Before I tell you all about Hakodate, one more skiing picture. Ian (green jacket) took yet another picture of our beloved Volacano Yotei on the last morning and skiing down the piste afterwards lost his iPhone from his jacket. Modern technology – find my IPhone – located it on the slope! Gilly his wife found the phone ringing buried in snow! The picture shows a very happy crew afterwards, and our delicious Shabu Shabu meal with Hokkaido Wagyu beef and raw eggs on our last night!
Hakodate is the most southern town of Hokkaido and can best be described as a city of seafood, and one of the early cities which opened up to foreigners trading with Japan in 1854 after Japan’s 200 years of isolation. So it has a very pretty historical European quarter which reminded both Tony and myself of Hobart in Tasmania. The best view of Hakodate is at night from a mountain which we climbed by rope cable car!
Its most recent claim to fame is the new Shinkansen bullet train ( Tony says it looks like a squid). It connects Hokkaido with the biggest Japanese Island of Honshu through a 53.85 km tunnel of which 23.3km are under the ocean bed.
Tony and I got up at 5.30am on Saturday the 4th of March to go to the famous Hakodate fish market call Asa-ichi. We ate fresh sea urchin and raw squid thinly sliced for breakfast, which we caught ourselves from a fish tank. Even after my squid was immersed in soya sauce it was still moving, a bit creepy. To finish off we drank delicious coffee and sampled local Trappist monk biscuits from a small stall whose Japanese owner had gone to university in Canterbury.
We visited the museum of northern people which tells the story of the Ainu people who originally inhabited Hokkaido. They were of Caucasian origin probably came from Russia and according to the Japanese hairy and smelly just like the Europeans. They hunted and fished and had their own language.
Hakodate has its own Onsen so we took a tram out to see Japanese macaque or snow monkeys enjoy them in the tropical gardens. Afterwards we had our own Onsen at one of the local hotels this time looking out to sea rather than mountains. No pictures of course!
On Sunday we travelled on the Shinkansen 1200km in 9 hrs to Kobe. The next blog will tell you about Himeji castle.xxF