October 5, 2016 ~ Day 4 in Hokkaido, Japan.
Today was great and full of short excursions to interesting museums and pit stops.
Just before breakfast, we squeezed in another dip in the onsen hot spring bath. This time, taking it in the morning meant a different feel and experience. The water was at 40 degrees, hotter than last night and you could see the garden and mountain silhouette beyond the fence. It was beautiful, what dreams are made of.
Breakfast downstairs at the dining room, the continental breakfast selection was as plentiful as dinner last night. (It was in the same dining room and buffet area as the dinner.) I had my usual natto beans, congee, and various other yummy dishes. We also could cook various things in the miso hot pot too.
We left by 8:30 a.m. and went to the Abashiri Prison Museum. This was a replica of the real thing that housed thousands of prisoners way back then. The site was situated in a scenic area full of leaves turning colour for the season.
It was actually really interesting to tour around and walk through the different chambers of the prison. There were even life-like mannequins in the different rooms to fit the scenarios. I learned a lot even from watching a bit of the video about life as a prisoner back then. How lucky we have it now..not as prisoners but life for prisoners in general. No hard labour at least and there are so many laws surrounding rights and such for all human life.
We went to a small museum which showcased animals and various species. I wasn’t a big fan of this but took photos with a large sea turtle here haha.
After this, we went to the Okhotsk Ryūhyō Museum where we donned warm jackets to go inside a -15.5C degree room to fling wet towels around to see it shape into a solid after a few seconds. It was fun.
There was also an observatory deck which overlooked Lake Abashiri. By filling out a long survey, we also were a free bag of candy. XD
For lunch, we went to Abashiri Central Hotel and had the traditional kaiseki (懐石料理) lunches where each person got a set with steamed egg, tempura, mini hot pot, rice, and more. It was a satisfying lunch.
After lunch, we drove to Shanti Park and looked at the mountains and took photos.
When we went to Shiretoko National Park and spent time walking on the walkways to the first observation drop-off point. It was absolutely beautiful there and the sun was just dipping into the lake.
The walkway was easy and the views were so stunning. Everywhere you turned, the view was spectacular.
After the walk, I stopped by the gift shop and picked up a lingonberry soft serve ice cream to try it out. The soft serve was really smooth and only had a slight of hint of the berry in it. Either way, it was cool to try.
After that, we went to the Shiretoko World Heritage Conservation Centre to watch a short 15-minute clip about the area and play with some animal props before heading to our third hotel of the trip — Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi.
This hotel also had bath houses and individual open-air onsens on the balcony. While this suite was large and nice, it couldn’t compare to last night’s. The onsen was also not as large as yesterday’s. But I did like how you could adjust the temperature by adding in hot or cold water with the touch of a button. I had a quick soak before heading down for dinner. ^_^
For dinner, we went down to the second floor for an AYCE Japanese dinner. Wow, was I ever impressed! This Japanese ACYE had everything you could want plus really high quality sashimi, ramen station, two chocolate fountains, big selection of hot and cold dishes.
I essentially took my time and ate from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
They had so many types of ice cream, of which there were soda, matcha, black sesame, mango flavours. I had to get one of each to try (and share)!
Back in the room that night after dinner, you can bet that I enjoyed another open-air onsen soak. ^_^ The balcony was right next to me and when I got up, if someone was downstairs on the ground floor, they would have seen me in my birthday suit. XD Luckily, I checked and was pretty sure no one was looking outside. XD
It was another great day sightseeing in Hokkaido and ending off with the relaxing open-air onsen at night. ^_^