19 December 2013

Hokkaido (Sapporo/Otaru/Jozankei) Nov 2013 - Day 4

Continued from Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

Day 4 - it's my highly anticipated onsen getaway and I have chosen Jozankei onsen!

I know, there are quite a few more interesting onsen areas to go, like Niseko, Noboribetsu, Lake Shikotsu, but these are slightly further away from Sapporo. Since our time here was so limited and our main objectives for visiting onsen were to rest and relax at a nice ryokan, have a therapeutic soak in the hot spring and enjoy a sumptuous kaiseki dinner, Jozankei Onsen fitted the bill nicely.

We woke up late and took our time to pack luggage. Checked out at around 10.30am and left the big luggage with the hotel. Thereafter, we proceeded to Stellar Place (connected to JR Sapporo station) for early lunch. We had some time to spare because check-in time at the Jozankei ryokan is around 2-3pm and we would be taking either 1pm or 1.30pm bus.

Hubby and P were keen in bbq meat, but N and I were not so interested, a bit too heavy for first meal of the day!

In the end we settled for this restaurant that sells Omurice. We were the first customers to be seated at 11am, the restaurant filled up very quickly after us. Hmmm, the Japanese also take early lunch, or maybe because it was a public holiday.

I ordered the lady's set once again. Usually when I'm in Japan, I like to order lady's set or seasonal set which always suit me very well :)

The set came with a soup and small salad as starter.

My main course, the classic Omurice rice. Chicken rice cooked in tomato wrapped with omelette and topped with more ketchup!

There are a lot of choices for omurice here. Rice can also be cooked with cheese, sauce could be demi-glace sauce. Toppings like hamburger can be added as well.

My set dessert, a mini berry parfait.

Hubby ordered a salad.

And nugget and fries. Too little for him? Coz he knew I won't be able to finish all my rice :p

After lunch, we proceeded to the Sapporo Station Bus Terminal (South Exit) and bought our bus tickets (Jotetsu Bus) bound for Jozankei Onsen. The one-way fare cost 750 yen and takes about 75 min. There are 2-3 buses available every hour.

There's also a direct bus line called "KappaLiner" which takes 60 min, at the same price. However this service requires reservation and only runs 2 service per day at 11am and 3pm (not suitable for us). Hence we chose to take the local Jotetsu Bus for the outbound journey. For the journey back to Sapporo, I requested the ryokan staff to make reservation for the KappaLiner.

On the way to Jozankei Onsen, not much autumn foliage since it's beginning of winter already.

Our stop was "Jozankei Jinga Mae", meaning in front of the Jozankei Shrine.

Our hotel for the night, Shogetsu Grand Hotel, just 2 mins walk from the bus stop.

Hotel reception. It was 15 mins to 2pm, slightly early for check-in. The front office staff requested us to take a rest at the lounge while they prepare.

I took the opportunity to take some photos around the lobby and lounge area.

Lounge area overlooking a valley and another hotel.

I guess this is a fireplace.

Shop selling souvenir, local and spa products.

After waiting for about 15 mins, the front office staff informed us that they were ready. And after the check-in procedures, we were ushered to our rooms.

First, we headed to P and N's room, which was the Premium Suite with in-room onsen bath!

Spacious living room area with sofa and dining table.

Bath area, with cypress bathtub and fresh spring water and separate shower room.

Bedroom with massage chair.

Pantry area with complimentary coffee/tea making facilities and beer/beverages in the fridge.

Back to our room. We booked the standard 10 mat tatami room and was delighted that the hotel upgraded us to the deluxe 12 mat tatami room! All thanks to P and N since they took the Premium Suite.

Living and balcony area.

Additional sleeping area.

Balcony area with TV. Standard layout for Japanese ryokan.

Bathroom, normal tap water (not fresh spring water).

View from our room.

Lovely! Too bad autumn's over, otherwise it would be breathtaking. I guess it would be beautiful once it starts snowing.

Time to head to the onsen!

Spacious changing area.

Typically, ryokans would provide beauty products such as collagen cream, moisturising lotion, hair serum etc for ladies to use after soaking the onsen.

The bath area and indoor onsen.

The indoor bath has 3 pools. 2 of them at 40 degree celsius and 1 at 35 degree celsius.

I usually prefer the outdoor onsen, the roten ofuro.

It was such a blissful feeling soaking in hot spring water while admiring the beautiful scenery.

The male onsen would be switched over to female the next morning, so that guests could enjoy both onsens.

After a nice soak, hubby and I went to the lobby lounge for a honey buffet, a special service for hotel guests.

We could make our own honey drink, and taste different honey with crackers and waffles included.

Besides crackers and waffle, there were also boiled potato and a chewy fried mochi ball.

After the little snack, we went back to our room for snoozing till dinner time.

Our dining time was scheduled at 7pm at the dining room, and here's our 12-course kaiseki dinner menu.

Here were the first 3 courses - plum wine, appetisers and hot pot.

Sweet plum wine is usually served as a first course.

Look at all the colourful appetisers, didn't know where to start eating.

The seafood milky hot pot. The milky soup was delish!

Sashimi platter. Fresh and sweet!

Roast beef. Tender and succulent.

Broiled kinki fish with root vegetable.

Steamed uni and kani. Interesting way to eat uni.

Rice with pickles and soup. The rice was so fragrant, wanted to eat all of it but I was so full already.

Tempura. Crispy but not oily. Yummy!

Dessert. The cake was black sesame mousse cake, very tender and moist. The pudding was very nice as well, slightly tangy and cleanse the palate after the sumptuous meal.

After dinner, we went to P and N's room for chit chatting and strawberry shortcake (bought it in the morning) before retiring for the night.

Our warm and cozy futon was already prepared for us by the ryokan.

Next post would be our 5th and 6th (last) day at Hokkaido! Stay tuned!

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  1. Just a note to say thanks for the post. The pictures convinced me to book this hotel for two nights coming end of April.

  2. Hi Lik Meng,
    Enjoy your holiday in Hokkaido!