2018年01月03日

Otaru City in Hokkaido enjoyed prosperity as a provincial financial center exceeding Sapporo City early in the 20th century.

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Otaru City used to be the most important economic base city in Hokkaido before the Second World War. Because it was a shipping port of coals and agricultural products, a base of herring fishing, and a trade port with South Sakhalin and Korea, both of which were Japan's territory in those years. However, under the influence of the shift in energy from coals to oil, the independence of Korea, and the decrease of the herring catch, this city has long been in its twilight since the end of the War. As a satellite city of Sapporo as well as a tourist city with almost half of the golden age population, this city barely conveys the traces of the former prosperity. The first picture shows 'Otaru Unga' canal lined with old warehouses, which are used now as restaurants and souvenir shops. The townscape in the second picture is past downtown of the city. Most buildings are financial offices and they are converted into museums attracting sightseers from home and abroad.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 12:38 | Hokkaido | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2018年01月01日

Sapporo City, the prefectural capital of Hokkaido, has Japan's fifth largest population of 2 million.

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Hokkaido was thinly inhabited by the 'Ainu' who were indigenous to the western part of Japan, however it had gradually come under the jurisdiction of Japan since the middle of the 19th century. The development of Hokkaido was carried out based on Sapporo, thus this big city has become a regional center of the politics, economy, education, culture and art. The Olympic Winter Games in 1972 had its name up in lights. Sapporo is one of the major tourist cities in Japan with 13 million visitors per year from home and abroad in all seasons. As this city was designed following Kyoto, grid pattern roads are running in the midtown area. The first picture shows the downtown of Sapporo commanded from the observatory of Sapporo TV Tower standing in Odori Park. The old brick building in the second picture is the former government office of Hokkaido built in 1888.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 18:54 | Hokkaido | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年12月11日

'Lake Toyako', located in the soutwest of Hokkaido, is an important element of 'Shikotsu Toya National Park'.

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Lake Toya, with the perimeter of 30 kilometers, is a caldera lake. Holding four islands, the largest one with the height of 450 meters, this lake offers beautiful scenery as shown in the first picture. The maximum depth is 180 meters though, the minimum depth is surprisingly less than 1 meter, because the top of the tallest lake-bottom volcano almost reaches the surface of the lake. There are 10 volcanos found under the water. A hotel standing on the top of a lakeside mountain was used for the main venue of 'G8 Summit' in 2008. Centering on 'Mt. Usu' active volcano, many signs of volcanic activity are found in the south of the lake. 'Toyako Onsen' hot spring resort also spreads over this area. The second picture shows 'Mt. Showa-Shinzan', the side volcano of Mt. Usu. This small volcano, 400 meters high, is known as Japan's newest volcano. A block lava emerged penetrating the flat field together with repeated earthquakes in 1944 to form Mt. Showa-Shinzan in 1945.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:33 | Hokkaido | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする