Dynasty Travel: 8D6N Colourful Hokkaido Tour, Part 2 of Day 3

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Last week's post focused on the Hakodate Morning Market,
which was, in my opinion, the highlight of Day 3.
Today, I'll cover the remainder of Day 3's itinerary
Dynasty proposed itinerary:
Hakodate Morning Market --> Onuma Park --> Konbu Museum --> Fruit Orchard --> Lake Toya
Actual route taken:
Hakodate Morning Market (函館朝市) --> Konbu Museum (北海道昆布館) --> Onuma Park (大沼国定公園) --> Lake Toya (洞爺湖) --> Fruit Orchard (Cherry Picking)
Right after Hakodate Morning Market,
we were packed off to the Konbu Museum.
I think our tour guide and driver were in a hurry,
as they were trying to get us there in time for the pre-lunch-time show.
Upon arrival, we were very quickly ushered into the museum's movie theatre.
The theatre is dome-shaped,
and reminded me of the one at the Science Centre when I visited as a kid,
the kind where you have to lean back in your seats for an immersive experience.
Those of you with motion sickness - beware.
Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the show at all,
for the simple reason that it was a documentary in Japanese.
I couldn't understand anything at all.
And after the hearty meal at the Hakodate Morning Market,
I got into a food-coma and almost fell asleep at the show.
What I do know, was later learnt from a quick stroll through the museum exhibits:
Konbu, or more commonly known as kelp,
is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking.
You can often find it in Japanese broths and stews, and even as garnish for dishes.
It's also mentioned that kelp is high in iodine,
and has pretty good health benefits when consumed.
The museum is also connected to a Konbu shop.
I have to say, I was amazed at the amount of stuff that kelp could be made into;
there was kelp tea, kelp candies, kelp condiments, kelp jelly, snacks made from kelp, and so on.
There's even a stall selling kelp soft serve!
What I liked was that there were samples all laid out for customers to try.
This way, you won't regret what you bought!
As we were rushed in,
I didn't manage to get any pictures of the place.
And after the show, I was too sleepy to remember to take pictures.
Though, to be honest, I also didn't think the place was really that picture worthy.
Lunch was immediately after the Konbu museum,
and once we were done with that ,
we went on our way to Onuma Park.
Onuma Park is yet another picturesque park with great photo points.
Lakes dotted with islands, lush green forests and a majestic dormant volcano (Mount Komagatake).
I understand that the islands around the lakes are mostly linked and accessible by foot.
Or if you are feeling up for a bout of exercise,
you could also go boating around the lakes.
There's also a boat cruise if you wish to tour the lakes but are too lazy to do the rowing yourself.
Unfortunately, we were explicitly told that we did not have the time for the boat cruise.
The prettier way to go boating at Onuma Park - just hop onto a swan boat!
The waterfront restaurants at Onuma Park are also renowned for their Onuma beef.
Unfortunately, we were not even in sight of any one of those restaurants,
or I would have ordered a beef stew to go.
All I can say is, I'm definitely going back on my own one day.
Lake Toya was a toilet stop en-route to the fruit orchard.
It was such a short stop,
I barely had an impression of it,
especially since it was another lake-and-mountains spot and right after Onuma Park.
Actually, wait. I do remember something.
Another crowd of rowdy tourists.
I could barely get a shot without them being in the pictures.
Lake Toya is known as an ice-free lake,
which means it never freezes, not even in winter.
This is because the lake is situated near an active volcano, Mt Usu.
I think it would be quite an amazing sight in winter!
So, not even half an hour later,
we were again back up on the tour bus,
en-route to a fruit orchard for our fruit-picking session.
Once we arrived, we found out that it was cherry season.
In fact, I found out the seasons of various fruits!
Very important picture to take!
Then the next time I come back to Hokkaido,
I will know which fruits are in season and the best to eat!
Hahaha! Completely motivated by food!
So according to that banner:
Strawberries - June to July,
Cherries - June to July,
Peaches and Plums - August to September,
Grapes - September to October,
Apple and Pears - from September,
And I went nuts when I happened to walk past the grapes section.
The farmer was very nice to let me in to take a shot.
My first time picking fruits straight off trees to eat.
Well. City-girl here who unfortunately had, until then, never visited a fruit farm before.
I think I probably took more pictures of the cherries than actually going around to eat them.
However, cherry picking and eating was not the highlight of this portion of the itinerary.
What stole the show (or more appropriately, the tummy),
was the amazing home-made apple pie sold at the farm.
Seriously one of the best apple pie I had ever eaten in my whole life.
In fact, one of the uncles in my tour group was so taken with the apple pie,
he went back and ordered the 3 pieces left on the shelf.
Heh. There were only 7 pieces to begin with,
so you can imagine how glad I was that we managed to snag one!
The apple juice there was amazing too!
My parents and I all went back for second and third helpings!
Unfortunately, silly me forgot to grab a name card,
and so I now have absolutely no idea where the farm is.
Sigh. I hope I'll find out one day, so that I'll be able to go back for that amazing apple pie...
Cherry picking was the last item for the day,
and we were then driven to the Rusutsu Resort Hotel.
It was a very long journey to the hotel,
so even though I thought we ended at the farm relatively early (in my opinion),
we reached the hotel in good time for dinner.
As the Rusutsu Resort Hotel featured twice in our itinerary,
I will write more about it in a later post. 
Thoughts from Day 3:
The Hakodate Morning Market was definitely the highlight of the day for me.
In fact, I plan on coming back a second time for a more rounded experience,
including getting myself a (very) fresh seafood donburi for breakfast.
Fresh squid is a speciality there, and if you are not squeamish about food,
you should also enquire about the squid-dancing bowl.
Those of you who are on a self-drive trip,
the Konbu Museum can be a great pit-stop;
a bit of an attraction, some shopping, water, food and toilet.
Admission is free and you can quickly stroll through the place.
For those of you who are park lovers,
I'll strongly recommend Onuma Park.
I was impressed by the beauty,
and there are definite signs that you could do quite a bit to spend time there;
boat rides, cycling, camping, hiking, etc.
This one is also on my list to visit again,
and the next time round, I must have my Onuma beef.
Lake Toya.
Huh. What? Did I get there?
Oh I did.
Never-mind. I'll go again next round and see if I can do more than just take 5 pictures.
However, given that it really is just a lake,
perhaps it would also be smart to check out nearby attractions and/or hotels for a better experience.
Tourist Information:
Hakodate Morning Market --> See previous post
Konbu Museum
Address: 32-1 Tōgeshita, Nanae-chō, Kameda-gun, Hokkaidō 041-1102, Japan
Operating hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily
Admission, including the theatre, is free!
Onuma Park
Website: http://www.onuma-guide.com/ (it's in Japanese though)
Address: 85-15 Onuma-cho, Nanae-cho, Kameda-gun, Hokkaido
I understand its less than 5 minutes walk from JR Onuma Koen Station
Operating hours: 8:30 am - 6:00 pm (April to November),
and 8:30 am - 5:30 pm (December to March)

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