Where Furano and Asahikawa was a disappointment, Hakodate came as a relief to me. Hokkaido is still worth the visit after all.
Weather in Hakodate was cool and the air blowing from the marina was refreshing. I’d arrived at about 5pm and checked in at New Ohte Hotel which had rooms available for 3 nights. One thing that made me happy was there’s wireless broadband in the hotel rooms even though the hotel looks a bit old. At least it’s better than the hotel in Asahikawa which sucks big time. Not only was there no internet access, the concierge are not as spontaneously friendly as the ones I’ve come across in Tokyo, Nikko, Sendai and Hakodate.
Since it was already evening, I decided to take a bus up to Mt Hakodate to view the glittering city. It was a pretty nervous ride for me. The roads were narrow and there are many tight, tortuous curves. I’m impressed the bus driver could manoevre the big, fat vehicle of a bus through sharp S-curves up the mountain. I’d like to see a pro-driver drift his car up and down Mt Hakodate… more likely send the car flying off the edge of the road.
It was cold and a little foggy when we reached the top of the mountain at about 7pm. I waited until it grew a little darker and for the fog to clear and… … the view is beautiful. Hakodate city was a glittering jewel. The transient sight was worth the cold and the wait.
However, the fog grew worse at around 8pm and I decided to warm myself up with a cup of hot milk (abt SGD 5…monopolistic pricing) before heading to the bus stop for my ride back to JR Hakodate station.
As I waited for the bus, I wanted to laugh when I saw all the tour buses coming in. The fog had gotten so bad I could hardly see what’s in front of me 5 meters away. It’s a relief that I didn’t sign up on a tour package. One can’t have much of a freedom to choose the time to visit a place, to choose the stuff one wants to eat, nor the chance to interact with the locals.
When I reached Hakodate station, I was a little famished. There’s no restaurant in sight except a pricey looking one near the hotel I’m staying. Heeding the cries of my hungry stomach, I ordered Hokke teishoku (Grilled hokke set meal; abt SGD 17).
Oh my god. It’s so big and delicious I did not even stop to take a sip of water. I just kept shovelling the fish and rice into my mouth. The fish is as long as my forearm and the thick meat is bursting with sweetness and fish oils. The skin was grilled to a thin crisp. The okra side dish was refreshingly tasty too. The miso soup… oh man, is probably THE perfect miso soup I’ve ever had in my life. Umai da!!!
The next morning was even more umai!!!
I went to the nearby morning market where live squids were swimming in tanks and fresh fish laid on ice. Right next to the market is a street lined with restaurants specialising in seafood donburi, sushi and sashimi. I decided to have order a sushi set for breakfast!