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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hokkaido Summer 2012 北海道夏季之旅 - Tenho 天凤, Gokuraku dori 极乐通购物街, Sengen Park 源泉公园

Visited 15.07.2012

Noboribetsu Onsen is approximately 10 - 15 mins by taxi from Noboribetsu JR Station. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by a strong sulphur smell which comes from the hot springs generated continuously in this area. Due to the huge variety of hot springs Noboribetsu Onsen offers, many hotels & ryokans have developed in the area to tap on this nature resource, and Noboribetsu has become one of the top hot springs location in Hokkaido.


Gokaruku dori is the main shopping street in Noboribetsu Onsen, within walking distance from most hotels in the area. From the bus terminal to Sengen Park & Daiichi Takimotokan Hotel, shops and restaurants lined up both sides of this street. Don't expect huge departmental stores in this area, the shops here sell local produce and souvenirs, targeted mainly at tourists. At night, you can find many people in yukata (after dinner/soak in hot springs) strolling along this street, patronising the shops before calling it a day.

Lunch: Food choices is not extensive as most hotels and ryokans have their own restaurants and offer two meals (breakfast and dinner) for their guests. Picked up a handy food guide brochure from the tourist information centre and decided to try out Tenho, a ramen shop apparently known for their own miso creation that is based on a family recipe passed down for generations. Ordered a miso-based ramen - soup was not too salty and suited our taste.  

Attractions:

(1) Shrine for King Enma (King of Hell). At stipulated timings (1000, 1300, 1500, 1700, 2000 and 2100 hrs during summer period), the statue will come into "life" - an short automated performance whereby the face of King Enma changes from solemn to fiery.


(2) Demon stone statues located at various locations along Gokuraku dori. There are a total of four of them and each has its own unique meaning - a demon couple symbolises good relationship, one holding a book symbolises success in studies, one with its left hand lifted up (like a fortune cat) symbolises business prosperity and a small shrine with a demon statue praying for good health.

(3) Sengen Park - A geyser is found in this park whereby 2000 litres of hot water (80 degC) and steam is ejected every three hours, lasting for around 50 mins each time. The power of geyser definitely not to be underestimated...

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Gokuraku dori 极乐通购物街


View Gokaruku dori in a larger map

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Commemorative stamps:

- From Tourist Information Centre -

- From Tourist Information Centre -

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