Japan Travel Blog
Kanagawa - Kogoshima - Hokkaido (est. 5500km)
15~31 August 2018, Summer
by Tong, CEO WASABI Creation
6. Hokkaido Rental Car Tour by JTB Hokkaido: Day 0
After departing from Kagoshima Air-port, I arrived at Shin-Chitose Airport in Hokkaido. Right after stepping out of the airport, a mini-bus from Japan Rent-a-Car was already waiting for me to take me to the rental car center. There is only myself in the mini-bus, in Japan they really go out of their way, just for even one customer.
The rental car office was already filled with many tourists, mostly from Asia such as China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The whole process of car rental was surprising efficient and smooth, with fluent English speaker at the counter assisting me. (I was pretending I don't speak Japanese.) I got allocated to a Nissan hybrid car which was pretty comforatble and easy to handle.
For the first day, I was suppose to take a drive by myself in Hokkaido to experience the rental-car tour myself, before meeting the rest of the influencers the next day. The first stop was at Otaru, a very famous tourist spot next to the port.
Otaru Canal (小樽運河, Otaru Unga) was a central part of the city's busy port in the first half of the 20th century. Large vessels were unloaded by smaller ships, which then transported the goods to warehouses along the canal.
The canal became obsolete when modern dock facilities allowed for direct unloading of larger vessels. Thanks to a citizens' movement, a part of the canal was beautifully restored in the 1980s instead of being landfilled, while the warehouses were transformed into museums, shops and restaurants.
I was particularly attracted to the traditional glass making place called Taishou Kiriko. A store specializing in glassware that was remodeled from the original shop built in 1906. Glass tableware built in an early 20th-century style and products manufactured in Otaru are on display and sold here. You can even try some glassmaking at the workshop next door.
Similar to some tourist spots in Japan, you can find trishaws pulled by some handsome, and strong young men, who are often good at sweet talking to get tourists to hop into their trishaw for a joy ride. One interesting thing I observed is that there are many building with a mix of Japanese and European architecture style along the streets. It certainly reflects the European influence this place had from the past.
After spending a long time at Otaru, I continued driving along the coastline toward the east and arrived at Yoichi Space Museum. Yoichi is the hometown of Mamoru Mohri, a scientist and the first Japanese astronaut. He went on his first space mission in 1992, and a space dome was made to celebrate this. It has a lot of information on the cosmos and scale models. Yoichi Space Museum is a facility adjoining the Space Apple Yoichi Roadside Station.
Along the coastline as I drove, I came across some very unique feature of rocks, such as this huge rock in the shape of a dog howling to the sky. It has an interesting story along the line of once upon a time, there was a dog waiting for its master to return and eventually turned into a rock, after failing to see his master coming back.
Driving took a quite a bit of the time, and very soon it was time to return to Shin-Chitose to return the car. After today's solo trip, I would be joining the rest the next day for the rest of the journey in Hokkaido.
Wanna find out where to go, what to do, what to eat in Hokkaido? Check out https://en.visit-hokkaido.jp/
Japan Travel Blog 2018: click below to see other stories
To be continued......
For collaboration please contact Tong at email@example.com