Christmas Hokkaido Trip! Day 1 & 2

If you’ve been following my blog for a long time, you may know that my family and I took a trip to the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido, in the summer of 2019. We spent a whole month there, visiting every corner of Hokkaido while camping at various sites and enjoying the scenery, food, activities, and more. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, but I never thought I would get to go there again anytime soon.

But last year, my family decided to take the trip back to Hokkaido for Christmas vacation with my grandparents. We all knew it would be a completely different experience from the time we went there in the summer. Hokkaido is known for its blistering winters and heavy snowfalls. The place I live, Kyoto, is a lot milder and the summers are hot and humid. We were all prepared for the drastic change in environment, but we were still excited about all the new things that we would get to see and experience.

Day 1

After a couple months of planning, my parents decided to take a plane all the way to Hokkaido on December 13th. We had to buy a lot of warm clothes and winter gear in order to get ready for the trip, and when the day finally came, we traveled to Kansai Airport. The plane trip was only two hours long. The last time we went to Hokkaido, we boarded a ferry, and it took a few days.

When we got to Hokkaido, we boarded a train, which went all the way to Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido. Just outside the train station was our hotel, the Century Royal Hotel. We dropped our bags off here and went to eat our dinner. At Hokkaido, snow covered every inch of the area. Even in the middle of winter, I had never seen so much snow in Kyoto.

The restaurant we went to served a famous dish in Hokkaido: mutton. My dad and brother didn’t prefer the unique taste, but the rest of us enjoyed it a lot. Afterward, we stopped by a popular ramen restaurant for some extra food and then traveled back to the hotel.

Day 2

On day two, we all woke up and went to the 2nd floor of the hotel for breakfast. The Century Royal Hotel is actually famous for its extravagant breakfasts. Hotel guests have two choices: a refined traditional Japanese restaurant or a delicious buffet with many options. We decided to visit the buffet, and it was amazing.

Buffet at the Century Royal Hotel

My mom had good plans for the rest of the day. We were going to take a tour bus ride and visit a very famous zoo in Hokkaido and a couple other beautiful spots in the thick of nature in Hokkaido. However, our plans were about to be interrupted.

After getting all bundled up, we walked to the other side of the train station and found our bus waiting near the exit, sparkling with snow. After registering, we boarded the bus along with the other tourists. It took off shortly.

As the bus picked up speed, the tour guide lady stood up and announced to the whole crew that the time spent in the zoo would be shortened due to heavy snowfall. I was a little disappointed, but I thought, at least it isn’t totally canceled. However, the snowfall became more intense, and we couldn’t take the highway because of it. Our trip to the zoo got more and more delayed, and eventually, it was canceled.

The main reason we chose to go on the tour was to visit the zoo, which we enjoyed a lot when we went to Hokkaido in 2019. All of us were quite disappointed.

Instead of the zoo, we visited a memorial dedicated to a renowned Christian author named Ayako Miura. We took a small dive into her life and work in a small museum and boarded the bus again.

The next destination was the Shirahige Waterfall. Surrounded by frosty crystallized snow and lit by the hazy moonlight, the waterfall was stunningly beautiful.

Afterward, we visited Blue Lake, which I saw on my last trip to Hokkaido. However, this experience was very different. In the summer, the lake shimmered in a crystal blue, but now the lake was frozen. Snowy coated the entire surface, and no sign of the “blue” or the “lake” in Blue Lake would have been visible. That’s why there was a beautiful light show, casting bright blues and whites onto the snowy frozen lake. Here are some stunning pictures that I captured:

From there, the bus rumbled back to Sapporo, and we walked back to our hotel rooms.

The second day was full of surprises and some disappointments, but it was an exciting day. Stay tuned for information about the rest of my trip!


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