Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sapporo: 20th Feb 2015

Waking up early is something I have to get used to for this trip. But it is all worth it. I woke up early to have my free breakfast at Toyoko Inn. It was simple but sufficient. It's like a buffet and I love the miso soup in this cold weather.

After breakfast, I moved to find the Chuo Bus counter, located 2nd floor of ESTA where BICcamera shop can be found. This is one of the must-shop for me ever since my last trip to Osaka.

At JR Sapporo Station, about 5min walk from Toyoko Inn Sapporo Eki Kita-guchi

Very busy place day or night.

 Our bus trip began punctually. As this tour is carried out in Japanese, I would imagine participants are all Japanese. However,most of them are non-Japanese haha. I guess, the itinerary attracted us all here?

Our first stop was at the Wholesale seafood market
It is less touristy than Nijo market. There were plenty of seafood shops showcasing their famous King crab and hairy crab. I had a taste as one of the uncles offered me a try. It was so sweet and yummy. There were also other amazing seafood like gigantic squid,scallops,and really fresh looking fish. I also had my first taste of melon,which the taste I will ever forget!

Looks kinda intimidating!

An hour stop allowed us to explore, took pictures, have some fresh seafood before we left for the ShiroiKoibito factory that is famous for the Ishiya chocolate. Now this place is really flooded with tourists. I had their chocolate parfait, which is one of the top desserts at the cafes. You can admire the scenery outside the window while having your hot chocolate or yummy ice cream.Total Relax. 

The production line

Enjoying the view while eating my chocolate parfait!

Their famous Chocolate Parfait. I'm missing this as I type this blogpost!

The factory basically showcases the production of the cookies and you can see the production line real time as the workers are busy. I find this contradictory as it is as if the workers are always being looked upon by tourists outside the glass display.but, you could appreciate their hardwork and precision that resulted in the production of these yummy cookies. Of course, I bagged a box home to give the folks in Singapore as souvenir!

Next up, the bus took us to Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium in Miyanomori. One can enjoy a chairlift return trip (not included in tour fee) to have look from the observatory at Mt. Okurayama. I enjoyed the chairlift and the scenery was spectacular! You can imagine ski jumpers showcasing their stunts down the icy slope. A great place to enjoy the birds eye view of Sapporo city.

Photo taken by Nakano-san

Taking the chairlift!

For lunch, our tour includes a 800yen coupon to eat any ramen located at the Sapporo Ramen Yokocho. 

By chance, I decided to try 第子屈 Teshikaga Ramen. And a fellow participant of the bus tour, Nakanoさん also joined me for this lunch. It was a great time eating this tasty bowl of char Siew miso ramen. In fact, I think this is the best ramen I have tried so far in Japan. It was an enjoyable lunch sharing travel adventures, photography, and culture with Nakano さん. He is a also a photography hobbyist but working at Tokyo. He has visited Hokkaido for 5times and will be visiting Asahikawa for the famous penguin March. How I wish I could join him!

After a hearty lunch, we set off for Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill where you will get to see the sapporo dome and the famous statue of “Dr. William S. Clark”. There were a few beautiful white churches located at that area, ideal for a perfect wedding in this vast snowfield. Dr Clark has a comment to all visitors :" Boys, Be ambitious!!"

Also, along the trip, I had a chat with Ms Ou Nan. She is a Chinese living in Japan to work. She was together with her husband for this tour. Initially I thought she was Japanese as she looked a bit Jap haha. In any case, I was glad to make friends with her and I really envy her opportunity to explore every bit of Japan.

Our last stop was to Mount Moiwa. Mount Moiwa is a famous attraction in Sapporo which boasts spectacular city view from above. I guess it will be more stunning to visit at night.but wintry night, the wind may be too strong to blow you away or freeze you instantly, hence I did not go for the night view of Mt. moiwa. There is a 360degree observatory deck which is pretty cool in my opinion.i enjoyed the cable car ride indeed.

My new found friend at Japan :)
Us taking in the Mount Moiwa view!

Me with the Mascot of Mount Moiwa

After Mount Moiwa, I left the bus tour as they were heading to Genghis Khan BBQ for some beer and mutton. I do not take mutton, so I only opted for the lunch at Ramen Yokocho and not this dinner at Genghis. Price differs for various meal and tour plans. Overall, I was really glad to have participated in this tour. Making new friends, solo traveling, exploring new sights and enjoying the winter landscape are something I never expect myself doing but the travel spirit in me challenged me to try all these and I'm happy I have done so :)

After saying farewell to my fellow travelers, I headed to BiC camera for some intense shopping. I explored every level and enjoyed getting the various items, be it for myself or for my folks in Singapore. What a eventful day!

For anyone interested in joining the bus tour, you can refer to the link.

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