Thursday, December 8, 2016

🇯🇵 2016 Christmas Special: Post-GCE 'A' Level Examination End-Of-Year Winter Vacation To Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, In December 2016 ~ Section 3 🇯🇵

Welcome to the third section of my post-GCE 'A' Level examination end-of-year winter vacation to Tokyo & Hokkaido, Japan, in December 2016.

Part 2 ~ Snowy Family Day Trip To Lake Toya & Mount Usu

Hakodate Station (Japanese: 函館駅; Traditional Chinese: 函館車站; Simplified Chinese: 函馆车站).

After completing my Green Car (first class) seat reservations at the JR Ticket Office at Hakodate Station, I finally received my Green Car (first class) limited express ticket to Lake Toya at 10.25 a.m.. For the in-bound trip to Lake Toya, I would be scheduled to catch the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 9 bound for Sapporo, which would be scheduled to depart from Hakodate Station at 10.48 a.m., and arrive at Toya Station at 12.46 p.m.. Given that I already had everything in hand, I knew that there was not much time left before my train to Lake Toya.

With that, I proceeded to the ticketing gates, where I showed my Japan Rail Pass to the officer at the staffed ticketing gate. I then went to check which platform number the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 9 bound for Sapporo would depart from. According to the train departure information screens in the concourse, the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 9 bound for Sapporo would depart at 10.48 a.m. from Track No. 8. With that, I promptly walked across the passageway leading to Tracks No. 7 and 8.

Arriving at Tracks No. 7 and 8 safely at 10.30 a.m., I found an 8-car KiHa 261 series DMU, already operating as Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 9 bound for Sapporo, awaiting departure from Track No. 8. Without wasting anymore time, I boarded the train via Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and settled into my assigned Seat No. 4D for the early afternoon trip of 1 hour 58 minutes to the popular caldera lakeside town of Toyako located on the coast of Uchiura Bay near the Pacific Ocean.

From the start of the revised timetable on 26 March 2016, in conjunction with the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line, KiHa 261 series DMUs were phased in on these services at a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph), increasing the number of daily return workings from nine to 12. From the same date itself, all train services began to make stop at Shin-hakodate-hokuto Station, thus allowing better railway connections to Sapporo with the Hokkaido Shinkansen line. There are no extra charges required for the Hokuto and Super Hokuto limited express services for foreign passengers using a Japan Rail Pass and / or a Hokkaido Rail Pass.

Approaching the main ticketing gates in the main station concourse at Hakodate Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Walking across the passageway leading to the platforms at Hakodate Station during the early afternoon rush hour

The departure information screens for trains departing from Tracks No. 7 and 8 at Hakodate Station during the early afternoon rush hour

Tracks No. 7 and 8 serving some of the limited express trains bound for Sapporo via the Muroran Main Line at Hakodate Station during the early afternoon rush hour

An 8-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 9 bound for Sapporo, on Track No. 8 at Hakodate Station

The LED destination panel of the 8-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 9 bound for Sapporo, on Track No. 8 at Hakodate Station

The front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 9 bound for Sapporo, during the boarding process on Track No. 8 at Hakodate Station

The rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 9 bound for Sapporo, during the boarding process on Track No. 8 at Hakodate Station

A view of my seat, 4D, during the boarding process on Track No. 8 at Hakodate Station

Another front view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 9 bound for Sapporo, during the boarding process on Track No. 8 at Hakodate Station

Another rear view of the Green Car (first class) cabin on board the 8-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express "Super Hokuto" No. 9 bound for Sapporo, during the boarding process on Track No. 8 at Hakodate Station

Awaiting departure from Hakodate Station

キハ261系 特急スーパー北斗9号 札幌行き 函館駅から五稜郭駅間

キハ261系 特急スーパー北斗9号 札幌行き五稜郭駅から新函館北斗駅間

キハ261系 特急スーパー北斗9号 札幌行き 礼文 (通過) ~ 洞爺 (到着)

Toya Station (Japanese Kanji: 洞爺駅; Traditional Chinese: 洞爺站; Simplified Chinese: 洞爷站) is a railway station in 19-1 Asahi-cho, Toyako, Abuta District, Hokkaido, Japan. Operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido), it is the main railway station serving the caldera lakeside town of Toyako, and primarily serves the popular tourist spots of Lake Toya and Mount Usu, with both attractions being accessible by bus and cabs. Located on the Muroran Main Line, the station serves as a mandatory stopping point for all commuter trains and for most limited express trains heading to Sapporo, Oshamambe and Hakodate.

After spending approximately five minutes of anticipated waiting on the platform, an 8-car KiHa 261 series DMU, operating as the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 18 bound for Hakodate, finally arrived at Toya Station at 5.34 p.m. on Track No. 1. Once all the train doors were opened, I promptly boarded the train via Car No. 1, which was the Green Car (first class) coach, and secured my assigned Seat No. 8A for the early evening return trip of 1 hour 50 minutes back to the southern seaside port city of Hakodate.

Soon enough, in just a few seconds, all of the train doors were closed, and the Limited Express Super Hokuto No. 18 finally pulled out of Toya Station for the remainder of its long late afternoon trip of 3 hours 45 minutes from Sapporo to Hakodate through the Chitose Line, Muroran Main Line and Hakodate Main Line. I was then on my way back for an early evening return journey of 1 hours 50 minutes to the southern seaside port city of Hakodate located close to the Tsugaru Strait and the Pacific Ocean.

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