Monday, November 2, 2009

Mount Moiwa, Sapporo

It was already close to 7 pm (Japan time) after our tour group had completed our hearty Ramen dinner at one of the many Ramen stalls in Sapporo. Though night had already fell, the itinery of the day was not over as we would be proceeding to Mount Moiwa to view the spectacular views of the entire Sapporo City!

Mount Moiwa is not a tall mountain in Sapporo as compared to its bevy of taller brethren in
Hokkaido, standing at a height of 531 metres. Despites its shorter height, Mount Moiwa is the only mountain where one can enjoy a spectacular, bird-eye view of Sapporo city!

My wife and I were thrilled to ascend up a mountain of another country and take in the 360-degree views of a city we visited. The other instance we had done so was at Hong Kong, where the whole of Hong Kong island presented itself to us as we admired the city sights from the top of Victoria Peak, which stands at 552 metres, slightly taller than Mount Moiwa. By comparison, Singapore’s tallest hill, Bukit Timah is only 163 metres tall and similarly my wife and I had been on top of Bukit Timah but could not see anything except trees!

As the bus proceeded up the slope of the hill, the lights inside the bus were switched off, creating quite an atmosphere as our tour group glanced at the street sights of Sapporo tilted at an angle as the bus moved on. These sights were fleeting for soon, our views were obstructed by thick vegetation.

It was not long when we reached the top of the mountain and alighted from the bus. It took another 5 minutes to navigate up a steep slope towards the shop on the hilltop and ascending some more stairs before we finally reached the top of Mount Moiwa.

The winds were strong and howling, the temperature was only around ten degrees Celsius, my wife and I were shivering from the coldness despites being decked out in jacket clothing. Just look at these clouds:

What a spectacular sight! The whole of Sapporo, brightly lit-up unfolded itself to us, sparking like a jewel in the night! Even the best vocabulary could not describe the magnificent views! You have to be there to experience the sights yourself!

Cameras were up next, followed by an almost incessant snapping of photos from the group. My wife and I joined others in the queue for a photography shoot by a team of professional photographers. The photographer stood on a tall ladder, carrying out his photography functions, with this, whose photo of the city view beneath could rival his?

We left Mount Moiwa after visiting the souvenir shop and collecting the photo. Sapporo is really a beautiful city!

Back in the hotel, my Dear and I had a quick dinner and bath before indulging in the ‘onsens’ (hot springs!)

The ‘onsens’ were simply ‘shiok’! I could really smell the minerals in the spring water, no joking! It took me just a short time to get used to stripping and to parade stark naked as I walked around, trying the different ‘onsen’ pools, averaging 41 to 43 degree Celsius.

To the Japanese, the intake of minerals and vital vitamins is not only via oral consumption. Hot springs or ‘onsens’ is a method to absorb minerals into the body via the pores. The secrets behind the longevity of Japanese and their radiant complexion could be due to their hot spring rituals and not forgetting great, nutritious and healthy food and water as well as excellent charms of nature! There are 4 beautiful seasons to hold and behold and the climate is moderate and temperate!

I do not mind to trade my job in Singapore for the job of a farmer in Japan, leading a simple, healthy and rustic lifestyle, free of stress and corporate politics and be in touch with nature daily!