Saturday, September 24, 2011

Beer number one, boat number eight ... or ... Day one in Hokkaido

Good morning from Chitose, where I'll add this quick update before heading for Sapporo. Satoko's brother lives here, so he picked us up at the airport yesterday and took us around the area, starting at a salmon aquarium that offers look directly in to the Chitose river.

At the many food stalls near the aquarium, I found what became my first craft beer of the trip, a pilsner from Hokkaido Beer Pirkawakka (Googled-found review here).

I washed down the beer with a salmon pizza, and after a pit stop for another quick bite to eat we headed for the hills. Satoko's brother, Kohei, drove us around all afternoon and evening. We thank him very much for spending his day off with us.

Our main stop of the afternoon was Shikotu Lake:

click for full size to read sign board

We rented a paddle boat and set off on our epic 20-minute journey, after the woman at the rental shack laughed at our query about whether we could get to "other side" of the lake. We crossed paths with a couple on Boat Number Eight, who later became the subject of this shot:

click for full size

Further stops included a delicious 100-yen mushroom miso soup, a view point that would have offered a beautiful sunset had it not been overcast, and a toll road that cost nearly as much as the pizza we ordered for dinner after our return to Chitose.

Now, Satoko and I will head for the Big City, where we'll try to balance my quest for craft beer with her less boozy desires.

More to come!