• Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..

    by  • January 1, 2016 • - Japan, Travel + Places • 0 Comments

    Took a short trip to cold, cold Hokkaido (finally!). Temperature was below zero throughout the few days we were there.

    But that did not stop us from eating A LOT (as always). And having some winter fun.

    Christmas market – Odori Park, Sapporo

     


    Sapporo Classic beer – special brew available only in Hokkaido.

     

    Another must-eat in Hokkaido – crab. Snow crab and king crab are in season only during winter. Whereas hairy crab is available for slightly longer, around May to September, depending on the area.

    Out of these three, I still like hairy crab best. I don’t usually fancy crab roe, but the one we had in Sapporo was creamy and utterly delicious.

    We had our fix at Nijo Market where a platter of hairy crab, snow crab and king crab cost a very reasonable 10,000 yen.

    Susukino, Sapporo’s entertainment district is packed with restaurants, shops, pachinko, karaoke and bars. It’s also the red-light area of Sapporo.
    That said, I’ve never felt unsafe walking here at night. In fact, I would recommend staying in Susukino for it’s convenience and accessibility to major sights.

    And it’ll save you some money as hotels in Susukino are generally cheaper than those centered around Sapporo station.

    I was especially drawn to the ramen alley in Susukino. We tried a different ramen place every night. Frankly it’s hard to choose a favorite because they were all delicious with their own interpretation of Japan’s national fast food.

    If you prefer lighter soup base, ask for shio (salt) or shoyu (soy sauce). But do try the Sapporo version, with butter, miso and corn.

     

    Beer-tasting in Sapporo Beer Museum – a steal for 500 yen.
    Strangely, I enjoyed the ice-cream here even more – creamy with just the right tinge of sweetness. The beer and caramel flavors are my favorite.
     
    Right next to the museum is the Sapporo beer garden. We headed straight here for lunch, for the genghis khan (grilled mutton) – a Hokkaido thing.

     

    Along the underground from Sapporo main station to Odori, we stumbled upon a super delicious mini cheese tart by a bakery called Kinotoya.

    Whenever you see a shop selling just one thing, and there’s a queue, you can never go wrong.

     

    We took a day trip to Otaru, a quaint harbor town about half an hour by train from Sapporo.

    On the way, I met this cute Korean. He smiled, I smiled, and we hit it off right away.

     

    Nantaru Market, Otaru – a small market catering mainly to the locals.

     

    No trip to Japan is complete without some sushi, even more so if you’re in Otaru – well-known for its fresh seafood.  There’a a whole street here dedicated to sushi restaurants.

    Shirako (cod sperm) sushi

     

    Wickedly fresh hotate (scallop) sushi

     

    Of all the places we visited, my favorite is Moerenuma Park, designed by Isamu Noguchi.

    It’s a little out of the way from central Sapporo, and well worth the effort getting to.

    Sadly, Noguchi passed away before the park was completed. The design was kept to the way he envisioned and the park was open to public in 2005.

    All in, Hokkaido was quite a trip, though a short one.

    Is it just me or does everything look more magical covered in snow  ;)

     

    My Hokkaido must-eats:

    genghis khan (grilled mutton)

    sushi & sashimi – especially the uni (sea urchin) and hotate (scallop)

    crab

    ramen

    ice cream, ice cream, and did I mention ice cream?!

     

    Useful links:

    What to wear for winter trip to Sapporo

    Christmas Market in Sapporo

    Sapporo Beer Museum

    Otaru 

    Nijo Market, Sapporo

    Moerenuma Park

     

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