September 20, 2017

Historical and Beautiful Motomachi

Armed with Hakodate map we got at the train station, we continued our walk. This time, towards Motomachi area. It's not too far from the red brick warehouse.

Motomachi is located at the foot of Mount Hakodate, so it's rather hilly ala San Francisco. There are many sloping streets running straight to the port, commanding a fine view. The neighborhood was home to many foreign residents during the early trading days so the area has Western-influenced streetscape, buildings and churches, which remains till today.

The slopes in Motomachi.

Hachiman-Zaka slope is one of the most famous tourist spots here. From this slope, you can see Hakodate Bay and Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship moored at the port.

Motoi-Zaka slope with Mount Hakodate at the back.

Motomachi Park.

Just a few metres away from the park is the Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward. This historic building was built in 1910, and has been designated as important cultural property since 1974.

*pix from google since my pix was meh

Opening hours : April ~ October 9 am ~ 7 pm, November ~ March 9 am ~ 5 pm
Closed on Dec 31 ~ Jan 3
Entrance fee :  300 yen

Other notable buildings around Motomachi include Former British Consulate of Hakodate. This building was used as the British Consulate from 1913 to 1934. There's a tea room where you can enjoy some English tea.

*pix from google

Opening hours : April ~ October 9 am ~ 7 pm, November ~ March 9 am ~ 5 pm
Closed on Dec 31 ~ Jan 3
Entrance fee :  300 yen

Then there's the Hakodate Russian Orthodox Church. It is Japan's oldest Russian Orthodox Church and was designated as important cultural property in 1983.

*pix from google

The building has this Russian Byzantine style, which very much reminded me of my trip to Moscow. When can I visit the city againnnnn?!

Opening hours : Weekday 10 am ~ 5 pm, Saturday 10 am ~ 4 pm, Sunday 1 pm ~ 4 pm
Closed from Dec 26 ~ March 15
Entrance fee : 200 yen

Another church is Motomachi Roman Catholic Church. The current building was built in 1924, and its altar was a gift from Pope Benedict XV.

*pix from google

Opening hours : 10 am ~ 4 pm (except Sunday mornings and worship time)
Closed from Dec 30 ~ Jan 5

Lovely area to stroll and enjoy the history and have ice cream hehe. There's this street with endless line of shops selling soft serve ice cream with unique flavors such as Hokkaido melon and squid ink. You better try them!

The historical buildings are lit up at night so you can enjoy an evening stroll here after descending from Mount Hakodate. We didn't get to see it since we took the bus from the mountain back to Hakodate Station and were too lazy to take the tram to Motomachi.

Access: Take the tram and get off at Suehiro-cho station.

September 18, 2017

Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse

From Hakodate Morning Market, we decided to walk to Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse.

Hakodate Port was among the first Japanese ports to be opened to international trade towards the end of the Edo period. Several red brick warehouses from past trading days survived the test of time, and have recently been redeveloped into a commercial district. It's a great place for shoppers as there are not many shopping areas at Hakodate (or maybe I didn't explore much).

Besides the typical touristy souvenir shops, boutiques and cafes, the warehouses also features a beer hall, a chapel for weddings and sightseeing cruises around the bay.

We enjoyed walking on the streets and stroll leisurely along the port, admiring the historical brick warehouses and also, had some ootd moments haha. Hakodate is not a big city so the atmosphere is very laid back. And it's still early so there's not many people around.

If you are in Hakodate and have time to spend, this area is a nice place to chill.

* 20 minutes walk from Hakodate Station
* 5 minutes walk from Jujigai tram stop

September 16, 2017

Hakodate Morning Market, the Seafood Galore

Just a few walks away from Hakodate Station is the Hakodate Asaichi (Morning Market).

Held daily from 5am (6am during winter) to noon, you should start your day in Hakodate with a visit to this bustling market. There are indoor shopping area as well as the open market on Nakadori Street.

One of the pleasures of visiting Hokkaido is eating their seafood. That's what tourists from Japan and overseas always rave about when in Hokkaido. The taste, the freshness... 5 stars ok!

So I was excited to see the freshly caught seafood; crabs, squids, lobsters, scallops, sea urchins etc. The sellers are very friendly although most of them don't speak English. I am OK cos I can speak a little Japanese but for those who don't, don't worry cos they will try to communicate with you no matter what hehe.

the king crab was sooo big!!

There's also the famous Hokkaido melon and white corn. The melons are very pricey though. One small slice is 300 yen T_T So I only bought the corn.

the white corn, but it doesn't look so white...

One popular thing to do at the market is fishing for fresh squid. Once you've caught one from the fishing pond, the chef will cut it into sashimi for you to eat on the spot. Price ranges from 600 yen to 1000 yen depending on the size of the squid.

*pix from google

*pix from google

There are also many restaurants in the market area offering fresh seafood donburi. You'll have a hard time to decide what to eat. If you need to google for recommendations, there's free WiFi at the indoor market.

We were leaving for Sapporo in the afternoon and wanted to go sightseeing around Hakodate so we skipped breakfast here.

September 14, 2017

Mount Hakodate Night View

We reached Hakodate, a city and port at the southern tip of Hokkaido after around 4 hours Shinkansen ride from Tokyo. The journey didn't feel that long cos it was very comfortable and I enjoyed the view along the way. Also I slept, played with the phone, ate bento lunch, read a book.. and time just flew by.

Finally! I set foot in Hokkaido!

Our hotel was within walking distance to Hakodate station, so we quickly checked-in, dumped our luggage, refreshed ourselves, solat etc and ready to go out again.

The one thing you should not miss whenever you're in Hakodate is the view from Mount Hakodate. The night view from the mountain is spectacular and included among Japan's best night views.

You can get to the top of Mount Hakodate by ropeway, bus or car.
Ropeway : You can get to the ropeway station by bus from Hakodate Station (250 yen) or take the tram to Jujigai (210 yen + 5 minutes walk). The fare is 1280 yen for the roundtrip and 780 yen for one way, and the ride only takes 3 minutes. Operating at 15 minutes interval.
Bus : Direct bus from Hakodate station (30 minutes). One way fare is 400 yen. Not available during winter.
Car: Only if you go during daytime. The road is closed to individual car from 5pm ~ 10pm.

It was almost 5.30pm when we went back to the station. During spring, the sunset at 6.30pm. I wanted to take the ropeway up to the mountain but we were short of time. I heard usually it is packed and it would be a hassle since we needed to take bus or train to get there. Night view is the best but I also wanna see the view prior to sunset. #kiasu Thought taking the bus would be faster since it would go direct to the top of the mountain. What I didn't know was it took about 30 minutes to reach the top haha. So we missed the sunset T_T cos we missed the earlier bus and had to wait for the next one.

The observation platform was very crowded when we arrived.

When we got a spot, this was our view. Loveeeee!!!

cable car going up

We left after about an hour cos it was sooo windy and cold.

Sometimes the nights can be foggy so the recommended seasons to go is fall, winter and early spring when the night is usually clear. If you want to chill, restaurants with great night view are available. There's also a couple of souvenir shops.

September 9, 2017

Panda at Zoo Negara

Lately I've been walking down memory lanes...

Went to Genting Highlands which I last visited in 2004.

And last weekend, I went to the National Zoo, which I last visited about 10 years ago. Btw, the zoo is less than 5 minutes drive from my house. So near right?! But my friends are all cool people they only wanna go to the malls, and I don't have little ones to bring.. so yeah that's why I didn't visit it for so long.

I still don't have little ones to bring now but I am an animal person so don't care la just go visit the zoo. Well actually I wanted to bid farewell to the baby panda, Nuan Nuan cos she will be returned to China soon.

If you don't know, the parents Xing Xing and Liang Liang came in May 2014 to mark the 40th anniversary of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations. Nuan Nuan was born here at the Giant Panda Conservation Centre in August 2015.

Two years has passed and it's time for her to be sent to Chengdu. It's part of the agreement, any panda cubs born here should be returned to China after 2 years :(

It wasn't my first time seeing pandas (I've seen a couple in Ueno Zoo Tokyo last year, both also on loan from China) but I was still super excited.

But I was surprised to see Nuan Nuan has become so big already haha. I was looking for a little panda when I entered the Giant Panda Conservation Centre. I saw two pandas sleeping and thought oh those must be the parents.

Sooo cute!!!

*heart melts*

Then I saw another panda at the other side of the centre. The panda was eating by the man-made waterfall and has its back facing me, and it looked small from where I stood so I thought this must be the baby. Ok you eat first Imma take a selfie with your parents.

I heard the lady standing next to me telling her son,

"Look! The baby snuggled up to her mommy so cute."

I turned to her, in my head I was saying,

"Get your fact right woman! That's the parents doing some pda."

After a while, I turned to the other side again to see whether the baby had finished eating.
Then I saw this.


So this is Xing Xing, the daddy.

And that lady was right sheeshhhh. This is Nuan Nuan cuddling with mommy, Liang Liang.
When did you become sooo big?!

Nuan Nuan sleeping

still sleeping... wake up!!

Anyway, I also visited the other animals at the zoo.

Butterfly Garden (but I only saw 2 butterflies there hahaha)

Mouse deer





Milky Stork, one of Malaysia's highly endangered birds

Spotted deer

the Lion King

He's so skinny and looked hungry... :(


I hope the zookeepers would clean up the algae in the pond so that the tigers can enjoy swimming cos the info board mentions that tigers are water lovers. They always lounge around the water to cool down on a hot day. Ok maybe the tigers don't care about the algae but at least it will look cleaner.



Sun bear

I thought they are kangaroos..

But actually this is Wallaby


Orang utan

There's one area called the savannah. Love the concept where the giraffes and zebras roam freely around the area.

Giraffe & Zebra

Before you go back, can do some shopping at the souvenir shops.

Spent about 4 hours walking around the zoo. Sooo tired by the end of the visit but I was happy! :D

Till next time!

Zoo Negara opens daily 9am ~ 5pm
Entrance Fee: Adult RM44 / Children RM16 (below 3 years old is free)
Refer the website for other information.