Japan 2013 - Kath Gillies
Japan 2013 Travel companions Maggie, Tuck Soo, Margaret and Jim
Susukino Ice festival was in the street Otaru The main site is the Odori Site in Sapporo's centrally located 1.5 kilometer long Odori Park.
 The festival's famous large snow sculptures, some measuring more than 25 meters wide and 15 meters high.
The bikes at the stations were nearly always covered in snow, not sure how they would find them at the end of the day.
Went to Kitara Concert Hall Sapporo famous for its Acoustics over 100 musicians performed for a fantastic concert and on the way walked thru a beautiful park and we were lucky the sun came out with blue skies.
 After the concert we were delighted to see snow lights in the park. A lot of the candles had drawings from children; some were from soft drink bottles.
Next stop after travelling by train Kushiro, Went for a walk and came across a light show by the river.
The purpose of this destination was the (Tancho) Japanese Red Crowned Cranes. The first day seeing the Cranes on the bus tour.
But we did not get close enough so we hire a mini bus to Tsuramidai the next day well worth it.
Lovely sunny day, bonus was the eagles also trying to pinch the fish some geese arrived also five deer came in on the act also. So many photographers there with very large lenses.
Next stop Hakodate, snowed quite heavily here and went up the top of Mt Hakodate by cable car. Hakodate to Shibuonsen 1073 km including a tunnel for 54 km and 23km was under the sea.
Accommodation at Traditional Hotel Matsuya Ryokan 200 years old at Shibu Onsen. Beautiful little village.
 From here we went to see the snow monkeys, we went two days the first day it snowed and the second day was fine. It is a 2 km walk each way up to the springs where the snow monkeys are.
We hired a mini bus to take us to a village where they make paper out of Mulberry tree bark by hand. In this little town they have their hoses running every day to clear the snow. They do not have to pay for water.
Our last stop was Tokyo before home over 3300 km on the fast trains. Got up 3.30 in the morning to go to Tuna Auctions. They only allow 2 lots of 60 people in each day.
Great trip and company.

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