third day: european vibes and emotional battle

day 3: 6 july 2018

The third day in Sapporo and we will be leaving for Furano later in the evening. We started our day at Shiroi Koibito Park. This is actually a chocolate and confectionery factory, designed in a European-vibes with a bit of Willy-Wonka adaptation. We first entered the beautiful rose garden. They have more than hundreds of rose types and species. These are the most variety of roses I've ever seen in my life. The entrance is free, you can enjoy your day here eating ice-cream and visiting the museum. Basically, the museum shows how the chocolates are made and what are the process involved. Unfortunately, they are closed for maintenance during our visit. So no admission was charged. They also offer cookies decoration. This is a fun activity to try with your family.

We planned to be here for one to two hours, but apparently we had so much fun here taking photos, we did not realize that we're running late. We have one more stop before taking our luggage to catch the train from Sapporo Station. So we rushed to Susukino to bring home some souvenirs. They told us Tanujikoji is where people shop for stuff because the price is affordable and the product varieties. What we didn't know is, they have many blocks of the shopping arcade and different blocks sell different kinds of stuff. We walked from Block 1 to Block 2, but couldn't find the souvenir shops. We thought, maybe the shops located on the opposite road. We crossed the street and reached Block 7 and Block 8 but still to no avail. The shops do not sell souvenirs, but more to fashion stuff and accessories. Only then we found out the souvenirs shop are located at Block no 4 which is near to Block 2, so we have to make a U-turn as we're now at Block 7.

Do you know it's actually hard to find the souvenir shops??? I thought they might strategically place the souvenir shops near the main road so that the tourist is able to find the shops easily. There are limited shops selling key-chain, fridge magnet, T-shirts etc. Most of them sell confectionery and foods. I suppose snacks and cookies are more popular as a gift compared to key-chains. And it's actually true because we have seen people carrying around all the 'Made in Hokkaido' snacks.

You know when women do shopping spree, we forgot about everything including time. And I made a mistake, I thought that we still have time by looking at my watch which is Malaysian time. Rozita in fact has few times warned us that we were running out of time, that we're supposed to be at Sapporo Station now blah blah blah. Only then I realized, that we were very late for rea,l while Yus was still enjoying shopping. So we rushed Yus, then we took a train back to the hostel. I almost confident that we're not gonna make it catch the Furano train at 7:00 pm.

So we decided to take a taxi, regardless how much the fare will cost us. It's already 6:20 pm. We then grabbed a taxi, it took about 2 minutes to understand how much the fares to Sapporo Station and how long to reach the station. The driver knew that we're in rush, I'm sure our faces described the anxiety. Hahaha. He drove very fast and we arrived at the Sapporo Station 15 minutes before 7:00 pm.

We dragged our luggage fast, then bought the train tickets. Yes, we managed to purchase the ticket. We bought a JR Furano Rail ticket, it's not available on the vending machine. The tickets are sold at the counter.

The train left Sapporo at 7:10 pm. I felt an intense feeling of relief. Now we got 1 hour and a half to enjoy the train ride. We suppose to stop at Takikawa station, then take another train direct to Furano. We arrived at Takikawa at 8:20 pm. Next train to Furano is 8:50 pm. So we waited inside to rest. We then decided to make a phone call to our hostel (phone booth located outside the station), to inform them that we will arrive around 10:20 pm. The moment we came back, we found most of the people who waited inside were gone. I felt uneasy and asked the staff, he said the train just left. The announcement was made in Japanse, no English whatsoever. Oh, my God, I felt like crying. What if the train was the last one. Then I asked when is the next train, he said at 10:20 pm. I felt thankful and angry at the same time. We could have just prepared and standby 10 minutes earlier at the platform and I wish that we should not have made the phone call. There was a bit argument between me and my friends, not about putting the blame but because of me being too emotional and keep saying that we shouldn't make a silly mistake and missed the train. And now we have to wait another hour. We couldn't allow another room of mistake again as this train is the last one for today. I was so emotionally tired and just keep my mouth shut.

To keep things short, we arrived at Furano Station at 11:30 pm after an hour of challenging journey. It was very dark outside throughout the journey, at times I was so scared thinking what if we took the wrong route or something! It's creepy ok. To spice things up, we're lost AGAIN finding our hostel. They mentioned that it's 3 minutes away from the Furano station. But it's dark and very quiet. We only have google maps screenshot in hand. Yes, we never learned that it's actually best to have pocket WiFi in Hokkaido. We walked almost 10 minutes until a guy from a bar approached us. I didn't know what feelings I had, should I feel scared or should I just ask for help?

Then he smiled and said, "I'm sure you are lost. Nobody walks with luggage at midnight unless they're lost".
Yeah, you are right dude. We're definitely lost here. Please show us to Hostel Tomar. He then explained I didn't bother to process the directions. Maybe I should just let Rozita and Yus lead this time. We continued walking and still lost. It's almost 12 midnight and it's freaking cold. We then asked a taxi driver, he explained in Japanese so things supposed to be easy is now 100 times difficult. Thankfully, he's willing to show us the hostel and we made it to the hostel.

Anything worse than lost in midnight? Yes, the hostel was locked! It's actually a new building, the hostel located on the third floor. The ground floor is housing a cafe and a tourist center. We didn't find any phone booth to call them up. You must know what's gotten us into. We're so frustrated, angry and scared at the same time. Until we saw someone came out from the building. We asked her to help us to get in. But turned out, she's a visitor to the hostel guest. She didn't have the passcode to enter the building. But she did help to press intercom. Oh, there's an intercom next to the door. We pressed the intercom several times, only then the hostel staff came down and saved us finally.

That's the end of the emotional day. The comfy bed and hot shower did make us feel better. We love this hostel, it's modern and super clean. For those who feel like staying in Furano, I recommend Hostel Tomar. And yes, it's 3 minutes away from Furano Station. It's just us took the wrong junction and ended lost farther.

Travel Expenses day 3:

1. Reload IC Sapica transportation card: 1,000 yen = RM 37

2. Ice cream at Shiroi Koibito Park: 300 yen = RM 11

3. Photo booth + postcard: 1,200 yen = RM 44

4. Shopping at Tanujikoji = RM 70

5. Taxi to Sapporo Station : 1,500 yen = RM 55

6. Furano Rail Pass: 5,500 yen = RM 202
*Includes return ticket Sapporo - Furano, JR train around Furano-Biei. Valid for 5 days.

Cik Travelista

Shah Alam 40150, Malaysia