Hokkaido, Japan 2016 Day 4: Museums and Parks Galore in Hokkaido!

Abashiri Prison Museum

Visiting the Abashiri Prison Museum

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.

private garden with onsen

A wonderful quiet morning in the garden while soaking in the onsen

private garden with onsen

Love, love, love!

private suite with open air onsen

I was sad to leave this suite but so happy to have experienced it!

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.

Continental breakfast buffet

Continental breakfast buffet at the hotel

Continental breakfast buffet

My tray of breakfast nutrition 🙂

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.

Abashiri Prison Museum map

Map of the prison

Abashiri Prison Museum

We toured about the facility on our own and got to see the inmate cells among many other things!

Abashiri Prison Museum prison cells

My cousin had fun pretending to be one of the inmates stuck inside one of the cells XD

Abashiri Prison Museum

A remake with plastic mannequins of how life used to be in the prison

Abashiri Prison Museum

Entrance/Exit of the prison

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.

Hokkaido museum

Museum of stuffed animals and artefacts

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.

Okhotsk Ryūhyō Museum

Fun at Okhotsk Ryūhyō Museum — swinging wet towels and seeing these creatures

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

Okhotsk Ryūhyō Museum

Observatory deck on the roof where you could see Lake Abashiri

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.

Kaiseki lunch

Kaiseki lunch for each person at Abashiri Central Hotel

After lunch, we drove to Shanti Park and looked at the mountains and took photos.

Shanti Park

Shanti Park views

Shiretoko National Park

Lots of boardwalks leading to various stops at the Shiretoko National Park

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.

Shiretoko National Park

One of the lakes — what a view!

Shiretoko National Park

As we walked back to the entrance, the sun was setting

Shiretoko National Park

Ending off the short ‘hike’ with lingonberry soft serve ice cream!

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.

Shiretoko World Heritage Conservation Centre

Interactive displays at Shiretoko World Heritage Conservation Centre

Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi private open-air bath

Private open-air bath on the balcony in the room at 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.

Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi buffet

Dinner buffet selection at Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi

I essentially took my time and ate from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi buffet

I liked how their plate had individual slots for each food item

Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi buffet


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)!

Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi ice cream

This plate was perfect to try their difference ice cream selections!

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

Shiretoko Grand Hotel Kitakobushi balcony onsen

Onsen on the balcony with some lounge chairs!

 It was another great day sightseeing in Hokkaido and ending off with the relaxing open-air onsen at night. ^_^

View the blog posts for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 5, Day 6, and Day 7 of my Hokkaido 2016 trip!

About stenoodie

I'm a stenographer, foodie, avid traveller, and new mom who loves to share her experiences with the world.
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8 Responses to Hokkaido, Japan 2016 Day 4: Museums and Parks Galore in Hokkaido!

  1. Pingback: Hokkaido, Japan 2016 Day 5: Waterfalls, Parks, and Public Onsens | stenoodie

  2. Pingback: Hokkaido, Japan 2016 Day 6: Miniature Horse Farm, Sapporo Museum, and More Food in Sapporo | stenoodie

  3. Pingback: Hokkaido, Japan 2016 Day 7: Mitsui Outlet Mall and Last Day | stenoodie

  4. Pingback: Hokkaido, Japan 2016 Day 1: Arrival in Hokkaido! | stenoodie

  5. Pingback: Hokkaido, Japan 2016 Day 2: Exploring Otaru & Sapporo | stenoodie

  6. Pingback: Hokkaido, Japan 2016 Day 3: Snow Museum, Daisetsuzan National Park, and Private Onsen | stenoodie

  7. The outdoor onsen looks incredible. Wish we could have stayed there during our time in Hokkaido!

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