SHERRY

SHERRY

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Japan Trip (Hokkaido): Daisetsuzan National Park, Sounkyo and Our Onsen Experience

We rented a Honda Fit from Honda Rent-A-Car and that's our transport for the rest of the journey in Hokkaido.


There was a GPS in built in the car. To search for your destination, you can enter either the phone number or the map code. We find it easier to enter the phone number, as we didn't know how to find the map code. So when planning your itinerary, be sure to note down the phone number of the destination. The GPS was really up to date. It even warned us of road works a few kilometres ahead!


Our next destination is Sounkyo Gorge, near Daisetsuzan National Park. While driving along the highway, we felt hungry so we stopped at a rest stop, which only have a Seven-Eleven, to buy some food. Wow, pork rice was sold in Seven-Eleven leh, and it's still hot. We bought it and it tasted so so delicious! Wapiang, even Seven-Eleven food also tasted great man!



Hahaha. Guessed what we found at the Seven-Eleven rest stop? Stamp chops!


Sounkyo Onsen Ryokan

After 3 hours of driving, we finally reached Sounkyo. But the weather was not great. We checked in Sounkyo Yumoto Ginsenkaku. At night, we have to move the table and seats away and lay the mattress ourselves. It was a special experience but the mattress was not comfortable and I have back ache the next day!



There're free bathing robes on loan to guests staying in the Ryokan. We wore these when going for the Onsen.



The male and female public Onsen were separated.


After entering the public Onsen, there were shelves and lockers to put our stuff. We have to take off our bathing robes, or clothes here and cover ourselves with the towel to go into the Onsen area.


Upon entering the Onsen area, do not jump into the Onsen pool immediately. You will have to shower yourselves first before entering the Onsen pool. This is to ensure cleanliness of the Onsen. Shower gel and shampoo were provided at the bathing area. There were plastic chairs provided for us to sit and bath ourselves. Towels were not allowed to be brought into the pool. I entered the Onsen pool naked. It's quite an awkward experience for first timer like me, and I did not have friends to accompany me in the female Onsen. But then, maybe it would be even more awkward if I'm with friends? Anyway, I was quite happy that there were not many people when I went.


There's an outdoor Onsen. Your body will be in the hot Onsen while your head is above the Onsen and in the cold air. It's quite a Shiok experience!


Some tips for bathing in the Onsen. Onsen water is usually around 40 degrees celsius and it helps in blood circulation. Many people said that bathing in Onsen has many benefits and healing properties, and will make the skin smoother.

However, you might feel giddy if you bath in the Onsen water for too long. It's best to just bath for 20 to 30 minutes then come out of the Onsen to rest for a while, and then go in again, if you want. After soaking in Onsen, be sure to drink lots of water.

Onsen is not recommended for pregnant ladies and people with heart conditions or high blood pressure.

So that's our Onsen experience! While loitering the lobby of our Ryokan, we saw stamp chops again!


Ryu-Sei-No-Taki and Gin-Ga-No-Taki Waterfalls

The waterfalls were located 3km east of the Sounkyo Ropeway to Mount Kurodake. We approached the Tourist Office and they directed us the way to drive there. These 2 waterfalls are very near to each other and they are the husband and wife waterfalls. Ryu-Sei is the husband, while Gin-Ga is the wife.



While exploring the area, we saw a flight of steps which we could hike to get a better view of the waterfalls. But we were stopped by a Japanese auntie who told us not to go up as there's a risk of bear attacks.


Since we were unable to explore, we settled for a Hokkaido milk ice cream. Woo, it's so creamy and filled with milk fragrant.


O-Bako

From the tourist information, we saw an attraction nearby called O-Bako. But erm.. The views we had were filled with 'botak' trees instead of the picture shown in the tourist information brochure where red leaves decorated the views during autumn. I guessed Hokkaido's winter came early? Mid October is already past autumn for Hokkaido?



Dinner at 白扇

We had our dinner at a authentic Japanese restaurant where we have a private room and we have to take off our shoes and have our meal sitting on the floor.


Our bento set and fish hotpot. The fish hotpot has some herbs taste which was not to our liking.

After the meal, we went shopping at a convenient stall and saw Santouka instant bowl noodles. lol.


Sounkyo Ropeway to Mount Kurodake

It was raining and the sky was filled with clouds. We reckoned we couldn't get a nice view today but still, we proceeded with our plan of taking the Sounkyo Ropeway to Mount Kurodake.


The cost of a return ticket for the Ropeway is 1950 yen per person. The Ropeway only brings you up to 70% of the mountain. There is a chairlift which will get you nearer to the summit. However, there is a separate cost for the chairlift, a return ticket cost 600 yen per person.



Looking at the weather and the views, we decided not to spend the money to take the chair lift.


So we walked around Mount Kurodake with an umbrella and with cloudy views around us. One word to describe: Xian..





In the Mount Kurodake station, we saw many stamp chops again and notebooks which guests could leave a message. Hubby and I decorated a message in the notebook.


We were quite disappointed because of the weather. If the sky was clear we could actually see breathtaking views of the snow mountains in Daisetsuzan National Park.

Momijidani

We found this place in the Tourist Information brochure and decided to take a look. The brochure said it's a 45 minutes walk along the Momijidani path to the Momijidani waterfall, didn't sound like some difficult walk eh.

But we were wrong, the stones path was only at the entrance, as we walked further in, the paths were slippery and muddy, due to the rain. There wasn't any walking path to speak, it's hiking instead of walking. We saw some tourists came in fashion boots thinking that there's a walking path, but gave up after a while. I gave up half way, as it's really too difficult for me. My strong hubby continued and took some photos of the Momijidani waterfall.




That's what we did in Sounkyo! Now moving on to our next destination - Furano!

1 comment:

  1. Hello, just came across your post and would like to share with you what I know as I have been staying in Hokkaido for more than a year. I was told that the Daisetsuzan has the earliest autumn and winter because of its high altitude. The autumn usually starts around Sept. Thus, when you reached in October, it is the end of the season.

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