With the Visit Japan Travel & MICE Mart officially finished for the year, participants are now off to experience Japan for themselves in a range familiarisation trips.
In a group of almost thirty, I will be exploring Northeastern Hokkaido, Japan’s north island, and indulging in the nature and culinary delights the region is so famous for.
Stepping off the plane in Memanbetsu Airport, you could easily believe you had just arrived in a different country.
Forget the hustle and bustle and neon lights, and prepare for lush greenery, farms and mountains as far as the eye can see.
Of course Hokkaido is renowned for its ski resorts – Sapporo and Niseko particularly – but in the off season there is still so much to see in this “treasure box”, as our guide describes it.
Hokkaido boasts some of the best seafood and dairy produce in Japan.
So, naturally, the theme of this trip is ‘Culinary of Hokkaido’.
During the two-hour bus trip to our hotel, we visited a number of natural attractions; the first being the Onnebetsu river to view salmon swimming upstream.
We continued along the coastline and stopped at the Oshinkoshin Waterfall which is a beautiful and peaceful sight.
Finally, we visited Shiretoko Pass where the views, despite the overcast weather, were breathtaking.
We stayed at Shiretoko Grand Kita Kobushi for the night, a hot spring resort propped on the water’s edge.
Here we had an authentic Japanese experience, sleeping in traditional rooms – called Ryokans – with Japanese futon beds.
For dinner we were treated to an elaborate buffet at the hotel, which included a mix of both Japanese and Western cuisines.
We then hopped on the bus and set off on a night watching tour nearby to view wild animals in their natural habitat.
To end the night, those who chose to donned their yukata and enjoyed a relaxing hot spring bath – called an onsen – at the hotel.