From Ikeda, it was just a short drive to Obihiro where we spent our second last night in Hokkaido at our favourite hotel in Obihiro, Richmond Hotel Obihiro, which was located right opposite JR Obihiro Station.
A note on parking at Richmond Hotel Obihiro: The hotel’s parking was full when we arrived, so we had to park our car at the basement carpark of Obihiro station across the road. However, the hotel validated our parking coupon and we paid them the usual hotel parking fee. This was SO much better than many of the other hotels I have stayed in, where if their carpark was full, they would ask us to go find a coin parking nearby and we would need to pay whatever normal parking rates those carparks charge (which is usually more than what hotels carparks charge for their guests). So Richmond Hotel Obihiro has given me yet another reason to love them!
After we checked in, the husband hustled everyone out of the hotel to have dinner at Panchou, our favourite buta-don (pork rice bowl) shop which was a stone’s throw from Richmond Hotel Obihiro. Because the last time we were here, we took our own sweet time and by the time we reached Panchou, they were closed.
And when we arrived at Panchou, there was a queue! WAH! This was my.. third visit I think? Last two times I didn’t have to queue. Guess my luck has ran out. But I was so glad it was no longer raining – I cannot imagine if I had to queue in the rain!
After queuing for not-sure-how-long, we finally got our table and I ordered the biggest bowl of buta don they had. Okay, I’m lazy to repeat myself so you can read what I said about Panchou on Instagram:
My third visit to Panchou and the only time I had to queue! Unfortunately my fear that their greater popularity and long queue would result in poorer food standard came true. Their pork slices were thinner than they used to be and drier. The signature sauce and the fragrance from the fats still made it a yummy dish for those who have never tried their older version. Seems to me they tried to slice their pork slices thinner thinking once-off tourists may not notice. Too bad, I noticed. Hahaha… Guess it's time to explore new buta don haunts in Obihiro! #bumblebeemumtravels #bumblebeemuminjapan #obihiro #butadon #panchou #帯広 #豚丼 #ぱんちょう #japantrip #japantravel #hokkaido #hokkaidotrip #hokkaidotravel #japanfood #japanesefood #japanfoodgopan #hokkaidofood #foodphotography #changirecommends #changiwifi #travelblog #travelblogger #iamtb #mondayescapes #traveltuesday #wednesdaywanderlust #travelthursday #citytripping #myfavouritetrip #familytravelhq
After dinner, we went to check out Kita No Yatai. It was a Saturday night and Kita No Yatai was absolutely bustling!! All the stores were full of patrons chatting happily with the store owners sitting in the middle.
I loved the atmosphere at Kita no Yatai. Though I got to say it was not a very kids-friendly environment. I doubted I could push a stroller into any of the tiny establishments that lined the street.
We just walked around the area around Kita No Yatai, which reminded me a bit of Susukino in Sapporo. It struck me that the past two times I spent the night in Obihiro, I didn’t venture into the streets of Obihiro city centre after dark at all. The first time, we drove to Tokachigawa Onsen for Sairinka festival. The second time, it was just too cold to bring the kids out to walk after dark. I concluded Obihiro was a city that came to life after dark.
Day 14: Obihiro – Yubari – Chitose
We started the morning with a visit to my favourite bakery cafe in Obihiro, Mugioto (ますやパン 「麦音」). This was the second time I visited, you can read more about our first visit > here <.
It was a sunny Sunday summer morning, which makes for a great morning for the ENTIRE town to gather at Mugioto for breakfast. The queue was insane! Luckily the kids could entertain themselves in the little playroom while the adults queued up for the bread. Okay, I was too busy queuing for bread to go and take photos of the playroom. So here are old photos from our December 2014 visit.
Since it was summer, we sat at one of the many benches on the lawn to enjoy our breakfast. Despite the crazy queue inside, there was more than enough space for everyone to sit and dine outside. It was soooo good and relaxing!
After a very fulfilling breakfast, we went for a stroll at Manabe Garden (真鍋庭園) which was just about 2km away from Mugioto.
Manabe Garden was really lovely. I highly recommend dropping in if you are visiting Obihiro in Summer.
Manabe Garden turned out to be a lot more kids-friendly than I expected. Along the way, we passed by a Children’s Garden!
The kids have been so deprived of play due to the lousy weather. So we let them play to their hearts content here.
There were three different walking trails to choose from at Manabe Garden. I went for the longest one with MF because I had to digest my huge breakfast. The husband, MY and in-laws went for the shortest one.
By the time we got back from our longest trail, we found MY playing at the playground near the cafe at Manabe Garden. MF immediately dashed over to join in,
In the meantime, my in-laws were checking out the squirrel which was busy munching at the table filled with what I assumed was squirrel food. So cute!
Maybe the next time I am in Obihiro, I would have breakfast at Manabe Garden instead of Mugioto. The playground and squirrel can so keep the kids entertained!
From Manabe Garden, we went on to Ryugetsu Sweetpia Garden.
We bought some confectionery from the cafe which were okay. Nothing to wow about frankly. I conclude I’m not a big fan of Ryugetsu.
And we drove on to Yubari to check out some famous Yubari melons. We arrived at the roadside station ‘Meroad’ (夕張 道の駅 メロード) and was welcomed by an over-enthusiastic melon-bear!
There was a little supermarket there where I picked out an exclusive melon cake!
And of course not forgetting to sink our teeth into some sliced yubari melons. MF super loved Hokkaido melons and finished up the whole slice, leaving none for me!
Fine… Two can play a game. I went to buy a melon soft serve and hid in a corner to enjoy it. (Yes, I’m an evil mom like that.)
Okay, I thought the melon soft serve was kind of blah. Not creamy enough for me – it was slightly icey. Not my type of soft serve.
After eating too much for a day, we had to work off those calories so our next destination was Yuni Garden. It was our lucky day as far as meeting mascots were concerned.
Truth be told, nobody wanted to go to Yuni Garden except me. If we had done a vote, we would be driving back to New Chitose Airport to shop, eat or sleep. Oh, I forgot to mention, my friends in the other car had ditched us and went straight back to Chitose right after breakfast.
However, I refused to go back to the airport when it was finally bright and sunny!! If it had been raining, sure, I would go back to Chitose right after breakfast too. But after enduring days of rain and fog, I was so adamant on maximizing the good weather.
I have concluded by the end of this trip that bright sunny summer days in Hokkaido are as rare as a Pikachu in Pokemon Go and must be treasured. #TheThingsTravelGuidesDoNotTellYouAbout
It was finally starting to get dark by the time we were done with Yuni Garden, so back to New Chitose Airport we went.
Usually my travel tales would end at this point. Because after reaching CTS, it is usually pretty uneventful. I would have dinner at Hanamaru, snack at Kinotoya and Kitakaro, sleep at Air Terminal Hotel, and fly back to Singapore the next morning. But somehow this time it was pretty eventful.
I think it was because CTS was undergoing major renovations. So firstly, Hanamaru was GONE. ARGH!!! In its place was another sushi restaurant – which was not bad but I still preferred Hanamaru. But at least all my other food haunts like Kinotoya (with the famous BAKE cheese tarts) and Kitakaro were still around.
And this time round, the check-in for our Thai airways flight home was WAY faster than in the past. Which gave us like an hour or so extra before our flight the next morning. We used the extra time to check out Smile Road and noticed that Royce Chocolate Factory had expanded and even now have a Royce Bakery cafe!
LOOK AT THAT! A whole slab of Royce chocolate in a bun!
If you only have enough stomach space for one bread, make it this one. OMG. The molten Royce chocolate chocolate wrapped in fluffy pastry.
At Smile Road, I also spotted a sign that said that there was going to be a Hello Kitty attraction, Hello Kitty Happy Flight, opening on 22 July 2016 at New Chitose Airport. WOOHOO!!
Okay, it took me more than a month from coming back to writing this, so that means Hello Kitty Happy Flight should be open already! If you are visiting Hokkaido now (or visiting Hokkaido soon) and have photos of Hello Kitty Happy Flight that you don’t mind me sharing on this blog, feel free to email them to: