Continued from Sapporo (part I).

After spending the morning in Sapporo, we loaded into the rental car and started our route towards Jozankei onsen town for some leaf-peeping.

On our way out of the city, we stopped in some orchard areas, tasted some fruits, and purchased some snacks for the road. We also stopped at a winery, which had wines and hard cider (real hard cider, not just soda!).

After trying some wine, we stopped at a soup curry restaurant for lunch… yum! This place was nice, you had several choices to customize your order. Right after lunch my husband wanted to stop at a conbini; next door was an ice cream shop and many people were indulging despite the chilliness in the air… so of course even though I am stuffed, I have to try some! I ordered camembert cheese flavor, it was really good!

The next stop was at Jozankei Dam to check out some autumn leaves (kouyou 紅葉). It was gorgeous. There are 2 locations,  one at the dam itself where there is a museum, and one on the lake overlooking the dam.

Afterwards we headed to the hotel, checked in, grabbed a town map and set off to explore Jozankei. There are many kappa statues hidden all over. The town itself if rather small and not so many shops or restaurants, but it was nice. There are a few footbaths and even a hand bath. The river had a nice walking path, which is illuminated at night. The leaves were pretty but dusk settled in quickly being up north. After strolling around the whole town, we felt a bit tired so we grabbed some beers and snacks as we headed back to the room. Back at the hotel I changed into yukata and relaxed in the onsen baths.

Kappa 河童 are a type of yokai 妖怪 demon that inhabit rivers and lakes in Japanese folklore, supposedly luring people in, sometimes paying harmless pranks to drowning. Supposedly cucumbers are the favorite meal (ever heard of kappa-maki, a type of roll sushi?). Jozankei has many statues of kappa scattered all over.

continued in Part III: Jozankei & Date.

There are too many wonderful pictures from the trip, so here are the highlights. For more, go to the imgur album here.


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