Saturday, February 26, 2011

hokkaido - japan's northern island

when one says Hokkaido it meant cooler summer and icy winters in this Northern island of Japan. i was there in September, Japan's climate was in transition from summer to autumn. but temperature was already reaching 9 degrees Celsius. now it's reaching negative degrees.
like most of my trips, i woke up five in the morning to experience local life. only to find that there was almost no one walking outside the streets of Obihiro, like a dead city. sun was already out that early, but there were only few taxis moving around.
walked around the town center passing by empty parks and large lawns, a contrast to Tokyo's busy streets. Hokkaido's capital city is Sapporo, also the island's busiest area. the 1972 Winter Olympics was held there.Hokkaido, though far from Tokyo is also connected to the main island of Honshu through the Seikan Tunnel. thus, one has the option to travel by land and underwater crossing the Tsugaru strait. but what captured my attention the most was those white pine trees. at first look, it looked like its leaves were already covered with snow but not on a season where summer is just ending. i've never seen one before.
a closer look at the tree showed that its leaves are itself white. a pine tree, unique to certain countries that includes Japan. from January to February, almost the entire island of Hokkaido is under thick snow.outside downtown Obihiro, are wide flat areas of farms and majority of Hokkaido's land area are mountains including five active volcanoes. making it an island also known for Onsen, hot spring bath. something one should not miss when in Hokkaido.
how to get there:
by plane: take a domestic flight from any Japan airport to Tokachi-Obihiro Airport
by train: take the JR line from major Japan train station to JR Obihiro station with scenic views of the mountains of Hokkaido.

location:

island: Hokkaido
prefecture: Tokachi

escape factor:
accessibility: 3.5
city walk: 3.5
parks: 4.0
climate: 5.0
overall escape factor: 4.0

GPS location:
42^ 52" 22' N
143^ 12" 20' E

28 comments:

asibok said...

so people in hokkaido are not "early morning people or person" since they dont get up early, interesting...so what have they been doing all night??? hehe...anyways the white pine tree is really something. very interesting as well.

Traveling Hawk said...

very nice and clean everywhere, like a pharmacy :) I also have those silver fir tree in Romania. I mean we have them in the gardens, they are imported but resist to our winter temperatures.

Chyng said...

natawa ko sa sarili ko kasi binasa kong mabuti. syet, im interested in traveling japan! kelangan mag-ipon and deadmahin lahat ng seat sale 1st!

lakwatsera de primera said...

ang cool nung pine trees, parang yung plastic x-mas tree namin ang texture sa picture

SandyCarlson said...

Sure can get chilly there! I really like the sculptures and the architecture there. The trees make me think of what grows here.

Erick Garcia said...

Japan is one of the cleanest places in the world. Whew!

Reena said...

parang "I Am Legend" movie lang yan ah. Mag-isa ka lang na buhay sa city. :D Didn't you find it creepy? Pero sabagay, Makati looks the same on a Sunday morning.

The pine trees are my favorite in this post. They look super nice from afar. But the macro shots are giving me the chills. They look like arms of aliens. :D

Looking forward to the next!

Pietro said...

Very nice views, interesting the buildings and the sculptures, beautiful the pine trees.

Sidney said...

Looks like a nice city...albeit a ghost city ;-)

Beautiful pine tree!

Raft3r said...

ang aga mo pala talaga gumising!

gillboard said...

great looking trees. i wonder how they look like during christmas. it would make nice christmas trees i think. :)

gillboard said...

great looking trees. i wonder how they look like during christmas. it would make nice christmas trees i think. :)

docgelo said...

wonderful travelogue, dom!
ang husay talaga!

i love the photos, ang crisp!
turuan mo ako! hehehe...

sana magawi kayo sa penang, at mataon na weekend at may okasyon dito, photowalk tayo, libre nyo ako! hehehe

syempre, na-miss ko na naman ang tokyo sa japan post mong ito. it has been a year since i went there.

thepinaysolobackpacker said...

ay ang ganda nga ng pine tress. totoo palang my white! :D

thepinaysolobackpacker said...

*trees

Photo Cache said...

seems weird that the city is empty. was it weekend that you explored this city? i cannot believe you can get up at that ungodly hour, but kudos you got wonderful shots without people in it. but were the stores, cafes also closed still?

bertN said...

Great pics! I regret letting the opportunity to visit Hokkaido slide by when I was there. Sayang!

Axl Powerhouse Production Inc, said...

isang WOW.. grabe ka talaga master gusto gusto ko yung nature shot mo ganda pude na gawin wallpaper sa pc.. astig :D

Rizalenio said...

Interesting. What time nagsisimula ang araw nila? And the white pine trees, akala ko plastic lang.

Sobrang ganda ng unang photo.

Eds said...

the place is so clean. and that white pine trees, wow, naiiba sya but its beautiful ha.

pusang kalye said...

yan ang maganda sa ibang bansa, no shortage of maps in public places and signs para di ka mawala.

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

It did almost look like a ghost town. Perhaps they're not early risers like you? But then, when you see pictures of Tokyo with its massive morning foot traffic, it shows clearly where the action is in Japan.

witsandnuts said...

I had the impression that Japanese get up early, unless it looked like a ghost time relatively or only during that day. The white pine trees are fascinating!

Rio said...

oo nga noh? 5 na pero di pa din
busy streets nila di tulad sa pinas na alas 3 palang ng madaling araw ang dami ng tao sa kalsada.

ang gaganda ng mga pics mo.pwedeng pang christmas post cards yung mga kuha.

ingat palagi dong sa mga byahe:)

Pinoy Boy Journals said...

good job! actually, eto yung local's pick for the best destination in Japan. Lahat ng nakausap ko said i have to go to Hokkaido and Sapporo, marami daw wild bears and kapag winter, must-experience!!!

nuts said...

i noticed that maps are all around the city.. pero ako, kahit me map, mawawala pa rin ako..

nina said...

9 degrees na, autumn palang?!?!

thailand holidays said...

Japan is one of the most beautiful countries in Asia. I would love to visit this country to experience the autumn and winter season. Hokkaido seems very enticing. Anyway, I need to save more money first before visiting this country.

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