We arrived in Kushiro in the evening. After checking in to our hotel, we went to Fisherman’s Wharf MOO for dinner. There was a food court on the second floor where we could order from the various stalls and dine at the common tables in the middle.
Zangi (fried chicken) was a popular snack in Kushiro, so we ordered a Zangi don (fried chicken rice bowl).
The zangi don was soooo good!! The chicken chunks were huge and juicy – the kids couldn’t stop eating them!
Another highly recommended dish that you should try when in Kushiro was Sanmanma. It was a bit like a sushi roll, except the grilled fish was on the outside and the rice was inside – very special!
After our very satisfying dinner, we went back to our hotel to rest. The next morning, we woke up bright and early and drove out to a robata (charcoal grill) restaurant near the port called Shakebanya for breakfast.
After breakfast, we drove to the Kushiro Marsh Observatory. We did not pay to enter the observatory, instead we went for the free boardwalk outside the observatory.
If you are planning to bring the kids on the boardwalk, you may want to bring a stroller in case the kid doesn’t want to walk back. MF refused to walk back and kept asking me to carry him and he was freaking heavy with all the winter clothing! The boardwalk was wheelchair accessible, so we could have pushed the stroller all the way. Totally regretted not bringing the stroller.
If you do not wish to walk, there is actually a parking lot along route 53 immediately after Kushiro Marsh Observatory where you could observe the marshland from. So… I wouldn’t recommend doing the walk with kids unless you really wish to exercise.
After we finally made it back to the car, we drove further up route 53 to Tsurui Ito Tancho Sanctuary where cranes gathered to feed during winter.
The kids were both concussed from the long walk and fast asleep in the car, so hubby and I just parked along the road and jumped off for a quick photo.
After this, we drove to Tsurumidai, another winter feeding ground for cranes. The kids woke up and got to see the cranes. For a moment I thought they were going to sleep through the whole ride and miss the cranes, good thing they didn’t!
The drive along route 53 was very interesting because along the way, we could see cranes flying in the sky. There was even a ‘watch out for crane’ road sign!
We drove back to Kushiro for lunch at Kushiro Washo Market. The market is most famous for its katte don (勝手丼) where you pick your own ingredients from the many stalls in the market to make your own chirashi don.
After our very sumptious lunch, we left Kushiro and drove to Obihiro. We checked in to our hotel, Richmond Hotel Obihiro (which I highly recommend) and rested until it was time for dinner. When in Obihiro, there is only one thing on the menu: BUTA DON (pork rice bowl). We wanted to go to my favourite buta don shop, Panchou, which was located right next to Richmond hotel – but they were closed by the time we got our lazy bums out of the hotel! So we settled for another buta don shop, Butahage at Obihiro station. The buta don here was also fantastic!
The next day, after checking out of our hotel, we drove to a popular bakery cafe in Obihiro: Mugioto (one of the shops under the bakery chain Masuya Pan).
Mugioto was a great place to have breakfast with the kids. There was a playroom for kids, outdoor seating area where kids could run around (in summer that is – nobody wanted to sit out in the bitter cold in winter) and super yummy bread that kids would love. There was also a toaster in the cafe area where we could heat up our bread – piping hot bread guaranteed!
After we had our breakfast, we left Obihiro and drove to Tomamu. If you are in Obihiro for the first time, I recommed visiting Rokkatei‘s main store. I was not a fan of Rokkatei and wanted to spend more time in Tomamu so we skipped it. Here are photos of Rokkatei’s main store from previous visits:
As we left Obihiro, we were greeted by beautiful snowy mountains and MF got super excited and kept asking, “Are we reaching? Are we reaching?”
We reached Tomamu at around 11am and our room was not ready yet (check-in time was 3pm). We saw a reindeer roaming outside the lobby and went to check it out.
We wanted to go reindeer sledding but they said they were fully booked for the day. So we went for the photoshoot instead. We changed into the Santa Claus clothes provided for the photoshoot.
The photoshoot was SUPER value-for-money! For only 500 yen, the photographer took around 30 photos with our own camera (mixture of family shots and individual shots). There was no pressurizing to purchase large print-outs at exorbitant prices, it was all soft copies in our own camera. We super enjoyed the photoshoot.
After the photoshoot, we went for lunch at one of the restaurants within the resort.
After lunch, the kids went to play at the kids play area in the lobby.
There was a nursing room just next to the play area – with FREE diapers of various sizes!
When the kids got bored of the play area, we went to borrow a snow sled (free of charge) from the reception and went to play in the snow.
After sledding, our room was ready and we went back to the room to rest. We were given a FREE upgrade to a quad room (from twin room) with 4 beds and 2 toilets!
Hubby and I took turns to go to the onsen. Since we went right after check-in, the resort was still pretty quiet (all the other guests were either still skiing or haven’t checked in yet I guess) and I had the whole onsen to myself. The onsen here was infinity pool style, looking out to a blanket of pure white snow. It was soooo shiok!! And I even got to witness diamond dust (a phenomenon that happens when the hot steam from the onsen meets the super-cold clear sky) – it was a surreal experience.
In the evening, we went to the Ice Village. In early December, most of the village was still under construction which was a tad disappointing. Thankfully the giant ice slide was ready and MF went on the slide over and over and over. We also rented a snow tube and went snow tubing.
After visiting the Ice Village, we went for dinner at one of the restaurants in the resort before calling it a day. The next morning, we had buffet breakfast that was included in our hotel stay. I loved the buffet breakfast at Tomamu resort!
After breakfast, we went for the reindeer sledding. It cost 2000 yen for an adult and the kids below 4 could ride for free! However, there was a maximum weight limit so the sled couldn’t take all four of us. So we paid 2000 yen and I rode with the kids while poor hubby followed us on foot to take photos.
After sledding, we checked out and began our long drive to the next snow resort at Niseko.
I totally enjoyed our stay at Tomamu. It was the second time we stayed here in the year (read about our Summer stay here) and both stays were extremely enjoyable. I found Tomamu to be an extremely value-for-money snow resort in comparison to Niseko and Rusutsu. It was a ski-in ski-out resort, but the ski lifts outside the Tower were not operating in early December (according to their website they only open in late December). The kids ski area and snow activity park were also not open yet. If you want to visit during the December holidays, try to plan the trip as late as possible and hopefully the kids ski and play areas would be ready then.
Click on the links below for other posts from this trip:
Summarized itinerary for 17-day trip
Part 1: Sapporo
Part 2: Asahikawa, Akan National Park
Part 3: Kushiro, Obihiro, Tomamu
Part 4: Niseko, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya, Rusutsu
Part 5: Otaru, New Chitose Airport
More posts of my trips to Hokkaido with the kids:
Hokkaido in Autumn (October 2013)
Part 1: Flight, Hotel Mercure Sapporo, Toyota Rent-A-Car Sapporo
Part 2: Itinerary (with telephone numbers and GPS Map Codes)
Hokkaido in Summer (June 2014)
Part 1: Chitose, Lake Toya, Hakodate, Niseko, Otaru
Part 2: Sapporo
Part 3: Furano, Biei, Tomamu, Obihiro, New Chitose Airport
This post is archived under my Japan Travel Blog: