Day 4 – Jozan & Otaru

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Morning view from my hotel room. Absolutely stunning. I had to take another photo before we went into the hot springs again for our morning shower.

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Then we had breakfast and headed off to go to Jozan. On the way we stopped by a observatory area where we were once again eclipsed by the cerulean beauty of Toya Lake.

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I can’t believe Hokkaido actually has bears. I thought they were lying to me. These two are taxidermy bears too, gross haha.

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Driving through farm fields.. Apparently these teepee huts are to grow soya beans.

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Then suddenly the weather turned 180 degrees. We were struck by rain, wind and fog.

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But we finally made it to Jozan. Jozan is a small small city with hot springs located within the town. There was a massive river which was just all natural hot springs with steam coming off. There was a small park that pooled the tricklings from the mountain where you could enjoy a foot bath. The hot springs were so fresh that it was EXTREMELY HOT. We bought some specialty red bean cakes called ‘Onsenmanju’ which is what Jozan is also well known for and enjoyed it while we soaked our feet.

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This was my face as I dipped my feet into the boiling water.

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You can BYO eggs and boil them, hot spring style. Pretty cool and delicious.

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Just sharing my appreciation for all things wood and rustic.

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Then we asked a local where a good place to eat was and was recommended to this Soba shop. Here, two elder ladies hand make the soup, noodles and everything else and only serve 50 people a day. We made it within the quota, phew!

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Every single food item we’ve had so far has been exceptional. This soba was the best I ever had in my entire life. Dammit now I’m craving for it as I type this.

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Now it was my turn to drive. I got the hardest leg of curvy, windy mountainous roads but you know what – it’s secretly my favourite type of driving. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to capture the gorgeous sights around me but thankfully my mum did snippets. Doesn’t really show how gigantic the mountains were and the beauty of the lush greens, yellows and reds that speckled through the shrub, but you get a slight idea. Some roads were bordered by huge lakes and rivers that bumped the view onto the next level.

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Then the weather changed on us again. I had to pee and I saw this HUGE dam. I don’t know why but something about dams creep the bejeezus out of me. The combination of a large large large body of water against the cold, behemoth concrete with steel infrastructure and being so high up sent trepidation through my spine. Or maybe it was the cold rain.

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We finally made it to Otaru and checked in! It was an adorable hotel with a European quaintness about it.

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We explored the canals beside the Japanese and European industrial architecture surrounds…

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Then we did a bit of shopping but to not much success. Everyone passed out without coffee so we headed back to the hotel.

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It’s… a mirror made of real antler deers wow. Oh yeah they have deers too. SO STRANGE. Hokkaido totally seems European.

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My childhood favourites!!

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Check out the bending of the wood on that sleigh, damn girl!

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Then we had the renowned sushi of Otaru. Unfortunately it wasn’t that enjoyable because we had to wait a whole hour for uncooked fish and a kid was crying and running around us and throwing tantrums and seeking attention for HOURS without the parents doing anything. Completely spoiled.

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So as I said, I’m allergic to seafood. I can eat fish so I palmed off everything to everyone else but you know, cross contamination is a hard thing to avoid. So I ended my night swelling up like a puffer fish. This was just the beginning…. I should’ve taken a photo of the progress but I decided to sleep it off. I’m usually anaphylactic so swelling up was a different reaction. I kinda found it humorous because I’ve never seen my eyes and lips puff up. At least I know I won’t ever suit botox.

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