabin while approaching Otaru

After 26 minutes of travelling on the JR Hakodate Line, I finally arrived back at my terminal station, Otaru-chikko, at 6.10 p.m. (18 10). As I alighted the train, I took some pictures along the station platform before leaving.


Track No. 1 of Otaru-chikko Station shortly after alighting


The station platform facing towards Otaru and Kutchan


The station platform towards Sapporo


The ticket booth and ticket gates at Otaru-chikko Station


The station concourse of Otaru-chikko Station

After I left the station, I walked through Wing Bay Otaru to access my hotel. I then took the hotel elevator back up to my room. That night, I had a sumptuous dinner with my family, did some personal things, and went to bed before 1 o' clock that morning.

Part 4 ~ A Day Of Exploring Otaru

The next day, which was a Tuesday (21 December), I woke up relatively late at around 10.30 a.m.. I immediately took a shower and changed up for the start of the day. All of us were awake by 10.45 a.m.. With that, I took some pictures of the Sea of Japan.

A view of the port of Otaru and the Sea of Japan in the early winter afternoon


A view of Otaru port from my room


A view of the Sea of Japan from my room



The hotel lobby by the grand entrance hall

At 11 o' clock, we went down to the car basement to get our car. Our very first stop was at Victoria Station for lunch. The restaurant was just a 10-minute drive from our hotel.


Driving around Otaru


Outside Victoria Station Otaru

Once we reached Victoria Station Otaru, we went inside to ask for a table for the four of us. At Victoria's, we ordered several items, whilst I had a mixed grill of beef and chicken for myself.


The interior of Victoria Station Otaru


The food menu for Victoria Station Otaru


The scenery of Otaru from the restaurant


A plate of french fries and sausages


Chicken karaage and potato wedges


A mixed beef and chicken grill for myself


A platter of french fries for my brother


Another interior view of Victoria Station Otaru

After having lunch at Victoria's, our next stop was Mount Tengu, to see what was skiing like there. We managed to play sliding down the slope while at the base of Mount Tengu. Unfortunately, I accidentally broke my watch whilst sliding down at one time. With that, I decided to have it repaired once we were back at Wing Bay Otaru.


The car parking area beside the Mount Tengu Ropeway Station


The skiing slope at Mount Tengu Otaru


The car parking area beside the skiing slope


Another view of the skiing slope at Mount Tengu Otaru


Outside the Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway station


Inside the Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway station

After spending some time at Mount Tengu, we decided to go and see a fish market around downtown Otaru. Before 2011, the market had a dining area beside it where they directly cooked and served their customers. They would be open from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily except Sundays and national holidays. Here are some pictures whilst at the seafood market.


Passing by Otaru Harbour on the way to the fish market


The exterior view of the seafood market in Otaru


Several scallops, oysters and clams available fresh from the sea for sale


The miniature statue of a bear outside the seafood market


Three scallops being grilled on the barbecue griller


One of the scallops being cut


Several advertisement banners at the entrance to the fish market


Marinating the grilling scallops with soy sauce (soya sauce)


Two raw oysters on a metal plate


The two raw oysters ready to be eaten


The two grilled scallops ready to be eaten


A street beside the seafood market in Otaru


A street beside a road near the seafood market in Otaru


Two more scallops being grilled


The two scallops being grilled, with one of them having an open shell


One more oyster for consumption


Two more scallops for consumption


Two oysters and a clam being grilled on the barbecue griller


The grilled clam ready to be eaten


Two slightly grilled oysters ready to be eaten

After having a snack at the seafood market, we decided to drive up to a mountain to have some nice, fresh air over the breathtaking scenery over the Sea of Japan. There was also a cemetery above the sightseeing spot. A golden bodhisattva statue of Guanyin (Japanese: 観音; Kannon) stood over the cemetery, acting as the its guardian for the deceased.


The Sea of Japan with a breakwater in the background


About to commence climbing up the mountain with the Otaru Aquarium and a theme park in the background


A view of the disused theme park from the mountain, with the ferris wheel visible


A few fields of natural vegetation in the mountain


A mountain hotel near the peak


A cliff beside the Sea of Japan


The Sea of Japan with a rock island and few natural vegetation


The Sea of Japan with a lighthouse and a house far up ahead


A beautiful view of the Sea of Japan on a clear winter's day in Otaru


Another beautiful view of the Sea of Japan on a clear winter's day in Otaru


And another beautiful view of the Sea of Japan on a clear winter's day in Otaru


A very clear and beautiful view of the Sea of Japan on a clear winter's day in Otaru


Another very clear and beautiful view of the Sea of Japan on a clear winter's day in Otaru


An even clearer and more beautiful view of the Sea of Japan on a clear winter's day in Otaru


A car parking area on the mountain


The golden Guanyin statue on the top of the mountain guarding the cemetery


The cemetery on the top of the mountain


The Sea of Japan from another viewing point of the mountain


A cliff and a seal farm beside the Sea of Japan


Another cliff beside the Sea of Japan


An abandoned house on the mountain

After exploring around the mountain, we went to Homac Super Depot Department Store to purchase some necessities for home. On the way back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru, we stopped by at Otaru Station.

My mum said that we had plans to go to Lake Toya the next day. When we reached Otaru Station, I purchased my train tickets for the journey between Otaru-chikko and Lake Toya.


Passing by a hot spring (onsen) house


The car parking area outside Homac Super Depot Department Store


The logo of Homac Super Depot Department Store


The entrance to Homac Super Depot Department Store


Several mountains from the car parking area near Homac Super Depot Department Store


The exterior view of Homac Super Depot Department Store


Otaru Canal during sunset


Nearing Otaru Station


The station concourse of Otaru Station


Inside the ticket reservation office of Otaru Station


Some buildings near Otaru Station

After a day of exploring around Otaru, we decided to head back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru at 3.30 p.m.. We then had a 45-minute rest in the hotel room. At around 4.20 p.m., we went down to Wing Bay Otaru.


The Sea of Japan during sunset as seen from my room


The grand entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru in the evening with decorations for Christmas


Near the entrance to Wing Bay Otaru


A miniature tree in the hotel lobby of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru

While my mum and brother went to shop, my dad and I went to a watch and clock shop. I then asked the shop owner whether he could fixed my watch. The owner then told me that something went loose and the valve needed replacing. Within 10 minutes, my watch was as good as new.

I then paid the man and thanked him for his help. With that, we went back to the hotel room to have a good rest for the evening.

At around 9.10 p.m., we were filling rather hungry. My dad decided to being us to a sushi restaurant for dinner. The ride to the restaurant took about 15 minutes. This restaurant was known as Sushizanmai. While there, we ordered several sushi plates and some side dishes. This dinner was indeed a delicious sushi dinner.


The exterior of Sushizanmai sushi restaurant at night


A variety of sashimi items on a table counter


The interior of Sushizanmai


A plate of one unagi (eel) sushi


A cup of chawanmushi for myself


A sushi platter for my mum


A sushi platter for my dad


A platter of flounder fin sushi


Another large platter of various sushi


A plate of beef sushi and aburi sushi for myself


Various fishes swimming in a fish tank in Sushizanmai


A road in Otaru late at night


Outside the restaurant after dinner

The clock was already showing 10.10 p.m. by the time we finished our dinner. With that, we paid our bill, and drove back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru. We managed to arrive back at our hotel by 10.30 p.m..


The main hotel lobby late at night


A view of the room I shared with my brother that night


A view of my parents' room late that night

As soon as we were back in our rooms, we immediately took a hot shower, and did some personal duties. We decided not to sleep too late that night, as we had a journey to Lake Toya the next day. With that, we went to bed just before midnight.

Part 5 ~ A Day in Lake Toya

The next day, which was a Wednesday (22 December), I woke up at around 8.15 a.m. after a good night's sleep. I immediately had a shower and changed up for the start of the day. At the same time, I took some good pictures of the Sea of Japan.


A view of the port of Otaru and the Sea of Japan in the early morning


A view of the port of Otaru in the early morning


A view of the Sea of Japan in the early morning

By 8.40 a.m., all of us were awake and we all had a good shower. I then left the hotel room for Otaru-chikko Station at 8.50 a.m.. My parents would then do their usual drive to Lake Toya, but would remember to pick me up from Toya Station.


The grand entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru during the mid-morning hours


In the passageway to Otaru-chikko Station


The entrance to Otaru-chikko Station in the mid-morning


The station concourse of Otaru-chikko Station in the mid-morning

After a 10-minute walk from the Grand Park Hotel Otaru, I was in Otaru-chikko Station at around 9 o' clock. With that, I was on the station platform by 9.10 a.m.. Surprisingly, I then saw my parents waving at me from the station platform, saying that they will meet me at Toya Station.

According to my schedule, the train I was to take to Sapporo from Otaru-chikko would be the Rapid Airport train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport. The train would leave the station at 9.40 a.m. from Track No. 2. Here are some pictures I took on the platform while waiting for the Rapid Airport train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport.


The departure information board warning passengers to beware of passing trains


The departure information board showing the details of my train


An out-of-service 721 series EMU train passing Otaru-chikko Station


An overall view of the station platform of Otaru-chikko Station


The station platform of Otaru-chikko Station with Wing Bay Otaru and the Grand Park Hotel Otaru being seen


The name plate of Otaru-chikko Station

After 25 minutes of waiting, the Rapid Airport train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport, finally entered Otaru-chikko Station at 9.39 a.m.. With that, I boarded the reserved seat ("u" seat) car and settled into my assigned seat No. 9A for the 26-minute journey to Sapporo. At exactly 9.40 a.m., the train left Otaru-chikko Station for the 1 hour 06-minute journey to New Chitose Airport. Here are some pictures I took during the sector between Otaru-chikko and Sapporo.


The interior of the reserved seat ("u" seat) car on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 100 to CTS


The Sea of Japan flowing gracefully shortly after leaving Otaru-chikko


A coast line along the Sea of Japan


A view of my seat, 9A, during the journey to Sapporo


The Sea of Japan while nearing Zenibako Station


Passing through Zenibako Station


A clear view of the Sea of Japan on the train


A clearer view of the Sea of Japan on the train


An even clearer view of the Sea of Japan on the train


An even more clear view of the Sea of Japan on the train


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


Meeting up with the most luxurious Overnight Limited Express "Cassiopeia", which had arrived from Ueno in Tokyo earlier


On a railroad bridge between Teine and Kotoni Stations


The rear view of the interior of the reserved seat ("u" seat) car on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 100 to CTS

After a journey time of 26 minutes from Otaru-chikko, I arrived at Sapporo Station at 10.06 a.m. on Track No. 5. I had approximately half an hour before my next train to Toya. The train that I would be on for the sector between Sapporo and Toya would be the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 10 bound for Hakodate.

The train would depart from Sapporo at 10.37 a.m. from Track No. 8. While that, I decided to take some pictures on Tracks No. 5 and 8 while waiting for my train.

The Hokuto and Super Hokuto are limited express train services that run between Sapporo and Hakodate in Hokkaido, Japan. The fastest journey time between Sapporo and Hakodate is approximately 3 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.


A KiHa 261-1000 series DMU set, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 3 bound for Obihiro


The Green Car (first class) cabin of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU set used for "Super Tokachi" limited express services


The departure information board for trains leaving from Track No. 8 in the station concourse of Sapporo Station


The KiHa 261-1000 series DMU set, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 3 bound for Obihiro, as seen from Track No. 7


The logo for the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU


Track No. 7 of Sapporo Station

After approximately 10 minutes of waiting, the KiHa 281 series DMU set, which would later become the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 10 bound for Hakodate, finally arrived at 10.18 a.m. on Track No. 8.

The train was to undergo 10 minutes of cleaning before the passengers were allowed to board the train. Here are some pictures I took during the cleaning process.


The logo of the KiHa 281 series DMU


The KiHa 281 series DMU set, which would later take me to Toya as the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 10 bound for Hakodate, while being cleaned


The LED destination panel of the KiHa 281 series DMU

At 10.25 a.m., the cleaning process was finished, and we were finally allowed to board the train. Immediately, I boarded the train through Car No. 2 to get a clear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin in Car No. 3.

I then settled into my assigned seat No. 3D, after I settled my bags. The seat right next to me would remain empty throughout the journey. This was just in good time for a 10.37 a.m. departure from Sapporo.


The Green Car (first class) cabin of the KiHa 281 series DMU


A single Green Car (first class) seat of the KiHa 281 series DMU


A view of my seat, 3D, during boarding at Sapporo


The front of the Green Car (first class) cabin of the KiHa 281 series DMU during boarding at Sapporo


The rear of the Green Car (first class) cabin of the KiHa 281 series DMU during boarding at Sapporo

At exactly 10.37 a.m., the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 10 bound for Hakodate finally pulled out of Sapporo Station. The journey between Sapporo and Lake Toya would take approximately 1 hour 40 minutes. Here are some pictures and videos during the journey to Toya from Sapporo.


キハ281系 特急スーパー北斗10号 函館行き 札幌駅から発車とグリーン車


Passing by some houses in Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo


The JR Hakodate Main Line tracks leading to Asahikawa, Abashiri and Wakkanai


Nearing Shin-sapporo Station


The KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin while at Shin-sapporo Station


My limited express train ticket for the sector between Sapporo and Toya


Passing by several houses in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo


Passing by Kami-nopporo Station


The KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin between Shin-sapporo and Minami-chitose Stations


A view of my seat, 3D, in its fully reclined position


Passing by a snowy open field in Eniwa


A cup of orange juice and a hand roll for myself


The KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin while nearing Minami-chitose Station


The cell phone use area on the KiHa 281 series DMU


A miniature Christmas Tree by the conductor's room in the KiHa 281 series DMU


Passing through Chitose Station


Chitose Rera Outlet Mall as seen from the train


The JR Sekisho Line track leading to Shintoku, Obihiro, and Kushiro


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


A rice paddy field partly covered in snow


A rice paddy field on a cloudy winter's day


Passing by a forest on the JR Chitose Line


The JR Hidaka Line tracks near Tomakomai Station


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


The KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin while approaching Tomakomai Station


At Tomakomai Station


Almost finishing my almond chocolates


The miniature Christmas Tree by the conductor's room in the KiHa 281 series DMU


Passing a road bridge over a river that flows into the Pacific Ocean


キハ281系 特急スーパー北斗10号 函館行き 車窓から登別駅に到着


At Noboribetsu Station


Passing by some houses in Noboribetsu


Sparse vegetation between Noboribetsu and Muroran


Crossing another railroad bridge over a river


A view of my seat, 3D, between Noboribetsu and Higashi-muroran


Several railway tracks near Higashi-muroran Station


At Higashi-muroran Station


Passing by a freight train yard shortly after leaving Higashi-muroran


Passing by a vegetation field on the JR Muroran Main Line


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


Passing by another vegetation field on the JR Muroran Main Line


A coast line on the Pacific Ocean by 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


At Date-mombetsu Station


The KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin while nearing Toya Station


Passing Nagawa Station

After a journey time of 1 hour 40 minutes from Sapporo, I finally arrived at Toya Station at 12.16 p.m., as planned. As soon as I alighted the train, I took a picture of it before it left for its remaining journey to Hakodate.


The KiHa 281 series DMU set, which took me to Toya from Sapporo earlier


The name plate of Toya Station


The station platform of Toya Station

After I exited the station, I met my parents and younger brother at the car park outside the station. We then drove off to Shikotsu-Toya National Park to visit Lake Toya.


The station building of Toya Station


The sign of Shikotsu-Toya National Park


The map of Lake Toya


Lake Toya with a ferry on the left hand side

After we arrived at Lake Toya, we went to a nearby cafeteria and souvenir shop by the lake. There was a mini restaurant located in the upper floor. We had lunch at the restaurant before doing anything else.


The interior of the restaurant above the souvenir shop near Lake Toya


A cup of chawanmushi and a mini basket of fried chicken


Another view of the interior of the restaurant above the souvenir shop near Lake Toya


And another view of the interior of the restaurant above the souvenir shop near Lake Toya


A view of Lake Toya from the restaurant


A view of Mount Usu from the restaurant near Lake Toya


Outside the souvenir shop near Lake Toya after lunch


A street in the town of Toyako


A wet car parking area on a cloudy winter's day

After having a relatively light lunch, we decided to take a ferry cruise around Lake Toya. As we reached the ferry ticket office, we purchased some tickets and were on board the ferry by 1.15 p.m.. The ride took approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.


A view of Lake Toya prior to boarding the ferry


A view of the ferry just before boarding


The interior of the lower deck of the ferry around Lake Toya


Lake Toya from the ferry just before departure


Another view of the interior of the lower deck of the ferry around Lake Toya


A view of Lake Toya from the ferry just before departure


A view of the boat jetty in Lake Toya from the ferry


My mum and brother posing for a picture


The mid-lake mountain as seen from the ferry in Lake Toya


A view of a mountain in Toyako town as seen from Lake Toya


Another view of a mountain in Toyako town as seen from Lake Toya


A view of a mountain end in Toyako town as seen from Lake Toya


Lake Toya during the cruise around the lake with the ferry


A mountain in the middle of Lake Toya


A packet of chocolate flavour koala biscuits


A food and beverage counter in the upper deck of the ferry


The town of Toyako as seen from the ferry in Lake Toya


Another view of the town of Toyako as seen from the ferry in Lake Toya


Lake Toya shortly before we arrived back at the jetty


The staircase leading to the upper deck of the ferry in Lake Toya


The ferry that takes tourists around Lake Toya

After an enjoyable sightseeing ferry cruise around Lake Toya, we finally arrived back at the jetty at 2.30 p.m.. We then went to a small hot spring (onsen) by the lake. This onsen is used to warm the feet of other people in the cold winter season.

We then went back to the cafe inside the souvenir shop to have something light. I then had a small chocolate cake for myself.


Several boats on the jetty in Lake Toya


The foot hot spring named Toro no Yu


Inside the foot hot spring named Toro no Yu


A view of the jetty beside Lake Toya


A path along the lake


Another view of the jetty beside Lake Toya


Calligraphy signs of Lake Toya written on a stone


The interior of the shop and cafeteria by the lake


A small chocolate cake for myself

It was about 3.30 p.m. by the time we finished. With that, I decided to head back to Toya Station for my train back to Sapporo. My family obliged to send me to the station. We then got into the car and drove to the station.

By 4 o' clock, I was back at Toya Station for my train back to Sapporo. According to my time schedule, I was to take the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 13 bound for Sapporo from Toya. The train would leave Toya Station at 4.52 p.m.. Here are some pictures I took in the station while waiting for the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 13 bound for Sapporo.


The station concourse of Toya Station


The train departure information screens at the entrance to the station platforms of Toya Station


The Green Car (first class) information in Toya Station


On the platform towards Hakodate


On the inter-platform footbridge of Toya Station


On the platform for my train to Sapporo


The name plate of Toya Station


The station platform of Toya Station towards Higashi-muroran and Sapporo during nightfall


A KiHa 283 series DMU trainset, operating on the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 16 bound for Hakodate from Sapporo at Toya Station


The information of Lake Toya on the station platform of Toya Station

Another view of the name plate at Toya Station


After approximately 45 minutes of waiting, the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 13 bound for Sapporo finally arrived at Toya Station at 4.51 p.m.. I immediately boarded the Green Car (first class) cabin of the train, and settled into my assigned seat No. 6A for the journey back to Sapporo. At exactly 4.52 p.m., the train pulled out of Toya Station.

When the conductor came to check my ticket, I was surprised that she could speak English. She then brought me an antiseptic hand wipe and a cup of orange juice. Here are some pictures during the journey between Toya and Sapporo.


The KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin shortly after leaving Toya Station


A view of my seat, 6A, shortly after leaving Toya Station


A single KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) seat shortly after leaving Toya Station


My train ticket for the sector between Toya and Sapporo


A view of the Green Car (first class) cabin of the KiHa 281 series DMU taken from my seat


An antiseptic hand wipe and a cup of orange juice for myself


The rear view of the KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin shortly after leaving Toya Station


The miniature Christmas Tree on the KiHa 281 series DMU back to Sapporo


The front view of the KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin while approaching Higashi-muroran Station


Nearing Higashi-muroran Station


キハ281系 特急スーパー北斗13号 札幌行き 東室蘭駅から発車とグリーン車


The KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin from my seat shortly after leaving Higashi-muroran Station


Passing through the city of Noboribetsu at night




A view of my seat, 6A, during approach to Tomakomai


A shopping mall near Tomakomai Station


At Tomakomai Station


Passing by the shopping mall car park


The KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin from my seat while approaching Minami-chitose Station


キハ281系 特急スーパー北斗13号 札幌行き 車窓から南千歳駅に到着


The front view of the KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin shortly after leaving Minami-chitose Station


On the JR Chitose Line railroad bridge shortly after leaving Minami-chitose Station


Passing through Chitose Station


The rear view of the KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin on the JR Chitose Line


Passing by several houses in Chitose


Passing by a field in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo


At Shin-sapporo Station


Shortly after leaving Shin-sapporo Station


Passing by some housing areas in Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo


Approaching the Sapporo terminal station

After travelling from Toya for approximately 1 hour 43 minutes, I finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 6.35 p.m. on Track No. 4. I had approximately 10 minutes before my next train back to Otaru-chikko. The train that I was to take between Sapporo and Otaru-chikko would be the Rapid Airport No. 181 bound for Otaru. The train would leave Sapporo at 6.44 p.m. from Track No. 3, which was just adjacent to Track No. 4. Here are some pictures I took while waiting for the train.


The KiHa 281 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin after arrival at the Sapporo terminal station


The Green Car logo on the KiHa 281 series DMU


The logo of the KiHa 281 series DMU at Sapporo


The KiHa 281 series DMU train that took me back to Sapporo earlier


The busy station platforms of Sapporo Station in the early evening hours

After approximately 5 minutes of waiting, the Rapid Airport train No. 181 bound for Otaru finally entered Sapporo Station at 6.40 p.m. on Track No. 3. Immediately, I boarded the reserved seat ("u" seat) carriage, and settled into my assigned seat No. 3A for the journey. The journey between Sapporo and Otaru-chikko would take 26 minutes.

At exactly 6.44 p.m., the train pulled out of Sapporo Station for a 33-minute journey to Otaru. Here are some pictures and a video on the final sector between Sapporo and Otaru-chikko.


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


The rear view of the reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the Rapid "Airport" train No. 181 bound for Otaru


721系 快速エアポート181号 小樽行き 札幌駅から発車とuシート


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


A view of my seat, 3A, during the journey back to Otaru


At Kotoni Station

After a journey time of 26 minutes from Sapporo, I finally arrived back at my terminal station, Otaru-chikko, at 7.10 p.m.. I walked out of the station and passed through Wing Bay Otaru to get back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru.

My family and I all had a good rest in the hotel room. At around 10.30 p.m., we decided to go to Victoria Station for a late dinner. After arriving at Victoria's at 10.50 p.m., we asked for a table for the four of us. We had some mixed grills and sides while there during dinner.


Outside Victoria Station at night


The special menus at Victoria's


Inside the restaurant


The Grand Menu at Victoria Station


The night scenery of Otaru from the restaurant


The special recommendation menu


My usual mixed grill on a hot plate


The interior of Victoria Station Otaru at night


Another view of the interior of Victoria Station Otaru


The car park outside the restaurant at night

It was already 11.20 p.m. by the time we finished our dinner. After we paid our bill, we drove back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru. Once we reached the hotel room, I had a lovely, hot shower before doing anything else. We all went to bed just before 2 in the morning.


Very well, folks, this brings the third section of my winter holiday in Hokkaido, Japan in December 2010 to a conclusion. The remaining parts will be published as soon as there's time.

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