Weird Conversations at a Small Japanese Town Where We Didn’t Plan to Stay (But Did)

There really isn’t much to see in Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido in northern Japan. Besides the Sapporo beer factory, the town is a collection of 1950s dilapidated office buildings featuring a small red and white replica of the Eiffel Tower with a restaurant on the third floor. As we quickly realized when we arrived, most tourists only drop through on their way to ski in the nearby mountains, or to soak in a hot sulphur bath at an onsen in a lakeside ryoken (a Japanese natural springs spa hotel). You need to have a car to do both—and you need an international driver’s license, which neither Olivier or I have—to rent a car. So we found ... [Read More]

Noboribetsu: Sulphur Springs & Volcano a Bus Ride From Sapporo

Why to Go to Noboribetsu An active volcano, mystical red-white-green landscapes and forest, plus hotel-onsens (ryokan) with sulphur hot springs where you can take a soak and ease your aches. Plus it's an easily commutable area by bus from Sapporo (if you don't have the requisite international driver license to rent a car in Japan). How to Get to Noboribetsu from Sapporo 1.5 hours by bus. Get to the Sapporo bus terminal. From there ask the attendant for the bus schedule to Noboribetsu; they run direct every hour. Once you arrive at Noboribetsu, walk about 10 minutes from the bus stop to the train terminal and hop in a taxi (there should ... [Read More]