Sunday, 8 November 2015

11.08.2015 ~ Travel from Morioka to Aomori & Fly to Sapporo (& Travel to Otaru)

M slept better than the past few nights, but I did not sleep well at all.
The travel plan we had was as follows:

08:00 Shinkansen Hayabusa 95 from Morioka to Shin-Aomori (Arrive 09:09)

09:19 Ltd Express Super Hakucho 95 to Aomori (Arrive 09:25)
09:45 JR Bus to Airport (Arrive 10:20)
11:05 flight to New Chitose Airport

The travel all went to plan! We checked out & caught taxi back to the station in Morioka and then it was smooth-sailing from there. Slight inconvenience that there's no transport from Shin-Aomori to the Airport but the bus from Aomori was great service (JR Pass worked on the bus!) We caught the bus to the airport from bus stop 11 just outside Aomori Station. There's a timetable at the bus stop that shows what time bus to catch for different flight times (very helpful & reassuring). The bus stops right outside ANA check in desks where there was no queue so we put our bags through the scanner and confirmed reservation and paid for the tickets (¥52600 [£144 one-way per person] - shockingly expensive now I think about it, but at the time I just wanted to move on to Hokkaido).

As these were domestic flights no passports were required and we had to abide by 20kg luggage allowance, this meant that I was carrying 5kg of laundry and M was carrying 5kg of important stuff & our clothes for the next day so we could leave the suitcases untouched. We still weren't sure we'd do it but luckily the suitcase were 19.4kg & 19.6kg. Phew!

After check in we went through security and boarded at 10:50. I had never been on such a small plane in my life (only 2x2 seats and 19 rows! and you could see the propellers on the plane!)

The plane was half full and the flight took 50 minutes though it didn't feel as long as that. Off the plane and onto the bus to baggage claim where our bags were the first out. On the 12:33 train to Sapporo (37 minutes duration) we saw our first rain while in Japan. The sky was so grey and dark, and it was torrential rain which thankfully had stopped by the time we got to Sapporo. We went straight to the hotel who allowed us to check in straight away for free! After half hour rest and planning using the hotel WiFi we went back to the station to find food. We ended up in the underground complex where we both had Tonkatsu again as it's fast and easy.
We caught the 14:44 Rapid Service to Otaru (well known for it's glass) which took 34 minutes (the sea is literally right next to the tracks, bit of a surprise when you look up from talking!)

We arrived in Otaru and after collecting a tourist map from helpful tourist centre we set off on a 20 minute walk to the Taishou Workshops which had a very good range of products. We carried on down the main shopping street (Sakaimachi Street) where there are so many glass shops plus Venetian Glass Museum. I was particularly keen to see this area as I'd heard it was like a mini complex of all different types of glass. We walked through each shop which had fused glass, blown glass, stained glass and bead making (staggeringly we saw a child of 5 making glass beads with a worker with no glasses/real PPE over a table mounted vertical acetylene torch - you'd never see that in the UK):

I bought a beautiful torch-worked pendant that looked like a cross between a chrysanthemum and a galaxy swirled in white on black background from one shop and then on the way to the next train station (Minami-Otaru) I bought a small opalescent blown glass vessel.

Surprisingly all trains were delayed, substantially as well. We managed to catch a local service train to Teine (don't do it, worldwide rush hour, too crowded between 17:00-18:00), then after waiting on the train for 15 minutes at the station a semi-rapid train to Ebitsu via Sapporo pulled in (which was 20 minutes late) so we jumped on that and got back to Sapporo in about 15 minutes.

We stopped by Sunkus for dinner/snacks then went back to the hotel for showers & rest, which turned into sleep. Think our bodies were wearing out by this time, we just didn't have the energy to keep going for an evening as well as a day.

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