Day 19: Aomori

Thursday, 12 February 2015 

Continues from: Day 18: Sapporo and Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

This morning is our last in Hokkaido and today is a bit of a travel day as we'll be making our way down for a night in Aomori at the top of Honshu.

We left early and caught two trains, the first was a limited express to Hakodate which took about three hours.

Next we changed to another limited express which travelled through the 53.85km long undersea Seikan tunnel to Aomori in around three hours.

All up the journey took around six hours but it was very comfortable, relaxing and we enjoyed the sights outside the window while we ate some of the ice cream sold on board.

There's actually been massive developments along the Seikan Tunnel since this trip as the Shinkansen line has been extended all the way to Hakodate. This has cut travel times by half and you can now travel between Aomori and Hakodate in as little as one hour.

Arriving into Aomori in the mid-afternoon we found that the city was covered in a thick layer of snow!

The first thing we did was make our way to our hotel so they could hold our luggage. We were staying at the Hotel Sun Route Aomori which wasn't quite as conveniently located as the Tokyo Inn we had used last time we were in Aomori.

Next we went to the Furukawa Fish Market which has a really cool system where you can make your own seafood donburi (rice bowl). What you do is buy tickets and then exchange the tickets for a bowl of rice as well as small portions of food sold by each vender to be used as toppings. The tickets are around 100 yen each and sold in sets of five or ten.


There's a heap of variety of toppings such as fish, crab, shellfish, seaweed, fish eggs, omelette, vegetables and pickles.

The food looked really clean and was well presented.

Although this is what we planned for lunch I'm sorry to say that we actually didn't get any of this as it was around 3pm and we were really too hungry for raw fish.

Thick layer of snow, will be difficult to ride home
Instead we ended up going to Otoya which is one of our favourite chain restaurants in Japan.

They serve a variety of Japanese set meals and this one in Aomori was actually the first we went to back in 2012.

In the evening we went to Karaoke!

Aomori sadly doesn't have a huge number of Karaoke places and we were disappointed to find that the local Big Echo only had smoking rooms available.

Instead we went to Karoke Maneki Neko, which is actually another large chain and in Aomori it was bigger than Big Echo and also had non-smoking rooms!

The only stumbling block is you have to be a member to hire a room, and this was a bit tricky as the sign up form was all in Japanese and assumed we lived in Japan. It was a touch screen though which was nice.

I ended muddling through and used our hotels address and phone number- the lady at the front desk didn't seem to mind at all. Once I had finished my photo was taken and we were all set!

We sung for two hours and had a heap of fun!

Tomorrow we were planning on visiting Nyuto Onsen, but are instead going to Zao Onsen to see the snow monsers!