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Wanderlust: Christmas in Japan

transportation. lodging. skiing. eats. — ON A BUDGET

There’s still 97 days until Christmas, and I CANNOT WAIT.

Last Christmas, our whole family travelled to Hokkaido, in Japan. IT WAS MAGICAL. YOU SHOULD’VE SEEN THE SKI SLOPES. 

Fluffy powder snow? Check. Cheap, good food? Check. Endless streets for your instagram theme? Check. THEY HAVE EVERYTHING.

Oh and did you know, California rolls aren’t actually Japanese? I had no idea. 

I mean, LOOK AT THAT VIEW!? You can definitely count on Hokkaido for the huge amount of snow each year.


Transportation

A form of transportation is necessary due to the CRAP TON OF SNOW, and we went with Nissan Rent a Car. They have numerous offices/stations sited all across Japan, which makes returning the car much easier. There is one stationed at the airport. (The Metro is extremely crowded, with little space for luggage.)

Below is a photo of our car parked at an AMAZING family owned restaurant. These adorable businesses are scattered across Japan, so there is no need to plan for meals. We’ve never came across any overpriced food, but we’ve been to one with free ice cream!

Scroll further down for some of my favorite foods 🙂20151213_151705.jpg



Skiing

Obviously, we had to go skiing. There were quite a few skiing resorts in Hokkaido, but the two best ones we went to were Hanazono,  Annupuri, and Grand Hirafu.. Personally, I prefer Hanazono for it’s restaurant (duh), newer ski lifts, and wider ski slopes, as well as the closer carpark to the slopes, but all three are quite nice 🙂

(All three resorts have accurate translations in numerous languages)

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Niseko Hanazono
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Niseko Annupuri

I couldn’t find any pictures of Annupuri and Grand Hirafu’s’ slopes, but here are some from Hanazono. As you can see from the photos, the snow is quite thick like the rest of Japan, so either rent some thick skis or like us, bring your own.

Grand Hirafu ^^


 

Food

Japanese cuisine is one of my favorite choices on the weekends.  But the actual thing? Just WOW.

I remember going to the Tsukiji fish market. We PICKED a bunch of seafood and ate it 30 MINUTES LATER, and served with rice. Check it out.

IT LOOKS SO. GOOD.

I talked about local family restaurants up in the first bit, and I wasn’t lying about the quality. Those small businesses usually serve ramen, fried dumplings, soft boiled egg…that sort of stuff.

We also went to a sushi bar. They had those conveyor belts that went around the tables, and IT WAS AWESOME! You could just shout out your order, and the friendly chefs would whip up a plate of sashimi or sushi in less than a minute! Sushi bars are my brother’s absolute favorite 🙂

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Occasionally, we went to Aeon, an international supermarket from Japan to get some home cooked meals. Beef, udon, and sashimi are easy meals to cook! Occasionally, we’d buy some japanese pastries from the supermarket, and yogurt and cereal as breakfast. There are also many fruits and snacks you can pick up for a low price!

Remember to get some Hokkaido dairy products! Milk, cheese, yogurt… from Hokkaido are extremely famous and popular all over the world.

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The sushi isle in Aeon
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My brother made this — not bad for a third grader!

I could pick any street snack off the road and you’d love it! The red bean filled pasty normally comes as a fish shaped pastry, but I found one, Doraemon style! Since Japan is surrounded by ocean, seafood is a MUST TRY. I got these skewers on a random shop by the street. Pretty sure its safe haha! We also got some milk and corn flavored soft serve ice cream. I KNOW. CORN FLAVORED!


Lodging

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Living right next to the resort was much too pricy. We managed to score a one story house– two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a really spacey living room + kitchen! There was also extra space for skiis, boots, and other gear— really clean, and brand new looking. We booked this house through SkiJapan . So impressed!

Also, although we chose normal (western style) beds, there were tatamis (traditional japanese beds) avaliable for booking as well! So worth a try if it’s your first time visiting Japan!


My experience in Japan last year had been WONDERFUL!  I swear, global warming is going to ruin all that beautiful snow one day, so just trudging through the fine, white, powder made me feel so lucky and blessed all at once.

A trip to Japan is definitely worth the hassle of lagging those skiis along— the insta worthy scenery, delicacies, and EVEN THE PEOPLE are most certainly worth it. (A stranger volunteered to help me with buying tickets, and was super kind the whole process even though I was a complete dunderhead haha)

Anyway, I have an Econ test to study for *sighs* so wish me luck! またね(mata ne)! See you soon!

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isn’t he cute!!
xx -Wing

 

 

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