Japan - October 12th
Tuesday morning we all (all 9 of us!) made it to the Busan airport for our flight to Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido in Japan. Our first stop off the tour bus (yes, we had our own tour bus) was lunch in a small seaside town. Outside the restaurant/market was a huge crab and a equally huge bear, both of which we would see a lot of on Hokkaido. We had ramen and salmon roe on rice for lunch. The ramen was ridiculously good! After lunch it was back in the bus to visit Noboribetsu Date Jidai Mura, an Edo era village in the town of Noboribetsu. Here we saw a traditional Japanese theater show and a ninja show. We also walked around the gardens and the other replica buildings. It was all a little hokey but the weather was nice so it was comfortable walking around. From here it was back on the bus for the ride to the Shikotsu-Toya National Park where we got to see a sulfur hot spring. With the sulfur it stank pretty bad but it was a beautiful park! We even got a short hike to see the small geyser there as well. The sun was setting right when we got there and it cast some beautiful shadows on the rocks and vegetation. Our hotel for the evening was located right across the street and used the water from the hot spring in the onsen (Japanese hot spring baths) that were located on the lower levels of the hotel (one for women, one for men). Since the hotel and the area is famous for its onsen, we decided we had to go. Here's a photo of us in our robes ready to head down to the baths!
We had buffet dinner at the hotel that night and walked around the small town later that evening.