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Japan Hour

Bus VS Local Trains In Hokkaido - Part 1

A morning market in Hakodate - a popular tourist destination which boasts 250 stores and attracts 1.5 million visitors each year for his high-quality seafood - is among the places visited this week.

The next “bus team versus train team” race takes place in Hokkaido. The teams will race from Goryokaku, Hakodate City to Tenguyama Observatory in Otaru City, a journey spanning 300km. They must clear four checkpoints along the way, all of which are popular tourist spots in Hokkaido. They are also given 10,000 yen to spend on taxis for both days. 

The first checkpoint is Hakodate Morning Market, which is about 4km away. High-quality seafood can be found at this tourist destination, which boasts about 250 stores. It attracts more than 1.5 million visitors each year. The bus team heads to a bus stop near the starting point but misses the bus going to the morning market. It is now 9.55am. The train team walks for 15 minutes to the train station but also misses the train going to Hakodate Station. The train team waits for less than 10 minutes for the next train and are the first to make their way to the market.

The other team’s next bus arrives a few minutes later than scheduled. Once they reach Hakodate Station, they drop by the Hakodate Morning Market Bus Information Centre. The second checkpoint is Onuma Prince Hotel Sora no Ie so they make enquiries about getting to Onuma Park. They are told there is a bus leaving 45 minutes later at 11.20am. 

When the train team arrives at Hakodate Station, they also check the departure times
from Hakodate before going to the morning market. They find out the next train is 25 minutes later, at 10.55am. If they miss that train, the following one is at 12.30pm. 

At the morning market, both teams’ mission is to eat 10,000 yen worth of seafood bowls between each team’s three members. The train team orders two super luxurious seafood bowls that cost nearly 7,500 yen each. The bowls include crab, sea urchin, shrimp, scallop and abalone. The train team decides they will enjoy the seafood bowls and take the 12.30pm train, instead of rushing to finish the food in five minutes.

The bus team orders three 2,750-yen seafood bowls and sea urchin and the total cost comes up to 11,000 yen. They complete the mission and manage to make it in time for the bus at 11.20am. They head to the second checkpoint, Sora no Ie, and are currently in the lead. They ask about taking a bus to Oshamanbe from Onuma Park after their mission at the second checkpoint. They find out the nearest bus stop to get there is called Yokokawa and there is a bus at 1.55pm. Since Sora no Ie is 5km away from the Onuma Park bus stop, they decide to take a taxi to the checkpoint instead of walking for an hour.

On the other hand, the train team is still at the morning market in Hakodate. They find out they can take a direct train from Hakodate Station to Akaigawa Station to get to Sora no Ie. They leave Hakodate Station by train at 12.30pm. Later, they walk for about 4km along a national road from the station to the checkpoint.

The bus team reaches Sora no Ie at 1.10pm first and the taxi fare comes up to about 1,500 yen. They aim to catch the 1.55pm bus from Yokokawa later. Sora no Ie is a 100-metre-long zipline adventure with a spectacular view of the majestic Mount Komagatake. Each team must take a photo of all three members, while one person ziplines. All three members must be included in the same picture. The bus team completes the challenge first. They then take the 1.55pm bus to Oshamanbe, near the third checkpoint, Lake Hill Farm by Toya Lake. The farm, which is 140km away, has magnificent views and is surrounded by nature. 

Meanwhile, the train team is still at the second checkpoint. They are told that to get to the third checkpoint after finishing the challenge, they must take the train to Toya Station. But the next train leaves from Akaigawa at around 6pm only, four hours later. Another alternative is to go to Onuma Station, 6km away, and take the 3.15pm train bound for Oshamanbe Station. If they take the taxi to Onuma, it is 10 minutes away only. They manage to complete the mission at Sora no Ie at 2.40pm. They then travel by the taxi which was booked earlier and head to Onuma Station at 3pm. The taxi fare comes up to about 1,850 yen. 


Tips:

1)    A must-visit tourist spot in Hokkaido is the Hakodate Morning Market 
2)    Tenguyama Observatory has one of the best night views in Hokkaido

Source: CNA
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