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Japan Hakodate Onuma Koen Snow

3 November 2016

Dull hysteria

Hakodate is small. So small that it only has one department store and thats mostly closed down. Small enough that the main station which is where I am staying really only has 2 platforms. Small enough that most people stop here for a few hours and go up the top of the hill I ran up in the dark before moving on.
Aside from the nearby hill / mountain, the 2 tourist attractions are a western style fortress shaped like a star with moats for no apparent reason, or the hysterical leaf mecca of Onuma Koen.
Unfortunately, it is raining, snowing, sleeting, and raining, and cold as hell. So I thought the best plan was to go walk around a freezing lake and stare at leaves in the dull grey freezing weather and see if I could contract a severe case of hysteria.

Getting to the leaf zone was no issue, I have 1 spare day out of 6 planned on my excellent value east south hokkaido jr east and some areas of west but not west shinkansen and also some private lines but not nikko pass. Seriously these passes are confusing, but on any 6 days in a 2 week period I can ride any JR trains for that day anywhere between Sapporo and Tokyo.
So even though its only 30 minutes each way, without the pass that would have been $30, and I would not have bothered. With the pass I can get soaking wet for 'free'.

Once I got off at the station, it was raining hard. Then it snowed really hard! Nothing was open yet. I paced around pretending I wasnt wet, and a fried things on sticks smoking cafe opened. The good news was that I was their only customer, and they served hot cocoa. So I sat and had that for 30 minutes and stared at the really heavy snow / rain combination hybrid HELL STORM raining down on the parking lot.
Unfortunately, a bus pulled up full of old Japanese men, who walking framed there way in to eat some fried dough on sticks and chain smoke whilst hacking up a lung each. The place filled with smoke fast, I had to leave!
Japan has a serious lung cancer problem, in every train bits of lung are flying across the carriages and I am convince each time someone will die and the traiin will be delayed.

I decided to follow the walking trails in the rain, and thankfully it soon let up a little, enough that I could hide under falling leaves and convince myself I was not wet. The great thing was because of the weather, it was just me.
Even though I am too late for real hysteria by a couple of weeks, I still thought the place looked amazing. More so when you realise they basically built it, and even more so when you realise it was completely destroyed multiple times by volcanic eruptions, see photos below! Unfortunately due to the very low cloud I could not photograph leafs plus lakes plus lava for the LLL combo.

Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - I had a bit of time to kill before my train, so I went to the morning wet market. And looked at squid.

I had a bit of time to kill before my train, so I went to the morning wet market. And looked at squid.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - Turns out there are multiple buildings unconnected that are all part of the wet market general area of fish smelling dead things.

Turns out there are multiple buildings unconnected that are all part of the wet market general area of fish smelling dead things.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - This is what greeted me at Onuma, dull, bleak, wet, closed.

This is what greeted me at Onuma, dull, bleak, wet, closed.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - These are real dead Hokkaido bears taxidermied however you spell that. They are taller than me. I was confident there were none roaming around this AA

These are real dead Hokkaido bears taxidermied however you spell that. They are taller than me. I was confident there were none roaming around this AAA certified tourist zone.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - Then, epic snow for a long time.

Then, epic snow for a long time.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - Still snowing, but I thought I would set off into the snow and rain and take photos with my freezing hands anyway.

Still snowing, but I thought I would set off into the snow and rain and take photos with my freezing hands anyway.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - But it did look awesome. I imagine it would be at its best, 2 weeks earlier, with sunshine, and snow. I am not asking for much.

But it did look awesome. I imagine it would be at its best, 2 weeks earlier, with sunshine, and snow. I am not asking for much.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - There are lots of little islands with the trees planted on them linked by bridges.

There are lots of little islands with the trees planted on them linked by bridges.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - There are also ducks. On nicer days most people row a boat around and get off on the little islands and cough up a lung whilst eating cuttlefish and c

There are also ducks. On nicer days most people row a boat around and get off on the little islands and cough up a lung whilst eating cuttlefish and cheese snack.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - Well, thats a broken rule. A tourist bridge that is not red.

Well, thats a broken rule. A tourist bridge that is not red.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - More view.

More view.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - 2 bridges that are not red.

2 bridges that are not red.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - Photo of the day I think.

Photo of the day I think.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - Rain had all but stopped by now.

Rain had all but stopped by now.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - I think there are about 12 bridges in total that I went over. Some were very slippery even though there was no ice. They would be deadly with ice on t

I think there are about 12 bridges in total that I went over. Some were very slippery even though there was no ice. They would be deadly with ice on them.
Also in winter, all these lakes freeze and you can ice skate, ride snow mobiles, shoot bears.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - I believe all this is somewhat man made, and needs constant dredging, there were 3 such areas being repaired with heavy machinery.

I believe all this is somewhat man made, and needs constant dredging, there were 3 such areas being repaired with heavy machinery.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - The visitor centre had some excellent images of the last volcanic eruption, this was taken just an hour or so after. As you can see everything is dest

The visitor centre had some excellent images of the last volcanic eruption, this was taken just an hour or so after. As you can see everything is destroyed.


Japan-Hakodate-Onuma Koen-Snow - The mountain, which I photographed yesterday, has erupted over 50 times since the 17th century, and is closed to hikers. It last erupted in 2008 which

The mountain, which I photographed yesterday, has erupted over 50 times since the 17th century, and is closed to hikers. It last erupted in 2008 which significantly changed the shape of the summit area, but did not destroy the leaf viewing lake area like previous eruptions.


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