To Hakodate via Aomori City, Hokkaido and Aomori Prefectures

With an empty stomach, I woke up from hunger pangs and the splutter of rain hitting the tent. I hurriedly packed the tent before the damage got too severe. I had already decided to go to an all you can eat and pig out for the whole morning and was there as soon as it opened.

P. S. if you’re ever riding into Aomori city from the south, don’t go the airport way, it is full of narrow roads, trucks and hills. Stick to route 7 or whatever it’s called.

After stuffing my face, I could barely walk, so I squandered over to the nearest Aeon to stop my SDBH cravings.

To be honest I don’t remember too much about lovely Aomori. I had some great ramen there (Hokkaido style though, Butter Miso). I walked around the pier and town before it started pouring down with rain. I checked into my first hotel of the trip (a whole $35 worth of hotel) and watch some of the sumo tournament in Tokyo that was unfolding.

I set off for another first of the trip, a ferry. I was pleasantly surprised to find the check in process very simple, just be there an hour-ish early as bicycles are first to board. The cost was ¥800 for the bike and… approximately ¥1,600 for me. You do not NEED to box or wrap the bike even though they may prefer it. The interior and facilities in the ferry were amazing: bathrooms, showers, sleeping capsules, cup noodle vending machines and more. Thinking the capsules would fill quickly, I grabbed one and caught a few winks while crossing the straight.

As soon as I jumped off the ferry (dead last) I went straight to the 2 key tourist pulling points, the 5 pointed star park (boooooring) and then off to climb up Mount Hakodate which apparently has great night views. Loving to hike, I opted to walk up, which I was advised would take an hour, however it was more like 25 minutes at a reasonably brisk pace. I got up there well before sunset and ended up hiking back down early to miss the crowds. Although no one is up there before the sun goes down, when the sun starts setting, all the flag bearing tourist buses start flocking unrelentingly up the cable cars. Deciding the view wasn’t going to be much better than the Tamworth lookout at night, I bailed down to grab a burger from a famous burger joint, Pierrot or something…

This is where I’d like to point out, if in Japan, don’t expect the ‘combo’ to be cheap, or buying in bulk to have any kind of economies of scale, it just doesn’t work like that over here. For example, one normal Snickers bar is ¥140 and 241kjs, the smaller one is ¥41 and 97kjs, obviously doesn’t make any sense considering the extra wrapping and what not but yeah. Same with burgers. Particularly at this place ¥350 ($4) for just the burger bit adding the set gives you a small mug of chips and some tea for ¥700ish. Why not just buy 2 burgers? Anyway the burger was okay, iI got the recommended Chinese chicken. No zinger sadly.

Ended up staying in another capsule hotel that night. Very impressed for ¥2,400 as it was impeccably clean and had great facilities and services.

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