We arrived in Tomamu pretty late at night from Furano. We checked in to our accomodation, Hoshino Resort, and rested because we were planning to wake up early the next morning to go up to Unkai Terrace. There was an onsen at the resort, but it required a shuttle bus ride from the hotel tower to get there, which was too much of a hassle with kids involved so we passed.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early to go up to Unkai Terrace. Unkai means ‘sea of clouds’ in Japanese and this postcard of Unkai Terrace shows you what you can see on a perfectly good day.
According to their website, there is only a 40% chance of seeing the sea of clouds. They have a (not very accurate) prediction the day before on the chances of seeing unkai on their website and the hotel room TV also has a channel dedicated to unkai predictions. The night before, we checked the channel and it said we only had a 30% chance of seeing unkai the next morning.
Nevertheless, we woke up bright and early (the gondola only operated from 4.30 to 7am in June, so I mean REALLY early) and dressed everyone up warmly and headed out. But we actually weren’t that early, by the time we dressed the kids and took the resort shuttle from the hotel tower to the gondola station, it was about 6am.
When we arrived at the gondola station, there was a poster showing the current unkai condition, so you can still change your mind before buying the expensive gondola tickets if there is no unkai the day you are there. Lucky us, it said there was beautiful unkai that day!
So up the gondola we went! The kids LOVE gondola rides.
And through the clouds we went..
And we were above the sea of clouds!
We arrived at the terrace and went around taking photos non-stop! It was pretty cold at the terrace, so if you did not pack warm clothing (since it’s summer), don’t worry, there were many winter jackets available for guests to help themselves to for free.
There are two levels to the terrace but they were all packed with people on this beautiful morning! The kids managed to squeeze their way to the front.
There was a mailbox at the terrace. We received a postcard that could be sent to anywhere in Japan for free, but they did not sell stamps there so that we could mail it back to Singapore. So if you want to mail your postcard overseas, bring your own stamps!
There were polaroid shots taken from the terrace every morning on display. You can see how lucky we were, there had not been any unkai and it was all foggy for the past few days!
But this was our day! 🙂
There was a short walking trail beside the terrace which offered beautiful views of the unkai with the surrounding mountains and allowed us to get away from the crowd.
By the time we came back from the walking trail, many people have descended the mountain and it was significantly less crowded.
We found a table and had a hot drink while enjoying the scenery.
We took the gondola back down and went for breakfast. There were three venues within the resort where we could have breakfast and we chose the buffet venue. There was a long queue of people waiting to go in, so we took a number and went around the take photos of the resort.
After a 20 minute wait, we finally got in and had our breakfast!
After eating, we went back to the room where MY went back to sleep. I brought MF to the resort centre. There were free balance bikes for kids to play with. I also signed him up for ice-cream making class!
By then it was almost time to check-out, so we went back to the hotel and bid farewell to Tomamu. We had a very enjoyable stay at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu!
From Tomamu, we drove to Obihiro where we had lunch at my favourite buta don (pork rice bowl) shop, Panchou, which was located near Obihiro station.
After lunch, we visited Rokkatei’s main store in Obihiro. Unlike other Rokkatei stores throughout Hokkaido that sells their snacks in pre-packed boxes of fixed quantities, you can buy their snacks individually at the main store. So I grabbed a basket and grabbed a variety of snacks. Personally, I’m not a fan of Rokkatei’s snacks, none of the snacks I picked out was truly memorable. It was more for the shopping experience and checking out the sheer variety of snacks they offered.
After we were done shopping at Rokkatei, we also hopped over to the Ryugetsu shop to grab some more snacks.
Both Rokkatei and Ryugetsu shops offer free coffee in their store, so you can sit down, relax and have a cup of coffee with your snacks. However, we decided to just snack in the car because we had a long drive ahead back to New Chitose Airport.
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