To close my Nikko trip, I went up north to just walk around. While looking at the map, I saw that there’s Yudaki falls and Ryuzu falls near each other, so I decided to stop at Yudaki and walk to Ryuzu.
Outside the Susukino Station is a street with ice sculptures in the middle. Yes, that’s the Susukino Site of the Sapporo Snow Festival. You’ll be done in about 10 minutes. The street isn’t even blocked, so you’ll have to wait for the cars to stop you take the pictures. It’s close to the Ramen Alley so it’s worthy of a look.
The slogan all over the place – Nippon is Nikko, was a nice reminder that I’m still in Japan ;). Four month ish late, wrapping up the entire experience, here’s a rundown of my Nikko trip! Before going there
Accommodations. Book them online if you can. I stayed at Nikko Park Lodge at JPY3,000 a night (dormitory). You have two options – the one in front of the station and another in the mountains. I suggest going up the mountains if you want to chill and meet people, go to the one in front of the station if you only want a transit place.
Transport. Book the All Nikko pass unless you’re not planning on going anywhere. The city pass is not that useful, as the entire city can actually be walked (if you like walking). I bought the three day pass, and it was worth it. Just the fare from the train station to the lake was more than JPY1,000 one way. Oh, and you can buy it right at the Tobu station in Asakusa.
Plan? Not necessarily. You can do the rest of your itinerary on the way from Asakusa to Tobu Nikko. The two hour trip is more than good enough, and the map they provide when you buy the ticket has all the information you’ll need.
Clothing. Check the weather. It can get really cold.
Walk. The central part is relatively small. Just go exploring.
Go north. You can explore Yuzuri falls, Kegon falls, and other Chuzenji near attractions in a day.
I arrived late(around 3pm), so I simply went to Nikko Lodge and walked around. Well.
the cozy place plus the company of the other travelers was more than good enough for me.
Just went exploring on foot. I mainly explored the city, go lost again and again.
North! Boy was it cold! I walked from Yuzuri falls down to the entirety of the swampland, then took the bus to Kegon falls, then went home. 🙂
It takes TEN HOURS to fly to India. TEN HOURS. It’s my longest flight to date! I’m still not sure if I hate it or if I’m excited.
Take the bag tag and attach it to all your bags. Once you go through baggage screening, they have to stamp these bag tags.
Prepare for a very personal body scan. It was very professionally done, with the girls having a covered area. But still, it was the most personal scan I ever had.
Arrange for car transport if you are arriving at night. Even priced at a premium, it’s probably worth it.
So. Here’s how my flight went:
We met at around 10am (Narita Terminal 2) to board our flight.
It wasn’t such a long flight. Maybe because I loved watching Now You See Me and Kimi No Nawa. I took a nap in between, then proceed to randomly watch videos. Yeah, I loved all those nine-ish hours.
I was so excited! Then our group had some issues with the confusion in the line for the eTV (electronic Tourist Visa). Basically we went to the wrong line. Honestly, these people weren’t so helpful. But moving on!
It was a really, really, long flight. We got in our hotel at around 2am! O.O
Otaru is quite famous for being a port, and having these old warehouses.
They also hopped in the Snow Light Festival concept of Sapporo, and I’ve got to say, they’ve made the place a worthy side trip.
I came in around 3pm, where they are setting up for the day’s night show. So most of the paraphernalia like the the pretty bowls and snow sculptures aren’t things you should expect on a normal day.
How to get there
Otaru station is one JR ride away from Sapporo Station. If you are on a tourist visa, get the JR Pass. They have one for the whole of Japan, and one just for Sapporo (or Hokkaido?). That makes things way cheaper.
Hokkaido milk is pretty famous. Try the ice cream (I did even though it was soooo cold)
Otaru Canal is pretty during the day. But it also gets really cold. So time your trip right so you enjoy say, an hour or two of daylight then another hour of darkness. It’s such a transformation seeing the snow structures before and after lighting.