Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer Vacation

A few weeks ago John and I took a spontaneous summer vacation! We decided to go up to Hokkaido, the northernmost island in Japan, for the first part of the week, and then pop down south to Kyushu for the final weekend of our trip.

Hokkaido was wonderful, much cooler than the hot humid weather Tokyo has been having, and with lots of wide open outdoor spaces. Our first stop was Noboribetsu, a small onsen town that's famous for its volcanic sulfur vents and geysers. After a night there we went to Sapporo, the biggest city in Hokkaido for several days, and then went out to Otaru and Yoichi. Otaru is a small port town with a lovely canal and old western style stone buildings. And Yoichi is the home of a major Japanese whiskey distillery. We really enjoyed seeing it all, and also relaxing, lying around reading, and spending time in coffee shops.

Fukuoka, the biggest city in Kyushu, reminded us a lot of Tokyo but moved at a much more casual pace. In one ramen shop (that is very famous and had a line out the door) we were told to take our time and enjoy our meal! At ramen shops in Tokyo you are expected to eat as quickly as possible and get out, so it was quite a pleasant surprise.

Both Sapporo and Fukuoka are know for ramen - miso up north, and pork broth in the south, and we ate our hearts out. We liked everywhere we went except for one place. Quick tip - if you find yourself in Sapporo, Yukikaze was incredibly good! And if you find yourself in Fukuoka we thought Issou did not live up to the hype.

Sulfur vents in Noboribetsu

John bought me this adorable coke

Coffee and cheesecake, plus John in the mirror

Our hotel in Sapporo had a fire pit on the roof

The old Sapporo brewery

Yukikaze ramen - so delicious!

Yoichi is old-fashioned and uses indirect fire stills

Yoichi distillery

The canal in Otaru

Drinks on the beach in Kyushu

Fukuoka at sunset

If you're not having cake for breakfast you're not doing vacation right

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