Most viewed - HOKKAIDO 北海道
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Toyako Onsen Spa is Lake Toya's main town and tourist base on the southern shore. It is a cluster of hotels and ryokans offering hot spring waters.535 views
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With buckets and water testing kits, they do their testing.486 views1 comments
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The 61st Sapporo Snow Festival was held during Feb. 5-11, 2010 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. Among the giant snow sculptures was Hawaii's Iolani Palace made of ice. It was the reason why I decided to see this festival again.406 views
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Yodobashi Camera store on west side of Sapporo Station.405 views2 comments
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JR Toya Station is the closest train station to Lake Toya. From this station, take a bus or taxi. There are also other buses going to Lake Toya from other places such as Sapporo and Date.380 views
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The Nishiyama Crater Trail (Nishiyama Kako Sansakuro) is accessible by car or bus from Toyako Onsen Spa or Toya Station. Get off at the Nishiyama Kako Kitaguchi which is in front of this former fire dept. station. 旧西胆振消防組合本部357 views
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Yodobashi, Hokkaido's largest camera and electronics store.345 views
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Sapporo Snow Festival in Sapporo, Hokkaido is held for about a week in early Feb. These are photos of the 61st Sapporo Snow Festival held during Feb. 5-11, 2010. The main festival site is at Odori Park anchored on the east end by Sapporo TV Tower. 314 viewsI started exploring this site from here.
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Hakodate's main attraction and landmark is Mt. Hakodate-yama, accessible by ropeway.307 views
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After bicycling through eastern Lake Toya, I continue my trip around Lake Toya as I head north, entering Toyako town.277 views
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Sapporo Station, morning train for Otaru.273 views
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Built in 1888, the former Hokkaido Government Office Building is one of Hokkaido's most famous buildings at the heart of Sapporo. With its red brick walls, it stands out among Sapporo's more modern buildings.261 views
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The Sapporo Ekimae-dori is the city's main drag running from Sapporo Station to the southern part of the city. This is what it looks like from Sapporo Station.259 views
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Kitaichi Venetian Art Museum opened in 1988. Facade is modeled after the Palace of Grassi.257 views
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Toya manhole showing the Ukimido temple and Nakajima islands. Hokkaido250 views
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The mannequin is a slightly larger-than-life likeness of Yokozuna Kitanoumi performing the Yokozuna Dohyo-iri (ring-entering ceremony). Yokozuna Kitanoumi Memorial Hall, Sobetsu, Hokkaido239 views
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Ticket gate and entrance to Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill (Hitsujigaoka Tembodai). 500 yen admission is charged so someone from the ticket office boarded our bus to collect admission fees.239 views
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Lake Toya lookout deck on Mt. Usu, near the ropeway terminal. Showa-Shinzan clearly in sight. 洞爺湖展望台234 views
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Way to Ekimae Sambashi Pier at Toyako Onsen Spa. A short walk from the bus terminal.230 views
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Mt. Showa-Shinzan is a lava dome which arose in the middle of farm land in 1943-45. Lake Toya, Hokkaido.230 views
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Tanuki-koji shopping arcade223 views
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Mt. Usu is on the left, Showa-Shinzan on the right. In the background is the conical Mt. Yotei. Between Usu and Showa-Shinzan is the tourist village and the Usuzan Ropeway terminal.221 views
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New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido's main gateway, is the first place you see G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit welcome signs. As we get off (or get on) the plane.217 views
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Road to Showa-Shinzan. That's the Showa-Shinzan Youth Hostel on the right. Best way to get to Showa-Shinzan is by bus from Toyako Onsen bus terminal.216 views
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The new JR Sapporo Station is the definitely the city's most noticeable change in recent years. It is a huge complex, a far cry from the old train station.214 views
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JR Toya Station is on the JR Muroran Line. There are express trains going directly to/from Sapporo.212 views
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Rickshaw service available at the canal.209 views
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In central Otaru, the Ironai-dori and Sakai-machi-dori streets are lined with numerous historic buildings. Architecture buffs will love this street. This is the Otaru Unga Terminal, formerly Mitsubishi Bank's Otaru Branch.209 views
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Sculpture: Anthem of the Sun, by Machiko Kodera 小寺 真知子「太陽の賛歌」204 views
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1982 Sapporo Snow Festival Sayonara ceremony. Very low-key, with few people attending. Also see my Sapporo Snow Festival 2010 photos here.204 views
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It sort of looks like Kitanoumi...200 views
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Restaurant near Otaru Canal.200 views
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Entrance to the dome. 200 views
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Sculpture: by Keiko Amamiya, 雨宮 敬子「洞照」. One problem with the outdoor sculptures, especially human figures, are the birds. Their droppings create unsightly white streaks down the body.198 views
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Lake Toya is decorated with almost 60 outdoor sculptures along the shore all around the lake. This is the first one you will likely see. By Tando Saka. 坂 担道「湖渡る風」196 views
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Inside JR Toya Station.189 views
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Susukino Station subway train187 views
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Otaru Orgel-do187 views
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Inside Sapporo Community Dome, nicknamed Tsu-dome.187 views
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Sculpture: Light of the Moon, by Igor Mitoraj. イゴール・ミトライ「月の光」186 views
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Near the Toya Mizunoeki is Toya High School whose Environment Club regularly take water samples from Lake Toya to test the lake's water quality. They go behind the Toya Mozunoeki and take water samples with plastic buckets.185 views
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Toya Station platform and sign for outgoing passengers: "See you again!" (Mata no okoshi wo)183 views
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Showa-Shinzan closeup. Still steaming.183 views
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Elevated train tracks on west side.183 views
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Hakodate Red Brick Warehouses at night. Photo by Hokkaido Tourist Organization.183 views
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Mt. Usu's Ginnuma Crater, one of the largest. It was created during the 1977 eruption. 銀沼大火口181 views
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I could only wonder if these girls knew the significance of the sculpture they were performing in front of.181 views
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If you want to bicycle around Lake Toya, do it in the counterclockwise direction from Toyako Onsen where you can rent a bicycle. It's easier slope-wise and you can see the lake better on the left side of the road.178 views
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Sculpture: by Aiko Miyawaki, 宮脇 愛子「うつろひ」 This is at the western edge of Toyako Onsen. It was past 5 pm when I got back to Toyako Onsen by bicycle.175 views
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Toyako Culture Center with G8 Summit flags174 views
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Stretching for about 1.5 km east to west in central Sapporo, Odori Koen or Park is the city's oasis in the urban jungle. This is the heart of the park.174 views
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Entrance to Toya Station from the train platform.173 views
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"Boys, Be Ambitious" This famous statue of Dr. William Clark was built in 1976 to mark Dr. Clark's 100th anniversary of his coming to Hokkaido, the 100th anniversary of Hokkaido University's founding, and the USA bicentennial.173 views
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Wrecked car172 views
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Sculpture: Anthem of the Sun, by Machiko Kodera. Lake Toya has many nude woman sculptures.172 views
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Warehouse along the Otaru Canal171 views
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Makomanai site: Snow slides with Arare-chan, anime character popular in 1982.170 views
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Odori Park's most photographed sculpture shows three ballerinas near a water fountain. Sapporo, Hokkaido169 views
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Sculpture: Recovery, by Rei Nibe 二部 黎「復活」167 views
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On the west end of Toyako Onsen are more sculptures and a park. Sculpture by Kan Yasuda. 安田 侃「意心帰」166 views
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Kinkakuji Gold Pavilion in Kyoto, made of snow.166 views
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Usuzan Ropeway terminal on the left.165 views
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Susukino Station sign165 views
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On approach to New Chitose Airport on an Air Do Boeing 767.163 views
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Otaru Canal is a short walk from Otaru Station.163 views
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Heading back. Remember that the trail is not open during the winter months. For more info call 0142-75-4400.162 views
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Tanuki-koji shopping arcade162 views
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Bus stop in front of Toya Station with Toyako town's slogan: Town of greenery, lake waters, and heartful encounters.161 views
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit merchandise: T-shirts161 views
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Official logo of the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit on the Toyako Culture Center.160 views
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The summit welcome sign in front of JR Toya Station also lists environmental activities by local groups. Converting waste vegetable oil to diesel fuel, using snow for refrigeration, etc.160 views
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The ocean beach near Toya Station.160 views
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More dramatic terrain. There's no threat of further eruptions in this area, so don't worry about getting caught in a shower of hot lava and volcanic ash while walking around here.158 views
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Sculpture: At the Lake, by Akihiko Kurokawa 黒川 晃彦「湖畔にて」158 views
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Toya Station platform and local train.158 views
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit welcome sticker on a bus window in Sapporo.158 views
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Passage at Fukuzumi Station, near Sapporo Dome156 views
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The new Toyako Onsen Bus Terminal155 views
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit Welcome sign in front of JR Toya Station.155 views
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Inside Otaru Orgel-do, full of music boxes of all kinds. 小樽オルゴール堂155 views
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Swan nesting. Photos continue here as I head to northern Lake Toya...152 views
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit Welcome banner on a building in Sapporo.151 views
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Iolani Palace, a giant ice sculpture at the 61st Sapporo Snow Festival during Feb. 5-11, 2010. During the day, it has a translucent, blue look. It is the festival's largest ice sculpture. This block is officially called the Mainichi Shimbun Ice Square151 views
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Dinosaur snow sculpture at 1982 Sapporo Snow Festival.151 views
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit welcome sticker on a bus window in Sapporo.150 views
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On the west side is Kinokuniya Bookstore.150 views
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Girls in Hokkaido look healthy, thanks to Hokkaido's clean environment, wide-open spaces, and good food.150 views
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Usuzan Ropeway car holds over 100 people.149 views
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The airport has a huge shopping area full of gift shops.149 views
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Ramen menu149 views
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Former Hokkaido Government Office Building and tulips, Sapporo148 views
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Otaru Canal148 views
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit merchandise: Pins147 views
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Otaru Orgel-do (Otaru Music Box Hall) is one of the more famous buildings. Built in 1912. 小樽オルゴール堂、旧共成(株)147 views
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Toyako Onsen bus stop. "Toyako" means Lake Toya, and "Onsen" means hot spring. Lake Toya is within the municipalities of Toyako-cho town and Sobetsu-cho town (east shore).146 views
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G8 Summit sticker in bus146 views
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Inside Sapporo Station building146 views
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The Nakajima islands in the center of Lake Toya. There are four islands. Most them have a conical shape.145 views
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Girl and Sheep sculpture at Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill, Sapporo, Hokkaido145 views
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Onna (Woman) by Chizuko Sasado. 笹戸 千津子「女」144 views
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Cherry blossoms and the Nakajima islands, Lake Toya. Early May 2008.144 views
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Behind the Date Kaitaku Kinenkan Museum is the former Mitobe house on display. It is a typical house of the first settlers of Date, Hokkaido. Based on Sendai-style (Miyagi Pref.) architecture. Important Cultural Property. 旧三戸部家住宅144 views
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Espoir is the name of this lake cruise boat shaped like a medieval European castle. Can't get more gimmicky than that.143 views
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Toyako Town Hall, front side, festooned with G8 Summit flags.143 views
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With a very impressive carving of animals, this was clearly the crowd favorite. "Zoo of the Northland" features endangered animals at the 61st Sapporo Snow Festival.142 views
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Distance-wise, Showa-Shinzan is not very far. But the killer slope will get you... At least the return bike ride was a thrill and very quick.141 views
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Lake Toya's bald spot.141 views
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Ticket office inside JR Toya Station. Notice the G8 Summit flags.139 views
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A tourist village called Kazan-mura (Volcano Village) has developed at the foot of Showa-Shinzan. 火山村139 views
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Otaru Canal has a large walkway alongside.139 views
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A short bus ride from Toyako Onsen is the Nishiyama crater trail. Highly recommended. A series of craters can be seen up close. More photos here.138 views
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The Yokozuna Kitanoumi Ki'nenkan or Memorial Hall looks like a miniature version of the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo arena in Tokyo. Although it's near Lake Toya, it's off the main tourist road. There is a bus stop nearby, but I rented a bicycle.138 views
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The Usuzan Ropeway terminal has gift shops selling a variety of G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit merchandise. T-shirts, bags, candy, etc.138 views
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An impressive snow sculpture of Michael Jackson drew crowds.137 views
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Next to the former fire station is this small pond, called Nishiyama Kako-numa, created by the eruption and blocking the road. 西山火口沼(西新山沼)136 views
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Eastern Lake Toya, with Mt. Usu in the distance.136 views
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Swans along Lake Toya, Sobetsu, Hokkaido136 views
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East end of Otaru Canal136 views
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Signs in English near the bus stop.135 views
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Nakajima islands, Lake Toya135 views
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit merchandise: Confections sold at the train station kiosk.133 views
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Urinal with a view in JR Tower133 views
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Otaru Canal133 views
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Ekimae Sambashi Pier at Toyako Onsen Spa. The lake cruise fare is 1,320 yen for adults and 660 yen for kids. (Slightly more expensive during Nov.-April.) 駅前桟橋132 views
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Buses from Toyako Onsen don't run very often, so check the bus timetable beforehand. I opted to rent a bicycle and rode to Showa-Shinzan. Unless you like to push a bicycle up a very long slope for about 30 min., take a bus.132 views
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Neon lights of Susukino, at the main intersection.132 views
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This box of cookies show all the G8 Summit leaders bathing in a hot spring and scrubbing each other's backs. They also say, "Ii yu!" (great hot spring) which is pronounced "EU" as a pun.131 views
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Biodiesel fuel tank connected to a gas pump.131 views
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We cannot climb Showa-Shinzan.130 views
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The non-toxic auto exhaust smells like tempura.130 views
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Susukino Station platform130 views
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Welcome banner on train platform.129 views
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Miyako shopping arcade129 views
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Lake Toya and swan, Hokkaido128 views
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Filling up the gas tank with biodiesel fuel.128 views
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The Espoir returns to Toyako Onsen. The cruise takes 50 min. if you don't get off to visit the Nakajima islands. Otherwise, allow at least 30 min. for any island visits.127 views
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Next to Toya Station is the Toyako Town Hall, also with a G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit welcome sign.127 views
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Sobetsu Park and plum blossoms overlooking Lake Toya, Hokkaido.127 views
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Waiting area in Sapporo Station.127 views
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Toilet with a view in JR Tower127 views
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Michael Jackson snow sculpture at the 2010 Sapporo Snow Festival. Coiled wiring is used for the hair dangling below his hat.127 views
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Usuzan Ropeway, Lake Toya.126 views
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Another cruise boat. The cruise boats leave every 30 min. from 8 am to 4:30 pm during April-Oct. During Nov.-April, it operates every hour from 9 am to 4 pm.125 views
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Ukimido pagoda, Lake Toya, Hokkaido 浮見堂125 views
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East end of Otaru Canal125 views
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Local students from Abuta High School help beautify Toya Station.124 views
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Ramen at Ramen Yokocho in Sapporo124 views
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Otaru Unga. "Unga" means canal.124 views
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Some artists show their work here.124 views
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北海道美人124 views
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There's a large parking lot full of tourists.123 views
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Dr. William S. Clark (1826-1886) was a professor from Massachusetts. The statue was made by a Japanese sculpturer and sponsored by the Sapporo Tourist Association. Hokkaido University has a bust of Dr. Clark which is also popular among tourists.122 views
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Give back the Northern Territories122 views
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A cutie poses with a fake salmon in front of the Northland sculpture.122 views
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Wrecked confection factory. A dramatic reminder of what volcanoes can do.121 views
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Waste vegetable oil collection box sign.121 views
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Sapporo Station train platform. The platform looks dark (black) since entire station is covered. The ceiling is black. The roof is also a parking lot.121 views
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Some trains are decorated with G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit welcome sign.120 views
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Inside train to Otaru. It takes about 40 min. by regular train, and costs a mere 620 yen.120 views
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The fire dept. building was damaged by the eruption, so it is no longer used by the fire dept. However, you can enter it and see some display panels.119 views
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Leaving the ropeway terminal.119 views
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Toyako lookout deck on Mt. Usu, near the ropeway terminal. 洞爺湖展望台119 views
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This yosakoi soran group was from Hokkaido University.119 views
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Windsor Hotel, G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit venue. It would've been great if it were shaped a like a mountain-top castle.118 views
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Lookout deck on Mt. Usu, near the ropeway terminal.118 views
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The building was akin to Hokkaido's capitol where the governor's office was located. It was used for 80 years. Open 9 am - 5 pm, closed Dec. 29-Jan. 3. Free admission. Near Sapporo Station's south exit and visible from Ekimae-dori road.118 views
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Construction sign showing how the new underground pedestrian passage is being built from Sapporo Station to Odori Park. It is a 4-year project, scheduled to be completed in June 2010. I wonder what they will call it. I propose "Snow Town."118 views
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Neon signs of Susukino, Sapporo118 views
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Miyako shopping arcade118 views
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Right side of Ukimido pagoda, Lake Toya.117 views
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Park at the foot of Showa-Shinzan which means "New Mountain of the Showa Period." Showa-Shinzan is adjacent to Mt. Usu.116 views
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Lake Toya and cherry blossoms. Shikotsu-Toya National Park115 views
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Minami-Chitose Station115 views
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This is Minami-guchi or the South Exit. On the far right is the JR Tower.115 views
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The north entrance to the Nishiyama Crater Trail (Nishiyama Kako Sansakuro Kitaguchi). Open from April 20 to Nov. 10 during 7 am - 6 pm. Free admission, but donations accepted.114 views
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Another wrecked house.114 views
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New Chitose Airport's Central Plaza114 views
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Entrance to Pole Town, an underground passage and shopping arcade between Odori Station and Susukino.114 views
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Mt. Usu or Usuzan as seen from the lake.113 views
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Road blocked by the pond. The Nishiyama Craters are part of Mt. Usu. They are on the west side of Usuzan and were formed by the March 2000 eruption.113 views
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Ticket office inside JR Toya Station with G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit flags.113 views
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Train platform in Sapporo Station. Well protected from snow.113 views
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Snow leopard, very impressive.113 views
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Iolani Palace, a giant ice sculpture at the 61st Sapporo Snow Festival during Feb. 5-11, 2010. During the day, it has a translucent, blue look. This block is officially called the Mainichi Shimbun Ice Square113 views
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit welcome poster.112 views
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Bottles showing the waste oil conversion process from left to right.112 views
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Sapporo Station, North Exit.112 views
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Daimaru Dept. Store on the west side. Notice the entrance sign celebrating the 5th anniversary of the new train station.112 views
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Tourist information office inside Sapporo Station. Very spacious with numerous racks or tourist pamphlets.112 views
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Sign promoting the Hokkaido Shinkansen to be built.112 views
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At the end of Chuo-dori is Unga Plaza which used to be Otaru Warehouse. Now find tourist info counter and gift shop.112 views
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The Iolani Palace ice sculpture was especially beautiful at night, lit up with colorful lights. It was built by over 250 members of the Japan Ice Sculpture Association, most of whom were chefs working at Sapporo hotels.112 views
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Susukino111 views
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Inside Kitaichi Venetian Art Museum with a real gondola once ridden by Prince Charles and Princess Diana.111 views
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Done and almost like the real thing. The Iolani Palace is in Honolulu, Hawaii, originally built by King David Kalakaua in the 19th century when Hawaii was still an independent kingdom. It is now a major tourist attraction.111 viewsThis photo was published in a book called "The Companies We Keep 2," published in Hawaii by Bob Sigall in Jan. 2008. The book is a compilation of various tidbits and trivia about Hawaii (my home state).

This photo was also featured on Hawaii's TV talk show "Nighttime with Andy Bumatai." See the segment at YouTube here.
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No. 1 Nishiyama Crater Lookout deck for the most conspicuous crater, still emitting steam.110 views
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit merchandise: Confections sold at the train station kiosk.110 views
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On New Year's Eve, a crowd gathers to hear the Clock Tower ring in the New Year.110 views
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Murals showing some history of Otaru's marine transportation.110 views
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Going toward the lake. On the right is where you can rent a bicycle for 1000 to 1500 yen. On the left is the tourist office.109 views
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Along the road to the former government building are display panels about Hokkaido's hisotry. Here's one about the early foreigners in Hokkaido.109 views
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Giant aerial photo of Lake Toya.108 views
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Glass door with G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit welcome sticker.108 views
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New Chitose Airport terminal108 views
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Point Zero for Hokkaido's travel distances.108 views
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Aurora Town108 views
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Otaru in sight from the train window.108 views
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The former fire station in the distance. The building still looks quite new.107 views
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This cruise boat, called Espoir, looks like a medieval European castle. It's a double-hulled boat. The lake cruise fare is 1,320 yen for adults and 660 yen for kids. (Slightly more expensive during Nov.-April.)107 views
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Miniature golf course107 views
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Statue of Masao Mimatsu, a post office worker who observed and documented the development of Showa-Shinzan. His records are valuable.107 views
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Bus stops on the north side of Sapporo Station.107 views
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JR Tower lookout deck (temboshitsu) called JR Tower Observatory T38. JRタワー展望室107 views
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Chibi Maruko-chan snow sculpture.107 views
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Toyako Onsen Spa106 views
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A working clock106 views
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Lake Toya in early May105 views
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Toyako Onsen has a nice lakefront promenade for pedestrians. Cars no longer travel here so it's pleasant for a stroll.105 views
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The ropeway distance is 1370 meters. It takes only 6 min. to reach Mt. Usu. The roundtrip ropeway fare is 1,450 yen for adults, 730 yen for kids.105 views
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Showa-Shinzan gets smaller.105 views
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Bye-bye Hokkaido...105 views
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Sapporo Ekimae-dori as seen from Sapporo Station, left side. "Ekimae" means "front of the station." "Dori" means road.105 views
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Numerous flower beds in the park.105 views
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Inside Unga Plaza105 views
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Uroko fish market popular with tourists.105 views
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Hot spring foot bath is also popular with visitors.104 views
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When I got to the museum, the parking lot was quite full. It seemed that the museum was really popular. But most of them were there to play at the miniature golf course next to the museum.104 views
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Statue of Masao Mimatsu.104 views
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New Chitose Airport's Central Plaza104 views
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New Chitose Airport's beautiful Central Plaza.104 views
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Inside Otaru Station104 views
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Inside the Espoir lake cruise boat. This is the lower deck. The boat is obviously available for hire for private parties and cruises.103 views
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G8 Summit welcome sign near the museum.103 views
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After a long walk uphill with a bicycle, Showa-Shinzan is in sight. Showa-Shinzan is in the town of Sobetsu.103 views
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G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit welcome sign at Usuzan Ropeway terminal.103 views
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View of Sapporo Station's north side from JR Tower.103 views
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My YouTube video of Iolani Palace at the Sapporo Snow Matsuri in 2010.103 views
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Inside New Chitose Airport at the check-in terminal, more G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit Welcome signs.102 views
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In my seat. Calbee is a sponsor, selling potatoes and potato chips.102 views
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Front entrance of the Clock Tower.102 views
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First floor corridor. Most of the rooms on the 1st floor are closed to the public.102 views
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Sapporo Seibu dept. store. I think this used to be called Gobankan.102 views
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Pole Town102 views
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Susukino Station102 views
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