Colourful Spring Time in Hakodate Hokkaido – Goryokaku Park

It’s been over 2 months since I last updated my blog, and it’s quite a contrast that my last post was something that happened in Okinawa (the South-est part of Japan), while this post is going to talk about Hokkaido (the North-est part of Japan).

So during my month long’s business trip in Japan last month, I decided to try to take a 4 hours bullet train ride from Tokyo to Hakodate City of Hokkaido. As Hokkaido is the North-est part of Japan, it also means that it gets cold the quickest, which leads to the earliest viewing of maple leaves/red leaves in the whole of Japan. I visited in mid October, and the leaves were already 80% red!

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Just the street of Hakodate – Ginko Trees

Although you can view the beauty of red leaves nearly in all part of the city, there are a few spots which are highly recommended, one being the Goryokaku Tower and Park (五稜郭). The original site was a pentagonal shaped fortress with inspiration from the French architect Vauban, the design allows for greater numbers of gun emplacements on its walls than a traditional Japanese fortress, and reduced the number of blind spots where a cannon could not fire.

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The admission fee to the observation deck is 900yen, and it’s well worth it! The bird eyes’ view allows you to see the unique pentagonal shaped park, and also a good view of the Hakodate city. The different shades of colours are just so mesmerizing. There are also miniature models and information that talks about the background of the fortress and its history, which is quite interesting!

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Very cute miniature model

Don’t leave just yet after the visit to the tower, be sure to go to the park too. The park entrance is right by the tower, and it allows you a close view to the colourful leaves, which gives you a completely different feeling to the view from the tower.

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There are many great photo spots within the park, and it’s a great place to have a picnic too! I bumped into this very lovely security guard of the park, and he was so kind to show me photos he took of the park during the different seasons, and it’s AMAZING!

After this visit to Hakodate, I’m surprised that this city is just so pretty all year around! I hope to visit here again during the Cherry Blossom season and snowy months! Here are some pictures I’ve found online.

USEFUL INFORMATION:

Official Website

Hotel with Mount Fuji View for Under USD$100/person including MEALS!

Mount Fuji Yamadaya Hotel Review Japan Tokyo Yamanashi Travel COVER

Just imagine yourself sitting in an open air hot bathtub, having a glass of hot sake, and right in front of your eyes is the Mount Fuji sunset view surrounded by maple leaves?

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It’s the maple leaves season in Japan again, and one of the best place to see the leaves is at the Fuji Five Lake, which is about 2 hours drive from Tokyo. The five lakes are Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakaka, Shojiko, and Motosuko. It is one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance, and a great base for climbing the mountains.

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Map of the Fuji Five Lakes area

There are many hotels around the areas of the Fuji Five Lakes, especially near Kawaguchiko, which is the biggest and the most touristic one. However, if you prefer something quieter, this hotel I’m going to talk about may just be the one for you!

This hotel is right in-front of Shojiko, which is the smallest lake out of the five. Comfortable rooms with Japanese traditional bedding, view of Mount Fuji in your room, private open air hot spring, and amazingly delicious meals all in one place. Better yet, you can get all these for under USD$100/persons! This is one you sure can’t miss.

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Annual Tulip Festival near Melbourne – a field of vibrant colours

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This is not the Netherlands, this is Australia!

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Each year during the months of September/October, there are two big tulip festivals. One is in the Wynyard Tulip festival in Tasmania, and the other one is the Tesselaar Tulip Festival in Victoria. The later is only 40km East of Melbourne, which makes it easily accessible by car. Don’t worry, if you don’t want to drive, you could also get there easily by a train which departs from Melbourne, then board a shuttle/bus to get you to your destination.

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This year, the Tesselaar Tulip Festival was from the 8th September till the 4th October. I arrived Melbourne on the 3rd afternoon, which means the only day I could go was on their last day. During the 4 weeks of the festival, they have different events on every weekend. I would highly recommend you to check out their schedule before your visit.

According to Google Map, the journey shall only take approximately 45 minutes. Since it’s not a long ride, I have decided to have lunch at Melbourne first before we head over to the festival.

Well, a 45 minutes journey ended up being a 2 hours ride! Instead of using my Google map on the phone, I was using a GPS which I borrowed when I rented my car. For some strange reason, this GPS keeps directing me to roads that either did not exist, or was too narrow for my 4WD to get thru… Ok, it may also have to do with my bad sense of directions, and lack of skills in driving too. BUT, thanks to the GPS, we went on a route thru the Dandenong Ranges National Park, which was an extremely bumpy, yet fun ride – I encountered a wild deer in the middle of nowhere!! I have no idea where it came from, but it was there, starring at us. So sometimes, a little detour on a journey aren’t so bad at all.

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Oh my deer!!

Finally, I arrived the Tesselaar Tulip Festival at around 3:30pm. The weather was super nice when we got there.

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The entrance tickets are very cute, unfortunately you don’t get to keep them as they collect them at the gate 😦

About 10 minutes after entering the festival, it started pouring, and it was so windy and cold and wet, all I could do (and most of the others as well) was to hide in the shelter to wait for the rain to past by. The weather was not very nice that day, it keeps raining, then sunshine, then raining, then sunshine… but it made the flowers look very pretty, with the rain dew drops on the flowers.

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This is one of my favourite out of all the pictures, just love the dew drops on the flowers, looking so fresh and pretty

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Purple is in the air – Jacaranda Festival in Brisbane

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Purple is the color of the month!

Are you ready to be drown in purple-ness? Because this is what this post is all about!! Be surrounded by pretty purple flowers.

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Overview of the park

In the Southern Hemisphere, we are stepping into Summer, and one of the must do in Summer for Brisbanians are to go and see the jacaranda trees! Basically, these purple pretty flowers could be seen in every corner of Brisbane, but of course, there are places which I would highly recommend you to go and visit, such as The University of Queensland, New Farm Park, Kangaroo Point etc. But my favorite jacaranda viewing place must be at Goodna. Each year, they have a festival just to celebrate this beautiful season!
(Where to see Jacaranda in Brisbane – http://blog.queensland.com/2016/10/12/jacarandas-south-east-queensland/)

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Continue reading “Purple is in the air – Jacaranda Festival in Brisbane”