Sunday, 25 September 2016

2016 Hokkaido Trip Day 4 (5 Sep):

Asahidake 旭岳
Hokkaido Ice Pavilion
Accommodation: Sounkyo Choyotei

After a brief drizzle, the sun came out and we ascended the rope way to be greeted with the splendor of Mount Asahidake. The hotel staff told us the course is 難しくないので、子供もできる (it's not difficult, children can do it too) but I found it rather challenging. Going down the rocky steps can be rather dangerous! The round trip takes one hour if you keep going and do not stop. We had to stop at every viewpoint (there were 5 in total) to ooohh and waaaah and take lots of photos so we took a total of 3 hrs 30 min (we left the hotel at 0830, walked there and returned at 1200). Definitely recommend this place!

The sign in the ropeway station toilet

1st Viewpoint

2nd Viewpoint
3rd Viewpoint
4th Viewpoint
5th Viewpoint
The easier path.

夫婦池 Meoto Ike (Husband and Wife Lakes)
The steaming hot Mount Asahidake

Never too young. If this girl can do it, so can we!
Never too old!
These shoes were sufficient for me. Hiking shoes are not really necessary for this path. Just be careful of the loose rocks and steps.
On the way to Sounkyo, we stopped by the Hokkaido Ice Pavilion to experience what it's like in Hokkaido in Jan and Feb. Here's a video of our fun experience:

We checked into Sounkyo Choyotei. The onsen is quite nice with a variety of tubs like rectangular pool, round porcelain, square wooden and rocks but the meals really need improvement. I had the worst nabe ever in Japan (I've been to Japan more than 10 times and stayed in a variety of accommodations such as ryokan, hotels, pensions). I think they tried to do a fusion nabe of European vegetable and sausage soup but they failed badly. The cast iron pot over charcoal flame looked impressive but don't be deceived, the taste was horrible. I was expecting some fish, pork or wagyu but no, the Japanese waitress put two SAUSAGES and assorted raw vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, carrot, mushrooms) and pre-cooked onions into the soup. I started getting suspicious so I asked her whether sausages are Japanese (of course they are not) to which she replied, no it's German. Ok thanks. The onion soup was way too peppery and the charcoal flame was so slow that the nabe didn't boil at all so the vegetables were not cooked but we were told that they are ready to be eaten. I was so shocked that I forgot to take photos. Will not recommend this ryokan.

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