My Japan Holiday Diary (Part 3) : Noboribetsu (Natural Hot Spring Resort) & Otaru


After having a wonderful time at Hakodate, my hubby and I embarked by train to our next destination at Noboribetsu for a rejuvenating natural hot spring. The one-way train ticket from Hakodate to Noboribetsu actually cost us more than S$100 per pax, it’s extremely expensive.

Noboribetsu onsen is Hokkaido’s most famous natural spa resort.

Noboribetsu, the largest hot spring town in Hokkaido, is often filled with Japanese tourists. Japanese love onsen (hot spring) very much and they will often come in a group.

I could see steam coming out from this small canal. Not obvious on photo though.

Most of the hotels at Noboribetsu offer different types of guest rooms for individual preferences and needs. We have chosen the traditional Japanese-style room that comes with shoji screens, tatami mats, antique phone and loose mattresses that need to be laid on the floor before we sleep.

After checking in to Noboribetsu Grand Hotel (which is less than 5 minutes walk from the bus terminal), we next proceeded to our most important agenda of the day – hot spring (aka onsen) paradise.

Both of us looked zombie and tired, can’t wait for a relaxing onsen rejuvenation.

Since I couldn’t bring a camera to the onsen and I therefore have extracted some images from the Noboribetsu Grand Hotel website.

Male and female have the separate hot spring baths. The open-air baths are located in a Japanese garden setting decorated with seasonal scenes. Love the scenic view of natural waterfall around me. It’s indeed paradise here!

It’s time for dinner after a super rejuvenating onsen. The buffet spread is huge! Love the outdoor scenery, it feels like Christmas to me.

After checking out of the hotel room on the following day, we decided to do a short tour around the area before taking a bus to the Noboribetsu train station. Our next stop would be Otaru!

Do you know Noboribetsu is also known as Hell Valley? This place is surrounded with hot steam vents, sulfurous streams and other volcanic activity.

Here come the devil fortune cats with horns kekeke!!! My hubby love them so much that he has bought the red devil fortune cat on the top left! I actually prefer the devil fortune lovers (husband & wife) on the top right! Just like us, natural born devil couple kekeke!!

I believe the stairs will lead us to the natural hot spring valley.

Spotted a simplified version of traditional Japanese Torii Gate. It is usually used as an entrance to a shrine.

Feel like hammering myself! I actually feel regretted for not buying this medium size caveman club, I believe it will help to ease back pain hehehe….

Intense steam coming out from this stairway, wonder where it comes from.

Spotted some cute teddy bear and fortune cat miniatures on the ground. I reckon these miniatures would have be gone by now if they are displayed in the park in Singapore.

Awaiting for our train to Otaru at Noboribetsu Train Station. Goodbye Noboribetsu!

This double decker high-speed train is catered for long haul service. Hope to try this one day.

The winter usually ends late in Otaru, the snow is still melting.

Here we are, we have finally reached our third destination, Otaru! In fact, this is our second trip to this quiet town and our first trip was three years ago.

Our first stop at Otaru is the food street. Managed to find a restaurant that serves very late lunch @3pm. Hungry hungry….

There are many interesting historic buildings at Otaru. Let me take you on a tour………

If you adore 19th to early 20th century architecture, glassware or music boxes, you will definitely love Otaru.

Since we have been here at Otaru three years ago (in 2008), we could see a drastic change on the buildings and the environment. My hubby was actually very disappointed on the missing nostalgic mood this round.

In 2010, the Otaru residents were very upset over the destruction of the historic buildings that have turned into modern buildings. They have protested against the change and hence there are some 20th century warehouses and stone buildings have been retained.

Fortunately, this 1920s canal has also remained and it is the main tourist attraction in Otaru. This canal is used during 20th century by small ships transporting goods to the warehouses. I was told that the Otaru canal looks remarkably beautiful during winter night.

The streets are lined with some interesting shops with a touch of nostalgia.

This commercial and financial district at Otaru was dubbed “The Wall Street of the North”.

You can find many shops and restaurants in these small lanes.

The semi-snowy mountains in the background are breathtaking! Love these views!

Some eateries at Otaru have super low ceiling and compact sitting arrangement.

Many eateries are hidden inside the small lanes which most of us will tend to miss.

As it was very cold at 5ºC, we decided to settle at one eatery that serves sabu sabu. As usual, I didn’t bother to apply any makeup except lipstick.

We actually enjoyed having our dinner at this small and cosy 7-seater eatery.

It is just amazing! The owner actually cooks, washes and stores food at this tight and small little kitchen. There’s a fridge underneath the basin that store many bottles of beer too.

After the dinner, my hubby decided to unwind at this cosy pub which faces directly opposite the dinner place before heading back to the hotel.

Okie, that’s the end for the rural side of Hokkaido. Well, my hubby prefer rural areas and I prefer urban. I have enough of the rural part too, I couldn’t wait to visit the capital of Hokkaido, yes Sapporo here we come! I wanna shop shop shop till drop!!

Yes I will be sharing with you lots of beauty stuffs on my next post! Do stay tuned. See ya soon! ;-)


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