Friday, May 15, 2015

(Japan Jan 2015) Day 10: Visit Onuma-koen. Hakodate to Noboribetsu. Stay at Noboribetsu

Day 10 (1 Feb): Visit Onuma-koen. Hakodate to Noboribetsu. Stay at Noboribetsu.

This day's itinerary:
(Day 9 of our 14 days JR Railpass)
0615-0745 Visit Hakodate Morning Market and have breakfast
0813-0835 Hakodate to Onumakoen via Ltd Exp Super Hokuto train (22mins)
Deposit luggage at Onumakoen Tourist Info office located next to the station
Visit Onuma-koen 
Ice Fishing (5mins walk from Onumakoen station, 1500yen for 1hr)
Lunch at Onuma-koen (2nd floor of a nearby souvenir shop)
1249-1447 Onumakoen to Noboribetsu via Ltd Exp Super Hokuto train (118mins)
15mins bus ride from Noboribetsu station to Noboribetsu onsen town
Check in at hotel
Walk around Noboribetsu onsen town
Dinner at hotel

Since we had to catch an early train to Onuma-koen, therefore we woke up extremely early to go to the nearby morning market to have breakfast.
Upon stepping out from the hotel, we realised that it was snowing! 
Not just snowing, but it was extremely windy and cold too!

It was a cold walk to the morning market

After breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to pick up our luggage bags and went to Hakodate train station to catch a train to Onuma-koen. You can take either Ltd Exp train (about 20mins journey, but more expensive) or regular local train (about 40mins journey, but cheaper) from Hakodate station to Onuma-koen station. 
But if you are using JR Hokkaido Railpass or the nationwide Japan Rail Pass (like us), then it would be a better option to take the Ltd Exp train since it is covered under those 2 types of railpasses.
Ltd Exp Super Hokuto train
After a short train journey, we arrived at Onumakoen station. 
Most foreign tourists tends to skip Onumakoen when they are visiting Hakodate even though Onumakoen is just a short train ride away from Hakodate, but I like this small little tranquil place, especially during autumn (when the leaves turns red) and winter (where there's some winter activities like Ice fishing, snow mobile, and snow sledding. 
Onuma-koen train station. 
 There's a tourist information office located in the building next to the train station where you can deposit your luggage (for a fee, of course) if the coin lockers at the train station is fully occupied.

Our main objective for visiting Onumakoen is actually to try Ice Fishing. It is not available in early winter since the surface of the lake won't be fully frozen so don't assume that it would be available once winter season begins. The date of our visit is on 1st Feb, so if you are visiting around this time of the year, then it's probably safe to assume that the winter activities will be available.
The winter activity list for Onumakoen for winter 2015 (Jan/Feb). 

Too bad we weren't able to try snow mobiling here since it started to snow heavily by the time we were done with our Ice Fishing.
 After taking a short walk around, we headed for the Ice fishing place. It is located just about 5mins walk from the station actually (well, there were more than 1 ice fishing spots, but we just chose the one that's nearest to the station)
The place where we went for our Ice Fishing
 It cost us 1500yen per pax for 1hr of ice-fishing. If you want to eat it after the fishing, they will cook it for you for an extra fee of 500yen (I think, can't remember exact amount though). 
We didn't need to make any prior reservation actually and just walked in.

First up, we all had to change into their boots. The staff mentioned that the boots had to have some gap between your feet and the boots so that the air in the gap will help to keep your feet warm so the boots which we chose can't be too fitting and had to wear them slightly looser.

The staff whom was busy drilling holes into the ice surface

My fishing spot

My brother was the first of us to have caught anything.

 It was a really cold morning but somehow it didn't bothered us too much since we were actually having fun with ice fishing.
My spot

It was so cold that ice starts to form on my fishing rod.

The staff starts to set up the chairs for the Taiwanese tourgroup that's arriving soon.

My 2 fishes.
Tip: Do not make the mistake of naming the fishes if you don't want to feel guilty when eating them later.

Our collective haul at the end of 1hr.

The staff will cook them with tempura batter (for additional fee)

Since it was snowing heavily, so we couldn't do any snow mobiling. Therefore we went to the 2nd floor of a nearby souvenir shop to have our lunch before having to catch our train to Noboribetsu.

This place usually caters for tour groups, which is why we saw most of the tables already being laid out with food in anticipation for the tour groups.
We ordered some simple dishes from their ala-carte menu like Ramen, Katsu Curry, Ebi Fry set, and Hamburger steak. 

 After lunch, we picked up our luggage bags and then went to catch our train to Noboribetsu station.
From Noboribetsu station, u can either take a 15mins bus ride or take a cab to reach Noboribetsu Onsen (hotspring) town.

Our hotel for the night is Hotel Mahoroba, located 5mins walk from the bus station at Noboribetsu onsen town. 

Wooden block puzzle in the ryokan's room.
 We headed out for a walk around Noboribetsu town.

We came across this shop that sells a variety of honey, as well as honey flavoured soft-serve ice cream which was really delicious. We came across another branch of this same brand a few days later at Otaru where we all had their ice cream again. 
Sells a variety of honey and honey flavoured soft-serve ice cream.

 Ok, time to change for dinner. :)
The hubby and I

Cousin R and her boyfriend PW :)
Yes Cousin R, I know you are reading this. 
 Often, the ryokans with hotspring includes dinner in their room rates, which is why a ryokan stay is much more expensive than regular hotels. The dinners can be either a set course style, or buffet style.
Our dinner for this night is buffet style at the hotel's large dining hall. 

After dinner, we explored the hotel's amusement arcade, and then went to take a dip in the hotel's hotspring pools. 
Cousin R and I were really lucky that it started to snow while the both of us were in the outdoor hotspring pool.  
Too bad the guys' outdoor pools for the night had a roof, so they weren't able to experience the snow.  :P

Go to previous blog entry: Day 9 Tokyo to Hakodate
Go to next blog entry: Day 11 Noboribetsu to Tomamu


  1. Love your blog! very detailed and helpful! can i check how much is the fee for depositing your luggage at OnumaKoen visitor center?

  2. hi there, love your blog! very detailed and helpful! would like to check with you how much is the fee for the luggage deposit and for how long?

    1. Hmm, i think it was around 300yen per luggage bag. We deposited our bags for just a few hours in the morning while we went for ice fishing and lunch.