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Travel: Trip to Sapporo-Otaru-Hakodate-Onuma, 17-27 Apr 2016 (Part 9 - Day 8 in Hakodate & Onuma)

>> Thursday, May 12, 2016

We had a full day planned for our final day at Hakodate before we head back to Sapporo on the evening JR train, which we have reserved our seats. This day was actually a day where we were looking forward to as the 2 main places that we planned to visit were Onuma (just for the beefy lunch!) & the Goryokaku Fort, where there should be sakura in full bloom!

Simple Breakfast at the Kikuya Hotel
We had a simple breakfast at the hotel itself, which to my surprise, was one where AP really enjoyed! He loved the thick cut, fluffy pieces of bread that he placed in the toasted & of course, the fragrant spread of Hokkaido marjerin that were available. There were also hard-boiled eggs for all hotel guests & this simple breakfast spread for an "all-you-can-eat"! :P Ahahaha...most guests may not bother with the breakfast here since the fish market is right behind, but it's actually not too bad if you just want some fuss-free meal to start your day.

Once we were done with breakfast, we took a walk to the Hakodate Morning Market behind the hotel. The inside of the market building was really clean & didn't have the pungent wet-market smell that we have here in Malaysia. All fresh seafood stalls were outside, where the atmosphere was a typical fish market with loads of people, wet floors, fishy smell & fish mongers welcoming tourists to have a look/buy some seafood from their stall.

Hakodate Morning Market
9-19 Wakamatsucho, Hakodate
Hokkaido Prefecture 040-0063
Tel: (+81)(134) 227981
Business hours: 6:00a.m. - 2:00p.m. daily
GPS: 41.7725204,140.7231673
Getting there: JR Hakodate station (220m walk from the station)

Inside the market building

Fresh & dried seafood that you can bring home

The outside of the morning market, where you can find 'food stalls'

Grilled Scallop (JP¥600; RM21.60)
We're a fan of the fresh scallops here, so when we saw the grilled ones at the market, we didn't really need to think twice before buying it as our morning snack :P It's certainly not cheap, but it surely was delicious!

The scallop was sweet, as usual, & the aromatic & salty butter taste was just lip-smacking!

Since we didn't have THAT much for breakfast *heeheehee*, we decided to share a bowl of donburi from some restaurant near the market. After walking up & down the row of shops, we decided to have our meal at this restaurant, which in the end, we felt that it was one of the not-so-tasty ones in our entire trip :(

Bukkake Hakodate, Morning Market Cafeteria 朝市食堂 函館ぶっかけ
Tel: (+81)(134) 27-0841
URL: http://bukkake.yayoisuisan.com
Business hours: 6:00a.m. - 2:30p.m. daily
GPS: 41.772539, 140.7258331
Getting there: JR Hakodate station (160m walk from the station). It's the 1st shop at one end of the restaurant alley.

I was lured to this restaurant cos of their grilled salmon belly + crab & roe rice set for below JP¥1000. The sample looked appealing, but the actual dish that was served didn't look too appetizing somehow.

Grilled salmon belly + crab & roe rice set (JP¥980/set; RM35.28)
The grilled salmon belly pieces were over-salted like eating salted fish :( We couldn't taste the freshness of the salmon belly at all, which was quite disappointing *sigh* It's not that cheap too, compared to our other meals elsewhere. Oh well, it's a one-time-off visit. 

Anyway, having seafood at Hakodate wasn't our main agenda. We actually bothered traveling 4+ hours down-south for a 2 days 1 night trip all because of the sakura, the scallops & also the Onuma beef!

Half an hour JR train ride to Onuma
We didn't have much time to waste as our reservation at the Table de Rivage Restaurant at the Onuma-Quasi National Park was made for 12:00p.m. The Japanese are really punctual people, so we didn't want to be late for our reservation (oh yes, we actually made a phone call to make our reservation before our trip!).

The Onumakoen station is a really small station & a short stop (make sure you don't get off at the Onuma station itself). This area is considered the suburb of Hakodate & we really enjoyed our brief visit to this small town as it was picturesque & the air was definitely cleaner than in the busy city center.

Map of the park - click to enlarge for finer details

The Onuma-Quasi National Park, where the restaurant was located, was approximately 200m away. It is known for its scenic, island dotted lakes and the view of the majestic dormant volcano, Mount Komagatake, visible from the 1st lake as you enter into the park.

Onuma-Quasi National Park
1023-1 Ōnumachō, 七飯町 Nanae-chō
Kameda-gun, Hokkaidō 041-1354
Tel: (+81)(138) 479439
URL: http://www.pref.hokkaido.lg.jp/ks/skn/environ/parks/onuma.htm
Business hours: N/A
GPS: 41.9815468,140.6680508
Getting there: JR Onumakoen station (200m walk from the station)

Mount Komagatake at the distance
Thank God for the really lovely day for a walk at the park!

It was still quite cool, though sunny, so we didn't notice any flowers blooming in the park 

日本北海道亀田郡七飯町大沼町141 Table De Rivage
141 Ōnumachō, Nanae-chō
Kameda-gun, 〒041-1354 Hokkaidō
Tel: (+81)(138) 673003
Business hours: 10:30a.m. - 6:00p.m. daily except Tuesdays (closed on Tuesdays)
GPS: 41.98737,140.6667522
Getting there: JR Onumakoen station (800m walk from the station)
How much we spent in total: JP¥4000; RM144.00

Driveway to the Table de Rivage Restaurant

The restaurant
I did some research & found out that many people have recommended Onuma for its high-grade beef. You can read more about the different types of Onuma-bred cattles here

Thankfully we made a reservation!
We were there 'early', but all these vacant seats were actually reserved (the restaurant's available pretty much by reservations only)! If you're a walk-in customer, you'll most likely have to wait an hour to have your meal. We saw some tourists being turned down by the restaurant's staff during lunch hours due to a full-house *ooooo*

We took 2 set lunches that's actually not too costly if you don't convert back to the Malaysian currency while traveling all across Japan i.e. JP¥200/set; RM72.00. Each set comes with a salad/starter with a small piece of quiche, cream of King Shiitake Mushroom soup with 2 pieces of bread, the main course, & tea/coffee.

The starter
The portion was small, but the burst of fresh flavors & the zing from the dressing was really appetizing! From this plate of salad, you can experience the presence of sweet, sour, & salty. We loved it!

Cream of King Shiitake Mushrooms Soup
What's not to love about a good, creamy, slightly chunky mushroom soup that comes with 2 slices of fresh baguette that's crusty on the outside & fluffy on the inside & a side of fragrant butter spread *drools*

My Onuma Beef Stew
You can really taste the sweetness from the red wine in the gravy & oh, the chunks of beef were really tender & parts that have more fat actually 'melts-in-your-mouth' :) The boiled vegetables & pan-fried potatoes that came with the dish were also very sweet & delicious! Thumbs up! Remember to leave some of your bread from the soup to soak up all the gravy!

AP's Pork + Beef Hamburg
We thought they made a mistake on their menu when they spelled "hamburg" without the '-er'. So we were actually looking forward to a pork+beef hamburger with buns 'til we saw this served *lol* It was a surprise, but a very delightful surprise indeed! The gravy is more of a black pepper sauce, if I recall correctly & the minced meats were perfectly cooked, so moist & juicy & just an enjoyable combination of meats for a meal.

Tea & Coffee to end the lovely meal 

While enjoying our tea & coffee, I just took out the camera & experimented on some available modes & I loved this effect...hahaha... 

You can actually book a 'cruise on the lake' to enjoy your meal for an additional fee
The platform is detachable from the main restaurant's platform...haha.

Gotta take a photo with the restaurant as the backdrop 

The Kogetsu Bridge near the restaurant 

This was a really cute-looking public washroom at the park 

Having some fun at the lakeside :D 

 While waiting for our train to arrive, we stopped by an ice-cream shop & tried their squid ink ice-cream, something that we rarely find elsewhere.

Squid Ink Ice-Cream
You can taste the slight flavor of squid ink, but it's nothing very spectacular. It was just nice to have some ice-cream on a sunny day :P

We took the JR train back to the JR Hakodate station & boarded a bus to Goryokaku for JP¥240/person; RM8.64. It was the easier way compared to taking the tram, which stops further from the fort.

Goryōkaku Fort/Park
44 Goryōkakuchō
Hakodate-shi, Hokkaidō 040-0001
Tel: (+81)(138) 213456
URL: http://www.city.hakodate.hokkaido.jp/docs/2014011601161/
Business hours: 9:00a.m. - 6:00p.m. daily
GPS: 41.7971879,140.754642
Getting there: JR Hakodate station & a bus to Goryokaku

We had NO regrets of traveling all the way down-south to Hakodate to experience & witness the beautiful sight of a park with full cherry blossom bloom *joy* AP knows it makes me tremendously happy as I love flowers & scenery. I morphed into some crazee flower-loving anime character, dancing & prancing around with joy at the sight of the 'uncountable' cherry blossom trees in full bloom :D In Cantonese, you can label me as literally "fatt fa tin" (went into flower crazy mode).

The Goryokaku Tower, which we didn't bother going up...hehe...

Hello, cherry blossoms!

Jumping with joy! :P 

Panoramic view of the park 

Beautiful blooms (great timing for our travels!) on a clear, blue sky day

Admiring the cherry blossoms up close (and personal)...hahaha... 

This entire park/fort area is actually very rich in history & culture.

"Goryōkaku was designed in 1855 by Takeda Hisaburō. His plan was based on the work of the French architect Vauban. It is shaped like a five-pointed star. This allowed for greater numbers of gun emplacements on its walls than a traditional Japanese fortress, and reduced the number of blind spots where a cannon could not fire.

The fort was built by the Tokugawa shogunate to protect the Tsugaru Strait against a possible invasion by the Russian fleet.

Goryōkaku is famous as the site of the last battle of the Boshin War (Goryōkaku no Tatakai). The fighting lasted for a week (June 20–27, 1869)." - taken from Wikipedia

View of the fort from 1 end of the park

Former Hakodate's Magistrate Office

Pink cherry blossoms! 

Some of the cherry blossom trees are still budding, while some are already shedding their flowers 

Since it's spring, other plants/flowers were springing up from the ground as well! :D

Walkway to the exit of the fort 

One level above the field of blooms with the Goryokaku Tower behind

We ended our trip at the Goryokaku Fort with a cup of cherry blossom milk shake.from the Goryokaku Tower's ground floor food stalls. It's a "full-on" vanilla milk shake with a hint of floral note, supposedly the cherry blossom (we couldn't smell the scent of the flowers while walking in the park, so we've no clue how cherry blossom's supposed to taste).

Delicious Cherry Blossom Milkshake JP¥360/cup; RM12.96
Their milkshake wasn't watered down; it was thick, creamy, smooth & luscious *yums* 

As the journey back from Hakodate to Sapporo takes another 4+ hours, we decided to have a quick dinner instead of eating on the train itself (in case it's too shakey) at a nearby posh-looking restaurant that serves surprisingly affordable dishes that were tasty & comforting to the tummy :)

Gaya - Hakodate Dining 函館ダイニング雅家
Japan, 〒040-0063 Hokkaidō, Hakodate-shi, Wakamatsuchō, 8−14
Tel: (+81)(138) 221000
URL: http://hakodategaya.com
Business hours: 11:00a.m. - 2:30p.m.; 5:00p.m. - 12:00a.m. daily
GPS: 41.7731338,140.7240761
Getting there: JR Hakodate station (150m walk from the station) 

One of their dinner menu

The kitchen area/counter 

Kakiage Soba かきあげそば (JP¥780/serving; RM28.08)
It was a good kakiage! Crispy, not too oily, loaded with vegetables & some oysters. The hot bowl of soba was just EXTREMELY comforting....

Deep-Fried Dory Fish Set Meal (JP¥1200/set; RM43.20)
 When AP ordered this, he didn't know that it's fish & even while eating, he didn't realize it was fish 'til after a few bites. The panko crust was really crispy, dry, yet the juices/moisture of the fish was locked inside the deep-fried crust. Delicious! The salad was also refreshing & went well with the crusted fish.

We were glad to have dinner at Gaya as our last meal in Hakodate before leaving for Sapporo. By the time we got back to Sapporo, it was already past 10:00p.m. & we were quite tired from the long day, long weekend that we truly enjoyed :)

Tomorrow's blog post will be the final post for our Hokkaido trip series. After which, I'm planning to begin a new series, featuring more good food in Kuantan :D

Miss the pretty cherry blossoms,


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