Last and final of this winter trip to Japan… a year after this trip, I am (finally!) finishing it on this blog… it’s about time you might tell me! Was it an unconscious way to keep this trip going somehow? Maybe… but it’s with a bit of nostalgia that I start this last stop: Kushiro, still on the wild island of Hokkaido.
We only stayed one day but right on time to be lucky enough to see the dancing Japanese cranes, symbol of Hokkaido and also meaning longevity.
Akan international crane center
As soon as we arrived at the station for Kushiro, we dropped our luggage at the baggage room and took a taxi to Akan International Crane Center. Buses also go there but we were worried to not get on time (sunset is early!) to see the cranes so we took all our chances.
Sometimes we can be lucky: after a 40-min drive, an improvised picnic in the taxi, we were able to see this wonderful dancing show of cranes flying high… 10 minutes later would have been too late… making these photos even more precious.
Then we took the time to visit the museum dedicated to this noble animal, while admiring the origami made in its honor.
One Japanese legend (Senzabaru) says that if we can fold 1000 cranes and assemble them along a string, our wish of happiness, wealth and longevity will be fulfilled. We can also do this detailed job for someone else so he/she can get better or for a birth/wedding… I love this kind of superstition full of humanity.
It brings something even more special to this elegant animal, who is unfortunately also in danger of extinction…
Kushiro Washo market
The town of Kushiro itself has nothing really interesting to see (the surrounding are) but the Washo market might be a nice yummy stop if you would like to make your own “Katte-don”. It consists in choosing various pieces of fresh fishes you like with tasty rice.
The total might get a bit pricey considering the large choice and freshness available! But even at 8am, I was able to savor this Katte-don!
My “katte-don” for breakfast
This market is also the good occasion to admire local products (yogurts and cheeses made with milk from Hokkaido) in addition to the seafood.
A few fruits can also be found. Still too much plastic packagings (not only here but everywhere in Japan) but the obsession of cleanness remains in the country of rising sun for better… or worse.
And it’s finally the end of this winter trip with a flight back to Tokyo, a few days spent there (including Valentines’Day once again at Tokyo DisneySea!) and the way back to France, the head full of a new vision of Japan, more natural, confidential and authentic.
I hope you enjoyed this winter tour together and that it gave you a lot of ideas if you are considering traveling to Japan in winter. It will be most probably one of the most beautiful trip I’ve done… I feel like I love this country even more each time: is it possible to fall in love more and more year after year? It seems like yes… (English translation by Quiterie)
(To read the entire 2018 Japan winter trip review click here)