Here we are, at the end of the road (trip) – the tenth and final day of our epic Hokkaido road trip. Unlike our previous Tasmanian road trip, our flight was due to leave later in the evening. However, we still had to head out relatively early as the drive from Lake Akan to New Chitose Airport is rather long.

Like anywhere else in Hokkaido, there are two options to choose from when driving from town to town: tollway, or non-tollway. While the difference in both methods for the previous days weren’t big, we had to consider more carefully for this particular journey.

If we opted not to take the tollway, we would be facing a substantial 4.5 hours drive on the expressway. Using the tollway would shave an hour off, leaving us with a 3.5 hours drive. However, this would come at a cost – 5000 yen, to be specific. Therefore, we decided to go non-tollway, as we had mostly done throughout this road trip.

But first, a trip to the Hanayuuka’s sister hotel, Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga, for its beautiful onsen was due. For obvious reasons, we weren’t able to grab any photos here, so here are some taken from Google to give you an idea of how awesome it is (hat tip TripAdvisor and Japan Traveler Online):

It was an excellent, memorable way to cap off a remarkable road trip. We topped it with a delicious breakfast at the local bread and sweets cafe, Pan de Pan, and a stroll through Ainu Kotan (the local Ainu village), before embarking on the long ride back to Sapporo, New Chitose Airport.

For us, it’d been barely a year since we set off on our first road trip ever in Tasmania, but when we first put foot to pedal in Hokkaido, the motions felt foreign yet vaguely familiar to us.

It was as if our bodies had already adjusted back to the hustle and bustle of everyday living, and forgotten what it was like to kick back, watch the roads go by, and take it easy – to just delight in the moment.

But adjust we did. And there’s no better place to do that than Hokkaido, where we were surrounded by mountains, lakes, and greenery 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even the busier cities were full of beautiful architecture.

Physically, we were spent – emotionally and spiritually, though, we were positively filled to the brim.

And this is what we love about road trips – one day, we will live our lives permanently on the road. For now, though, it was back to bustling Tokyo, and our first encounter with Mount Fuji. More on that coming up very soon – stay tuned!

Daniel

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