Sapporo is the capital of the Hokkaido prefecture, its largest city, and a favorite destination for Japanese skiers. It is probably best known for hosting the Winter Olympics back in 1972. While it has a vibrant nightlife and an abundance of great food (plus Sapporo beer!), we were not all that impressed with the city as a tourist destination. We spent two days and two nights there, but afterwards felt a day and a night would have been adequate to see the city.
|You read that right; 2 cantaloupes cost about US $55.|
|Could not resist taking a photo of this old Japanese "western" movie poster hanging above a restaurant urinal.|
Daisetsuzan National Park
At almost 800 square miles, Daisetsuzan is Japan's largest national park and a vast wildnerness area filled with rugged mountains, active volcanoes, clear lakes, and a great many onsen. With only a couple days to explore, we only scratched the surface.
|The trail headed towards Tokachi-dake, an active volcano.|
|That's not mist blocking the view of Tokachi-dake; it's sulphur fumes from one of the many volcanic vents in park. It made for a rather surreal sight.|
|One of the really nice things about the park were all the spas and onsens. They were great places to go after hikes.|
|Asahi-dake. The other famous active volcano in the park and a day hike destination.|
|Bad weather on the way up.|
|That cleared by the time we got to the top.|
Views from the top:
For our final couple days on Hokkaido, we visited a waterfall in Daisetsuzan and then headed over to the lakes of Akan National Park before returning to Sapporo airport.
|Waterfall in Daisetsuzan. The trail was closed because a flash flood had washed out much of it, but we went anyway, figuring we would probably not be back.|
|Random lake on the road from Daisetsuzan to Akan.|
|Kussharo-ko (lake) with Naka jima (island). Unfortunately, a few minutes after this photo was taken, we were socked on by heavy fog, so no more photos.|
|Until we got down to the lake itself.|
|Short lake-side trail.|
|Volcanic activity along the lake shore. The lake shore also had two natural onsens, so you could hike along the lake, swim in its cold waters, then jump in the excruciatingly hot waters of the onsen.|
|Sapporo airport. The Japanese love their food. We did too.|
We really enjoyed our 5 days on the island and look forward to going back sometime.