Merry Christmas! A rainy Christmas eve it was and here I am reminiscing our snowy holiday. When oh when will I ever spend Christmas in the midst of white snow.
Anyway, since I am sleepless (insomnia strikes again), I might as well start blogging more about the trip while it is still somewhat fresh in my mind. I shall start with the our day 1 and day 2.
Day 1: On the plane and Hotel Nikko Kansai
For this trip, we chose an afternoon flight out of Singapore. We realise that as we age, taking red-eye flights can be very tiring especially with young children. I really dislike the feeling that we can’t check into the hotel upon the early arrival. We learnt our lesson from our last trip to Osaka when we had to roam around very lethargically before we could get our first shower and rest after the long flight. Yes, we did ‘save one day’ but I think that one day saved was rather meaningless due to the fatigue and the waiting. So, for this trip, we chose a different flight timing and arrived in Kansai at night. ‘Wasted’ almost the whole day on the plane but at least we did not feel as tired as before. Since our flight to Hokkaido was at 8.30am the next morning, we spent the night at Hotel Nikko Kansai which is just opposite the airport. I wish we could stay longer at this super comfortable hotel and not just for about 7 hours. So, our day 1 was just gone like this — 7 hours on the plane, almost one hour clearing customs, then 30 mins of supper and then 7 hours of sleep in the hotel.
Family picture before departure
Body still not used to the cold. All masked up during the walk to the hotel
Luxurious toiletries at Hotel Nikko. The only picture I captured of the hotel
(Tip: Hotel Nikko Kansai is very popular and expensive hotel because many travellers will choose to stay here for the night before proceeding to downtown the next day but if you can book at least 60 days in advance, they offer super good early bird rates. For us, we actually got the twin room for $154 via Agoda.com)
Day 2: New Chitose Airport & Otaru
Day 2 spelt the real start of our holiday. The troop probably only caught less than 6 hours of sleep before our next leg of journey. As I did not manage to book ourselves on the ideally timed 9.30am JAL flight to New Chitose Airport so, we had to settle on the 8.30am flight on ANA (which was actually my preferred airline between the two). The girls were fantastic, woke up fairly quickly without much dilly and dally and off we walked to the airport to check in and have our brekkie at Mcdonalds. Everything went according to plan and the flight was exceptionally pleasant as it was very empty. We even got to change our seats to window seats.
Wefie before we board the domestic flight
We flew on ANA
Thanks to the empty flight we could take the window seat and saw such beautiful clouds
There you are, Hokkaido in all white snowy glory
We arrived at New Chitose Airport around 9.30am. The plan for this day was to just explore the airport, which is great for shopping and for kids. Top on the list was the Waku Waku Doraemon Sky Park. The Ks like Doraemon cartoons very much and so, this park was included in the plan just for them. Enroute to our destination, we discovered Royce Chocolate World. The girls were amazed at the automated production line of Royce Chocolate and I wish we had more time to explore.
So, back to the Doraemon Sky Park. It was definitely not very crowded and to be honest, I was disappointed that it was rather small. It is a like a mini trickeye museum where you can take fun 3D pictures. Instead of spending more time in the paid area, the girls spent a longer time at the FREE little playground (also Doraemon theme) next to the actual park ;(
Royce Chocolate World…wish we had more time to explore
Girls just stared at this chocolate making machine for a long time
Here we are!
Very very rare chance to meet and greet Doraemon
Lotsa picture taking setting
At The FREE playground
I cannot resist buying from the gift shop
We spent slightly less than 2 hours at the sky park. After which, we decided to skip the Hello Kitty Happy Flight park as well as the planned lunch at Doraemon cafe so that we can have our first proper Japanese meal. I had my first Uni Ikura Don and the Mr had Zaru Soba. Post-lunch was spent roaming around the level shopping area. I would strongly suggest friends who intend to visit Hokkaido allocate at least 1-2 hours at New Chitose Airport. Most of the famous Hokkaido foods can be found (like LeTao, Shiroi Koibito etc) and more importantly, there is a Calbee shop there. I have always been a great fan of Calbee’s Jagariko, especially the salad flavoured potato sticks. So, I almost jumped in glee when I saw the shop selling the Jagariko in REAL POTATO and HOT! Big K was turned instantly into #1 fan (she had two cups when we departed).
Yummy hotate, Uni and Ikura Don…I concluded that I don’t quite like Ikura but am crazy about Uni
Mega Mega Capsule Trap
I can have many many cups of this!
Shopping paradise for the pokemon fans
After spending about half a day at the super happening New Chitose Airport, we bade our good-bye and went on our first train journey to Otaru. The train journey gave us a glimpse of what to expect for the next few days. We saw traces of snow and the ocean view, we saw as we approached Otaru, was simply breathtaking.
At Otaru station, we were greeted by our Airbnb host, Hirofumi san and we started our first family airbnb experience. The little apartment was definitely a new experience for us. Everything was so ‘Japanese’, from the futons on the floor, to the tiny lounge table with warmer underneath. Not forgetting the Japanese styled bathroom. Certainly an unforgettable stay. (The link to Hirofumi san’s airbnb listing is here)
As we got too comfortable in the apartment, plans to grab a nice dinner out was scrapped. We decided to walk to the nearby supermarket to grab some food instead and we experienced our very first heavy snow storm on the way there and back. Otaru certainly welcomed us with lotsa snow.
The only picture we got from the outing to the supermarket. We were simply happy to hide from the crazy snow.
So, here it is….our pretty smooth and uneventful day 1 and 2 of the holiday, except for that unexpected heavy snow. Shall post more on the trip over the next few entries.