26 July, 2013

Our Hokkaido Adventure Day 7

Saturday 29th June: Just south of Sapporo

Conference finished yesterday. We drove to our first campsite, not too far away, via a
Our first stop after conference: laundromat
laundromat and a supermarket. Setting up camp felt different to our two or three day camps in the past, probably because I knew that this was just the beginning of our trip and that we’d be doing this a few more times in the next 16 days.

The campsite is gorgeous. All mowed grass, easy to hammer pegs into! There were only two other parties on this large lawn. And nearby was a playground, including a flying fox (US=rip line?). Everyone helped out and the tent was up easily in under two hours. We did have one blow-out from our youngest, but that was expected, he’s had two weeks of late nights and intense programs. I didn’t expect our middle son to be so cooperative, he’d overdosed on people during the week and needed some cave space, but he did pretty well.
Can you see our tent? In the middle of all that wonderful
grass. You have to know that grass is pretty rare
in Tokyo, and we've never seen large grassy places
to pitch a tent like this down south.

It was cold, however. The temperature was about 14 when we arrived at 4pm and dropped to under 10 over-night. That was a bit of a shock to the system after warm Tokyo and then in the artificial environment of the hotel all week.

Today we woke up to a sparkling day, however. It took a while to warm up, but did make it to 20 after lunch. We’ve spent the day at the neighbouring park. A large park that includes many unusual things for kids to do.  Eg. Red physio balls to push up a large slope (called the Lawn Stadium, actually well named. You could easily do a concert at the bottom with thousands sitting on the slope). White bouncy hills (called “Fluffy Eggs” rather strangely). A bit like large trampolines but in a hill shape. Unfortunately it was for elementary students and below only (under 12s), so our
soon-to-be high schooler had to find other things to amuse him. 

There were a number of under-hill places to explore, the most fun had various coloured nets suspended from the ceiling for climbing in. The floor was littered with heavy inner-tube type things covered with the same coloured nets. It looked like a giant’s crochet had gone wild, but in a fun way. We also explored a wooded hill with various wooden and roped play structures hidden in various spots. It was a relaxed, fun day.
Slides built into the hill.
Large soft cones for climbing on
Hills for jumping on
Hills for rolling large physio balls up and down

Inside one hill, the crochet-gone-crazy climbing place.
Closer view of the cones.
We explored a wooded hill and found this hammock.
For snacks we indulged in some kakikori (snow cones or shaved ice) and some flavoured popcorn (caramel and cheese, the latter being extremely popular with our boys and the former much nicer than Australian caramel popcorn).

When we got back to our campsite, there had been a large influx of campers. Our privacy-loving middle son moaned, “Ooooohh, they’ve ruined it all.”

But really, despite the large number of young children, it’s been relatively quiet. No loud parties (though some of our neighbours were still up at midnight) and no screaming children when the sun came up before 5am. And now, as I type on Sunday morning, many are packing up. One night camping seems like a lot of effort to go to, but I guess it is something of a getaway, if you’ve got no other chance. We’re here for three nights, the first time we’ve even managed that (last time we tried we got run over by a typhoon and had to move indoors after one night). It feels good to be stationary for that length of time.
Japanese style bathroom. You put your gear
here. Shoes were left at the door. This is
tatami (rice mat) flooring, very traditional.

The facilities are lovely. Nearby we have toilets and sinks (no hot water, though). Up the hill are beautifully clean shower facilities (though with little privacy, in the Japanese style). I took photos because there was no one else around. Usually you wouldn't take photos in the bathroom, obviously!

Here's the door to the bathroom proper.
Yep, communal bathing. This is a similar
set-up to a Japanese public bath,
except there was no bath to use after you
showered. At Japanese hot-springs or public
baths you shower first (getting all the impurities
off), then hop in the bath with everyone else
 and soak (no soap, bubbles etc. allowed in the bath).

1 comment:

Georgia said...

Zip line I think - however I'm not a devotee - could be wrong.

There's another one of those giant crochet play areas near the Sculpture Gardens on the Hakone Tour.