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Saturday, February 22, 2014

16th Otaru Snow Light Path Festival (小樽雪あかりの路)

I went to the 16th Otaru Snow Light Path Festival (小樽雪あかりの路) with my tour guests from Hawaii.

When we arrived at Otaru Canal (小樽運河), one of the main venues of the festival, it was not very dark, but we could enjoy the scenery to get darker and darker at the nightfall.

I love huge snow and ice sculpture at the Sapporo Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり), of course, but I also love...............

cute and lovely snow objects that volunteer workers make like this↓

Candles in the objects are lit up every night by volunteer workers.

There are candles in each object!

Look at the pressed flowers on the ice candles!! How beautiful they are!

The objects are displayed along the canal, and we really enjoyed all of them..........

The darker it is, the more beautiful objects look!!!

Look at the face!!!
Although it was very cold (-15C), we enjoyed walking along the canal while taking pictures of unique objects!

The ice lanterns with maple leaves are one of my favorite art works here!! They look professional!!

Hokkaido remains me of Blakiston's fish owl↓, one of the most revered God for Ainu people, our indigenous people here.

How romantic the canal is!!

A lot of tourists took pictures with the heart-shaped object near Aasakusa Bridge (浅草橋).

Heart objects are scattered in the venue.....

I'll be back this festival next year!!

We had a wonderful time in Otaru.
The festival was held from Feb. 7th to 16th.

■Where is the Otaru Canal (小樽運河)?

View Larger Map

■Tour guide information■
Do you need a nationally-licensed English-speaking tour guide when you travel to Hokkaido?I'll guide you! Plz click here!

Friday, February 14, 2014

39th Sounkyo Hot Springs Ice Fall Festival (第39回層雲峡温泉氷瀑まつり)

We went to the "39th Sounkyo Hot Springs Ice Fall Festival (第39回層雲峡温泉氷瀑まつり)" the other days.

The temperature here was -14C!!!! But it's worth coming here!!

The venue along Ishikari River (石狩川) is about 10,000㎡.

It's so fantastic!!!

I took a picture of British Castle and Tower Bridge, the main ice sculptures this year, from the ice tunnel!

We also visited "Hyobaku Shrine (氷瀑神社)" in the venue↓

Not again!!!!
Tourists don't use the offertory box, and put coins on the ice directly!!! Hahaha!

Look at the icicles on the ceiling!!! They put coins on the top of the icicles, too!! Wow! Wow! Wow! But how?????

The slopes for tubing were also lit up!! We enjoyed the winter activity from the bottom of our heart!!

Let's enter the main ice sculpture!

It is like a maze inside, and

we managed to find the exit on time.

The fireworks displays have started!!!

The festival venue is the best place to see fireworks displays although it is freezing outside.....

We were so excited!!!

I'm so happy my guests were enjoying the local festival!!!

We returned to the festival site the next day during the day time.

The sculpture is light blue, and I like it!!

We visited each igloo. Depending on the sponsor, the decoration inside is different

The scenery from the ice tunnel during the day time is like this. Which do you prefer, the view at night, or during the day time? Or both??? Hahaha!!

We visited the shrine again and said a prayer.........

We easily found the exit this time, of course!!!

As it was freezing, I enjoyed hot milk......

When I looked at a person behind me, he was drinking sake!!! Wow! Wow! Wow!
We had a wonderful time in Sounkyo (層雲峡).

■Where is Sounkyo (層雲峡)?

View Larger Map

■Tour guide information■
Do you need a nationally-licensed English-speaking tour guide when you travel to Hokkaido?I'll guide you! Plz click here!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sounkaku Grand Hotel (層雲閣グランドホテル)①| Meals | Daisetsuzan National Park

I'm now in the Daisetsuzan National Park (大雪山国立公園).

Today's hotel is "Sounkaku Grand Hotel (層雲閣グランドホテル)"↓

Let's take it easy!!!

This is my room. Nod bad!!

Just for reference, this is a Japanese tatami room. Which do you prefer, a Japanese or a Western room?

Look at the Ishikari River (石狩川) seen from my room! How soothing it is!!

In the winter time, it is covered with snow
The area has different attraction in each season.

First of all, we went to the buffet venue.

My guests were so excited to see the crab mountain! Hahaha!

I really love Hokkai Shrimps (北海シマエビ), local shrimps available only in Hokkaido!

How about the tempra and steak corner? Yummy x 2!!

This sashimi corner looks good, but personally I recommend......

this sushi corner (勝手寿司).

Look at the sushi machine! Amazing isn't it?  Although this sushi doesn't taste as great as ones professional chefs make, as it is fun, I made a lot of sushi by myself! Hahaha!

Don't forget ramen (ラーメン) at the end!

The frozen noodles are boiled..........

like this↓

This is my first round!

I chose a lot of crabs and Hokkai shrimps!

Ramen looks wonderful, doen't it? As I like meat, I put three pieces of tender pork on ramen! Hahaha!

About desserts, I enjoyed a lot of fruits and ..................

a new type of shaved ice (新感覚アイス)↓

"Charmmy Snow Ice (チャーミースノーアイス)" tastes condensed milk, and is shaved softly like this.

This home-made strawberry source really goes well with the dessert!

See?! It tastes wonderful!

After enjoying dinner, we enjoyed hot spring.
To be continued............

■Hotel Information
・Hot Spring→
・Optional Tour→

■Where is "Sounkaku Grand Hotel (層雲閣グランドホテル)"?

View Larger Map

■Tour guide information■
Do you need a nationally-licensed English-speaking tour guide when you travel to Hokkaido?I'll guide you! Plz click here!