Tuesday, March 8, 2016

🇯🇵 Spending A White Lunar New Year Winter Festival Trip In Hokkaido, Japan, In February 2016 ~ Section 2 🇯🇵

Welcome to the second segment of my 2016 white Lunar New Year winter festival trip to Hokkaido, Japan, in February 2016. This second segment of the entire report will cover a total of two focus topics. They will mainly be spending my first two rail trips on a day of regional shopping cum dining at New Chitose Airport on the entire first day, together with a bitter cold culinary food afternoon in Obihiro in the northeastern part of Hokkaido.

Part 1 ~ Spending The First Day Shopping At New Chitose Airport

The next morning, which was Thursday (4 February), I woke up at seven o' clock after having a well-earned good night's rest. Since it was still early, the first thing I did was to have a hot shower and change into my attire before preparing whatever I required for the day. As this was only the first day, I was to be undertaking a regional shopping trip to New Chitose Airport today, according to my annual Japanese railway itinerary plans. I was lucky since I had asked the hotel to arrange for a cab to take me to Otaru Station at nine o' clock the previous night.

Soon enough, I was officially ready to commence my first day at eight o' clock. Given that it was still quite early before my shopping trip to New Chitose Airport, I decided to head to the Blau Küste Restaurant for breakfast first. With that, I took the elevator down to the main hotel lobby and went to the Blau Küste Restaurant, where a buffet breakfast was already in progress. I then had a light glass of milk and fresh yogurt, only to be joined by my parents at 8.30 a.m., where we had two Western breakfast sets and a Japanese breakfast set respectively.

The overall beautiful view of the Sea of Japan from my Room No. 518 at the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru shortly after I woke up early that morning

The view of the snow-covered cliff by the Sea of Japan from my Room No. 518 at the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru on a somewhat cloudy winter's morning

The interior of the Blau Küste Restaurant in the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru with some breakfast patrons

A glass of milk and a small bowl of plain yogurt with yogurt sauce for myself at the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru

A Western breakfast set for my dad at the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru

A Japanese breakfast set for my mum at the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru

After having some buffet breakfast at the Blau Küste Restaurant, the clock was finally showing 8.45 a.m.. Given that my pre-arranged cab to Otaru Station would be arriving in 10 minutes' time, I packed up my belongings and went to the main hotel entrance, exiting the hotel to view the Sea of Japan while waiting for my cab to Otaru Station to arrive at the main entrance to the hotel. Soon enough, my pre-arranged cab to Otaru Station finally arrived at the main entrance to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru at 8.55 a.m..

The cab driver then got out and confirmed with me that I was the only person at the hotel to have an advanced cab arrangement to Otaru Station. It was then that I got into the cab for the early morning road trip of 10 minutes to Otaru Station located in the city centre itself. Soon enough, in just a few seconds after I was on board, I finally departed the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru for a short and quick early morning cab trip of not more than just 10 minutes to Otaru Station located in the city centre itself.

The overall beautiful view of the Sea of Japan from the main entrance to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru on a relatively cloudy winter's early morning

Finally departing the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru

Climbing down the snow-covered slope from the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru to the road leading to the city centre

The overall beautiful view of the Sea of Japan on a relatively cloudy winter's early morning on route to Otaru Station

Travelling through a long road tunnel on route to Otaru Station located in the city centre

Travelling along the roads of the city of Otaru near some small infrastructure areas

Travelling past some small shophouses in downtown Otaru on route to Otaru Station

Approaching the main entrance to Otaru Station

Finally arriving at Otaru Station

After a short and quick early morning cab ride of approximately 10 minutes from the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru, I finally arrived at the main entrance to Otaru Station at 9.05 a.m.. Paying my cab fare, I checked around my rear seating area to see that there was nothing left behind on board before thanking the cab driver for his services. Entering the station concourse, I went to the open ticketing booth to make my seat reservation for the regional shopping trip to New Chitose Airport, and for an additional trip there for Saturday (6 February).

For the early afternoon in-bound trip to New Chitose Airport, I would be scheduled to catch the Rapid Airport train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport, which would be scheduled to depart Otaru Station at 10.04 a.m., and then arrive at the New Chitose Airport terminal station at 11.17 a.m.. Showing my Consecutive 5-Day Hokkaido Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate, I then went to check which platform the Rapid Airport train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo would depart from.

According to the departure information screen, the Rapid Airport train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo would be scheduled to depart at 10.04 a.m. from Track No. 5. Though it was still quite early before my afternoon train to New Chitose Airport, I decided to take the escalators up to Tracks No. 4 and 5, eventually reaching the platforms by 9.15 a.m.. I then spotted some commuter trains on the platforms as I waited for the Rapid Airport train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport to arrive.

The exterior view of Otaru Station on a bright and clear early winter's morning

The main station concourse at Otaru Station during the early morning rush hour

The departure information screens in the main station concourse at Otaru Station during the early morning rush hour

The departure information screens for trains departing from Tracks No. 4 and 5 at Otaru Station during the early morning rush hour

A 6-car 721 series EMU, now operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 100 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, arriving at Otaru Station on Track No. 5

Tracks No. 4 and 5 serving some of the westbound Hakodate Main Line trains bound for Sapporo, Iwamizawa and New Chitose Airport at Otaru Station during the early morning rush hour

The overall view of the snow-covered station platforms at Otaru Station on a bright and clear early winter's morning

The name plate on Tracks No. 4 and 5 at Otaru Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Track No. 5 at Otaru Station shortly before the Rapid "Airport" train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo arrived at the station

After spending about 45 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 4 and 5, a 6-car 721 series EMU finally arrived at Otaru Station at 9.58 a.m. on Track No. 5. The train had arrived from New Chitose Airport as the Rapid Airport train No. 83 bound for Otaru via Sapporo, and was to become the Rapid Airport train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 4, which was the reserved seating ('u' seat) car, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 6A for the early afternoon trip of 1 hour 13 minutes to New Chitose Airport.

Once the clock struck exactly 10.04 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Rapid Airport train No. 104 finally pulled out of Otaru Station for its short and routine early afternoon journey of 1 hour 13 minutes to New Chitose Airport in the suburban outskirts of the mid-sized suburban city of Chitose located to the southeast of Sapporo. I was then on my way for an early afternoon trip of 1 hour 13 minutes to New Chitose Airport located in the suburban outskirts of the mid-sized suburban city of Chitose to the southeast of downtown Sapporo.

721系 快速エアポート104号 新千歳空港行き 小樽駅に入線シーン

The rear view of the reserved seating ('u' seat) car on board the 6-car 721 series EMU, operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, during the boarding process on Track No. 5 at Otaru Station

The front view of the reserved seating ('u' seat) car on board the 6-car 721 series EMU, operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, during the boarding process on Track No. 5 at Otaru Station

A view of my seat, 6A, during the boarding process on Track No. 5 at Otaru Station

Awaiting departure from Otaru Station

721系 快速エアポート104号 新千歳空港行き 小樽駅から小樽築港駅間

Making a brief stop at Otaru-chikko Station

721系 快速エアポート104号 新千歳空港行き 小樽築港駅から手稲駅間

Making a brief stop at Teine Station

My reserved seat ticket for the in-bound segment between Otaru and New Chitose Airport

The view of the reserved seating ('u' seat) car on board the 6-car 721 series EMU, operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, from my seat between Teine and Kotoni Stations

A view of my seat, 6A, between Teine and Kotoni Stations

The front view of the reserved seating ('u' seat) car on board the 6-car 721 series EMU, operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, between Teine and Kotoni Stations

The rear view of the reserved seating ('u' seat) car on board the 6-car 721 series EMU, operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, between Teine and Kotoni Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Teine-ku, Sapporo

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Nishi-ku, Sapporo

Making a brief stop at Kotoni Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Passing through Soen Station

Bypassing some housing apartments in downtown Chuo-ku, Sapporo, as the train approaches Sapporo Station

Making a brief stop at Sapporo Station

721系 快速エアポート104号 新千歳空港行き 札幌駅から新札幌駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-sapporo Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo, shortly after departing Shin-sapporo Station

Passing through Kami-nopporo Station

Bypassing a snow-covered field in downtown Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

The view of the reserved seating ('u' seat) car on board the 6-car 721 series EMU, operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, from my seat between Shin-sapporo and Kita-hiroshima Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kitahiroshima

Making a brief stop at Kita-hiroshima Station

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the suburban city of Kitahiroshima

The view of the reserved seating ('u' seat) car on board the 6-car 721 series EMU, operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 104 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, from my seat between Kita-hiroshima and Eniwa Stations

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the suburban city of Eniwa

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Eniwa

Making a brief stop at Eniwa Station

721系 快速エアポート104号 新千歳空港行き 恵庭駅から終着新千歳空港駅間

After a short and quick early afternoon trip of 1 hour 13 minutes from the mid-sized suburban port city of Otaru located parallel to the Sea of Japan, I finally arrived at the New Chitose Airport terminal station at 11.17 a.m. on Track No. 1. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind on board, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalators up to the main station concourse to show my Consecutive 5-Day Hokkaido Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate, eventually arriving there by 11.20 a.m..

Upon showing my Hokkaido Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate, I proceeded to take the elevator up to the third floor of the domestic terminal building, where most of the restaurants were located. Given that I was beginning to feel rather hungry already, I decided to have some lunch first before commencing my shopping day around New Chitose Airport. With that moment, I looked through the various restaurants carefully before choosing the one that would be the most suited for my tastes and preferences.

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the Rapid "Airport" trains bound for Sapporo and Otaru at New Chitose Airport Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The 6-car 721 series EMU, now operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 115 bound for Otaru via Sapporo, on Track No. 1 at New Chitose Airport Station

The station concourse leading to the platforms at New Chitose Airport Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The main ticketing concourse at New Chitose Airport Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Overlooking the second floor shopping concourse from the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

The departure and arrival flights information screens in the third floor of the domestic passenger terminal building at New Chitose Airport

The interior of the restaurant area located on the third floor of the domestic passenger terminal building at New Chitose Airport

After looking across the various restaurants available on the third floor located in the domestic passenger flight terminal building, I finally managed to stumble upon a local barbecued lamb restaurant, known as Matsuo Jingisukan (松尾ジンギスカン), at 11.30 a.m.. Entering the restaurant itself, I promptly requested for a table for myself, where one of the waitresses directed me to one. With the grilling pan placed in the centre of my table, four pieces of cloth were provided to cover my belongings with an apron.

With the main dining menus provided for me, I made my reviews before placing my main meal orders for lunch. I ordered a special Jingisukan lamb platter, with a small bowl of raw egg and udon noodles, along with a lamb rib loin platter. The waitress then started by filling the grilling pan with the bean sprouts and vegetables. Soon enough, once I had put the lamb cuts onto the pot to be grilled, I had a sumptuous lunch of Jingisukan grilled lamb at Matsuo Jingisukan.

Upon finishing lunch at Matsuo Jingisukan, the clock was finally showing 12.25 p.m.. Given that I was feeling stuffed to the brim already, I promptly paid up my lunch bill and left the restaurant to commence my shopping trip around New Chitose Airport. Since there were more shops available on the fourth level of the domestic terminal, I took the elevator up to the fourth floor and looked through the various shops that were available before selecting the one that would suit my tastes and preferences.

The interior of Matsuo Jingisukan (松尾ジンギスカン) in the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport during lunchtime hours

The cover page for the main menu at Matsuo Jingisukan (松尾ジンギスカン) in the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

Reviewing the main menu at Matsuo Jingisukan (松尾ジンギスカン) in the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

The bean sprouts about to sizzle in the grilling pan

The first slice of lamb cut grilling on the grilling pot

The view of the secondary accompaniments to my grilled barbecue lamb meal at Matsuo Jingisukan (松尾ジンギスカン)

More vegetables and sliced lamb grilling on the grilling pot

An additional platter of udon noodles and sliced lamb rib loin

The last pieces of sliced lamb sizzling on the portable grilling pan

The interior of Matsuo Jingisukan (松尾ジンギスカン) on the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

The main entrance to Matsuo Jingisukan (松尾ジンギスカン) on the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

The interior of the restaurant area located on the third floor of the domestic passenger terminal building at New Chitose Airport during lunchtime hours

The interior of the fourth floor housing more shops in the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

Finally stumbling upon Flyers (フライヤーズ) on the fourth floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

After looking through the various shops located on the fourth floor of the domestic passenger terminal building, I finally stumbled upon a hobby shop, known Flyers (フライヤーズ), at 12.30 p.m.. This particular hobby shop was quite familiar to me since I had visited this shop many times during my past visits to Hokkaido, Japan. Upon entering the hobby shop, I had a good look through the many commercial aircraft models put on display before selecting the ones that would attract my tastes and preferences.

While shopping at Flyers, I purchased three newly-released Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 commercial passenger aircraft models. Upon obtaining my new Herpa Wings aircraft models, I decided to head down to the second level for some dessert, where I found one international ice cream parlour, known as Baskin-Robbins, located just near the domestic departures and check-in hall. There, I had one scoop of Chocolate Mousse Royale and chopped chocolate ice cream each in one single cup for myself.

Upon finishing my two scoops of ice cream at the Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlour, I decided to do some plane-spotting before completing my regional afternoon at New Chitose Airport. With that instant, I quickly took the nearest escalator up to the third floor, and went past several restaurants before arriving at the enclosed observation deck near a food court and a sky shop. There, I spotted several local Japanese aircraft and a few international aircraft departing and arriving at a white snowy New Chitose Airport.

As for my three Herpa Wings Scale 1:500 commercial aircraft models I had purchased, they were, as follows:

1) Air Pacific Boeing 747-412 Herpa Scale 1:500 (524636)

Air Pacific Boeing 747-412 Herpa Scale 1:500 (524636)

2) Etihad Airways Airbus A380-861 Herpa Scale 1:500 (527712)

Etihad Airways Airbus A380-861 Herpa Scale 1:500 (527712)

3) KLM ï½° Royal Dutch Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-11 "MD-11 Last Flight" Herpa Scale 1:500 (527729)

KLM ï½° Royal Dutch Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-11 "MD-11 Last Flight" Herpa Scale 1:500 (527729)

The exterior view of Flyers (フライヤーズ) on the fourth floor of the domestic passenger terminal building at New Chitose Airport

The interior of the fourth floor housing more shops in the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport as I make my way down to the second floor

Taking the escalator down to the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

Bypassing some local confectionery shops in the second floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

Finally stumbling upon the Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlour near the departures and check-in hall on the second floor of the domestic passenger terminal building at New Chitose Airport

The view of the rest cafeteria located near the departures and check-in hall on the second floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

A regular cup of Baskin-Robbins Chocolate Mousse Royale and chopped chocolate ice cream for myself

The interior of the shopping area near the departures and check-in hall in the second floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

A large winter festival tree located in the second floor shopping concourse of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

The interior of the observation mall near the food court on the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

A Japan Airlines Boeing 777-289, registered JA009D, being serviced at Gate No. 12 at the domestic terminal building in preparation for her regional afternoon domestic run to the Greater Tokyo Area as Japan Airlines flight JL 512 bound for Tokyo (Haneda)

The view of the snowy airport tarmac near the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-281, registered JA702A, resting near the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport. She will then have a regional domestic run to Kyushu as All Nippon Airways flight NH 290 bound for Fukuoka

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381, registered JA757A, about to be pushed back from Gate No. 10 at the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport in preparation for her regional afternoon domestic run to the Greater Tokyo Area as All Nippon Airways flight NH 064 bound for Tokyo (Haneda)

A TransAsia Airways Airbus A330-343X, registered B-22103, taxiing across the snowy airport tarmac to her assigned runway in preparation for her regional afternoon return flight back home to the Republic of China (Taiwan) as TransAsia Airways flight GE 671 bound for Taipei (Taoyuan)

A China Airlines Boeing 747-409, registered B-18212, taxiing across the snowy airport tarmac to the International Terminal after arriving from her regional early morning flight from the Republic of China (Taiwan) as China Airlines flight CI 130 from Taipei (Taoyuan)

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-381, registered JA754A and painted in the special Pokémon livery, taxiing to the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport after arriving from her regional afternoon domestic run from the Greater Tokyo Area as All Nippon Airways flight NH 063 from Tokyo (Haneda)

The interior of the museum viewing mall on the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

The view of the snowy airport tarmac near the domestic terminal building shortly before I headed back down to New Chitose Airport Station

After spending almost 2 hours 25 minutes of regional afternoon shopping, dining and aircraft-spotting around New Chitose Airport, the clock was finally showing 1.50 p.m.. Given that it would soon be time to head back to Otaru, I decided to head back down to New Chitose Airport Station located just below the domestic passenger terminal building. For the afternoon return trip back to Otaru, I would be scheduled to catch the Rapid Airport train No. 151 bound for Otaru, which would be scheduled to depart New Chitose Airport Station at 3.03 p.m., and then arrive at the Otaru terminal station at 4.16 p.m..

With that, I promptly proceeded to the nearest elevator lobby and took the elevator down to the first basement, where I walked across the passageway leading to New Chitose Airport Station, arriving there by 2.10 p.m.. In the main station concourse, I went to the JR Ticket Office, where I made a seat reservation for a culinary afternoon trip to Obihiro for the next day. Once the seat reservations were made, I went to the staffed ticketing gate to show my 5-Day Hokkaido Rail Pass to the ticketing officer.

I then went to check which platform the Rapid Airport train No. 151 bound for Otaru via Sapporo would depart from. According to the departure information screens in the main station concourse, the Rapid Airport train No. 151 bound for Otaru via Sapporo would be scheduled to depart at 3.03 p.m. from Track No. 1. Without wasting anymore time, I promptly took the escalators down to the platforms, eventually arriving there by 2.20 p.m. to do some of my normal train-spotting activities to pass the time.

The interior of the museum viewing mall on the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport shortly before I headed back down to New Chitose Airport Station

The interior of the food court near the observation deck in the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

Overlooking the second floor shopping concourse from the third floor of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport as I make my way back down to New Chitose Airport Station

Walking across the passageway leading to New Chitose Airport Station in the first basement of the domestic terminal building at New Chitose Airport

Finally arriving at the main station concourse of New Chitose Airport Station

The entrance to the JR Ticket Office in the main station concourse at New Chitose Airport Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

The main station concourse at New Chitose Airport Station during the mid-afternoon rush hour

Finally arriving at the station platforms at New Chitose Airport Station

A 6-car 721 series EMU, now operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 145 bound for Otaru via Sapporo, on Track No. 1 at New Chitose Airport Station

A 6-car 721 series EMU, now operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 147 bound for Sapporo, on Track No. 2 at New Chitose Airport Station

The name plate on the station platforms at New Chitose Airport Station

The departure information screens for Rapid "Airport" trains departing from Track No. 1 at New Chitose Airport Station

Track No. 1 at New Chitose Airport Station shortly before the Rapid "Airport" train No. 151 bound for Otaru via Sapporo arrived at the station

After spending almost 25 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 1 and 2, a 6-car 733 series EMU finally arrived at New Chitose Airport Station at 2.47 p.m. on Track No. 1. The train had arrived from Otaru via Sapporo as a Rapid Airport train No. 140 bound for New Chitose Airport, and was to become the Rapid Airport train No. 151 bound for Otaru via Sapporo. Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 4, which was the reserved seating ('u' seat) car, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 10A for the late afternoon return trip of 1 hour 13 minutes back to Otaru.

Once the clock struck precisely 3.03 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Rapid Airport train No. 151 ultimately pulled out of New Chitose Airport Station for its short routine early afternoon trip of 1 hour 13 minutes to the mid-sized suburban port city of Otaru located along the coast of the Sea of Japan slightly northwest of Sapporo. I was then on my way for a short and quick late afternoon return trip of just 1 hour 13 minutes back to the mid-sized suburban port city of Otaru located on the coast of the Sea of Japan slightly northwest of Sapporo.

733系 快速エアポート151号 小樽行き 新千歳空港駅に入線シーン

The front view of the reserved seating ('u' seat) car on board the 6-car 733 series EMU, operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 151 bound for Otaru via Sapporo, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at New Chitose Airport Station

The rear view of the reserved seating ('u' seat) car on board the 6-car 733 series EMU, operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 151 bound for Otaru via Sapporo, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at New Chitose Airport Station

A view of my seat, 10A, during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at New Chitose Airport Station

The view of the reserved seating ('u' seat) car on board the 6-car 733 series EMU, operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 151 bound for Otaru via Sapporo, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 1 at New Chitose Airport Station

Awaiting departure from New Chitose Airport Station

733系 快速エアポート151号 小樽行き 新千歳空港駅から恵庭駅間

Making a brief stop at Eniwa Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Eniwa

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the suburban city of Eniwa

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the suburban city of Kitahiroshima

Making a brief stop at Kita-hiroshima Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kitahiroshima

Bypassing a snow-covered field in downtown Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

Passing through Kami-nopporo Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo, as the train approaches Shin-sapporo Station

Making a brief stop at Shin-sapporo Station

Bypassing some housing areas in downtown Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo

Passing through Shiroishi Station

Crossing the Toyohira River between downtown Shiroishi-ku and Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Bypassing a railway yard near Naebo Station in downtown Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Making a brief stop at Sapporo Station

733系 快速エアポート151号 小樽行き 札幌駅から手稲駅間

Making a brief stop at Teine Station

733系 快速エアポート151号 小樽行き 手稲駅から終着小樽駅間

After a short and routine late afternoon trip of 1 hour 13 minutes from New Chitose Airport in the suburban city of Chitose, I finally arrived back at the Otaru terminal station at 4.16 p.m. on Track No. 5. Checking to see that nothing was left behind on board, I promptly alighted from the train and took the escalators down to the main ticketing gates. Showing my 5-day Hokkaido Rail Pass at the staffed ticketing gate, I headed out to the snowy cab stand located outside the entrance to Otaru Station to hail a cab back to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru.

Hailing the nearest cab down at the cab stands located outside Otaru Station, I then informed the driver that my intended destination was the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru. By this time, there was a heavy snowfall raging through the entire suburban port city of Otaru. Soon enough, once I was safely on board the cab with my belongings, I finally departed Otaru Station at 4.30 p.m. for a short and snowy late afternoon return trip lasting not more than approximately 15 minutes back to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru located on the hillside by the coast of the Sea of Japan.

Tracks No. 4 and 5 serving some of the westbound Hakodate Main Line trains bound for Sapporo, Iwamizawa and New Chitose Airport at Otaru Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The view of several snow-covered housing areas from Otaru Station as a snow storm rages across the city

The 6-car 733 series EMU, now operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 170 bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, on Track No. 5 at Otaru Station

The departure information screens for Hakodate Main Line trains departing from Tracks No. 4 and 5 at Otaru Station during the late afternoon rush hour

A 3-car 731 series EMU, operating as the 4.24 p.m. Hakodate Main Line local service bound for Chitose via Sapporo, on Track No. 5 at Otaru Station

The overall view of the station platforms at Otaru Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The main station concourse at Otaru Station during the late afternoon rush hour

The exterior view of Otaru Station as a late afternoon snow storm rages across the city

The cab stands located outside Otaru Station as a snow storm rages across the city

Finally departing the road areas near Otaru Station

Travelling past some shophouses in the suburban port city of Otaru as a snow storm rages across the city

Travelling along the roads of downtown Otaru on route back to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru as a snow storm rages across the city

Travelling through a long road tunnel on route back to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru

Travelling parallel to the coast of the Sea of Japan on route to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru

Travelling up the snow-covered hill near a close amusement park by the Otaru Aquarium

Travelling up the snow-covered hill near the Otaru Aquarium up to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru

Finally arriving back at the main entrance to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru

After a short and snowy cab ride of approximately 15 minutes from Otaru Station, I finally arrived back at the main entrance to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru at 4.45 p.m.. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind on board, I paid my cab fare and went into the main hotel lobby to retrieve the room key for my Room No. 518 from the hotel reception counter. I then took the elevator back up to my Room No. 518, eventually arriving back there 4.50 p.m..

Once I was safely back in my Room No. 518, I put my electronic devices to be charged before having a well-earned late afternoon rest from my regional shopping trip to New Chitose Airport. Halfway through my afternoon rest, I received a mobile phone call from my parents, informing me that we would be shopping at Wing Bay Otaru for new clothes for the upcoming Lunar New Year festive season, and that they would be arriving back at the hotel by six o' clock to fetch me.

The overall beautiful view of the Sea of Japan from the open-air car parking area near the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru as a late afternoon snow storm rages across the city

The main hotel lobby at the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru shortly after I had arrived at the hotel

The first view of my Room No. 518 at the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru shortly after I had arrived back

The overall beautiful view of the Sea of Japan from my Room No. 518 at the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru during a late afternoon snow storm

After having a well-earned late afternoon rest from my regional afternoon shopping trip to New Chitose Airport, I finally received a mobile phone call from my parents at 5.30 p.m.. They informed me to get ready as they already on route back to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru to pick me up to shop at Wing Bay Otaru, and that they would be arriving in 15 minutes' time. With my parents' message received, I promptly prepared my necessary electronic devices and put on my winter jacket, eventually departing my Room No. 518 at 5.40 p.m..

Taking the nearest elevator down to the main hotel lobby, I found my family members waiting for me in our black rented Toyota car outside the main entrance to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru. With my younger brother waiting outside the car, I boarded the car with my belongings for the evening road drive to Wing Bay Otaru. Soon enough, once everyone was on board the car, we finally departed the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru at 5.45 p.m. for a short and quick evening road trip of 25 minutes to Wing Bay Otaru.

After a short and snowy road trip of 25 minutes from the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru on the hillside by the Sea of Japan, we finally arrived at the car parking area of Wing Bay Otaru at 6.10 p.m.. Parking our rented black Toyota car at an empty parking area, we took the escalators up to the main shopping area and explored around the mall to shop for new clothes in preparation for the upcoming Lunar New Year season. Going through the familiar entrance hall of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru, we purchased some good quality new clothes for ourselves to kickstart the Lunar New Year.

Upon shopping for our new clothes in preparation for the Lunar New Year season, the clock was finally showing 7.30 p.m.. Since we were beginning to feel hungry already, we decided to search for a good restaurant to eat at for dinner around the downtown area. With that, we quickly took the elevator back down to the basement car parking area of the Grand Park Hotel Otaru and got in our rented black Toyota car. Departing Wing Bay Otaru at 7.40 p.m., we drove around downtown Otaru in search for a good restaurant to eat at for dinner.

Part 2 ~ Spending A Culinary Food Day In Obihiro

Early the next morning, which was Friday (5 February), I woke up at precisely 5.45 a.m. after my mobile phone alarm blasted off. Getting out of bed as silently as possible, I had a nice, hot shower and changed up into my attire before preparing the remainder of my necessary belongings required. According to my annual Japanese railway plans, I was to be undertaking a culinary afternoon day trip to Obihiro located in northeastern Hokkaido on this particular day itself.

For the in-bound early morning trip to Obihiro, I would catch a Hakodate Main Line local train bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, which would be scheduled to depart Otaru Station at 7.28 a.m., and arrive at Sapporo Station at 8.17 a.m.. After arrival at Sapporo, I would have a brief layover of approximately 20 minutes before catching the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 3 bound for Kushiro, which would be scheduled to depart Sapporo Station at 8.51 a.m., and arrive at Obihiro Station at 11.37 a.m..

I was lucky since I had managed to make my Green Car (first class) seat reservations at New Chitose Airport Station the previous day. Furthermore, I had also arranged with the hotel to pre-book a cab to transport me to Otaru Station at 6.45 a.m. the previous night. Upon packing up my necessary belongings for the day, I was officially ready to head off at 6.15 a.m.. Taking the elevator down to the main hotel lobby at 6.25 a.m., I went out into the snowy weather near the entrance to await my cab to Otaru Station.

Soon enough, in less than 10 minutes, my pre-arranged cab to Otaru Station finally arrived at the main entrance to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru at 6.35 a.m., which was approximately 10 minutes ahead of schedule. With the driver opening the rear cab doors, I immediately got in and informed him on where I would be heading to. With everything in the cab, I finally departed the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru for a short and snowy early morning cab trip of 10 minutes to Otaru Station located in the city centre.

The main hotel lobby at the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru on a snowy early morning

The overall beautiful view of the Sea of Japan from the open-air car parking area near the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru on a snowy early winter's morning

My pre-arranged white cab to Otaru Station outside the main entrance to the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru

Finally departing the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru by a pile of snow near the hotel itself

Climbing down the snow-covered slope from the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru to the road leading to the city centre

Travelling past some small shophouses near the Sea of Japan on route to Otaru Station

The overall beautiful view of the Sea of Japan on a snowy winter's early morning on route to Otaru Station

Travelling through a long road tunnel on route to Otaru Station located in the city centre

Travelling along the roads of the city of Otaru near some small infrastructure areas

Travelling past some small shophouses in downtown Otaru on route to Otaru Station

Travelling past some small shophouses in downtown Otaru near Otaru Station

Finally arriving at Otaru Station

After a short and quick snowy early morning cab ride of just 10 minutes from the Hotel Neuschloss Otaru located along the hillside by the Sea of Japan, I finally arrived at the main entrance to Otaru Station at 6.45 a.m.. Paying my cab fare, I checked around my seating area to see that there was nothing left behind before thanking the cab driver for his services. Entering the main station concourse, I headed to check the departure information screens to see which platform the closest Hakodate Main Line local train bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo would depart from.

According to the departure information screen located in the main station concourse, the next Hakodate Main Line local train bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo would be scheduled to depart at 7.28 a.m. from Track No. 5. Though it was still early before the first leg of the trip to Obihiro, I showed my 5-Day Hokkaido Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate and took the escalators up to Tracks No. 5 and 6. Arriving at the platforms at 6.50 a.m., I did some train-spotting to pass the time.

The exterior view of Otaru Station during the wee hours of the early morning

The main station concourse at Otaru Station during the early hours of the morning

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 4 and 5 at Otaru Station

The overall view of the snow-covered station platforms at Otaru Station during the wee hours of the early morning

The name plate on Tracks No. 4 and 5 at Otaru Station during the early morning rush hour

Tracks No. 4 and 5 serving some of the westbound Hakodate Main Line trains bound for Sapporo, Iwamizawa and New Chitose Airport at Otaru Station during the wee hours of the early morning

A 6-car 731 series EMU, operating as the 7.12 a.m. Hakodate Main Line local service bound for Iwamizawa via Sapporo, on Track No. 4 at Otaru Station

Tracks No. 4 and 5 serving some of the westbound Hakodate Main Line trains bound for Sapporo, Iwamizawa and New Chitose Airport at Otaru Station filled with waiting passengers during the wee hours of the early morning

The view of several snow-covered housing areas from Otaru Station during the wee hours of the early morning

Track No. 5 at Otaru Station shortly before the 7.28 a.m. Hakodate Main Line local train bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo arrived at the station

After spending almost 25 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 4 and 5, a 6-car 721 series EMU, which would operate as the 7.28 a.m. Hakodate Main Line local service bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, finally entered Otaru Station at 7.18 a.m. on Track No. 5. The train was also to operate as the Rapid Airport train No. 82 bound for New Chitose Airport after departing Sapporo. Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 4, which was the 'u' seat car, and secured Seat No. 11A for the short early morning commuter rush trip of 49 minutes to downtown Sapporo.

Once the clock struck exactly 7.28 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Hakodate Main Line local train finally pulled out of Otaru Station for its routine early morning rush commuter trip of 1 hour 34 minutes to New Chitose Airport, with the service operating as the Rapid Airport train No. 82 beyond Sapporo Station, and Car No. 4 becoming a reserved seating car en route. I was then on my way for a short and quick early morning commuter rush trip of 49 minutes to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo.

721ç³» 函館本線・千歳線 普通列車 新千歳空港行き 小樽駅に入線シーン

A view of my seat, 11A, during the boarding process on Track No. 5 at Otaru Station

The rear view of the 'u' seat car on board the 6-car 721 series EMU, operating as the 7.28 a.m. Hakodate Main Line local service bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, during the boarding process on Track No. 5 at Otaru Station

The front view of the 'u' seat car on board the 6-car 721 series EMU, operating as the 7.28 a.m. Hakodate Main Line local service bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, during the boarding process on Track No. 5 at Otaru Station

The view of the 'u' seat car on board the 6-car 721 series EMU, operating as the 7.28 a.m. Hakodate Main Line local service bound for New Chitose Airport via Sapporo, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 5 at Otaru Station

Awaiting departure from Otaru Station

721ç³» 函館本線・千歳線 普通列車 新千歳空港行き 小樽駅から小樽築港駅間

721ç³» 函館本線・千歳線 普通列車 新千歳空港行き 琴似駅から札幌駅間

After a short and quick early morning commuter rush trip of just 49 minutes from the mid-sized suburban port city of Otaru located parallel to the coast of the Sea of Japan, I finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 8.17 a.m. on Track No. 5. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind on board, I quickly alighted from the train and took the elevator down to the station concourse, eventually arriving there by 8.20 a.m. given that the early morning rush hour was still in progress.

I then went to check which platform the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 3 bound for Kushiro would be scheduled to depart from. According to the departure information screens, the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 3 bound for Kushiro would be scheduled to depart at 8.51 a.m. from Track No. 7. Given that there was very little time left before my connecting train to Obihiro, I went up to Tracks No. 7 and 8 to commence the trip, eventually reaching the intended platforms at 8.25 a.m..

The Super Ozora (スーパーおおぞら) is a limited express service operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) between Sapporo and Kushiro in Hokkaido, Japan. The service travels through the urban areas between Sapporo and Chitose, and more sparsely-populated regions between Chitose and Kushiro, travelling on the coast line of the Pacific Ocean near Kushiro via the Chitose Line, Sekisho Line and Nemuro Main Line. The service is capable of reaching a maximum top speed of 110 km/h (68 mph), with an average trip between Sapporo and Kushiro taking approximately four hours.

The service commenced operations on 22 March 1997, using a dedicated fleet of KiHa 283 series DMUs at a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph). Initially, there were seven daily return workings operating per direction, with the fastest trip between Sapporo and Kushiro taking 3 hours 35 minutes. Services are normally formed of either six or seven cars, but can be lengthened between eight to ten cars during busy peak periods. No extra charges are required for the Super Ozora limited express service with the Japan Rail Pass and / or Hokkaido Rail Pass.

On the night of 27 May 2011, a 6-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 14 bound for Sapporo from Kushiro, was quickly brought to an emergency stop in the Niniu Tunnel in the village of Shimukappu after Car No. 2 became derailed due to an oil spillage, resulting in the entire train catching fire. All 245 passengers and crew successfully evacuated the train, though 39 people had to receive treatment for minor burn injuries and smoke inhalation. The damaged train was removed from the tunnel two days later, and was scrapped on 30 June 2011.

On 15 July 2013, the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 3 bound for Kushiro was also brought to a stop after a power outage occurred in Car No. 3. This eventually led to certain limited express services being suspended as far as 30 August 2014, while JR Hokkaido conducted maintenance checks on its rolling stock mainly used for limited express services. From 1 November 2013, the maximum top speed was reduced from 130 km/h (80 mph) to 110 km/h (68 mph), with the service frequency reduced to six daily return workings per direction.

Sapporo Station (Japanese: 札幌駅; Traditional Chinese: 札幌車站; Simplified Chinese: 札幌车站) is a major interchange railway terminal located between Kita-ku and Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the central railway terminal serving the hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo, and the largest and busiest railway terminal located in Hokkaido. Operated jointly by both Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) and Sapporo Municipal Subway, the station houses the JR Tower and Hotel Nikko Sapporo, along with Stellar Place, just above its main complex.

Sapporo serves as the starting and ending point for limited express services operated by JR Hokkaido, and many JR Lines intersect here, including the Rapid Airport services linking to New Chitose Airport in 37 minutes. Sapporo Station is also an interchange point for the Sapporo Municipal Subway Namboku Line and Toho Line. As of 14 March 2015, there are five island platforms serving ten tracks for the JR Lines, and two island platforms serving four tracks for the Sapporo Municipal Subway Namboku Line and Toho Line.

Tracks No. 5 and 6 serving some of the JR Line trains bound for the Hakodate Main Line and Chitose Line at Sapporo Station during the early morning rush hour

The 6-car 721 series EMU, now operating as the Rapid "Airport" train No. 82 bound for New Chitose Airport, on Track No. 5 at Sapporo Station

A 5-car KiHa 183 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Hokuto" No. 6 bound for Hakodate, on Track No. 6 at Sapporo Station

The main interchange concourse at Sapporo Station during the early morning rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 7 and 8 at Sapporo Station

A 5-car 789 series EMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Kamui" No. 5 bound for Asahikawa, on Track No. 8 at Sapporo Station

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving some of the JR Line trains bound for the Hakodate Main Line and Chitose Line at Sapporo Station during the early morning rush hour

The departure information screen for trains departing from Track No. 7 and Sapporo Station, indicating that the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro would be the next train to depart from Track No. 7

Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station shortly before the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro arrived at the station

After spending about 15 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 7 and 8, an 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 8.39 a.m. on Track No. 7. The train had arrived from Teine as a Home Liner service bound for Sapporo, and was to become the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 3 bound for Kushiro. Once the train doors were opened, I boarded the train via Car No. 2 and went into Car No. 3, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, before settling into my assigned Seat No. 2A for the early morning trip of 2 hours 46 minutes to the mid-sized northeastern city of Obihiro in the northeastern Tokachi Sub-prefecture.

Once the clock struck precisely 8.51 a.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 3 ultimately pulled out of Sapporo Station for its long early morning trip of 4 hours 23 minutes to the mid-sized northeastern suburban port city of Kushiro located along the coast of the Pacific Ocean in northeastern Hokkaido. I was then on my way for a white, snowy early morning trip of 2 hours 46 minutes to the northeastern suburban city of Obihiro in the northeastern Tokachi Sub-prefecture.

Obihiro (帯広市) is a mid-sized suburban city in Tokachi Sub-prefecture in Hokkaido, Japan. It is the sub-prefectural capital of Tokachi Sub-prefecture, and the only city in the entire sub-prefecture. The city is famous for Butadon (豚丼), which consists of a bowl of rice topped with glazed pork slices soaked in special sauce, and can be easily accessible from Sapporo via a limited express train ride lasting approximately 2 hours 30 minutes. As of 1 January 2016, the city has an estimated population of 168,512.

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら3号 釧路行き 札幌駅に入線シーン

The LED destination panel of the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station

Getting ready to board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, during the boarding process on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, during the boarding process on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station

A view of my seat, 2A, during the boarding process on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, during the boarding process on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, during the boarding process on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, from my seat during the boarding process on Track No. 7 at Sapporo Station

Awaiting departure from Sapporo Station

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら3号 釧路行き 札幌駅から新札幌駅間

Making a brief stop at Shin-sapporo Station

Bypassing some small and snowy warehouses on a gentle slope in downtown Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, from my seat between Shin-sapporo and Kita-hiroshima Stations

My Green Car (first class) limited express ticket for the in-bound segment between Sapporo and Obihiro

A view of my seat, 2A, between Shin-sapporo and Kita-hiroshima Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, between Shin-sapporo and Kita-hiroshima Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, between Shin-sapporo and Kita-hiroshima Stations

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Kitahiroshima

Passing through Kita-hiroshima Station

Bypassing a white snow-covered open field in the suburban city of Eniwa

Passing through Eniwa Station

Bypassing some housing areas in the suburban city of Chitose

Passing through Chitose Station

My usual two cups of orange juice from the on-board complimentary Green Car (first class) drink service. This service is now only available on selected "Super Ozora", "Super Hokuto" and "Hokuto" limited express services across Hokkaido

Making a brief stop at Minami-chitose Station

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら3号 釧路行き 南千歳駅から追分駅間

Making a brief stop at Oiwake Station

Bypassing a white snow-covered open field in the sparse, rural town of Abira

Passing through Higashi-oiwake Station, which will be decommissioned from service from the start of the revised timetable on 26 March 2016 after the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line

A box of almond chocolates and Jagabee potato sticks (じゃがビー), with a bottle of Coca-cola, for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

Crossing the Yubari River on the Sekisho Line between Oiwake and Shin-yubari Stations

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural town of Yuni

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural town of Kuriyama

Bypassing a dry and snowy forest in the sparse, rural city of Yubari

Making a brief stop at Shin-yubari Station

Bypassing some snow-covered housing areas in the sparse, rural city of Yubari near Shin-yubari Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, from my seat between Shin-yubari and Shimukappu Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, between Shin-yubari and Shimukappu Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, between Shin-yubari and Shimukappu Stations

A view of my seat, 2A, between Shin-yubari and Shimukappu Stations

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural town of Mukawa

Playing "Mr. Bean: Around The World" on my iPad, while running away from Mrs. Wicket in India, only to be busted by her in the end, with the funniest screenshot that frequently cracks me up - "I caught you, now I'll teach you a lesson!"

A small tub of vanilla-flavoured Tokachi ice cream for myself purchased from the on-board trolley refreshment service

Bypassing a snow-covered hilly forest in the sparse, rural village of Shimukappu near Shimukappu Station

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural village of Shimukappu as the train approaches Shimukappu Station

Making a brief stop at Shimukappu Station

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural village of Shimukappu near an expressway viaduct

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural village of Shimukappu on a cloudy winter's morning

Bypassing a snow-covered hilly forest in the sparse, rural village of Shimukappu between Shimukappu and Tomamu Stations

Crossing the Doto Expressway in the snowy and spare, rural village of Shimukappu on the Sekisho Line

Making a brief stop at Tomamu Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, between Tomamu and Shintoku Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, between Tomamu and Shintoku Stations

A view of my seat, 2A, between Tomamu and Shintoku Stations

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, from my seat between Tomamu and Shintoku Stations

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural town of Shintoku

Crossing the Yubari River between Tomamu and Shintoku Stations on the Sekisho Line

Bypassing a snow-covered field and skiing mountain in the sparse, rural town of Shintoku as the train approaches Shintoku Station

Making a brief stop at Shintoku Station

The view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, from my seat between Shintoku and Memuro Stations

A view of my seat, 2A, between Shintoku and Memuro Stations

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, between Shintoku and Memuro Stations

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, between Shintoku and Memuro Stations

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural town of Shimizu

Bypassing a snow-covered field in the sparse, rural town of Memuro

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら3号 釧路行き 芽室 (通過) ~ 帯広 (到着)

After an early morning trip of 2 hours 46 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo, I finally arrived at Obihiro Station at 11.37 a.m. on Track No. 1. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind on board, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalators down to the eastbound station concourse, where I showed my fixed 5-day Hokkaido Rail Pass to the ticket officer located at the staffed eastbound ticketing gate before entering the main station concourse itself.

Obihiro Station (Japanese: 帯広駅; Traditional Chinese: 帶廣站; Simplified Chinese: 带广站) is a railway station located in the northeastern suburban city of Obihiro, Hokkaido, Japan. Operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido), it is the main railway station serving the city of Obihiro, and is located on the Nemuro Main Line. Obihiro serves as a mandatory stopping point for all trains on the Nemuro Main Line, including the Super Ozora limited express services linking to Kushiro from Sapporo. It is also the northeastern terminus for Super Tokachi limited express services from Sapporo.

The 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 3 bound for Kushiro, awaiting departure from Track No. 1 at Obihiro Station

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら3号 釧路行き 帯広駅から出発シーン

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving the eastbound Nemuro Main Line trains bound for Ikeda, Urahoro and Kushiro at Obihiro Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The main ticketing concourse at Obihiro Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The entrance to Esta department store in the main station concourse at Obihiro Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The exterior view of Obihiro Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The white cab that would soon take me to the Fujimaru Department Store Obihiro at the cab stands located outside Obihiro Station

Finally departing Obihiro Station

Travelling across the roads of downtown Obihiro on route to the Fujimaru Department Store Obihiro

Finally arriving at the Fujimaru Department Store Obihiro

After spending about 45 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 3 and 4, an 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 8 bound for Sapporo, finally arrived at Obihiro Station at 3.08 p.m. on Track No. 4. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 3, which was the Green Car (first class) coaches, and settled down into my assigned Seat No. 1D at the front of the cabin for the late afternoon return trip of 2 hours 34 minutes back to the busy and lively hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo.

The seat next to me, 1C, would remain vacant for the late afternoon return trip from Obihiro to Sapporo. Once the clock struck precisely 3.10 p.m. sharp, all the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Super Ozora No. 8 finally pulled out of Obihiro Station for the remaining segments of its long afternoon trip of 4 hours 10 minutes from Kushiro to Sapporo. I was then on my way for a late afternoon return trip of 2 hours 34 minutes back to the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo. However, due to icy tracks causing train delays on the Chitose Line, the service was delayed by approximately six minutes.

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら8号 札幌行き 帯広駅に入線シーン

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 8 bound for Sapporo, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Obihiro Station

A view of my seat, 1D, during the boarding process on Track No. 4 at Obihiro Station

Awaiting departure from Obihiro Station

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら8号 札幌行き 帯広 (発車) ~ 芽室 (通過)

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら8号 札幌行き 川端 (通過) ~ 南千歳 (到着)

キハ283系 特急スーパーおおぞら8号 札幌行き 新札幌駅から終着札幌駅間

After a late afternoon return trip duration of 2 hours 40 minutes from the mid-sized northeastern suburban city of Obihiro in Tokachi Sub-prefecture, I finally arrived back at the Sapporo terminal station at 5.50 p.m. on Track No. 7, which was approximately six minutes behind schedule. Checking to see that I had not left anything behind on board, I promptly alighted from the train and took the escalators down to the main station concourse, eventually arriving there by 5.55 p.m.. I then went to check which platform the Rapid Airport train No. 175 bound for Otaru would depart from.

According to the departure information screens located in the main station concourse, the Rapid Airport train No. 175 bound for Otaru would be expected to depart at 6.14 p.m. from Track No. 2. Without wasting anymore time, I quickly took the escalators up to Tracks No. 1 and 2 in preparation for the second segment of my return trip back from Obihiro to Otaru, eventually arriving there by six o' clock. However, later on, an announcement was made that due to icy rails, the Rapid Airport train No. 175 bound for Otaru would be delayed by approximately 10 minutes.

The 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, which previously operated as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 8 bound for Sapporo from Kushiro, on Track No. 7 at the Sapporo terminal station

The logo of the 8-car KiHa 283 series DMU, which previously operated as the Limited Express "Super Ozora" No. 8 bound for Sapporo from Kushiro, on Track No. 7 at the Sapporo terminal station

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving some of the JR Line trains bound for the Hakodate Main Line and Chitose Line at Sapporo Station during the early evening rush hour

The JR Line interchange concourse at Sapporo Station during the early evening rush hour

Finally arriving at Tracks No. 1 and 2 at Sapporo Station during the early evening rush hour

A 3-car 731 series EMU, operating as the 6.05 p.m. Hakodate Main Line local service bound for Otaru, on Track No. 2 at Sapporo Station

Tracks No. 1 and 2 serving some of the Hakodate Main Line trains bound for Teine and Otaru at Sapporo Station during the early evening rush hour

The overall view of the JR Line platforms at Sapporo Station during the early evening rush hour

Track No. 1 at Sapporo Station shortly before the Rapid "Airport" train No. 175 bound for Otaru arrived at the station

After spending approximately 20 minutes of anticipated waiting on Tracks No. 1 and 2, a 6-car 733 series EMU, operating as the Rapid Airport train No. 175 bound for Otaru, finally arrived at Sapporo Station at 6.20 p.m. on Track No. 2, which was approximately 10 minutes behind schedule. Once the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 4, which was the reserved seating ("u" seat) car, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 11A for the early evening return trip of just 36 minutes back to the mid-sized suburban port city of Otaru located on the coast of the Sea of Japan.

The train was relatively full with commuters given that it was already the early evening rush hour. Once the clock struck around 6.22 p.m., all the train doors were closed, and the Rapid Airport train No. 175 finally pulled out of Sapporo Station for the remaining half of its early evening commuter trip of 1 hour 13 minutes from New Chitose Airport to Otaru. I was then on my way for an evening commuter return trip of just 36 minutes back to the mid-sized suburban port city of Otaru located parallel to the coast of the Sea of Japan.

733系 快速エアポート175号 小樽行き 札幌駅に入線シーン

733系 快速エアポート175号 小樽行き 札幌駅から終着小樽駅間 (1/3)

733系 快速エアポート175号 小樽行き 札幌駅から終着小樽駅間 (2/3)

733系 快速エアポート175号 小樽行き 札幌駅から終着小樽駅間 (3/3)

After a short early evening return trip of 36 minutes from the lively hustle and bustle of downtown Sapporo, I finally arrived back at the Otaru terminal station at 6.58 p.m. on Track No. 1. Checking to see that there was nothing left behind on board, I quickly alighted from the train and took the escalators down to the main station concourse before proceeding over to the ticketing gates to show my 5-Day Hokkaido Rail Pass to the ticketing officer at the staffed ticketing gate.

This officially brings the second segment of my white Lunar New Year winter festival trip to Hokkaido, Japan, in February 2016 to a formal conclusion. The remaining two sections of this year's Lunar New Year trip report shall be posted once I have chosen the highest quality photographs and videos for them. Please do be patient since a considerable amount of time and effort are necessary to ensure that the trip report sounds fascinating and interesting to bloggers.

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