Monday, December 22, 2014

Train Trips to Otaru and Hakodate, Japan

Continuing my somewhat late blog entries from my Japan trip in January 2014, We previously travelled from Tokyo to Sapporo on the overnight train Cassiopeia, and today I continue on from that - from Sapporo Station to the small township of Otaru in Hokkaido.

Here is the view from the platform at Sapporo Station as we await our local train to Otaru - cold, cold cold!

Here comes our train!

the journey to Otaru takes about 30 minutes from Sapporo. Along the way we could see other train rolling stock:

We also got some nice views of the mountains and seaside as the train winds it way toward Otaru:

Close to arriving into Otaru, the township now visible - it was quite cold and plenty of snowfall around:

The Shinkansen is being extended from Shin-Aomori (on the main island of Japan - Honshu) to Hokkaido - this is a big deal for Hokkaido as it means much faster travel times from Tokyo and Osaka - plenty of advertising to remind all that it is coming soon!

Here we are, arrived at Otaru Station:

Doesn't take long to get our first reminder of what Otaru is most famous for - beautiful glassware:

The Otaru Platform signage:

View of our local train arrived at Otaru's platform:

I also found this original Otaru platform sign, written in Japanese from right to left, rather than the modern day left to right:

Here is the outside of Otaru Station - it was snowing so I didn't get much opportunity to take photos of the outside of the station:

Another thing Otaru (and indeed Hokkaido) is famous for is it's fresh seafood. We had arranged for a table at a well known local Sushi bar in Otaru, where we got to sample many different types of Sushi, all prepared to order in front of us:

In the main township of Otaru, there used to be a branch line just before the current Otaru station, which ran through the middle of Otaru - this is now closed, but someone built this train out of snow to show us all where it once was!

Some more photos around Otaru - the glassware displays, canal and the freezing temperature outside at 5:15pm...

Seafood of course was the menu for dinner, and with some nice warm Sake to drink with it - delicious!

The next morning, we decided to take a very local train line from Otaru back towards Hakodate. This line took as through some amazing snow covered mountains, and some well known Ski resort areas, like Niseko.

As we progressed on this local line, the stations got smaller, and smaller, and smaller....

Here is the view inside the train:

As I mentioned, the train stations along the way kept getting smaller...

Ginzan was very small indeed. At this point it was very heavy snow:

We stopped briefly at a slightly larger station platform for a few minutes, which allowed everyone to stretch their legs, and for me to take some photos of the train:

As you can see it is very much snowing!

As we got going again I took the opportunity to take some (in my opinion) amazing landscape photos of the area we were passing on the way to Hakodate - the scenery was breathtaking:

After a while we arrived at Niseko Station, near to the well known Niseko Ski Resort:

After this station stop, we continued on, with the occasional stop for a few minutes to clean the worst of the snow on the tracks up ahead:

Some of the trains stations were quite basic along the way - this one serviced one house that I could see in the area! This is very local - no English signs here!

After 3 hours travelling, our local train arrived at a significant city station called Oshamambe, where we would transfer trains to the much faster Hokuto train for the final section to Hakodate:

Train is covered in snow - it was freezing outside:

Here is the view of the train platforms at the transfer station:

Inside the Oshamambe Station concourse - we grabbed a quick bite to eat before the next train arrived:

Outside the Station - it as still snowing and quite cold here:

Back on the platform, with the Hokuto train due shortly:

Here is the Hokuto train at the platform:

Onboard the Hokuto train, bound for Hakodate:

Some views from the train as we headed to Hakodate:

Here we are, arrived at Hakodate:

View down the Platform at Hakodate:

Views of the Hakuto and Super Hakucho trains next to each other at Hakodate - we would catch Super Hakucho to return to the main island on Honshu the next day:

Local trains at the Hakodate Station platforms:

It was freezing and very nice to get inside the Station - this shot show the view Hakodate is famous for:

This is the view outside Hakodate Station:

Hakodate (like Sapporo) has a significant Tram network - I rushed to grab some photos:

They even have some heritage Tram cars in operation too - these photos were taken at the Hakodate Eki Mae Tram Station stop:

We rode the tram close to the cable car that takes you high above Hakodate to grab "that photo". Some more trams, this time at the tram stop we got off at:

And of course we then travelled on the cable car high above Hakodate to grab "that shot" - what everyone who visits Hakodate wants to see - and it is stunning:

The sun poked out and the snowstorm moved away, allowing a better shot:

Here is a zoomed photo I took of the Hakodate Railway station from the same position as above:

In the next entry I will cover the journey back to Honshu, and several amazing trains I took on the way back to Tokyo!

No comments:

Post a Comment