We thought it was time we entered the blogosphere, so without further ado here is our first post. Comments are most welcome. Although my daughter and I shared a few of our adventures in Hokkaido on the Japanese Tex-style homepage, there is always more to tell and many more photographs which maybe of interest to our readers.
It had always been a dream to visit Hokkaido, so in February this year, we set off from Kansai airport, Osaka. The local weather was cold and damp but after two hours flying we arrived in Hokkaido, a snow covered vista. The journey by train from the airport took us through a snowscape dotted with wooden houses painted in different colours, reminding me of a previous visit to Norway. Indeed the whole landscape had a Scandinavian feel, it's building and rows of birch trees interspersed with large pines.
The station, in Sapporo, was very near to our hotel, but it was a case of so near yet so far and in the end we had to use Louise's SatNav which cleverly gave instructions as we walked. Eventually we arrived at a small, immaculate business hotel.
There was no time to lose, we changed into some warm clothes (Osaka at 7 degrees C, Sapporo -7 degrees C) and stepped into the busy streets. It was early evening, already dark and on cue it began to snow heavily.
Gingerly we started walking to Odori park, where the Yuki Matsuri had already started. I say gingerly, the pavements were frozen solid, we had come prepared wearing thick rubber soled boots but still walking without falling over required great skill.
Amazingly we saw young Japanese girls teetering on 5 inch heeled boots, but remaining on their feet! Finally we arrived at Odori Park into a fairytale setting of snow sculptures and festive lights. Aromas on the breeze coming from food booths on the route, we chose chicken teriyaki on skewers, washed down with hot sake, this bringing life to our frozen bodies.
Later in the evening we climbed the Sapporo tower, for an overhead view of Odori park, which was worth the climb, but extremely crowded, we were pleased to step out amongst the snow sculptures once more. The crowds had thinned and the temperature had dropped, so another drink, this time hot mulled wine revived us with a warm glow!
We saw an amazing sight, a just married Japanese couple posing for photographs temperature now -9 degrees C, the bridegroom wore a Western suit and the bride wore a soft pink dress, her arms and shoulders bare, still managing a big smile for the camera! Now with the temperature dropping and our legs numb from below the knee, it was time to return to the hotel, as we walked making plans for our next trip on the following day, out to the countryside and the Ainu museum.