Last week I spent 5 days in Hokkaido. Those days were absolutely wonderful! Lots and lots of snow and mountains, but also sunshine and cities. Even though it was very cold all the time (lowest was -10 degrees Celsius, which is very cold for Dutch people), the white roads and the snow falling from the sky were part of another new adventure for me. And I really liked it a lot! Just amazing..
To Narita and beyond!
We left Saitama on Tuesday evening to stay at a hotel in Nippori for the night, so we could take an early train to Narita Airport (our flight would leave around 9 am) the next morning. We would be flying with Vanilla air and when we arrived at the check in desk, it was not what we expected from an airline. The screens were yellow and they featured Spongebob, which makes a lot of sense ..? I still don’t understand why they chose something this inconvenient: they wouldn’t show the flight information on the screens and would show Spongebob there. This mean that when some flight information became available, Vanilla Air employees had to hold little screens or papers with flight information in the air themselves.
The way to Furano
After a short flight (+- 90 minutes) we arrived safely at New Chitose Airport. Here we went to the car rental desk to pick up our car. The cars were not at the airport itself, but we got a ride in a bus to the car park. Here we got the most amazing car ever: a small Toyota in a green color. Not my choice of car, but for now it was very convenient to easily spot our car at parking lots!
Next up was the first drive in Hokkaido: a quick visit to the Rera outlet mall in Chitose and after that up to Furano! Furano is located in central Hokkaido, surrounded by lots of mountains. We started out with a beautiful sky in a flat landscape. The further we went away from New Chitose, the more mountains we could see.
Underneath the mountains
There were also quite some mountains that we passed during this 2-3 hours drive to Furano. Inside one of the tunnels underneath the mountains, we suddenly had no vision at all. The outside temperature outside of the tunnels was approximately -8 degrees Celsius. Inside of those tunnels, it could get up to +10 degrees Celsius. This temperature difference destroyed our vision one time completely when we in the middle of a tunnel. The outside of the window was entirely white, thus we had to make an emergency stop because of the lack of vision. This stop also allowed the cars in the small traffic jam behind us (apparently we we’re driving to slowly for these people) to pass us.
Snow, snow and more snow!
In the picture below, the real deal, you can see lots of snow. This was somewhere on the way to Furano. Above the road, you can see a red and white arrow that’s pointing down. This arrow points out where the road is, so you can actually know where you’re driving if there’s this much snow!
We arrived at Furano when it was already dark (the beginning of the evening). After resting at the hotel for a while we went into town to get some food. We ate some really tasty ramen and dumplings. After that we went to the Ningle Terrace in Furano (You can read more about the Ningle Terrace in my next blog post, because we went there the next day as well).
Visited on the 23rd of November, 2016