Saturday, August 25, 2012

Winter Holiday in Hokkaido in December 2010 - Section 4

Welcome to the fourth section of my winter vacation in Hokkaido, Japan in December 2010. In this section, I will explain the time we spent at Snowmobile Land Sapporo, my train journeys to Kushiro, New Chitose Airport, and Obihiro, also with our time at Otaru Asarigawa Onsen.

Part 1 ~ A Day At Snowmobile Land Sapporo

The next day, which was a Thursday (23 December), we woke up at around 9.30 a.m. after a good night's sleep. We then had a nice and hot shower before going to Sapporo Winter Wonderland.

On this day, our reservation for the snow mobiles at Sapporo Winter Wonderland would be at 12 noon. After we were all prepared, we left the Grand Park Hotel at 10.30 a.m. to drive to Sapporo Winter Wonderland.

This day, being December 23, is a very special day for the citizens of Japan, as this marks the birthday of the current Emperor of Japan. The Emperor's Birthday is a national holiday celebrated throughout the nation.


A van parked near the entrance to the car park of Wing Bay Otaru


A rail yard near Otaru-chikko Station


Wing Bay Otaru, along with our hotel, as seen from the car


The Grand Park Hotel Otaru, as seen from our car


A side road from the Sapporo-Otaru expressway


The Sea of Japan on the Sapporo-Otaru expressway

Along the way towards Snowmobile Land Sapporo, we decided to stop at a small roadside cafeteria in Sapporo for lunch. While at the cafe, we had a relatively moderate lunch. I had an udon nabeyaki (hot clay pot) for myself.


The display food menu in the roadside restaurant in the suburb district of Sapporo


The interior of the roadside restaurant in the suburb district of Sapporo


Looking through my JR Hokkaido train timetable


An omelette set for my mum


A platter of grilled sliced pork


An udon nabeyaki (hot clay pot) for myself


Custard pudding


Our car outside the restaurant

After finishing our lunch, we continued our journey to Snowmobile Land Sapporo. It was already 11.45 a.m. by the time we arrived at our destination. A trainer directed us to the clothing and reception house. Snow was falling everywhere in Sapporo while we were there.

At 12.35 p.m., we began our snowmobile course. I am quite skillful at riding a snowmobile, in spite of the fact that I am unable to control. Nevertheless, here are some pictures that will explain our day at Snowmobile Land Sapporo.


A snow-covered parking area outside Snowmobile Land Sapporo


A snow-covered land outside Snowmobile Land Sapporo


A mountain covered in snow clouds


The helmet rental house


The snowmobile parking area in Snowmobile Land Sapporo


About to cross a snowy road into more snow


A snowy road in the middle of a snowy forest


Posing for a picture with my brother and dad during our snowmobile course in Snowmobile Land Sapporo

We finished our snowmobile course at around 2 o' clock in the afternoon. As our clothes got wet from the snow that melted, we decided to drive back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru to get changed and have an afternoon rest. For the rest of the afternoon, we simply sat in our rooms and had a good rest.

On the way back, I stopped by at Otaru-chikko Station to purchase some Green Car tickets. As I wanted to go to and from Kushiro the next day, I decided to reserve my seat tickets in advance, to avoid any unnecessary upheavels.


The Sea of Japan and the port of Otaru, as seen from my room on a cloudy winter's afternoon


My Limited Express train tickets to and from Kushiro for the next day


After a good rest in the hotel room, we decided to go for dinner in Sapporo. There was a good Korean Barbecue restaurant called Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant in Atsubetsu-ku. With that, we took a drive to Sapporo 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.

As soon as we reached Boku-zen at 7.15 p.m., we went inside to book a table for the four of us. We stored our shoes in the shoe compartment, and were directed to our table. We then had a look through the menus before making our orders.

The exterior of Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant


The signboard outside the entrance to Boku-zen


A good look at the food menu of Boku-zen


The meat griller in Boku-zen


The interior of Boku-zen from our table


After a few minutes, a waitress came to take our orders. 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 self-service drink area in Boku-zen


A mixed platter of beef tongue and intestines


Beef tongue and chuck being grilled


Beef tongue, chuck and intestine being grilled


A platter of beef intestine


Several beef cuts being grilled


Several pieces of beef intestine being grilled


Butter scallops in a pan for myself


A platter of french fries


3 pieces of scallops with butter in a pan being grilled


A mixed platter of beef cuts


Several beef cubes, beef karubi and mushrooms being grilled


A platter of beef tongue


Another small platter of beef intestine


More beef cuts being grilled


A platter of beef karubi


Another platter of beef tongue


Another platter of beef intestine


Beef karubi and some vegetables being grilled


Some beef cuts (beef karubi and intestines) and some vegetables being grilled


Several beef and chicken cuts being grilled


Another platter of french fries


Beef tongue and intestine being grilled


Some kind of caramel-flavoured ice cream for dessert


The car park outside Boku-zen at night

After a mouthwatering feast at Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant, it was already 9.15 p.m.. We then retrieved our shoes, paid up the bill, and went to get the car. We then drove back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru.


The clock had already struck 10 p.m. by the time we arrived back at our hotel room. I then had a quick shower and changed into my pyjamas  before doing anything else. I also called the hotel reception for a wake-up call at 5 a.m. the next day.


Before going to bed, I prepared all the daily items I need for the trip to Kushiro. By 11 p.m., I went to bed before anyone else did.


Part 2 ~ Kushiro


The next morning, which was a Friday (24 December), I received a wake-up call at 5 a.m. from the hotel reception. It was the dawn of Christmas Eve. Immediately, 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.


After a 5-minute drive from the hotel, I arrived at Otaru-chikko Station by 5.30 a.m.. Snow was falling heavily as I reached the station. 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.

As soon as I was on the platform at 5.50 a.m., I knew my itinerary quite well. My itinerary for the in-bound journey towards Kushiro would be to take the JR Hakodate Main 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 change 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..

No one was on the station platform was rather deserted when I was waiting for my train. This made Otaru-chikko Station look like a haunted railway station at this time of the wee hours of the morning.

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


The "haunted" station platform of Otaru-chikko Station

After 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. These are some pictures I took on the way to Sapporo.

The interior of the local train bound for New Chitose Airport


The seats, where I sat for the 40-minute journey to Sapporo


Dawn about to break on the way to Sapporo

The very first lights of dawn started to break as I entered the City of Sapporo. At 6.45 a.m., I finally arrived at Sapporo Station on Track No. 6. I had approximately 15 minutes of layover at Sapporo before my next train to Kushiro.

According to my schedule, I was to be on the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 1 bound for Kushiro for the sector between Sapporo and Kushiro. The train would depart from Sapporo Station at 7.03 a.m. from Track No. 7. It didn't take long before I was on Track No. 7 for my train to Kushiro. I was relieved as I had made my seat reservation the day before. Sapporo Station was really packed with passengers, heading for either business or leisure, especially at this time of morning.

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. This service commenced on 22 March 1997, and currently uses the KiHa 283 series DMUs as its main rolling stock. Services are usually formed of 6 or 7 cars, but are occasionally lengthened to either 8, 9 or 10 cars on certain days.


Tracks No. 5 and 6 of Sapporo Station in the early morning hours

The departure information board for trains departing from Track No. 7

Track No. 7 of Sapporo Station, with a local train bound for Tomakomai about to depart

After 10 minutes of waiting, the KiHa 283 series DMU that would soon operate on the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 1 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 to Kushiro, with a journey time of approximately 3 hours 48 minutes.

I immediately boarded the train through car No. 2 to get a clearer view of the Green Car cabin. After settling my tickets and baggage, I settled into my seat No. 7D (later shifted to seat No. 8D between Obihiro and Kushiro) for the long journey to Kushiro.


The 7-car KiHa 283 series DMU train, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1 service bound for Kushiro, finally enters Sapporo Station on Track No. 7

The LED destination panel of my train to Kushiro in Japanese


The LED destination panel of my train to Kushiro in English


The KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin


A pair of double seats in the Green Car (first class cabin) on the KiHa 283 series DMU


The KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin during boarding at Sapporo Station


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

At exactly 7.03 a.m., the train finally pulled out of Sapporo Station for a journey timing of 3 hours 48 minutes to the port city of Kushiro. Here are some pictures and videos during the long journey from Sapporo to Kushiro.



キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら1号 釧路行き 札幌駅から発車とグリーン車

Passing by some buildings in Chuo-ku, Sapporo


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


Passing by some houses in Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo


The Hakodate Main Line tracks leading to Abashiri and Wakkanai via Asahikawa during sunrise


The Sheraton Hotel Sapporo from the train


Arriving at Shin-sapporo Station


My seat, 7D, in its fully reclined position


A snowy landscape in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo


Passing Kami-nopporo Station


An open land covered in snow in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo


The front view of the KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin on the JR Chitose Line


Somewhere near Kitahiroshima


A snow-covered field in Kitahiroshima


Two cups of orange juice for myself


Chitose Rera Outlet Mall while approaching Minami-chitose Station


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


Two buses near the Toyota Rent-a-car Area near New Chitose Airport


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


The KiHa 283 series DMU area for the use of cell phones


A miniature Christmas wreath on the KiHa 283 series DMU


A miniature Christmas Tree on the KiHa 283 series DMU


The rear view of the KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin on the JR Sekisho Line

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら1号 釧路行き 車窓から追分駅を通過


A box of almond chocolates and a bottle of water purchased from the on-board trolley service


Crossing a snow-frosted river between Oiwake and Shin-yubari


The front view of the KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin in a tunnel on the JR Sekisho Line


Passing Shin-yubari Station


The rear view of the KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin in a tunnel on the JR Sekisho Line


Passing by a small housing area in Yubari


A snowy forest in Yubari


A snowy forest in the village of Shimukappu


Passing by a snow-covered roadside hill between Yubari and Shimukappu


A snowy forest shortly after passing Shimukappu Station


Another snowy forest in the village of Shimukappu Station


Several snowy mountains near Tomamu Station


At Tomamu Station


A view of my seat, 7D, during the journey between Tomamu and Shintoku


At Shintoku Station


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


A snowy landscape between Shintoku and Obihiro


At Obihiro Station


Downtown Obihiro as seen from the train while at Obihiro Station


Downtown Obihiro as seen from the train after leaving Obihiro Station


An open land covered in snow between Obihiro and Ikeda


Crossing a river between Obihiro and Ikeda


A view of my relocated seat, 8D, during the journey to Kushiro from Obihiro


The front view of the KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin on the JR Nemuro Main Line between Obihiro and Ikeda


Another open land covered in snow between Obihiro and Ikeda


Crossing a railroad bridge over a river on the JR Nemuro Main Line


An open land covered in snow while nearing Ikeda


At Ikeda Station


A ferris wheel in the town of Ikeda


An open land covered in snow between Ikeda and Shiranuka


A snowy land surrounded by a mountain on the JR Nemuro Main Line


A view of the Pacific Ocean on the JR Nemuro Main Line after leaving Ikeda


The rear view of the KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin on the JR Sekisho Line while nearing Kushiro


Travelling along the coastal line of the Pacific Ocean


Passing by one of the marshy swamps in Kushiro


Crossing another river between Ikeda and Shiranuka


Passing along the beach of the Pacific Ocean


A view of my relocated seat, 8D, while on approach to Kushiro


A snowy landscape while nearing Kushiro


Passing by several housing areas in Kushiro


Crossing another river while nearing Kushiro

After a journey time of 3 hours 48 minutes from Sapporo, I finally arrived at Kushiro Station at 10.51 a.m., as planned. There was nothing much to see and do in Kushiro, so I decided to head back to Otaru via Sapporo. The KiHa 283 series train then became the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 8 bound for Sapporo, which I was to be on later. The train would then leave Kushiro Station at 11.29 a.m.. While the train was being cleaned, I went to a station kiosk to purchase a seafood lunchbox and a soft drink.

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 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 Green Car cabin shortly after arrival at Kushiro


The LED destination panel of my train back to Sapporo in Japanese


The LED destination panel of my train back to Sapporo in English


The KiHa 283 series DMU train, which took me to Kushiro earlier as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 1, and would soon to take me back to Sapporo as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 8


The name plate of Kushiro Station


Track No. 1 of Kushiro Station


The Green Car logo on the KiHa 283 series DMU

Once the cleaning process had finished, I was on board the train at 11 a.m.. I took a good picture of the 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. 2A for the journey back to Sapporo from Kushiro, which would take 3 hours 46 minutes. During the boarding process in Kushiro, I managed to finish my seafood meal box.


The KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin while at Kushiro Station


A view of my seat, 2A, for the journey back to Sapporo


A pair of KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car seats at Kushiro


The KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin while at Kushiro Station


The KiHa 283 series Green Car cabin while at Kushiro Station


My limited express train ticket for the sector back to Sapporo from Kushiro


My seafood meal box for lunch


Track No. 1 of Kushiro Station from the train


The JR Senmo Main Line platforms of Kushiro Station from the train

At exactly 11.29 a.m., the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 8 bound for Sapporo finally pulled out of Kushiro Station. The journey between Kushiro and Sapporo was expected to take 3 hours 46 minutes. Here are some pictures and videos during the sector back to Sapporo from Kushiro.



キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら8号 札幌行き 釧路駅から発車とグリーン車

Passing by a housing area in the city of Kushiro


Crossing a river between Kushiro and Shiranuka


The sun shining over a remote roadway near Shiranuka


At Shiranuka Station


A marshy grass area located just aft of Shiranuka


A cup of orange juice for myself


The sun shining over the Pacific Ocean


A scenic view of the Pacific Ocean between Shiranuka and Ikeda


A scenic view of the Pacific Ocean and a coastal road between Shiranuka and Ikeda


Crossing a river that flows into the Pacific Ocean


A scenic view of the Pacific Ocean and a beach between Shiranuka and Ikeda


The private area on the KiHa 283 series DMU where people can use their cell phones


A scenic view of the Pacific Ocean and a coastal road between Shiranuka and Ikeda


Another scenic view of the Pacific Ocean and a coastal road between Shiranuka and Ikeda


Downtown Obihiro while on the train to Sapporo at Obihiro Station


At Obihiro Station, with a KiHa 261-1000 series DMU, operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 6 bound for Sapporo on Track No. 2


Several housing apartments in Obihiro


A snow-covered open land shortly after leaving Obihiro


A snow-covered open land on the JR Nemuro Main Line between Obihiro and Shintoku


Passing a railroad crossing on the JR Nemuro Main Line


Passing by a snowy forest while on approach to Shintoku

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら8号 札幌行き 車窓から新得駅に到着

Meeting up with a KiHa 183 series DMU North Rainbow Express train, which is a seasonal train for use on seasonal limited express services in Hokkaido in certain months


Passing by a ski resort in Shintoku shortly after departure from Shintoku Station


A snowy landscape in Shintoku


A snow forest between Shintoku and Tomamu on the JR Sekisho Line


The front view of the KiHa 283 series Green Car (first class) cabin on the JR Sekisho Line between Shintoku and Tomamu


A snowy landscape between Shintoku and Tomamu on a cloudy winter's day


A snowy field, forest and mountain on a cloudy winter's day


Passing by a signal box between Shintoku and Tomamu on the JR Sekisho Line


The rear view of the KiHa 283 series Green Car (first class) cabin on the JR Sekisho Line between Shintoku and Tomamu


The sun covered in clouds over an open land covered in snow


Passing by a snow-covered forest in the border between Shimukappu and Shintoku


A snowstorm as seen from the train at Tomamu Station


At Tomamu Station


Passing by a snowy hillside


A mountain covered in fog and snow


Passing by another snow-covered forest


The front view of the KiHa 283 series Green Car (first class) cabin inside a tunnel on the JR Sekisho Line


Several snowy mountains over a snow-covered land


A snow-covered landscape between Tomamu and Shimukappu


An open land covered in snow between Shimukappu and Shin-yubari


Another open land covered in snow between Shimukappu and Shin-yubari


A box of almond chocolates purchased from an on-board trolley service


Passing by several residential housing areas in Yubari


The small city of Yubari in the snow


A railroad bridge towards Yubari hidden behind the trees


A pair of KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car (first class) seats on the JR Sekisho Line between Shin-yubari and Minami-chitose


A view of my seat, 2D, on the JR Sekisho Line


Overlooking the JR Muroran Main Line tracks shortly after passing Oiwake Station


The snowy landscape between Oiwake and Minami-chitose


The sun shining over the snowy landscape between Oiwake and Minami-chitose


A vehicle yard beside the JR Sekisho Line


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


Meeting up with another KiHa 283 series DMU trainset, operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 7 bound for Kushiro at Minami-chitose Station


At Minami-chitose Station


The entrance to Chitose Rera Outlet Mall


The exterior view of the Chitose Rera Outlet Mall


Passing through Chitose Station


Passing by a snow-covered landscape between Chitose and Eniwa


Passing by some houses in Kitahiroshima


A snowy landscape into Kitahiroshima


At Shin-sapporo Station


Overlooking Shin-sapporo


Passing by a train yard near Heiwa Station


Passing through Shiroishi Station


Passing by a snow-covered field in Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo


Crossing a river in Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo


Approaching Sapporo Station


Several buildings near Sapporo Station


On final approach to Sapporo Station

After a journey time of 3 hours 46 minutes from Kushiro, I finally arrived back at the Sapporo terminal station at 3.15 p.m. on Track No. 7, just as planned. I took a few more pictures and alighted the train. I had approximately 25 minutes of layover in Sapporo before my next train back to Otaru-chikko.

According to my train time schedule, the train that I was to take for the final sector between Sapporo and Otaru-chikko would be the Rapid Airport train No. 151 bound for Otaru. The train would depart Sapporo Station at 3.44 p.m. from Track No. 1.

Here are some pictures I took while waiting for my train back to Otaru-chikko.


Arriving at the Sapporo terminal station


The KiHa 283 series DMU Green Car cabin after arriving at the Sapporo terminal station


The LED destination panel for the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 9 bound for Kushiro in English


The LED destination panel for the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 9 bound for Kushiro in Japanese


The train timings shown on the departure information board on Track No. 7


The KiHa 283 series DMU that transported me to and from Kushiro earlier


The KiHa 283 series DMU operating on the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 9 service bound for Kushiro on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station


A 785 series EMU and a 789-1000 series EMU at Sapporo Station


The 789-1000 series EMU operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 152 bound for New Chitose Airport on Track No. 5. This train came in from Asahikawa as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 26 earlier


Track No. 6 of Sapporo Station


The departure information board for trains departing from Track No. 1 in the station concourse of Sapporo Station


Track No. 1 and 2 of Sapporo Station

After 25 minutes of waiting, a 6-car 721 series EMU, operating on the Rapid Airport train No. 151 bound for Otaru, finally entered Sapporo Station at 3.40 p.m. on Track No. 1. With that, I immediately boarded the reserved seat ("u" seat) carriage and sat in my assigned seat No. 3A for the 26-minute journey back to Otaru-chikko.

At exactly 3.44 p.m., the Rapid Airport train No. 151 for Otaru pulled out of Sapporo Station for a 33-minute journey to its destination. Here are some pictures during the journey back to Otaru-chikko from Sapporo.


The interior of the reserved seat ("u" seat) car on the 721 series EMU operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 151 bound for Otaru


A view of my seat, 3A, while at Sapporo Station


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


Shortly after leaving Sapporo Station


Passing Soen Station


At Teine Station


The coast of the Sea of Japan on the JR Hakodate Line


A beautiful view of the Sea of Japan as seen from the JR Hakodate Line back to Otaru-chikko


The Sea of Japan coastline along the JR Hakodate Line


Another beautiful view of the Sea of Japan as seen from the JR Hakodate Line back to Otaru-chikko


An even more beautiful view of the Sea of Japan as seen from the JR Hakodate Line back to Otaru-chikko


The cabin view as seen from my seat


A beautiful view of the Sea of Japan as seen from the JR Hakodate Line while nearing Otaru-chikko


Another beautiful view of the Sea of Japan as seen from the JR Hakodate Line while nearing Otaru-chikko


The coastline of the Sea of Japan as seen from the JR Hakodate Line while nearing Otaru-chikko


An even more beautiful view of the Sea of Japan as seen from the JR Hakodate Line while nearing Otaru-chikko


The rear view of the reserved seat cabin while on final approach to Otaru-chikko Station

After a journey time of 26 minutes from Sapporo, I finally arrived back at my terminal station, Otaru-chikko Station at 4.10 p.m.. The sun was already starting to set by the time I arrived back. I took some pictures on the platform before heading back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru.


The station platform of Otaru-chikko Station facing the direction towards Otaru and Kutchan


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

After taking some pictures on the platform, I took the route via Wing Bay Otaru to get back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru. I then had a good rest in the hotel room before having dinner with my family.


The snow-covered road by the Sea of Japan at night as seen from my room


A view of the port of Otaru at night


The view of the Sea of Japan at night


A view of the room where my brother and I slept


A view of the room where my parents slept at night

After having a mouthwatering dinner in the hotel room, I had a good shower after a long day at Kushiro. I then went to bed by 12 midnight, before anyone else did. In conclusion, it was indeed an exciting train ride to and from Kushiro. I would go there again when I have the chance to do so.

The Super Ozora limited express service between Sapporo and Kushiro was my longest limited express train ride in Japan, with a journey time of 3 hours 48 minutes. This was soon superseded by my train journey on the Super Soya limited express train service between Sapporo and Wakkanai in December 2011.

Part 3 ~ Otaru Asarigawa Onsen & New Chitose Airport

On Saturday (25 December), which was Christmas Day, we woke up at around 9.15 a.m.. I was happy as Christmas Day is one of my most favourite days of the year. We all had a shower and changed into our day's attire as usual to commence the day brightly.

According to my parents, we would be having a relaxation of at a private onsen by the name of Otaru Asarigawa Onsen, with our reservation timing at 12.30 p.m.. After we had done our preparations, we took our car and left the Grand Park Hotel Otaru at 11.30 a.m.. On the way, we decided to stop at a cafeteria by the expressway to have lunch.



Bypassing the rail yard near Otaru-chikko Station

The Sea of Japan along the flyover towards the Otaru-Sapporo Expressway

The exterior of the cafeteria by the Otaru-Sapporo Expressway

The icy road near the Otaru-Sapporo Expressway

The interior of the cafeteria by the Otaru-Sapporo Expressway

A tray of soba noodles and katsudon

After 50 minutes of road travel via our rented car, we finally arrived at the entrance of Otaru Asarigawa Onsen at 12.20 p.m.. When we entered the main hall of the spa, it had a small indoor pond with koi fish swimming in it.


My mum then went to the reception counter to get our private onsen key. With that, we were on our way to our private onsen, which was located on the upper floor of the private onsen building. With that, we went to the upper floor, where our private onsen was located.


A snowy plateau by the entrance to Otaru Asarigawa Onsen

A school of koi fish swimming in the small pond in the entrance area of the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen

The snowy car park at the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen on the upper floor view

As soon as we arrived at the door to our assigned private onsen room, we had a very nice surprise. The private room had a very big onsen pool, a living room that contained a private television and a massage chair, and a small washroom. To use a private onsen bath, you are free to wear your swimming attire if you wish to do so. With that, we went in for a one-hour relaxation in our own private onsen room in the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen.


The massive hot spring bath in our private onsen room at the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen

The interior of the living room in our private onsen room with the television and pool entrance ahead

Some of the posters about Otaru Asarigawa Onsen on a notice board

The logo for Otaru Asarigawa Onsen

The towel and clothing areas in our private onsen room

The passageway towards the exit door from our private onsen room

After a 1-hour relaxation in the private spa room in the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen, it was already 1.30 p.m.. Having the desire for a train journey to New Chitose Airport, I arranged with my parents to send me to Otaru Station.

With that, we arranged our belongings and went downstairs to the main reception counter, where we returned our private hot spring keys. We also went to explore outside the onsen bath house and had some refreshments in the bath house's lobby lounge.



An icy frozen pond within the compounds of the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen bath house

A pond with a frozen walk bridge just by the main entrance to the bath house

The exterior view of the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen bath house

The interior of the lounge area in the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen

After we returned our private onsen day key rooms at the reception, we claimed our car, and by 2 o' clock, we were on our way towards Otaru Station. By the time we were mid-way through the journey, snow was starting to fall.



Bypassing a road bridge that crosses a snowy river

Bypassing a petrol station in the snowy city of Otaru

After driving from the Otaru Asarigawa Onsen resort, we finally arrived at the main entrance to Otaru Station at 2.35 p.m.. My parents volunteered to accompany me to the ticket office to make my seat reservations. As I was to meet them in Sapporo for dinner, I would have to terminate my journey at Sapporo after visiting New Chitose Airport.

Once we entered the ticket office, I made my reserved seat ("u" seat) reservation. For the inbound journey towards New Chitose Airport, I booked a seat on the Rapid Airport train No. 154, which would depart Otaru Station at 3.04 p.m., and arrive at the New Chitose Airport terminal station at 4.16 p.m..

For the outbound journey towards Sapporo, I made my seat reservation on the Rapid Airport train No. 183, which would depart New Chitose Airport at 6.19 p.m., and arrive at Sapporo Station at 6.55 p.m.. In total, the tickets cost me 3,380 yen (S$54.10). At the same time, I made a Limited Express Green Car seat reservation using my JR Hokkaido Pass for the next day for Obihiro.



The main entrance to Otaru Station on a snowy Christmas Day

The interior of the Ticket Office in Otaru Station

After making my seat reservations for my planned trains, my parents then left me to begin my journey. They had their own shopping to do in Sapporo after resting in the hotel room. Without anymore hesitations, I went through the ticket gates and took the escalator up to Track No.5, where the Rapid Airport train No. 154 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo would depart.

Once I was on Track No. 5, there were lots of passengers on the platform waiting to catch a train somewhere into the Sapporo city centre. I guess that they were starting their Merry Christmas spirits and were eager to get home to their families to celebrate this special day.


On Track No. 5, I saw that my train, which was a 6-car 721 series EMU unit, had arrived earlier at 2.46 p.m. from New Chitose Airport as the Rapid Airport train No. 135. The train was undergoing cleaning before its return journey as the Rapid Airport train No. 154 bound for New Chitose Airport.


The name plate of Otaru Station

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

Tracks No. 4 and 5 of Otaru Station packed with passengers

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

After approximately five minutes of waiting, the train doors were finally opened at 1.55 p.m. to allow the passengers to board. Immediately, I entered Car No. 4 (the "u" seat car) and found my assigned Seat No. 5D. I then settled in for the short journey of 1 hour 12 minutes towards New Chitose Airport.



A pair of reserved seats ("u" seats) on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 154 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo

The reserved seat ("u" seat) car on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 154 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo

The reserved seat ("u" seat) car on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 154 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo during boarding at Otaru Station

After approximately nearly 10 minutes of waiting, the Rapid Airport train No. 154 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo finally pulled out of Otaru Station at 3.04 p.m. for a time duration of just 1 hour 12 minutes to its destination. These are some pictures and videos for the journey between Otaru and New Chitose Airport.



The view of Otaru during a heavy snow storm between Otaru and Minami-otaru Stations

Stopping briefly at Minami-otaru Station

Arriving at Otaru-chikko Station

721系 快速エアポート154号 新千歳空港行き 車窓から小樽築港駅から発車

My ticket for the sector between Otaru and New Chitose Airport

The Sea of Japan as seen from the Rapid "Airport" train No. 154 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo

The interior of the reserved seat ("u" seat) car on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 154 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo travelling along the coast of the Sea of Japan

721系 快速エアポート154号 新千歲空港行き 車窓から琴似駅から発車

Stopping briefly at Sapporo Station

The view of downtown Sapporo in Chuo-ku, Sapporo on Christmas Day

Bypassing Shiroishi Station

Bypassing some housing areas in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

Making a brief stop at Shin-sapporo Station

Bypassing Shimamatsu Station

After a travel duration of a short 1 hour 12 minutes from the port city of Otaru, the Rapid Airport train No. 154 finally arrived at the New Chitose Airport terminal station at 4.16 p.m., just as scheduled. As soon as I alighted the train, I exited through the ticket gates and went into the domestic flight terminal building to shop for my items.



The station platforms of New Chitose Airport Station shortly after I arrived

The main shopping area in the domestic terminal in New Chitose Airport

The main shopping area in the New Chitose Airport domestic terminal building as seen from the second floor

On the second floor of the main domestic flight terminal building at New Chitose Airport, I went to Flyers model shop again. There were limited choices of plane models available, but hopefully, there will be more when New Chitose Airport completes its renovations in the domestic flight terminal. I managed to purchase a Herpa aircraft model there. The details are as follows:


1) Japan Air Self Defense Force Boeing 747-47C Herpa Scale 1:500 (511575)

Japan Air Self Defense Force Boeing 747-47C Herpa Scale 1:500 (511575)

After purchasing my Japan Air Self Defense Force Herpa aircraft model, the clock was already showing 4.25 p.m.. Knowing that the Rapid Airport train No. 183 bound for Sapporo and Asahikawa would depart at 6.19 p.m., I decided to head back down to New Chitose Airport, since there was nothing much to buy in the terminal building.

With that, I took the elevator down to New Chitose Airport Station from the domestic flight terminal building.

The main shopping area in the New Chitose Airport domestic terminal building as seen from the second floor before I took the elevator down to New Chitose Airport Station

In the main shopping area of the domestic terminal building while waiting to catch the elevator down to New Chitose Airport Station

The entrance and ticket gates at New Chitose Airport Station

By the time I arrived back at New Chitose Airport Station, the clock was showing 4.35 p.m.. Feeling quite tired, I decided to have about 25 minutes of rest in the station's waiting room by the ticket gates. This was to allow myself some time to rest before the Rapid Airport train No. 183 bound for Sapporo and Asahikawa.

Once the clock struck five, I decided to head down to the platform for the Rapid Airport train No. 183 bound for Sapporo and Asahikawa, to allow time for photo-taking after the train arrived from Asahikawa at 6.01 p.m..



The 721 series EMU LED destination panel for the Rapid "Airport" train No. 171 bound for Sapporo and Otaru

A 785 series EMU train, just after arriving as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 162 from Asahikawa via Sapporo. This train was earlier designated as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 30 between Asahikawa and Sapporo

The 785 series EMU LED destination panel for the Rapid "Airport" train No. 173 bound for Sapporo and Asahikawa

The reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the 785 series EMU operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 173 bound for Sapporo and Asahikawa

A 785 series EMU train, operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 173 bound for Asahikawa via Sapporo. This train would later be designated as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 33 between Sapporo and Asahikawa

The empty railway track at Track No. 2 at New Chitose Airport Station

The interior of the 721 series EMU reserved seat ("u" seat) carriage operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 177 bound for Sapporo

The station platforms of New Chitose Airport, with a 721 series EMU train operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 177 bound for Otaru on Track No. 2 near a station kiosk

The name plate of New Chitose Airport Station

The station platforms of New Chitose Airport, with a 721 series EMU train operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 177 bound for Otaru on Track No. 2

The Rapid "Airport" train departure timings on Track No. 2 at New Chitose Airport Station

The two platforms at New Chitose Airport Station packed with two 721 series EMU trains bound for Sapporo and Otaru respectively

After approximately an hour of waiting, a 5-car 785 series EMU, operating on the Rapid Airport train No. 183 bound for Sapporo and Asahikawa finally arrived at New Chitose Airport Station at 6.01 p.m. on Track No. 2. The train had arrived from Asahikawa and Sapporo earlier as the Rapid Airport train No. 172, operating as the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 34 between Asahikawa and Sapporo.

As soon as the train had finished being cleaned, I immediately board the reserved seat ("u" seat) Car No. 4, and went to my assigned Seat No. 2D for the regional 36-minute journey towards the Sapporo city centre. This was just in good time for a 6.19 p.m. departure from New Chitose Airport.



A 785 series EMU train, just after arriving as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 172 from Asahikawa via Sapporo. This train was earlier designated as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 34 between Asahikawa and Sapporo

The front view of the reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the 785 series EMU operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 183 bound for Sapporo and Asahikawa

A view of my seat, 2D, while waiting for departure from New Chitose Airport Station

The rear view of the reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the 785 series EMU operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 183 bound for Sapporo and Asahikawa

A pair of reserved seats ("u" seats) on the 785 series EMU trains

My reserved seat train ticket for the sector between New Chitose Airport and Sapporo

At exactly 6.19 p.m., the Rapid Airport train No. 183 bound for Sapporo and Asahikawa finally pulled out of New Chitose Airport Station for a 2-hour journey towards the city of Asahikawa. Beyond Sapporo Station, this train would be designated as the operating as the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 37 bound for Asahikawa. Here are some images and a video which will explain the journey towards Sapporo from New Chitose Airport.


785系 快速エアポート183号 札幌方面旭川行き 新千歳空港駅から南千歳駅

My newly-purchased Japan Air Self Defense Force Boeing 747 Herpa aircraft model

My reserved seat train ticket for the sector between New Chitose Airport and Sapporo during the journey

The front view of the reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the 785 series EMU operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 183 bound for Sapporo and Asahikawa during the journey towards Sapporo

Passing by some housing areas in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

On final approach towards Shin-sapporo Station

Making a brief stopover at Shin-sapporo Station

Crossing one of the roads in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

After a regional 36-minute journey from New Chitose Airport, I finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 6.55 p.m. on Track No. 5. Upon arrival at Sapporo, the train was to undergo a change of direction for its continuing journey as the Limited Express Super Kamui No. 37 bound for Asahikawa.


Before exiting the station to meet my parents, I decided to remain on the platform to film a short video of the train's departure from Sapporo. After I had filmed the train's departure from the station, I exited through the ticket gates and went into the direction where Bic Camera was.



The 785 series EMU that took me between New Chitose Airport and Sapporo as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 183, undergoing a change of direction at Sapporo Station before being designated as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 37 bound for Asahikawa

Track No. 6 at Sapporo Station

The 785 series EMU unit, operating on the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 37 bound for Asahikawa on Track No. 5 at Sapporo Station

785系 L特急スーパーカムイ37号 旭川行き 札幌駅から出発

A KiHa 281 series DMU at Track No.7 awaiting departure from Sapporo Station as the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 22 bound for Hakodate

The station concourse of Sapporo Station

The JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo at night

The massive Daimaru Department Store in Sapporo Station

The large Esta Shopping Mall near Sapporo Station

After walking outside the busy hustling and bustling streets near Sapporo Station, I met my parents in their car outside the Esta Shopping Mall. With that, I boarded the car, and we set off. We would be having Christmas dinner at Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant in Atsubetsu-ku later that night.

We managed to arrive at Boku-zen at around 8.10 p.m. after stopping at a Home Amenity Center to purchase some necessary home supplies.


Bypassing some clusters in Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Stopping by a Home Amenity Center to purchase some necessary home supplies

The exterior of Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant on Christmas night

As soon as we arrived at Boku-zen at 8.10 p.m., we went into the restaurant to put our shoes in the specially provided shoe lockers. We then made a request for a table for the four of us, and were soon shown to our tables. After we were all seated, I went to the self-service drink bar to fetch some beverages.

After a quick review through the food menus, a waiter came by to take our Christmas dinner orders. We order our usual beef and pork cuts, including the beef intestines. That night, we had such a real, sumptuous and large barbecue Christmas dinner at Boku-zen, with second rounds at some points.

Our barbecue Christmas dinner table at Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant

Looking through the food and beverage menus at Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant

The charcoal barbecue griller at Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant

The first mini platter of beef intestines

A platter of buttered scallops, prawns and squid ready to be grilled

The buttered scallops, and some pieces of beef intestines and squid being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A bowl of kimchi soup

A large platter of french fries, of which, we grilled some of them to become 'grilled french fries'

A platter of beef tongue, intestines and pork karubi ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

The buttered scallops, along with some pieces of beef tongue and pork karubi being grilled on the barbecue griller

Some pieces of pork karubi being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Some pieces of beef intestines, prawns and squid being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A platter of various beef cuts held by the waitress

A platter of various beef cuts ready to be grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Three slices of beef brisket and a prawn being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Another small plate of french fries

Four pieces of beef karubi being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Four more pieces of beef karubi and mushrooms being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

Another platter of beef tongue

More pieces of beef tongue being grilled on the charcoal barbecue griller

A nice tub of caramel ice cream to round off this wonderful barbecue Christmas dinner

After a large and hearty barbecue Christmas dinner feast at Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant, the clock was already showing 9.45 p.m.. We then decided to take a night drive around the city of Otaru before heading back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru.

We then headed to the shoe lockers to claim our shoes before paying our dinner bill. As soon as our dinner bill was paid, my dad went to get the car, and we hopped on. By 10 o' clock, we headed back to the city of Otaru for a night drive before heading back to the Grand Park Hotel Otaru.



The car parking area outside Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant

The exterior view of Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant

My mum and younger brother posing for a photograph outside Boku-zen Yakiniku Restaurant

Bypassing the Otaru Port by the Sea of Japan on a dark Christmas night

Bypassing a bath house near Otaru Port at night

The view of the Sea of Japan during the seaside drive at night

The coastline of the Sea of Japan during a snowstorm at night

Several wooden creeks by the Sea of Japan during a heavy snowstorm on Christmas night

A snowy coastal road by the Sea of Japan towards Otaru during a heavy snowstorm on Christmas night

Bypassing the bath house by the Sea of Japan again

The Sea of Japan near Otaru Port at night

A cruise ship about to depart the Port of Otaru

Bypassing Otaru Port at night

The overall view of us travelling on the snowy road by Otaru Port

Driving along a darkened road towards the city of Otaru

Bypassing something like a preserved railway carriage near Otaru Port

After a driving journey time of approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from Sapporo, we finally arrived back at the Grand Park Hotel Otaru very late at around 11.15 p.m.. We then went into the hotel's basement car parking area, where we parked our car. We then took the elevator up to the entrance hall, where we changed elevators to head back up to our rooms.


By 11.20 p.m., we were finally back up in our rooms. The Sea of Japan view, especially at night was beautiful during snow. With that, I grabbed some pictures and did my usual personal stuff on my laptop.


The snowy view of Otaru Port from my hotel room at night

The view of the Sea of Japan from my room late at night

After we did our own usual things, we had a nice long shower before turning in for the night. Knowing that I had train to catch to Obihiro the next morning at 9.40 a.m., I went to bed somewhere slightly past midnight. This was quite a good Christmas day overseas in many years.

Part 4 ~ Another Train Journey to Obihiro


The next day, which was Sunday (26 December), I woke up at around 8.30 a.m. after a good night's sleep. Snow was already falling by the time I woke up. As I had nothing better to do on that day, I decided to take another trip to Obihiro.


Instead of purchasing the usual Butadon sauce, I decided to try packing a Butadon lunch box. I was thankful as I had my train seat reservation the day before. I decided to try out the Super Tokachi limited express service to Obihiro, instead of my usual Super Ozora service.


After preparing all my necessary documents for the day, I left the hotel for Otaru-chikko Station by 9 o' clock. The journey between the hotel and the station took around 5 to 10 minutes, as usual.



The city of Otaru during a severe snowstorm as seen from my hotel


The passageway to Otaru-chikko Station


The station entrance to Otaru-chikko Station

It was about 9.15 a.m. by the time I arrived at Otaru-chikko Station. In accordance with my train schedule, I was to be on the Rapid Airport train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport for the sector between Otaru-chikko and Sapporo. The train would depart Otaru-chikko Station at 9.40 a.m. from Track No. 2. Here are some pictures I took while waiting for my train to Sapporo.


The station platform of Otaru-chikko Station during a snowy winter's morning


The station platform facing the direction towards Otaru and Kutchan


A snow plough train near the station platform


Wing Bay Otaru as seen from Otaru-chikko Station


The ferris wheel near Wing Bay Otaru from Otaru-chikko Station in the snow


The departure information board on the station platform of Otaru-chikko Station


The station platform of Otaru-chikko Station while sitting on a station bench

After 20 minutes of waiting, 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) carriage, and settled into my assigned seat No. 4A for the 26-minute journey to Sapporo. At exactly 9.40 a.m., the train pulled out of Otaru-chikko Station for a journey time of just 1 hour 06 minutes to New Chitose Airport. Here are some pictures and a video for the sector between Otaru-chikko and Sapporo.



721系 快速エアポート100号 新千歳空港行き 小樽築港駅に入線と乗車

The Sea of Japan coast shortly after leaving Otaru-chikko Station


Another view of the Sea of Japan coast shortly after leaving Otaru-chikko Station


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


The beautiful view of the Sea of Japan as seen from the JR Hakodate Line to Sapporo


The beautiful coastline view of the Sea of Japan as seen from the JR Hakodate Line to Sapporo


The rear view of the reserved seat ("u" seat) car of the 721 series EMU operating on the Rapid "Airport" No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport


The front view of the reserved seat ("u" seat) car of the 721 series EMU operating on the Rapid "Airport" train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport


A view of my seat, 4A, during the journey between Otaru-chikko and Sapporo


A view of the Sea of Japan from the Rapid "Airport" train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport


Another view of the Sea of Japan from the Rapid "Airport" train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport


The coastline of the Sea of Japan on a foggy winter's day


An even clearer view of the Sea of Japan on the train in the winter fog


An even more clear view of the Sea of Japan on the train in the winter fog


Passing by a train yard and depot near Teine Station


A train servicing line near the depot while nearing Teine Station


Approaching Teine Station


An advertisement of travel between downtown Tokyo and Tokyo International Airport by Keihin Kyuko Railway

After a 26-minute journey from Otaru-chikko Station, I finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 10.06 a.m. on Track No. 5. For the sector between Sapporo and Obihiro, I was to be on the Limited Express Super Tokachi No. 3 bound for Obihiro. The train would leave Sapporo Station at 10.20 a.m. from Track No. 6, just adjacent to Track No. 5.

With that, I immediately boarded the Green Car (first class) cabin (Car No. 1), and settled into my assigned seat No. 3D. The seat next to me would stay empty throughout the journey between Sapporo and Obihiro. There are some pictures below.

The Super Tokachi is a limited express train service running between Sapporo and Obihiro in Hokkaido, Japan. Operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido), there are a total of 5 services per day running in both directions, with the fastest train service taking just 2 hours 25 minutes.

This service currently uses KiHa 261 series DMUs (-1000 sub-series), and KiHa 283 series DMUs. Since the start of the revised timetable on 1 October 2009, the remaining Tokachi services were upgraded to become Super Tokachi services, after the retirement of the KiHa 183 series DMUs from these services.

Green Car (first class) accommodation is provided on all services (except Super Tokachi No. 5 and Super Tokachi No. 8).

Obihiro is easily accessible from Sapporo by the Super Tokachi limited express service. As the Super Tokachi is relatively slower than the Super Ozora, many passengers will opt to take the Super Ozora whenever possible when travelling between Sapporo and Obihiro.


The LED destination panel of my train to Obihiro in Japanese


The Green Car logo on the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU at Sapporo Station


The logo for the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU


The KiHa 261-1000 series DMU train, which will soon take me to Obihiro as the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 3, on Track No. 6


The KiHa 261-1000 series Green Car cabin


A pair of double seats in the Green Car (first class cabin) on the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU


A single seat in the Green Car (first class cabin) on the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU


My seat, 7D, for the journey of 2 hours 33 minutes to Obihiro


The front view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin while waiting for departure from Sapporo Station


The rear view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin while waiting for departure from Sapporo Station

At exactly 10.20 a.m., the Limited Express Super Tokachi No. 3 bound for Obihiro finally pulled out of Sapporo Station. The journey between Sapporo and Obihiro was expected to take 2 hours 33 minutes. Here are some pictures and videos during the sector between Sapporo and Obihiro.



キハ261系 特急スーパーとかち3号 帯広行き 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 in the late morning hours


A cup of orange juice for myself


Arriving at Shin-sapporo Station


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


My seat, 3D, in its fully reclined position


Passing by Kami-nopporo Station without stopping


Passing by a suburb in Kitahiroshima


A box of almond chocolates and a bottle of mineral water purchased from the on-board trolley service


Passing through Chitose Station


Chitose Outlet Mall Rera as seen from the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 3 bound for Obihiro while stopping over at Minami-chitose Station


The JR Chitose Line track leading towards Tomakomai, Muroran, and Hakodate shortly after leaving Minami-chitose Station


Passing by the Toyota Rent-a-car area near New Chitose Airport shortly after departure from Minami-chitose Station


An open land covered in snow between Minami-chitose and Oiwake


The front view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin between Minami-chitose and Oiwake


Waiting for a Sapporo-bound limited express train to pass by at a railroad junction between Minami-chitose and Oiwake Stations on the JR Sekisho Line


The rear view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin between Minami-chitose and Oiwake


The JR Muroran Main Line tracks while nearing Oiwake Station


At Oiwake Station


The JR Muroran Main Line tracks shortly after leaving Oiwake Station


A snowy landscape between Oiwake and Shin-yubari


Passing by a road bridge while crossing a railroad bridge on the JR Sekisho Line over a river


The view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin from my seat


At Shin-yubari Station


A view of the railroad bridge leading to Yubari shortly after leaving Shin-yubari Station for Obihiro


At Shimukappu Station


A snowy forest between Shimukappu and Tomamu Stations


Several forests on mountains covered in snow

キハ261系 特急スーパーとかち3号 帯広行き 車窓からトマム駅に到着

A single Green Car (first class) seat during the journey between Sapporo and Obihiro


A view of my seat, 3D, on the JR Sekisho Line while approaching Tomamu Station


At Tomamu Station


A snowy landscape shortly after leaving Tomamu Station


Inside a rail tunnel shortly after leaving Tomamu


A panoramic front view of the railway track between Tomamu and Shintoku in the snow


The front view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin between Tomamu and Shintoku


The rear view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin between Tomamu and Shintoku


Meeting up with another KiHa 261-1000 series DMU trainset at a rail junction between Tomamu and Shintoku. This KiHa 261-1000 series DMU trainset was operating on the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 4 bound for Sapporo from Obihiro


In another railroad tunnel between Tomamu and Shintoku


Passing by a snowy forest near Shintoku


A panoramic view of the snowy landscape and railway track while nearing Shintoku Station


Passing by a ski resort while on approach to Shintoku Station


Approaching Shintoku Station


At Shintoku Station


A snowy view of the town of Shintoku


An open land covered in snow between Shintoku and Obihiro


At Memuro Station


A snowy river while nearing Obihiro


Several housing estates while nearing the Obihiro terminal station

After a journey time of 2 hours 33 minutes from Sapporo, I finally arrived at Obihiro Station at 12.53 p.m., on Track No. 2. The KiHa 261-1000 series DMU train then became the Limited Express Super Tokachi No. 6 bound for Sapporo, which I was to be on later. The train would then leave Obihiro Station at 1.34 p.m.. While the train was being cleaned, I went down to the Butadon cafe in the souvenir shop for lunch.


The KiHa 261-1000 series Green Car cabin shortly after arrival at Kushiro


The KiHa 261-1000 series DMU train, which took me to Obihiro earlier as the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 3, and soon to take me back to Sapporo as the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 6


The KiHa 261-1000 series logo at Obihiro Station


The entrance to the souvenir shop in Obihiro


The ticket gates at Obihiro Station


The train departure information board in the station concourse of Obihiro Station

Once I reached the Butadon cafe, I ordered myself a nice, big bowl of the city's famous Butadon. Just as previously, the pork tasted succulent and tender. It was indeed another wonderful Butadon dish. As always, the taste of the meat always melts in your mouth.


The interior of the Butadon cafe in Obihiro Station


The menu of the Butadon cafe in Obihiro Station


The logo of the Butadon cafe in Obihiro Station


My mouthwatering bowl of Obihiro's famous Butadon dish


The exterior of the Butadon cafe in Obihiro Station


The souvenir shop of Obihiro Station


The succulent pork dishes being grilled on the griller

By the time I had finished my meal, it was already 1.20 p.m.. With that, I immediately paid up my bill and purchased another Butadon meal to consume on board the train. After a quick purchase, I was back on Track No. 2 at 1.25 p.m.. After that, I immediately boarded the Limited Express Super Tokachi No. 6 bound for Sapporo through the Green Car cabin. I then settled all my belongings and sat in my assigned seat No. 2D for the journey back to Sapporo from Obihiro, which would take 2 hours 40 minutes. Here are some pictures I took while waiting for departure from Obihiro.


The Green Car logo on the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU


The LED destination side of my train back to Sapporo in Japanese


The LED destination sign of my train back to Sapporo in English


The Green Car (first class) cabin of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU while at Obihiro Station


A view of my seat, 2D, while at Obihiro Station


A single Green Car (first class) seat on the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU while at Obihiro Station


The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU while at Obihiro Station


The KiHa 261-1000 series DMU train, preparing for her journey as the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 6 bound for Sapporo at Obihiro Station


Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU while at Obihiro Station


The station platform of Obihiro Station just before departure

At exactly 1.34 p.m., the Limited Express Super Tokachi No. 6 bound for Sapporo finally pulled out of Obihiro Station. The journey time between Obihiro and Sapporo was expected to take 2 hours 40 minutes, with an expected arrival at Sapporo at 4.14 p.m.. Here are some pictures and videos which will explain the sector between Obihiro and Sapporo.



キハ261系 特急スーパーとかち6号 札幌行き 帯広駅から発車とグリーン車

The KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin as seen from my seat


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


A cup of orange juice and my packed Butadon meal


A closer look into my packed Butadon meal


Stopping at Memuro Station


The front view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin shortly after leaving the city of Obihiro


The rear view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin shortly after leaving the city of Obihiro


At Tokachi-shimizu Station


My seat, 2D, in its fully reclined position


Arriving at Shintoku Station


At Shintoku Station


A panoramic view of the track at Shintoku Station


The KiHa 183 series DMU North Rainbow Express train, which is a seasonal train for use on seasonal limited express services in Hokkaido in certain months


The snowy town of Shintoku shortly after leaving Shintoku Station


A snow-covered plot of land shortly after leaving Shintoku Station


A snow-covered plot of land between Shintoku and Tomamu


The front view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin between Shintoku and Tomamu


At Tomamu Station


Meeting up with a KiHa 283 series DMU operating as the Limited Express "Super Tokachi" No. 5 bound for Obihiro at Tomamu Station


A snowy forest in the village of Shimukappu shortly after leaving Tomamu Station


A snow-covered plot of land between Tomamu and Shimukappu


Passing by another snowy forest while nearing Shimukappu Station


At Shimukappu Station


Passing by a petrol station just adjacent the Toyota Rent-a-car area near New Chitose Airport while approaching Minami-chitose Station


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


At Minami-chitose Station

キハ261系 特急スーパーとかち6号 札幌行き 車窓から千歳駅を通過

Passing Kita-hiroshima Station


The front view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin between Minami-chitose and Shin-sapporo


A pair of Green Car (first class) seats on the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU between Minami-chitose and Shin-sapporo


The rear view of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU Green Car (first class) cabin between Minami-chitose and Shin-sapporo


At Shin-sapporo Station


Passing Heiwa Station


Passing by some houses in Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo


Passing Shiroishi Station

After a journey time of 2 hours 40 minutes from Obihiro, I finally arrived back at the Sapporo terminal station at 4.14 p.m., on Track No. 1. In accordance with my train schedule, I had approximately 25 minutes before my next train back to Otaru-chikko.

The train that I was to be on for the final section between Sapporo and Otaru-chikko would be the Rapid Airport train No. 161 bound for Otaru. It would depart from Sapporo Station at 4.44 p.m. from Track No. 3. Here are some pictures and a video which I took before and while waiting for my train back to Otaru-chikko.


Arriving at the Sapporo terminal station


The Green Car (first class) cabin of the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU after arrival at the Sapporo terminal station


The Green Car logo on the KiHa 261-1000 series DMU at Sapporo Station


The KiHa 261-1000 series DMU which took me to and from Obihiro earlier


Track No. 3 of Sapporo Station

721系 JR函館線 普通列車 小樽行き 札幌駅に入線

After 25 minutes of waiting, the Rapid Airport train No. 161 bound for Otaru, finally entered Sapporo Station at 4.40 p.m. on Track No. 3. Immediately, I boarded the reserved seat ("u" seat) car and settled into my assigned seat No. 3A for the journey back to Otaru-chikko.

At exactly 4.44 p.m., the train pulled out of Sapporo Station for a 33-minute journey to Otaru. The journey back to Otaru-chikko would take just 26 minutes. Here are some pictures and a video for the final sector between Sapporo and Otaru-chikko.



The reserved seat ("u" seat) interior of the Rapid "Airport" train No. 161 bound for Otaru


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


Departing Sapporo Station

721系 快速エアポート161号 小樽行き 琴似 (発車) ~ 発寒中央 (通過)

At Teine Station


A pair of reserved seats ("u" seats) interior of the Rapid "Airport" train No. 161 bound for Otaru


Travelling along the coastline of the Sea of Japan at night


The reserved ("u" seat) cabin view from my seat

After a journey time of 26 minutes from Sapporo, I finally arrived back at my terminal, Otaru-chikko Station at 5.10 p.m., as planned. Just before I left the station, I took a video of the train departing for Otaru, and a few platform pictures.


The station platform of Otaru-chikko Station shortly after arriving

721系 快速エアポート161号 小樽行き 小樽築港駅から出発

The station concourse of Otaru-chikko Station at night


The passageway between Otaru-chikko Station and Wing Bay Otaru

The footbridge between Otaru-chikko Station and Wing Bay Otaru with night snowfall

A roadway covered in snow at night

By 5.30 p.m., I was finally back in the entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru after walking on a snow-covered pavement from Otaru-chikko Station. I then took the elevator up to my room to rest. Feeling exhausted from my myriad train travels, I had a well-earned rest in the hotel room. My family was in the room at the same time.

At around 7.15 p.m., I told my dad I was feeling rather hungry and wanted to have dinner at Sushidokoro Sakanaisshin at Wing Bay Otaru again. At 7.25 p.m., we took the elevator down to the entrance hall and went into Wing Bay Otaru.

The miniature white winter tree in the entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru

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

The ground floor of Wing Bay Otaru

As soon as we arrived at Sushidokoro Sakanaisshin, my dad requested for a table for the two of us. A waitress then came and directed us to a table. With some drinks fetched for us, we looked through the food menu to see what would be good for tonight's dinner.

The logo of Sushidokoro Sakanaisshin

The table setting for Sushidokoro Sakanaisshin

The inside of Sushidokoro Sakanaisshin

The cover page for the food menu of Sushidokoro Sakanaisshin

A few moments later, a waitress came to our table to take down our dinner orders. My dad and I ordered several yakitori dishes and a grilled scallop for me. I was beyond grateful to be having such a nice dinner with my dad on our last day in Hokkaido. That night, we had a relative dinner at Sushidokoro Sakanaisshin.

A small plate of beef rib yakitori

A yakitori stick of thick sliced pork

A mouthwatering grilled scallop for myself

A yakitori stick of chicken

Another yakitori stick of chicken

The empty shell of my grilled scallop

Another sliced pork yakitori stick for myself

After having a sumptuous dinner at Sushidokoro Sakainisshin, my dad paid the bill and we went back to Grand Park Hotel Otaru. I was completely stuffed to the brim. As we were to head back home to Singapore the next day, we had to do some packing later once we reached back to the hotel room.



Several benches in the ground floor of Wing Bay Otaru

The ground floor of Wing Bay Otaru

The marble staircase in the entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru

One last look at my hotel room for the night

As soon as we reached back at the hotel room, I had a nice and hot shower before having part of the night to pack my baggage. I then did some stuff on my laptop at the same time. By midnight, we all went to bed after packing parts of our baggage for the journey back home to Singapore the next day. I was exhausted from my train journeys through the island for the past days.


This now bring the fourth section of my winter holiday in Hokkaido, Japan in May 2010 to a close. The final section will be published when I have selected the best pictures and videos.

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