We decided to drive to Hokkaido to attend Lucy’s graduation. Alex arrived Sunday June 15th. Woke up really early and left Aizu at about 6am. The drive from Aizu to Aomori took about 6 hours, with several stops for snacks and potty breaks. Aomori is a small town on the northern tip of Honshu island. We took a wrong exit once and that is not bad at all since we had to drive with a map all in Japanese.
The ferry crossing was two hours on the new and fast Natchan Rera. I booked the ferry through faxes. You can get the form by going to their website – no phone contact at all. They sent me a reservation info and with that we went to the ferry wharf and booked our seats and our car.
It was not crowded at all, not like the crossings from England to France or Ireland. The ferry was made in Tasmania and they invited kids to submit drawings and the winners had their drawings painted all over the sides. I will post some pictures.
We landed in Hakodate and when we got off the ferry the police stopped us and did a thorough check of our trunk and passports! they say because of the G8 summit next month they are having extra security. Today we will drive to Sapporo. The G8 will be in the town of Toyako in July. We will be staying there for our last night in Hokkaido.
Before going to Sapporo, we will visit an onsen town called Jozankei. It is a pretty town, which I visited when I was here last February.
A few people thought we were crazy to drive to Hokkaido but truly, the drive was great (that’s because Dave did all the driving – ha ha) and we had no problems even though the map was in japanese. You get to learn all the names of the towns in Kanji. Fortunately, they do write the names in Romaji so that helps alot. Just be prepared for lots of toll charges. They accept credit cards and I think it cost us about $150 in toll from Aizu to Aomori which is roughly 400 km.