Yay Sakura, Yaezakura at Hama-rikyu Gardens

The multi-layered late-blooming variety of cherry blossom at Hamarikyu Garden is stronger and comes in a vibrant pink! Yay for late bloomers! If you are one, may the Yaezakura encourage you in this growing stage to be patient as you wait for your perfect time to bloom! 🌸😍🌸 7 Fun Facts About the Hama-rikyu Gardens:…

Sapporo Clock Tower, Odori Park, Former Hokkaidō Government Office, Sapporo

Sapporo’s recently refurbished Clock Tower… Odori Park Tower… Former Hokkaidō Government Office… are just minutes away from one another and walkable from Sapporo Station. It’s so relaxing to see the birds unhurried and unworried (taken at the Former Hokkaidō Government Office compound).   Do Not Worry Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your…

Sakaimachi-dori Street and Otaru Canal

Otaru is a charming little harbor city less than a half hour by train from Sapporo; in light of this, it has become a “bedroom community” or commuter town wherein people live here while working in the now more-crowded ( and more pricey) urban center of Sapporo.  Preserved historical buildings throughout this city has given…

Sankaku Market Otaru, Hokkaido

Food, Glorious Food in Otaru. 4 kilogram live crab! Succulent, fresh crab (loved the legs more than the body meat here), melt-in-your-mouth (even if slightly firm) chu toro, and other seafood! The rice: nakakainis sa sarap! This meal at Sankaku Market, just steps away from Otaru train station—- one of our best and most fun…

Hokkaido Historical Village Winter (Kaitaku No Mura)

Hokkaidō Kaitaku no Mura is one of the best places to visit near Sapporo where you can get a feel of old Japan, Meiji and Taisho periods through a beautiful nature walk.  I first visited here last summer with glorious flowers embellishing the path and a trolley train traversing the main road. I still feel…

Winter Lavender, Hokkaido Japan

What to do in “Lavender Country” in winter? Smell the lavender! Tomita Farms is spectacular at the height of summer lavender season with seas of the purple flowers swaying with the wind. In the thick of winter with the barren treescape when snow covers the fields outside and the meandering mountain slopes beyond… …there remains…

Snowmobile Snowcapade, Furano Hokkaido

Snowmobile Tips: *Dress appropriately. They say there is no such thing as “too cold weather,” only “wrong clothing.” *Right handle = accelerate . *Left handle = brakes *Stay 100 meters away from other snowmobilers *Oops, did I say turn on the engine? Patrice and I on the snowmobile. I overcame my fear of driving it…

Snowshoeing at White Koala, Furano Hokkaido

Benefits of Snowshoeing: Nature Therapy Fitness Forest bathing Detox 2 things made Snowshoeing easier on my 2nd try: 1-Choose a snowshoe not too big 2-Use walking sticks (with snow basket) Biru-san, our snow forest guide, said: *use waterproof winter jacket & pants *waterproof winter boots only *mind the Left and Right snowshoe. *put boot far…

Furano Tour, Winter Edition

Do you know your CQ (Cheese Intelligence)? 🧀 At Furano Cheese Factory, you can take an electronic quiz to find out! 😂 Hokkaido’s yummy dairy comes in different forms here. Squid ink cheese among many flavours 🧀 , creamy milk🥛 , milk pumpkin cheese or corn ice cream 🍦 . My favourite this visit is…

Surprise at Ningle Terrace, Furano, Hokkaido, Japan

The original weather forecast didn’t include snow; snow started melting early February instead of mid-March. Still, since “setting sail” for Sapporo, how we wished the Lord would let it snow. As if on cue after setting foot at the Ningle Terrace parking lot, we were suddenly startled by a sweet snow surprise… …❄️which set the…

Doglsedding in Hokkaido

Our Plan B (Panakip Butas) activity turned out to be our best Hokkaido experience! I had the day’s itinerary planned out but was informed that our main destination, the ropeway to Hokkaido’s tallest mountain located in Daisetsuzan National Park,  Mount Asahidake, might be closed. We would hire a car to take us on a six-hour…

Best Fruit-filled Mochi in Osaka

At Hankyu Department Store’s Food Hall, there’s a fresh-fruit filled mochi called ISHINDO MOCHI. It features only in-season fruits as filling. It is so fresh with no preservatives that it is recommended to be eaten on the same day. If you will buy it for takeaway, they will provide you with mini ice packets to…

From Osaka to Gion, Kyoto with Lunch

From Osaka to Kyoto, there are several travel options and the most convenient/ quickest will depend on where you are coming from in Osaka. If you have the JR Pass with unlimited train rides, from Shin-Osaka to Kyoto is a 15 minute train ride but you will need to make train changes from where you…

Memoirs of a Geisha Tour: Kyoto

 The very word “geisha” means artist, and to be a geisha is to be judged as a moving work of art. -Mameha, Memoirs of A Geisha Gion is a preserved district in Kyoto which was built in response to the food, drink, and accommodation needs of travelers who came to the Yasaka (Shinto) Shrine, designated…