Jun 19, 2017

Hokkaido Spring Day 2: Hakodate Morning Market + Onuma Park

Rise and shine at 6:30! I wasn't planning on waking till 7am but it was so bright I found it hard to continue sleeping. After taking a shower, I packed up and checked out of my hostel. I found myself at Goryokaku Koen again by 8:18 am because I just couldn't get enough of these Somei Yoshino!

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I wandered aimlessly like the hopeless dreamer I am, soaking in every bit of the Sakura rays. Let my photographs show you the beauty I saw.






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I’ve been on a Cherry Blossom chase every year since 2014 – that makes it four consecutive years of Hanami (without the picnic because *coughforeveralone*). And every time I see them, it’s like falling in love again. I can never understand how five simple petals can come together to form such a paradise on earth. God really did a great job on earth.


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The park is the place to go to experience your slice of true-blue locality as countless locals went about their daily grind. Leisure park strollers walked their dog, cycled their bike and did their jogs. You can even catch High school students in their classic navy sweatshirts running around the canal. With the pale pink blossoms shining in the background, I almost had to convince myself that this wasn’t a scene from an Anime. This was me, living the moment with these very real people – even if they aren’t aware of my existence haha.


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After a brief one hour walk and endless trigger pressing, I was back at the hostel for my luggage. God was on my side as I managed to catch a bus (finally caught bus 60!) to Hakodate station with 2 minutes to spare. Thank goodness the bus stop was just a minute away and I didn't get lost this time! Bus ride cost 260 yen.

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The journey took roughly 20 minutes. I left my luggage in one of the lockers at the Hakodate JR Station for 400 yen before skipping off to the Morning Market.

The morning market as promised, was bustling with life and seafood that's alive! Hakodate being a Harbor city, is famous for its fresh and comparatively affordable seafood. Every corner was filled with the pandering aroma of barbecued seafood and friendly store owners vying for your attention.
Before I settled for lunch, I met up with two Malaysian girls I befriended at the hostel the night before and we got some nice Hokkaido ice cream together. Since it was spring, I decided a Cherry Blossom cone would be appropriate xD. Adventurous WY went with squid ink flavoured ice cream which according to her, taste just like vanilla 8D. I believe the ice cream cost me 390 yen and if I'd be brutally honest, tasted pretty average to me. But it was the company that mattered so I wasn't too bothered.

The girls went off to explore the rest of Hakodate while I continued to roam the Morning Market for gastronomic adventures. The cheapskate me settled on a 500yen Seafood Don at a restaurant on the 2nd floor of the market. Miso Soup and Ocha (tea) is included for free - gotta love the the "service-first" Japanese!



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The bowl is small in portion so it might not satisfy big eaters but it was the perfect size for me. What's more, the array of bright colours made it pretty Instagram-worthy doesn't it?

Picked up my luggage and went to the train station for a train to Onuma Park. I was aiming to take the Limited Express Super Hokuto train which would zoom me to the park within 10 minutes. But turns out I had messed up my research (I searched for "Shin-Hakodate" instead of "Hakodate" train station) and almost missed the express train! Thank goodness I had decided to go to the platform early and was able to sprint my way into the express train.

Found myself on a reserved seat cabin and sat down like a boss because I didn't know better. The train conductor came to check the tickets and asked for my reservation ticket which I didn't have. I was told I'd have to go sit in the non-reserved cabins but after knowing I was only going to Onuma Park, he gave me a big relieved smile and told me it's okay, I can sit here since the journey is so short. The journey from Hakodate to Onuma Park Station took around 30 minutes.

In case you’re interested, below is the Super Hokuto Ltd Express Train schedule for trains from Hakodate to Sapporo and Vice versa.




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Here is the Train schedule that included normal trains.


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The luggage lockers in the Onuma Park Train station were full so I stored my bag in the Onuma Tourist Information Centre for 300 yen. The Information center staff was really helpful and was able to converse in basic English. She recommended the walking and cycling trails I should take and gave me a local map. She also gave me a discount coupon to rent the bicycle for a full day. I ended up only renting the bike for an hour though as I wanted to roam around on my feet.


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The last train to Sapporo was 5:06pm and I reserved a ticket in advance with my Hokkaido Rail Pass.
Onuma Park is a peaceful and picturesque park just twenty kilometers outside Hakodate. The park is surrounded by a beautiful snow capped mountain (Mt. Komagatake), serene blue lakes and woods. Little islands dot the lakes and are linked up by cement bridges, making it an ideal place to be enjoyed on foot. The Onuma Koen Train Station stops right in front of the park, making a trip to this 'quasi-national park' as easy as pie. I highly recommend doing a day trip but if you're adventurous enough, try camping outdoor at the park as camping is free! You'd have to bring your own camping gears though as renting is not provided.

More information about Onuma Park:

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Onuma Park turned out to be a much more pleasant place than I expected. The clear blue skies and the peaceful lakes linked together by the little bridges and the view of Mt.Komagatake in the far background was absolutely calming. Anyone touring Hakodate should definitely make a day trip there. I hope that the next time I visit, I’ll be able to camp overnight in the beautiful wilderness of the park.


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I found my way into a secluded corner that had a lot of boats and nets basking in the sun. A pretty special little corner since it wasn’t part of an attraction and I was the only one threading the dried grass there. A part of me told me I shouldn’t be stepping foot in but for the most part, I enjoyed my brief solitude there hehe.


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Onuma Park was also famous for their special dango that was covered in sweet soya sauce syrup and red bean paste. A small box cost me 390 yen and it did well as an afternoon snack. I also splurged on some Hakodate Omiyage and a fried chicken cutlet because I was cold and hungry.


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After 4 short hours, it was time to bid the park goodbye and continue on my three hours ride to Sapporo. I bought a 800yen Seafood Ekiben and had my dinner on the train. The highlight of a long train ride has got to be the Ekiben (Train Bento). Japanese cuisine focus a lot on using fresh local ingredients and staying in touch with the seasons. I’m not a fan of seafood (i’m ridiculous, I know), but I really enjoyed the sweet and chewy scallops in the Bento.


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My day officially ended with me checking into my Hostel in Sapporo but this entry shall end here. Hope you had fun reading my solo adventures!


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