2014.09.19 | 深藏不露

[Volume 9 Issue 9, #1943]
How DEEP is my blog??
今日個重點係, 我呢個blog其實就好似佢個主人咁「深..藏..不..露」!! 哈哈, 先唔好講我自己啦, 相信大家都應該有留意到, 我呢個blog其實唔係一般普通嘅blog.. 因為我鍾意不時(懶醒)放好多互動元素落去, 係都要讀者呢度click下嗰度click下, 係都要搞到大家頭暈暈先睇到啲絕密東西!! 呵呵.. 所以為了大家著想, 今日就同大家解釋一下, 我個blog其實應該點樣去欣賞~~ :p

[特別教學]
首先, 請由呢個button開始 >>>
today's topic of focus is, this blog of mine is exactly as "D-E-E-P" as its owner!! haha, let's not talk about my first but i believe many actually noticed that, my blog is not just another ordinary blog.. because i always like to (show-off and) put in interactive elements into my posts, die-die also want my readers to click here and click there, die-die also want to make my readers feel giddy before they could see the hidden good stuffs!! hehe.. hence i think for the sake of everyone (especially newcomers), perhaps i should explain a little how's best to enjoy reading my blog~~ :p

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2014.09.17 | 受託購物

[Volume 9 Issue 9, #1942]
Shopping Errands While Travelling??
上一回我哋提到旅行買手信, 咁買手信都算係一份心意, 相信大家都會話隨緣啦.. 今日我哋就嚟講一講, 當有人知你將會去旅行, 就二話不說託你買嘢, 甚至直頭俾張購物清單你.. 嘩!! 係唔係即刻冷汗一標, 唔知要如何回應?? 其實唔係唔想幫, 不過有時啲人又真係老實唔容氣, 細細件嘅都尚好, 嗰啲大大件又食位嘅, 就唔該為別人著想下啦!! 人哋係去亨受假期, 唔係奉旨幫你購物囉.. 咁應承咗人買, 就成個trip都會諗住啲嘢, 又要去搵又要去格價又要出住錢先去買, 買咗以為可以鬆一口氣, 點知又要成個trip保管住怕整爛, 你都唔好話冇壓力!!

好喇, 安全回家喇, 又要安排時間見面交貨, 遇到啲唔平又唔貴嘅嘢, 又唔知收唔收錢好, 收錢又唔知人哋係唔係當手信咁expect喎?? 又唔知係唔係買啱嘢喎?? 總知就係幾煩啦.. 所以我如果冇乜需要, 都唔想麻煩人(除非人哋親口問我有冇嘢要買), 同樣地都希望人哋唔好俾太大麻煩我, 哈哈!! 大家熟就冇所謂, 不過唔熟就無謂搞咁多嘢囉.. 錢財債易清, 但人情債係欠一世呀, 認同嗎?? :p
we talked about buying souvenirs when we go traveling in the previous post, and many agreed that it's something "maybe" since it's all about the thoughts.. so, today let's talk about what if someone knew you are going to travel, without hesitation ask for your favour to help him/her to shop for something, or even pass you a detailed shopping list?? wow, rather overwhelmed and do not know how to react, other then cold sweat?? it's not that we do not want to help, but at times there are many who are overexcited and forgotten about considerations, small items of course not an issue but bulky ones that take up space would surely be a burden!! just think, people go to enjoy their holidays and are not obliged to run shopping errands for you.. and after promising to help, one whole trip you are thinking about the shopping list, find - compare price - fork out money - buy, and when you thought it's a relief after you bought them, now worry how you are going to carry and safeguard them throughout the entire journey, not that this is something not stressful huh??

okay, and after you get home safely, you still need to arrange to meet up and pass the stuffs.. when it comes to something not cheap and also not expensive, you fall into a dilemma whether to take the money, if you do then you may not know if that was expected to be some kind of souvenirs for them?? and you do not know if what your bought is really what he/she asked for?? in short, it gets troublesome I'll say.. hence if not really necessary, I will not want to trouble others (unless I was asked what I want), similarly I also do not hope to get too much of trouble, haha!! closed ones still alright, but not closed ones, better don't lah.. it's easy to pay off money you owed others, but the favor you asked for will remain a favor you owe, agree?? :p

2014.09.12 | 北海道夏(6)

[Volume 9 Issue 9, #1941]
Hokkaidō Trip Summer 2014 - DAY 6 of 8: Hakodate (函館), Sapporo (札幌)
中文讀者請注意: 因為篇幅問題, 這一系列日本遊記只有英語版本, 敬請見諒..
day 5 in Hakodate was spent on the "ground" and then later on the "mountain top".. on day 6 we had half a day to further explore the city before heading back to Sapporo (札幌), where else could we hang out then?? hmmm, how about the "sea"?? i guarantee you are going to see lots of sea's today, i warn you, haha!! :D
Hakodate Japan - Morning Market 函館朝市Hakodate Japan - Morning Market, shops and stallsHakodate Japan - Morning Market, all types of fresh produce
i am always an early bird when i go travel, and going to local markets is definitely one activity i love.. the Hakodate Morning Market (函館朝市 Hakodate Asaichi) is just probably 50 steps away from the Hakodate Station (函館駅 Hakodate Eki) and remember we stayed in a hotel just opposite the station?? so, this was surely a must-go (actually also already in our itinerary).. look at the stalls and shops, the fresh produce and seafood, i would say one word: eye-opening!!
Hakodate Japan - Morning Market, raw squid with rice at Hakodate Shokudou 函館食堂Hakodate Japan - Morning Market, seafood rice that are small but just the nice portionHakodate Japan - Morning Market, freshly grilled squidHakodate Japan - Morning Market, savoring white sweet corn and squid ink ice-cream
we were there 9-ish in the morning and what's the better breakfast to have in a market with many fresh seafood?? seafood rice (海鮮丼 kaisendon) of course!! there were many nice shops in the "rice alley" (どんぶり横丁 donburi yokocho) section, and when i said nice, there's of course some cost to pay for.. the price there started from ¥1000, which wasn't that "attractive" to us.. we explored the place a bit and lucky to have found this canteen (食堂 shokudou) called Hakodate Shokudou (函館食堂), it was on the floor above Ekini Market (駅二市場 Ekini Ichiba), not significantly seen, and one can easily missed the stairs leading to this eatery.. the squid rice, seafood rice and grilled squid we ordered each cost ¥500, though the portion was way smaller [2] and "not the best i have had", i found that just nice for breakfast.. and the money we saved?? "donated" to the white sweet corn (¥150) eaten raw and squid ink ice-cream (¥315) later [4], haha!! :p
Hakodate Japan - Morning Market, catch squid yourself and have them eaten raw on the spot
come to Hakodate (函館) and you must not miss squid (イカ ika)!! the squid we had may not be the freshest, but if you want real freshness, go into the market, pay to catch one yourself at the seasonal price (about ¥600) and then have it sashimi-ed right away for your palate!! see what the people were catching and eating?? fresh ones from the sea (water) would be translucent if not transparent, unlike those we had on the rice, probably cooked a little by the heat from the rice and turned white.. did i try you asked?? errr, i was worried about the "thing" still moving down my throat, but i would recommend you to go for it, haha!! :D
Hakodate Japan - Bay Area ベイエリア, with Mt Hakodate at the background and Hakodate Port on the right
after some seafood rice for breakfast, we gained full-bar energy to continue to our next stop on the itinerary - the Hakodate Bay Area (函館ベイエリア Hakodate Bei Eria).. a nice place to chill out, where you can have a beautiful view of mountain and sea, Mount Hakodate (函館山 Hakodateyama) and Hakodate Bay (函館湾 Hakodatewan), which i would believe is a good combination in fengshui.. plus a nice sunny day, i felt very comfortable hanging out here, though it was warm (temperature on par KL)..
Hakodate Japan - Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse 金森赤レンガ倉庫 at Bay AreaHakodate Japan - Kanemori Brick Warehouse at Bay AreaHakodate Japan - Nice wall on Hakodate Meiji-kanHakodate Japan - Shops around the Western DockHakodate Japan - Hakodate Beer and Hakodate Seafood MarketHakodate Japan - Yummy cheesecake from Pastry Snaffle's Hakodate
the landmark of Hakodate Bay Area (函館ベイエリア Hakodate Bei Eria) would be this Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse (金森赤レンガ倉庫 Kanemori-aka-renga-sōko).. built in 1909 as the first commercial warehouse in Hakodate, it has now been converted to house a number of restaurants and shops including complexes like Hakodate Meijikan (函館明治館) [3] and Hakodate Seafood Market (函館海鮮市場 Hakodate Kaisen Ichiba) [website].. didn't take photo inside the shops, lots of stuffs to buy but obviously this Uncle wasn't quite into except one thing he would ask for more - the very delectable cheesecakes from Pastry Snaffle's (a box of 8 two-mouthfuls-and-done cakes for ¥1080) [6]..
Hakodate Japan - Motomachi Area 元町地区, rolling down the slope into the sea
i know what you're thinking, why this Uncle was like eating non-stop the whole morning everywhere he went?? muahaha.. okay okay, but luckily we did, because there was a lot of walking and now look, we were at the slopes of the Motomachi Area (元町地区 Motomachi Chiku).. slopes!! burning energy double-speed!! haha.. but i have to admit, it is such a nice neighbourhood which is a nice blend of Japanese and Western, looking down to the sea below, that we did not actually felt (too) tired climbing the slopes.. in this photo, the Hachimansaka-dori (八幡坂通 - literally "slope of eight flags") was where i found with the best view amongst the many slopes..
Hakodate Japan - Hakodate Church 函館教会 in MotomachiHakodate Japan - Russian Orthodox Church 函館ハリストス正教会 in MotomachiHakodate Japan - St. John's Church 函館聖ヨハネ教会 in MotomachiHakodate Japan - Statue of Liberty in Motomachi
how influenced by western and overseas culture you thought?? the houses?? they probably are just modern designs over time.. until we saw the church, to be exact, not one church but a few churches.. from the Hakodate Church (函館教会 Hakodate Kyōkai) built in 1877 [1] to the Hakodate Orthodox Church (函館ハリストス正教会 Hakodate Harisutosu Seikyōkai) built in 1860 [2] to the Hakodate St John's Church (函館聖ヨハネ教会 Hakodate Seiyohane Kyōkai) built in 1878 [3], all over 100 year-old and still beautifully preserved.. and to be more "pro-American", another Statue of Liberty [4] spotted, haha!! :p
Hakodate Japan - Lucky Pierrot ラッキーピエロ chain for burgers
so that was quite about it exploring Hakodate (函館) on foot.. before we catch our 3:13pm train to Sapporo (札幌), we were here for our lunch.. Hakodate's very own, famous and ubiquitous fast food chain Lucky Pierrot (ラッキーピエロ Rakkī Piero) which sells nice burgers as well as Japanese curry rice.. choices were vast and there were also some creative yet interesting burgers to choose from, i had a pork-bacon-egg burger (¥480, image on their menu here) and fries with sea salt, so yummy it went straight into my stomach before my camera "eats" it, ooppss!! must-try~~ :p
Sapporo Japan - Fing-Fing at Khaosan International Hostel インターナショナルホステルカオサン札幌
fast-forward the 3½-hour train ride (we took the limited express (特急 tokkyū) this time hence 30min faster) from Hakodate (函館) and then the 15min taxi ride from Sapporo Station (札幌駅), we were at International Hostel Khaosan Sapporo (インターナショナルホステルカオサン札幌 Intānashonaru Hosuteru Kaosan Sapporo) in Susukino (すすきの), which is quite catered for backpackers.. still remember on day 2 we stayed in this area also, but in a capsule hotel?? this time, we had a tatami (畳) room (¥15000 per room per night) instead, all slept on futons (布団) on the floor except Fing-Fing, who (pretended to have) suffered from nausea on the train, got the bed all by himself.. no wonder he was smiling so cheekily.. :p
Sapporo Japan - Dinner at an izakaya in Tanukikoji 貍小路Sapporo Hakodate - Dinner at an izakayaSapporo Japan - Never miss desserts after dinner
dinner that night was at an izakaya (居酒屋 Japanese style tavern) in Tanukikoji (狸小路) about 10-minutes walk from our hostel, with a very long name: 豪快居酒屋舟盛屋別邸炙り茶屋 (Gōkai Izakaya Funamoriya Bettei Aburi Chaya), and i sound like i am reading some Korean lyrics instead, muahaha.. food was good and here is the menu on their official website, see if you can find and match what we ordered [2]?? hehe.. didn't hang out after dinner since shops were mostly closed after dinner, hence we just got back to hotel, enjoyed some seasonal "desserts" [3] and then off to bed calling it a day.. :)
so that was day 6 wrapping up Hakodate (函館), started flat on the ground then climbed up the mountain and lastly by the sea and slopes, then finally back to Sapporo (札幌).. did i promised you that you are going to see a lot of sea's in this post?? did you count how many?? haha.. next day, we went on an excursion to a place i really enjoyed, stay tune for the coming post.. :)

travelogue posts in this series:

2014.09.10 | 北海道夏(5B)

[Volume 9 Issue 9, #1940]
Hokkaidō Trip Summer 2014 - DAY 5B of 8: Hakodate (函館)
中文讀者請注意: 因為篇幅問題, 這一系列日本遊記只有英語版本, 敬請見諒..
we spent the first half of day 5 was exploring Hakodate (函館) by tram and a bit of walking, that was rather on the "ground" i would put it.. in the evening, we proceeded to take a view of the city from "atop", claimed to be one of the world's most stunning as seen on Mount Hakodate (函館山 Hakodateyama) which is located at the southern end of the Kameda Peninsula (亀田半島 Kameda-hantō).. how beautiful you wonder?? read on.. :)
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Hakodate Japan - From Jyujigai to Hakodate Ropeway
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there are a few options to go up to Mount Hakodate (函館山 Hakodateyama) - drive, take a bus or cable car to the top, and to the cable car station, you can either walk, take a tram or bus.. of course we opted for cable car, and since we had the tram pass, we took a tram (towards either Yachigashira (谷地頭) or Hakodate-Dokku-mae (函館どっく前) direction), alighted at Jyujigai (十字街) and walked for 10-minutes up the slope of Motomachi (元町) area.. BTW, Hakodate (函館) is very tourist-friendly, just look for and follow these signs and you shall not be lost.. :)
Hakodate Japan - Mount Hakodate Ropeway
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okay okay, the cable car has actually got a more glamorous name, Mount Hakodate Ropeway (函館山ロープウェイ Hakodateyama Rōpuuei) [website] as you can see printed on the signboard and tickets.. single trip at ¥660 and round trip at ¥1200, show your tram pass to get a 10% discount, thus ¥1080 we paid.. if you do not have the pass, look around for the brochures rack near the ticket counter and pick up a discount voucher to enjoy 10% discount on the spot.. do not bother the station names printed on the ticket, there is just one station that we board at the foot (山麓駅 Sanroku-eki) and alight on top (山頂駅 Sanchō-eki)..
Hakodate Japan - Mount HakodateHakodate Japan - Mount Hakodate Ropeway
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as soon as the gondola ascended, we could already see a beautiful view of the city of Hakodate (函館) [2].. however, because we were not the first few to get into the gondola and secure a "strategic" place by the window, we were not be able to get a full view with the heads of other passengers blocking (all standing, there is no seat), not to mention take a good shot.. i know some may ask for photos of the cable car, well, but we were ushered to get in/out as soon as the gondola arrived, no time for that and the moving crowd made it even more impossible.. that explains why i have only two photos to share here.. :p
Hakodate Japan - Mount HakodateHokkaido Japan - Ramen Grand Slam
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the cable car trip was a rather quick one, especially felt quicker when we actually didn't manage to see more of the view than we were trying to, you get what i mean, haha!! anyway, in just a few minutes we were already at the top of the 334-meter high Mount Hakodate (函館山 Hakodateyama)..
Hakodate Japan - Bird's Eye View of Hakodate City from Mount HakodateHakodate Japan - Bird's Eye View of Hakodate City from Mount HakodateHakodate Japan - Bird's Eye View of Hakodate City from Mount HakodateHakodate Japan - Bird's Eye View of Hakodate City from Mount HakodateHakodate Japan - Bird's Eye View of Hakodate City from Mount Hakodate
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alright, i know i'm long-winded suspending and you can't wait to see more photos, haha.. but it wasn't quite a clear day, thus we could only see up to a limited distance.. plus, the photos were taken using my phone, hence they look "misty" and tones not standard, ooppss!! anyway, many things are way better to be seen in real.. this spot on Mount Hakodate (函館山 Hakodateyama) offered a panoramic view of the city, sandwiched between the Hakodate Bay (函館湾 Hakodatewan) [4] on the left and the Tsugaru Straigts (津軽海峡 Tsugaru Kaikyō) [5] on the right..
Hakodate Japan - Posing on Mount Hakodate
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we got up to Mount Hakodate (函館山 Hakodateyama) around 6pm and there was a reason.. we wanted to be able to enjoy both the day and night views one shot, hence the time.. sunset is at 7pm during summer and while waiting for sunset, other than lingering in the souvenirs shop and eateries, posing for photos was the best thing to do to kill time.. how do you like my running and jumping poses?? muahahaha~~ :D
Hakodate Japan - Night View of Hakodate City from Mount HakodateHakodate Japan - Night View of Hakodate City from Mount Hakodate Ropeway
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finally the moment we were waiting for, the sun has set, the sky darkened and lights slowly lit up.. sorry for the quality of the photo (from my phone), which does not let you see the real magnificence of the view, and hence no point for me to share more photos.. trust me, if you were there to see the real thing with your own eyes, you will be "breath-taken".. this night view of Hakodate (函館) is ranked together with Hong Kong and Naples as the world's best by the Michelin Green Guide, don't play play..
Hakodate Japan - Nice manhole and Tsunami Warning
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we stayed on the mountain for another hour after sunset, maybe it will be even more beautiful when the sky got darker and more lights lit up, but our "drumming" stomachs have already put up a strike.. so by the Ropeway we went downhill, blocked again by the overly excited tourists that did not care to give chance to others to go near the window, haiz!! anyway, not a big deal as there were still many other interesting stuffs to see.. for instance this random manhole on the road decorated with squid which is one of the famous stuffs of Hakodate (函館), and this rather "alarming" tsunami warning..
Hakodate Japan - Daimon YokochoHakodate Japan - Ochazuke for Dinner
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we got back to Hakodate station (函館駅 Hakodate-eki) and took a 5-minute walk to Daimon Yokocho (大門橫丁) which is an area of with many small shops running as traditional street stall style (屋台 yatai) [website].. most of the shops sell grilled skewers, they looked good and we wanted to try, but since all shops are small, we couldn't find a place to eat.. so we ended up having ochazuke (お茶漬け) instead, a simple dish of rice topped with savory toppings and then pour in with hot tea to serve - like how you eat cereals with milk, or something similar to our hakka lui cha (click here to see).. my first time trying (*jakun mode*) and i like it, something actually worth trying..
we went back to hotel after dinner and called it a day, since it was a long day for us (remember we woke up at 3:30am??).. the next day we had half a day in Hakodate (函館) before we set off back to Sapporo (札幌) late afternoon.. it was "ground" and "mountain" in day 5, what could day 6 be?? stay tune.. :)

travelogue posts in this series:

2014.09.08 | 北海道夏(5A)

[Volume 9 Issue 9, #1939]
Hokkaidō Trip Summer 2014 - DAY 5A of 8: Hakodate (函館)
中文讀者請注意: 因為篇幅問題, 這一系列日本遊記只有英語版本, 敬請見諒..
the garden hopping in Furano (富良野) and driving along the Patchwork Road in Biei (美瑛) on day 4 marked a beautiful end to our stay in the northern part of Hokkaidō.. on day 5, we again rose very early in the morning to catch the first train out of Asahikawa (旭川) and off we headed south to Hakodate (函館) in the southern region of Hokkaidō..
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Asahikawa Japan - JR Station
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when i said very early in the morning, i really mean it.. the first train departs Asahikawa (旭川) at 5:18am and so we woke up at 3:30am(!!!), took turns to wash-up, did final packing, munch a little snack, checked out and by the time we reached the station, it was 4:45am.. you see the clock on the building?? yes, it said 4:45 in the morning, but because it was summer so you thought it looked like afternoon instead.. we're way ahead of the departure time, and that's the problem - the station wasn't opened yet!! no wonder so quiet, no choice we gotta wait outside until the station was opened at around 5:00am..

Lesson learnt always check the station's operating hours and don't assume they operates 24x7.. we might be worried about missing the train, but don't have to be so kiasi also lah.. :D
Hokkaido Japan - From Asahikawa to Sapporo to Hakodate by Train
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the journey offered beautiful views we could enjoy from inside the train.. from Asahikawa (旭川) to Sapporo (札幌) was greens which Fing-Fing enjoyed very much, see his happy face as if he would be able to spot some bananas from those trees (@.@").. me though, enjoyed the view from Sapporo (札幌) to Hakodate (函館) more as the rail was built on the coast just by the sea, it was amazing to have such nice seaview and it didn't felt like a 4-hour journey.. if you want to know what sea i was looking at, Pacific Ocean and Uchiura Bay (内浦湾 Uchiura-wan)..
Hakodate Japan - Streetcar/Tram One Day Pass
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we arrived at Hakodate (函館) 4-hour later at 11:35am and the first thing we did was to get the One Day Streetcar Pass, from the Foreign Tourist desk at the information center in Hakodate Station (函館駅 Hakodate Eki).. Streetcar is what they call their city tram (市電 shiden or 路面電車 romen densha), the most convenient way to travel between tourists attractions (nope, there is no subway in this city)..
Hakodate Japan - Salt RamenHokkaido Japan - Ramen Grand Slam
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we crossed the road to our hotel which is just opposite the station (check their website here).. since we were too early for check-in, we left our luggage with the hotel and went to the shop next door for lunch.. what you are seeing here was my salt ramen (塩ラメン shio ramen), another version which completed my so-called "Ramen Grand Slam" (see here)!! very different from the pork marrow, miso and soy sauce i had earlier, the salt ramen looked plain but tasted clear, lighter and rather more refreshing, just sea salt to enhance the flavor of the soup - this bowl of mine (¥750) was chicken broth if i'm not mistaken.. simple but very nice, this would be another recommendation.. i think i will rank this type above the rest, of course based on my own taste buds..
Hakodate Japan - Around the City
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after the simple but delightful ramen lunch, we still had about 1½ hour to spare before we could check-in.. since we have already bought our one-day tram pass, why waste?? so off we went to explore the city by tram, referencing the tourist map attached to the pass booklet, how thoughtful right?? with the pass on hand, we just hopped on and off many stops we without worries, of course doing so we had our instant ROI, haha!! didn't quite know where we were going or have been, that's not important since we were just exploring.. in general, Hakodate (函館) is more like a town if compared to her other big sisters, more "humble" and of course one feels more relax there..
Hakodate Japan - Posing with Statues on the Street
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we got back to our hotel at 2pm to check-in and after a brief rest, we took the Yunokawa Line (湯の川線 Yunokawa-sen) tram to our first planned destination of our itinerary, the Goryōkaku (五稜郭).. okay, it's not what you are seeing in this photo, i kind of "side-track" a bit, haha!! we had to walk like 15-minutes from the Goryokaku Park Front tram station (五稜郭公園前駅 Goryōkaku Kōen-mae Eki) to where we wanted to be, along the way, we saw some interesting sculptures on both sides of the road.. in order to forget the destination is still far ahead, we stopped and posed together with the sculptures, i like that cunning fox but how was i to imitate it?? ah, i think our eyes are equally small, haha.. :D
Hakodate Japan - Goryokaku ParkHakodate Japan - Goryokaku ParkHakodate Japan - Goryokaku ParkHakodate Japan - Goryokaku ParkHakodate Japan - Goryokaku ParkHakodate Japan - Goryokaku Park
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after 25-minutes (half of the time wasted taking photos though) we arrived at the Goryokaku (五稜郭), formerly a fort and now a public park.. we took the bridge to cross the moat [2] and entered the fort, not actually a big place (or more precisely, area that we could explore) but i would say this place was beautiful [3] i felt sorry to myself if i didn't take a photo [6], haha.. i was especially captivated by the trees planted in the park, they were all so beautiful and even some of which that carried "fake looking color" [5] were "looking handsome" too.. in the center of the fort stood the Hakodate Magistrate's Office (箱館奉行所 Hakodate Bugyōsho) [4], which was established at the port in 1857, and since then gone through a series of moving, dismantling, rebuilding and finally only opened to public in 2010 for a fee of ¥500 [website]..
Hakodate Japan - Goryokaku ParkHakodate Japan - Goryokaku Park
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the term goryo (五稜) as in Goryokaku (五稜郭) means "five edges/corners" and refers to the shape of a star.. hence what you are seeing on this monument [1] is actually Goryokaku (五稜郭) itself which is built in a star-shaped designed by Takeda Ayasaburō (武田斐三郎) [2] 150 years ago, and was Japan's very first western-style fort.. of course, one will not see the star-shape while inside the park, but the outline could be seen very clearly from a higher location, that would probably awe many beholders [website], especially during spring when the 1600 cherry trees surrounding the moat blossom - imagine that!!
Hakodate Japan - Goryokaku TowerHakodate Japan - Souvenirs Stamps
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and the best place to see the star-shaped outline of Fort Goryokaku (五稜郭) from the top is this 50 year-old Goryokaku Tower (五稜郭タワー Goryōkaku Tawā) that is adjoining the park.. of course, standing at 107-meter tall, the city of Hakodate (函館), Mount Hakodate (函館山 Hakodateyama) and the further Yokotsu Mountain Range (横津岳 Yokotsu Dake) can also be seen, all for just a fee of ¥840 (enjoy 10% discount with tram pass) to get up to the 2-storey observatory platform on the tower.. and common to all tourist attractions, there is a huge souvenirs shop at the foot of the tower specially for shopaholics, hehe.. of course no harm browsing inside and enjoy free food samples, and if you have brought yourself some papers, do not forget to collect some tourist stamps (see here), free one lah~~ :p
Hakodate Japan - Yummy Milk and Melon Ice-Cream
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why suddenly showing food already?? no photos taken from top the tower?? uncle being uncle, of course i didn't pay to go up - the fees, and because we were planning to climb up somewhere later and thought we would be able to see the same thing.. hence we just "lingered" in the souvenirs shop at the foot of the tower enjoying this extra rich and creamy bottled milk (¥140) from Yamakawa Farm (山川牧場 Yamakawa-bokujyo) [website], as well as the very mouthwatering Yubari melon (夕張メロン Yubari Meron) and milk swirl ice-cream (¥350).. i gotta say, they made me a very happy person for that moment, and gave me energy to continue to the next stop!! :D
so we kind of explored the city for half a day and did i mentioned we were climbing up somewhere later?? yes, another highlights of this trip, which is going up Mount Hakodate (函館山 Hakodateyama) to have a bird's eye view of the city, claimed to be one of the world's best night views!! stay tune for the second half of day 5 in the next post.. :)

travelogue posts in this series: