From Hakodate, we drove to Onuma Koen. We dropped by the visitor centre to pick up an area map and MF occupied himself with free colouring activity while we took a toilet break.
From the visitor centre, we walked over to Numa no Ya (沼の家), a small souvenir shop selling a popular dango. I love the dango here, especially the sesame flavoured ones.
We then drove over to the car park nearer to the scenic walkway. It was raining pretty heavily and we didn’t want to take the kids out for a walk in the rain. I asked the rest if they wanted to walk while I stayed in the car with the kids, but only hubby was interested. He felt paiseh to let everyone wait for him so we decided to skip it and drive on.
Our next destination was Niseko which was 2 hours away. Since we skipped the walk at Onuma Koen, it was too early for lunch but it will be too late for lunch by the time we reach Niseko. So we drove to PA Yakumo again to have our lunch there. It was much less cloudy compared to the day before and we could see the surrounding park this time round.
There was a restaurant called Harvester Yakumo which was a short walk away from the PA. It was raining so we left the kids at the playground with hubby while the rest of us went to check it out.
It was a western style restaurant selling fried chicken, fries, pies, gratin etc. I packed two pieces of chicken (one fried and one roasted) back for hubby. My friend and his mum dined there and said the herb roasted chicken was pretty good.
Back at PA Yakumo, there was a small cafe (also ran by Harvester Yakumo) beside the play area selling simple udon and don. Hubby and I ate there for convenience. Nothing makes me happier than having a place where the kids could play while I ate. I actually think the yakitori don from the cafe was nicer than the chicken I bought back from the main restaurant.
After lunch, we drove on to Niseko. Our first stop was Niseko Milk Kobo.
Not much of a scenery to enjoy on this cloudy day. Milk Kobo comprises of three buildings: One is a restaurant Prativo which offers salad and dessert buffet during lunch time. The dessert is produced by milk kobo itself. However, we were too late for lunch. So we headed for the building which sells baumkuchen (but they call it milkkuchen here). They have soft and hard versions, but I’ve never been a fan of baumkuchen and couldn’t appreciate either.
I ordered their tea set which included a bit of each dessert and a drink. None of the dessert really impressed me.. Snaffles cheesecake is definitely better than theirs, even the Uchi cafe roll cake from Lawson convenience store is better than the roll cake here imo.
The star turned out to be the drink: hot cocoa which was slurped up by MY. Look how happy it made him!
As it was raining, we sent our friend over to the next building to buy ice-cream and chou cream back. I was very specific in asking him to buy the soft serve, not gelato. The tea set came with a scoop of gelato which was pretty so-so. The soft serve, on the other hand, was superb. If thick creamy milky ice-cream is your kind of thing that is.
The chou cream was also fantastic! It joins the rank of my favourite chou cream in Hokkaido together with Kitakaro‘s.. I can’t decide which is better, they are both pretty darn good. The rich creamy filling… Mmmmm..
Our next destination was Mishima san’s Shibazakura garden. We were too late for shibazakura season at Takinoue and Higashimokoto, so we visited this baby version at Niseko. It was past its peak when we were there, but still beautiful nevertheless. We couldn’t get a view of Mount Yotei though because it was totally covered by clouds.
Next, we went to Fukidashi Park to fetch some spring water. The spring water found here is said to be one of Japan’s 100 best spring water. Don’t forget to bring your own empty bottles!
Our last stop was for dinner. We went to the restaurant at Hotel Daiichi Kaikan for udon that is made of potato, a specialty of the Kutchan region.
We spent the night at Powder Tracks at Grand Hirafu. Niseko, being a ski resort, was a dead town in summer and I think we were the only guests in the whole building. There was free laundry at the basement, and it was pretty freaky going down to do laundry at night.
The next morning, we went for a walk around the village but there was nothing but construction going on.. lots and lots of construction. Many of the shops close throughout summer and the only place open for breakfast was the Seico convenience store. We grabbed some bread from Seico mart and continued our drive to Shakotan.
I think most people wouldn’t think of visiting Niseko in summer. We visited because we needed a place to stopover for our long Hakodate – Shakotan drive and Niseko was conveniently located in between Hakodate and Shakotan. I found Niseko to be a pretty scenic town in summer. It was predominantly an agricultural area and the plantations we saw as we drove around reminded me of the more famous Biei. The houses in Niseko were more westernised and cute little cottages dotted the landscape, which made it different from other Japanese towns. I would love to visit Niseko again when the weather is better and I can see the surrounding mountains!
Other posts for this trip:
Complete summarized itinerary
Part 1: New Chitose Airport -> Lake Toya
Part 2: Lake Toya -> Hakodate
Part 3: Hakodate -> Niseko
Part 4: Niseko -> Otaru
Part 5: Otaru
Part 6: Sapporo
Part 7: Furano
Part 8: Furano -> Biei -> Furano
Part 9: Tomamu -> Obihiro -> New Chitose Airport
This post is archived under my Japan Travel Blog: