Visit Hokkaido – Day 4

Day 4 seems to look good. We were greeted by sunshine with cooling wind instead of rain. Japan’s streets are really worth photographing. Be it portraits, street photography or landscaping.

Today we planned to go Hokkaido Shrine. Thus we planned for Maruyama Zoo, since its quite near to Hokkaido Shrine.

 

To go to Maruyama Zoo.

From Tmark City Hotel, walk 8 minutes to Susukino Station Namboku Line各停towards Asabu → Odori Station, Tozai Line各停towards Miyanosawa . At Maruyamakoen Station

then walk about 3 minutes 円山公園駅前(バス)[円15]動物園線towards 円山西町2丁目行 (Bus) → 円山西町1丁目(バス)Maruyama Zoo

Cost: ¥460

Travel Time ≈ 40 minutes

You’ll see these animals floor tiles at Maruyamakoen Station.

 

Take JR Hokkaido Bus (En 15) and get off at “Dobutsuen mae” bus stop, walk 1 minute.

Regular closing day December 29, December 30, December 31

Purchase admission ticket from counter at a reasonable price of ¥600. Children is free of charge (below age 16).
*get a zoo map from the ticket counter*

Sapporo Maruyama Zoo (札幌市円山動物園 Sapporo Maruyama Dōbutsuen) is a municipal zoo in Chūō-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. It opened on May 5, 1951.

The zoo is located within Maruyama Park in western Sapporo, and is the oldest zoo in Hokkaido. Sapporo Maruyama Zoo covers an area of 22.5 ha. 177 kinds of 924 animals are bred in February 28, 2014.

The Maruyama Zoo is one of the most nature-oriented zoos in the nation.

The zoo is very well organized with animals kept in different sections.

High Mountain House

High Mountain House (高山館) is one of Wakwak Asia Zone (わくわくアジアゾーン).

Himalayan Bear

(shy) Red Panda

Tropical Rain Forest House

Tropical Rain Forest House is one of Wakwak Asia Zone. Sun Bear, Lion-tailed Macaque, Black Macaque Monkey, Leucopsar Rothschildi, Silvery Gibbon, Asian Small-clawed Otter, Asian Arowana, Malaysia Tapir, Orii Fruit Bat are bred at Tropical Rain Forest House (熱帯雨林館). Tourists can observe various animals in the Southeast Asia rain forest. Many animal species that are in an extinction crisis.

Asian Small-Clawed Otter

Malaysia Tapir

Frozen Zone House

Frozen Zone House (寒帯館) is one of Wakwak Asia Zone. Amur Tiger and Snow Leopard are bred at Frozen Zone House. The Amur Tiger inhabits along Amur River and seems to be height over 250 cm.

Snow Leopard

Amur Tiger

Anthropoid House

3 Borneo Orangutans and 2 White-handed Gibbons are bred at Anthropoid House (類人猿館). As for the borneo orangutan, the name of male are Teijiro (弟路郎) and Hayato (ハヤト), and the name of female is Rainbow (レインボー).

Borneo Orangutan with a baby around her arms.

Waterfowl House

Humboldt Penguin, White Pelican, Pink-backed Pelican, Black-crowned Night Heron, Heron, White Stork, Japanese Crane, Hawaiian Goose, Alopochen Aegyptiacus, Ruddy Shelduck, Cape Barren Goose are bred at Waterfowl House (総合水鳥舎).

Black-Crowned Night Heron and White Stork

Humboldt Penguin

Sea Animal House

1 Larga Seal and 2 Harbor Seals are bred at Sea Animal House (海獣舎). The name of the Larga Seal is F (エフ), and he is a male. Originally they inhabit the Bering Sea or the Sea of Okhotsk. They live mainly on fishes and are a great eater very much. As for the name of Harbor Seals, a female is Gg (ジージー) and a male is Chiharu (ちはる). They are a mother and a son. The Harbor Seals inhabit the Pacific and the Atlantic coastal place, and a neighborhood of Cape Erimo is the largest habitat in Japan. They live on fishes.

so cuteee…look at the innocent face!

World Bear House

3 Polar Bears are breed at World Bear House (世界の熊館). The name of male is Denari (デナリ). The name of female are Lara (ララ) and Candy (キャンディ). Originally they inhabit the Arctic Ocean coast and are omnivorous animals. They hunt mammals such as seals mainly. As for a big individual, it seems to be length over 3 m and seems to be weigh over 800 kg. It is said that they are the largest carnivorous animal on the earth. However, they are animal species that are in an extinction crisis. The Polar Bear is a representative animal of Maruyama Zoo.

this is the first time I’m seeing a real polar bear!

Tropical Bird House

Phoenicopterus Ruber, Chilean Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Mandarin Duck, Philippine Hanging Parrot, Bycanistes Cylindricus, Keel-billed Toucan, Ppeacock, Waxbill, Euplectes Orix, Pin-tailed Whydah, Blue-eared Glossy Starling, Guara, Toco Toucan, Six-banded Armadillo and Ring-tailed Coat are bred at Tropical Bird House (熱帯鳥類館). There are many beautiful birds.

Yezo Brown Bear House

2 Yezo Brown Bears are bred at Yezo Brown Bear House (エゾヒグマ館). The name of male is Dai (大) and the name of female is Towa (とわ). Originally they inhabit Hokkaido and are the largest animal in the natural world of Japan. A big individual seems to be weight over 140 kg.

Yezo Brown Bear

Yezo Deer and Wolf House

6 Yezo Deers and 4 Timberwolves are bred at Yezo Deer and Wolf House (エゾシカ・オオカミ舎). As for the Yezo Deer, the name of males are Megumu (恩) and Ayumu (歩), and the name of femals are May (芽), Amanda (アマンダ), Isabel (イザベル) and Michi (道).

The name of the timberwolves are Jay (ジェイ), Leak (リーク), Yuki (ユウキ), Sho (ショウ). They are all male. Originally they inhabit the forest area in the northern North America.

Yezo Deer

Timberwolves

Chimpanzee House

9 chimpanzees are bred at Chimpanzee House (チンパンジー館). The name of male is Accky (アッキー), and the name of females are Gach (ガチャ), Jane (ジェーン), Chaco (チャコ), Susie (スージー), Tess (テス), Lady (レディ), Haru (ハル), Yuki (ユウキ). Gacha who was born in 1966 is the oldest chimpanzee and longevity very much.

Originally they inhabit a tropical rain forest in the African central part and live in groups.

Atmosphere of Chimpanzee House

Tropical Animal House

Hippopotamus, Eland, Masai Giraffe, Grant’s Zebra, Ostrich, Lion, Serval, Spotted Hyena, Sloth Bear are bred at Tropical Animal House (熱帯動物館). They inhabit the Africa mainly.

due to the cold weather, all tropical animals were kept indoor.

Masai Giraffe

Hippopotamus

Ostrich

Monkey Mountain

About 80 monkeys are bred on Monkey Mountain (サル山). Japanese Macaque inhabit the Japan, but they do not inhabit the Hokkaido. The height is about 60 cm.

Atmosphere of Monkey Mountain

Forest of Owl and Hawk

American Long-eared Owl, Yezo Ural Owl, Snowy Owl, Black Kite, Goshawk, Buzzard are breed at Forest of Owl and Hawk (フクロウとタカの森). The Snowy Owl is famous for appearing on Harry Potter.

Yezo Ural Owl

Rain again! *sigh* But it does not dampen our day!

Kangaroo House

Giant Kangaroo, Slow Loris, Galah, Rosella, Domestic Rabbit are bred at Kangaroo House (カンガルー館). They inhabit around Australia. The Giant Kangaroo seems to be height over 130 cm and can run at 60 km per hour.

Atmosphere of Kangaroo House

Zoo for Children

Zoo for Children (こども動物園) is roughly divided into 4 sections, Squirrel Monkey Dome (リスザルドーム), Forest of Dosanko (ドサンコの森), Forest of Beaver (ビーバーの森) and others. The Squirrel Monkey is bred at the Squirrel Monkey Dome. The Yezo Flying Squirrel, Yezo Raccoon Dog, Yezo Squirrel, Yezo Snow Rabbit are bred at the Forest of Dosanko. The other animals such as Guinea Pig, Chinese Goose, Duck, Silky Fowl, Okina Japanese Bantam, Japanese Long-tailed Fowl, Red Jungle Fowl, White Japanese Bantam, Ohiki, White Echigo Nanjing Gamefowl, Miniature Horse, Sheep are bred.

atmosphere of zoo for children

sheeps

Ducks

Yezo Raccoon Dog

Beaver

Guinea Pig

Miniature Horse

The Zoo for Children or we called it as Petting Zoo area was the best part, as everyone can get up close to these animals.

You can also shop for gifts and souvenirs here (Animal Science Pavilion). This place is kinda secluded at one corner.

We found Zoo Cafe inside the above building. We had our quick lunch here. Both of us had spaghetti, it tasted not bad. Price was quite affordable too. I saw some nice pancakes offered here.

Although its an oldest zoo, but it is so well-kept and clean! Hence, I felt its a child-friendly zoo. I’m not sure how people could only spend 1-2 hours here. We covered almost 90% of the zoo, we’ve already spend almost 4 hours here. 😀 😀 I also noticed there are several on-going upgrading works. Besides that, there is also a 7-11 convenient store in this zoo.

From Maruyama Zoo, we walked to Hokkaido Shrine (474 Miyagaoka, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0959, Japan).

 

crossing the woods through Maruyama Park.

Coincidentally it was also the Hokkaido Shrine Festival when we were there.

The Hokkaido Shrine Festival, also called the Sapporo Festival, has a history going back over a century. It is also one of the biggest festivals in Hokkaido. The festival runs from the 14th to the 16th of June. Stalls, entertainment and other attractions are set up through the park for those 3 days.

Assorted food and games with winning prize were offered here. Feels like a fun fair. But the prices are quite high for us, Malaysians.

Back to the main part, the Hokkaido Shrine. It is one of the most popular Japanese temple in Hokkaido.

“In 1869, Meiji Emperor issued the imperial rescript to build a new shrine in Hokkaido. Then, this shrine was completed in 1871.
Because, at that time, Japanese government began to develop Hokkaido, and a guardian god was needed.

The Torii gate (main gate) was set up on the northeast side of the shrine.
Because, Russia was advancing to the northeast of Hokkaido through Sakhalin and Kurile Islands.
This shrine was the guardian to defend against Russia.”

Now it is the main shrine in Hokkaido, and many worshippers visit here.

Unfortunately the place was closed for upcoming ceremony. We could only hang around at the entrance.

Apparently it was the 3rd day, final day of the Shrine Festival. We could watch this parade here! It was an eye opener to me. Their costumes are so colorful. (but it started to rain as the parade begins. 😦  )

On June 16, the final day, a line of more than a thousand people in colorful Heian period costumes parades around the city, along with four mikoshi portable shrines and eight floats. The parade starts at Hokkaido Shrine in Maruyama and reaches central Sapporo in the afternoon, passing along major avenues lined with spectators. Traditional dedication ceremonies are held at the shrine.

If you miss this year’s, fret not…it will be available next year 2018 (14-16 June). Thus, its an annual affair.

We then traveled back to Susukino.

Its was already late evening. Just the right time for dinner.

photo from web

While walking back to our hotel, we decided to settle our dinner here at Matsunoya Susukino.

about 5 minutes walk from Susukino Station.

We got attracted by the Morino Sample: Plastic food ; which was displayed at the front door.

photo from web

photo from web

We made a right choice. The food was good! Portion was on par with the price too!
Oh ya, apparently their tonkatsu is nice too. Do give it a try if you are nearby. 🙂

Matsunoya Susukino

3-1-1 Minami 4 Jonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 064-0804, Hokkaido
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Visit Hokkaido – Day 3

Continuing from Day 2 of my Hokkaido trip which I’ve dragged so long…

On third (3rd) day, we’ve insert Curb Market into our itinerary. One would think about ‘market’ when it comes to freshness of ingredients/ seafood.

The Curb Market, which opens at 6AM, is comprised of approximately 60 stores selling a variety of items ranging from fruits to fresh and dried fish. It also offers sushi and other restaurants serving reasonably priced dishes made with fresh seasonal ingredients from the market. Products are made available at the Curb Market as soon as the bidding ends at the Wholesale Market.

From Susukino Station Namboku Line各停Asabu 2 min (non-stop) , Odori Station Tozai Line各停Miyanosawa 9 min (5 stops) Nijuyonken Station. Walk About 8 min , 700 m to Curb Market

Cost: ¥250

Upon arrived Nijuyonken Station, we asked one of the working staff to give us directions to walk to Curb Market. As we walk, we passed by a post office along the road. We thought it would be a good idea to post a postcard back home in Malaysia.

Spectacles are provided for people with eye sight problem.

I chose the famous clock tower to post back home. If I’m not mistaken, the total price for postcard+postage(stamp) was around RM10. I received the postcard within 1-2 weeks time.

The post box where we dropped our mail. 🙂

Scenery along the way. The road is less busy compared to Susukino or Sapporo.

Stores line up the market offering fresh fish, vegetables and fruits, meat, Hokkaido confectionery. Most fish stores come with a dining hall, so you may taste crabs and other seafood that you choose right on the spot. Operation hours from 6am to 5pm. But the restaurants usually operates after 7am.

Ashley & I randomly pick a restaurant and sat in for our lunch. Looking at the menu, its definitely not as cheap as Otaru, the one we had the day before. (Day 2).

of sushi & sashimi

Crab meat rice (donburi)

Our authentic Japanese lunch meal.

Not forgetting the huge scallop (using Ashley’s palm as comparison). The scallop was lightly grilled. So delicious and juicy because it was very fresh.

Japanese Rock Melon for sale.

After the lunch, each of us bought a slice of Japanese melon which cost ¥200 each. It may be abit costly due to our poor currency, but left no regrets. Because it is so sweet and juicy. 

We left Curb Market and back to Sapporo Station.

Everyday also so many steps. Seriously if you wanna slim down…can consider traveling to Japan. 😀

At the Sapporo Underground Pedestrian Walk, we spent some shopping time at Pole Town.

Pole Town is a long hall featuring many unique Japanese clothing and accessory brands, often very well priced, and ranging from traditional kimono style to hip-and-trendy fad stores. Also underground (with escalators leading up to the Tanukikoji Shopping Street), the thoroughfare features bakeries and cafes, too.

Kindly refer HERE for floor guide.

At this Sapporo Underground Pedestrian Walk, we felt like there’s no end. Endless walk! At this moment, we couldn’t take it anymore. Hence we needed a break.

We stumbled upon this place and had a tea break at Afternoon Tea @Sapporo Mitsukoshi. Its a Cafe cum Bakery.

Assorted freshly baked buns. I could smell the aroma of it.

I think this was the most luxurious tea break throughout the trip. LOL!

Ashley had the Tea Set for ¥1407 which comes with a pot of tea and selection of cakes. The cakes were delicious!

I, on the other hand would like to have something savory. I ordered a salad with tomato soup which comes together with their freshly baked bun for ¥1296 and a glass of drink for ¥92. Nevertheless, the food was good.

After we settled our meal, we walked to BIC CAMERA Sapporo Store which is located at Sapporo Esta JR Tower. (About 15 minutes walk from Afternoon Tea @Sapporo Mitsukoshi.

BIC CAMERA Sapporo Store occupying from floor 1-4, housed wide selections of electrical items, mobile phones, cameras, toys, household items, cosmetics at a competitive price. The business hour is from 10am-9pm.

How to get there.

The store is quite well organized. Ashley and I spent hours at 2nd and 4th floor. 😀

We literally “WOW” (dropped jaw) upon entering the store.

Some additional info for shoppers to get some rebates.

If you have extra time, do drop by the 100 yen shop at Level B2 and Uniqlo at Level 5. The outlet is big and has a wide range of items.

Ashley was eyeing on these corn snacks that she said ‘we must buy this’!. We bought them at 100 yen shop.

Shops start closing by 9pm (very punctual). From there we took the train from JR station, Sapporo back to Susukino ¥200

On our way walking back to our hotel, we stopped by this small restaurant for our late dinner. They only serve soba (buckwheat noodle).

**There were some conversation problem when we were at the restaurant. We wanted to order ‘take away’. Because the staffs only speak Japanese and don’t understand English. We ended up having a good laugh! 😀 :-D…later we were told not allowed to take away, because the noodle will be soggy.

Ashley had the soba with tempura. She said the the tempura (prawn) was good.

Myself had the soba with egg

Soba was al-dente topped with fluffy egg and tasty soup. It was simple and so delicious. Moreover the portion is big too. If I’m not mistaken it was less than 1000 yen. That night was quite chilling, therefore nothing beats a bowl of warm noodle. It feels so comforting.

Sometimes I feel that small or not popular restaurant may serve some nice and delicious food too. Perhaps some luck too. 🙂

Visit Hokkaido – Day 2

A kid free trip can be hassle free. Hence, it also made both mummies missing their beloved child badly. Everyday, without fail a video call back home just to see their face and hear their voice. Tell me bout the separation anxiety! 😀

Day 2 of the Hokkaido trip will going to cover Otaru.

the daily sight as we walk from Tmark City Hotel to Susukino station.

It was before 9am. Many shops were still closed. So, we decided to pick a random cafe at Susukino station to get a quick breakfast. Need my caffeine fix. LOL! A thick toast & a cuppa drink(tea/coffee) which cost ¥918/person.

The Japanese are so well-discipline when getting in and off the train. Unlike the Malaysians who often rush to get into the train before people inside got the chance to get down. Probably because of our poor timing/ unpunctual public transport made us don’t want to miss any ride.

Susukino is our nearest connecting station from Tmark City Hotel. So, from Susukino we took the subway to Sapporo. Cost ¥200

At Sapporo station, we were unsure where to buy the train ticket to Otaru. To our relief, we asked from the information counter.  Although there’s a language barrier, but giving hand directions will help too.

Hence we took the local train with reserved seat for total cost of ¥1160/way. Traveling time from Sapporo to Otaru took about 40 minutes. Very clean and comfortable ride.

This line go along the sea shore line between Zenibako station and Asari station. A beautiful view that you may not want to miss.

Yes. We’ve reached Otaru.

Weather was all good when we arrived. A lil breeze too.

This is the bus schedule & fare. In case if you want to return Sapporo by bus.

This is Otaru station. Where the buses and trains meet here 🙂

Otaru is like a small town, I felt. You can download or printout the map of Otaru from HERE. Alternatively you can also get a colorful map from the information counter as you arrived at the station.

We decided to make our 1st stop at Sansaku Market, which is just opposite to Otaru Station (direction – 10pm clockwise).
This market is quite small. Not only they have seafood shops but also small restaurants serving fresh seafood. The seafood are what you sees below.

After a stroll at these fresh seafood market, both Ashley & I said “I want to eat now. Here!” 😀 We randomly chose one which we sees it has more crowd.

Sat on the tatami section and read the menu.

This a free snack. Guess what? It looks ugly but its quite yummy and can be addictive. Its dried squid with its ink!

Assorted sashimi platter. Consists of prawn, salmon, scallops, mackerel, squids and crab meat. The sashimi was really fresh and delicious.

A bowl of rice topped with vibrant colors of sea urchin (uni), popping salmon roe, salmon slices, crab meat was something unforgettable. It was my first time eating raw sea urchin. Not quite used to that taste.

This serving cost ¥2000, comes together with a bowl of scallop soup.

A satisfying meal that cost ¥3000. Dirt cheap!

At Otaru, there are four Otaru Stroller’s tourist buses, which connect Otaru Station with all of the tourist’s spots. The buses run every 30 minutes around the city center and once per hour in the less central areas. The fare on both tourist and regular buses is a flat 220 yen per ride or 750 yen for a one-day pass that is valid for one day usage.

We bought the one day pass. ¥750

The interior of stroller’s bus looking quite unique.

The bus made its first stop at Otaru Canal

Otaru (小樽) is a small harbor city, located northwest of Sapporo. Its beautifully preserved canal area and interesting herring mansions make Otaru a pleasant day trip from Sapporo.

So, this is the popular stretch of canal. Actually its not very long. Otaru Canal, 1140m in length and 40m in width, was completed in 1923 after nine years of construction work. Otaru Canal (小樽運河, Otaru Unga) was a central part of the city’s busy port in the first half of the 20th century. Large vessels were unloaded by smaller ships, which then transported the goods to warehouses along the canal.

This place will gives you a totally different kind of atmosphere during the day & night, also during winter (snow) time. At night, this path will be lit up by gas lamp. Sounds romantic.

My travel buddy & I

traditional rickshaws for hire, with a certain fee. Not quite sure bout the price and coverage area.

Opposite Otaru Canal is Otaru Denuki Allay. Where you can find restaurants here too.

After the canal, we walked to Sakaimachi Street (境町通り, Sakaimachi Dōri) is an attractive, preserved merchant street in central Otaru, a short walk from the canal area. Many of the buildings along Sakaimachi Street have since been converted into restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, boutiques and museums.

*sigh, it was a wet, rainy afternoon*

We stopped by for the 7 layers ice cream, which I’ve seen people blogged about. Its located next to Museum of Venetian Art.

Choice of ice creams with price tag on it.

We ordered rainbow ice cream of course! Cost ¥550

From top layer onwards; grape, strawberry, green tea, melon, vanilla, chocolate, lavender.

worth for instagram worth for the taste ×

Each color, each layer are made of different flavors. I wouldn’t say that its super nice, because not every layer tasted good, but its definitely looking attractive. The texture of the ice cream is quite normal, I felt. I personally like the melon flavor most.

There are total 6 LeTao stores in Otaru. Each store is of different specialty. Apparently Otaru is LeTao head store.

LeTAO PATHOS is their largest store. On the first floor is a confectionery with popular products, including Double Fromage, a place where you can eat crepes and other sweets and purchase leather items by Somes Saddle.
On the second floor is a cafe where you can enjoy original cakes only from PATHOS as well as plates of pasta.

We came to Rokkatei & Kitakaro to shop for some confectionery. I personally preferred Kitakaro. They have varieties of biscuits, baum, and their popular cream puffs. Besides that, they also offered samples. At least you can try before you decide to buy more or less.

Baum sample by Kitakaro.

cream puffs by Kitakaro.

If you drop by the above shops, remember to buy these biscuits as souvenir. I personally like both the biscuits. 🙂

If you are a fan of Totoro, there’s a small shop here at Otaru, next to the Music Box Museum.

Otaru Music Box Museum

A museum that contains exhibits about the development of music boxes, a collection of several notable music boxes, as well as an extensive store that carries many different types. Outside of the music box museum, the steam clock was a gift from Vancouver to Otaru. Powered entirely by steam, the clock plays a chime every 15 minutes, and features the main steam whistle on the hour.

a large shop with a wide variety of music boxes on sale.

FotoJet Collage3Spoil with choice!!

FotoJet Collage1Every designs comes with different music.

Alternatively, you can also opt to customize your own by selecting your choice of music from the list of music displayed here-with an additional fee. However the choice of figurine model was quite limited.

Varieties of Fortune Cat. (these are not music box)

After spending at least an hour here, I couldn’t make up my mind. Hence, the price ain’t cheap, I end up empty handed. LOL! LOL! I didn’t buy any. 😀 😀

After a tiring day, we decided to take a break at LeTAO Cheese CakeLab, which is very near to Music Box Museum.

It was already late noon. Many popular items were already sold out by then.

Cheese made soft served ice cream was really good. Texture was smooth and tasted like having cheesecake in a form of ice cream.

Cost ¥390

We also ordered 2 different slices of cakes.  Total ¥730.

Left (Double Fromage Roll) Right (Double Fromage). Both having similar taste, but I personally preferred ‘Double Fromage’ as you can really taste its richness of flavor. The upper layer is creamy smooth no-bake cheesecake, and the lower layer is rich, tasty baked cheesecake. The cake texture is very light and the cheese taste is not overpowering too.

We wanted to try the nice tempura place at Otaru-Denuki (as recommended by people). Unfortunately the restaurant was closed on that day. It was already 7pm. Therefore we made our way back to Sapporo by bus (Cost ¥610) from Otaru Station. Then, from Sapporo we took the Subway back to Susukino (Cost ¥200).

By then we were already so tired with all the walking and traveling. Therefore we settled our dinner at a small ramen shop located near to Tmark City Hotel.

Choice of food/ramen is quite limited. With the help of one local diner, he suggested which to choose and also helped us to place order because the owner don’t seem to know a single word of English.

A bowl of Miso Ramen Cost ¥800

We opt for thin noodle. Noodle texture was crunchy. Serving was big, comes with rich flavorful miso+pork broth, pork slices. This bowl of ramen was such a comfort meal after a tiring day + cold weather. I reckon, this was one of the best ramen I ever had.

Total spending for Day 2 – ¥7443/person

**Otaru is a nice place to visit. Its peaceful and relaxing place. A trip to Otaru can be done in a day. Best is to depart early from your location in order to arrive Otaru early, so that you could spend more time at Otaru. Please take note that most of the shops closes at 6pm. Even the Otaru Stroller’s last ride is before 7pm.

Visit Hokkaido – Day 1

Hi Everyone. I just got back from Hokkaido, Japan. A place, where I’ve been aiming to go since last time. I traveled together with my friend, Ashley on free & easy basis. Not too difficult as I thought. Most importantly to book a hotel as early as you could and have plans on where to go when you are there. Most of the time we rely on Google Maps as we navigate. Having a portable pocket wifi on hand made our life much easier. We booked one from Travel Recommends, which offers you an affordable rate.

On July 2015, we booked our air ticket via Air Asia  which costed about RM1200 for to & fro inclusive luggage weight of 20kg.

We took the night flight at 11.15PM and arrived New Chitose Airport at local time 8.20AM (Japan’s time is 1  hour ahead of Malaysia time). The flight duration was nearly 9 hours. Very long hours hoh.

As we reach, I’m already seeing a wet day. I got the feeling, I brought the rain over 😀 😀 During the entire trip, it rain almost every day. *sigh*

After done with custom clearance and all, as soon as you step out of the arrival hall you’ll be able to see a doraemon sculpture.

airportUpon arrival, if you decided to go to Sapporo via Airport Bus, please follow the above arrow(direction) and go one floor down at 1F to purchase the bus ticket and wait for the bus there.

Click HERE for Airport Map

In this case, since it was still early, we decided to have our first meal at the airport. Heard people shared about some good ramen at the airport. So, we wanna check it out.

Hokkaido Ramen Dojo is located on the 3rd of New Chitose Airport’s domestic terminal building.

The Ramen Dojo houses 10 of the best ramen establishments from all over Hokkaido, each with their own signature style.

Due to the long hours flight and lack of sleep, Ashley & I were like a blur sotong. We thought Ramen Dojo is the ramen restaurant. So we joined the queue without knowing that there are several ramen choices until we were in the front of the queue. The long queue that we joined in was Ebisoba Ichigen, at the entrance of Ramen Dojo.

Ebisoba Ichigen has the most crowd. Be it local or tourist.

the menu has English translation in it.

2 big bowls of ramen for both of us. Cost: ¥890 (with extra egg)

The portion was big and the noodle was crunchy. Loving the egg and pork slices. Ebisoba Ichigen is popular for its rich shrimp soup base. No doubt the shrimp soup base was so rich in flavor. However I find it abit tad salty for my liking.

Cheese Tart after meal is considered as dessert. HAHA! We locate Kinotoya at Domestic Terminal Building 2F.

One could easily got hooked by the aroma of these freshly baked tarts. Priced at ¥183 each, these tarts are undeniable good! From its pastry to its overflowing creamy & cheesy filling.

The airport itself has so many things to shop. We’re not gonna explore on Day 1. Will leave it for Day 6. (stay tune)

Done with ramen and cheese tart, so now we are on our way to our hotel at Tmark City Hotel Sapporo. One could reach there by train (JR Rail) or bus.

We decided to travel by bus. The journey took around 1 hour.

Via Hokkaido Chuo Bus to Sapporo. Cost: ¥1,030

CHUO BUS Timetable

Since it was our 1st day here, we weren’t quite familiar with the place + the rain & big luggage, We have no idea where the bus stop us. So, we decided to hail a cab to bring us directly to our hotel

Cost: ¥780

The check-in process was quite fast. Hotel staffs were quite friendly and helpful too. However the so-called “Double Room” doesn’t look so double with a small queen size bed. Room size of 16 m², movements are quite constraint. But that doesn’t hold back our stay here. Because the room was clean and amenities were quite complete. We are gonna stay here for 5 nights. Cost: ¥51,120

This room is fitted with a flat-screen TV and a fridge. One channel in Chinese while the rest were in Japanese.

The en suite bathroom comes with a bathtub.

Vending machines for your convenience. Of hot and cold drinks, chocolates, noodles, bread, cigarettes even ice cream!

After getting some rest, we walked to the Sapporo TV Tower which took us around 19 minutes by foot. In between, we stopped over at MOS Burger for our super late lunch. Cost: ¥390 (ala-carte burger)

TV Tower rateAdult Cost: ¥720

It is 60 seconds by elevator from the third floor to the observation deck, 90.38 metres above ground.
The entirety of Sapporo city unfolds beneath your eyes, set to a background of the magnificent Ishikari countryside,
the far afield Japan Sea, and Odori Park, where flowers bloom in the four seasons.
Command a panoramic view of the YOSAKOI Soran Festival, Sapporo Snow Festival, and White Illumination.

Below are some photos taken from the observation deck.

view of Odori Park. We skipped Odori Park as it was raining.

What I observed here, roads and buildings look so organized. Viewing from such high height, made me feels like looking at mini 3D model structure. 😀

Verdict: Feel abit not worth to visit during the day. For night view would be better I suppose.

From Sapporo TV Tower, we walked to Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade about 11 minutes by foot.

The Tanuki Koji Shopping Arcade, close to the Susukino train station, is amongst the largest and most historic malls in Sapporo, with more than 200 individual stores and a great and varied choice of eateries (think conveyer belt sushi). The unique take of this mall is that you will find old and traditional merchants selling kimonos, tea or incense side by side with modern stores specializing in computers and software or state-of -the-art electronics and digital cameras – all of which lends it a bazaar-like quality. Many items for sale here are even cheaper than in the 100 yen shops. Check out the Donki’s Store for strange merchandise. Plenty of games centres and coffee shops.

We did not spend much time here because we were getting tired of walking. LOL!! So tired till we decided to pack our dinner back to our hotel.

garaku curryWe packed our dinner from Garaku Curry. Feeling lucky that one of the staff actually understand ‘take-away’ in English. 😀 The restaurant is located at 1st floor. You may not miss out due to the big font of its name. The restaurant is quite small but can be crowded during dinner time. A nutritious soup made by adding 21 spices to a slow-stewed base of pork stock, chicken and vegetables is served with choice rice. Both the large-cut vegetables and the tender meat are delicious. Choose your level of spiciness upon ordering. I took up the challenge and ordered ‘hot’. It was very spicy but ‘shiok’ too! Waiting time around 20 minutes. Cost: around ¥1100

As we walk back to our hotel, I spotted Hello Kitty construction barrier! So cute and nice! Throughout the trip, I spotted 3 different designs at different locations. So much effort in just construction barriers. I guess the Japanese takes everything seriously.

Everyday, we’ll walk pass Susukino be it morning or night. Because Susukino is the nearest subway station from our hotel. Susukino is the heart of Sapporo’s night life. Bars, Nightclubs, Restaurants, Cafes, and live houses mingle with a variety of Hostess clubs, Cabaret clubs, Go-go bars, and other red-light establishments.

We notices the big difference between day and night. Susukino comes to life at about 6pm and carries on well into the wee hours of the morning.

Our packed dinner from Garaku Curry.  This place was recommended by a blogger I read. I would suggest you to do a reservation. We packed our dinner at around 6+pm, and the restaurant was already filled up with diners. And some waiting to be seated. Nevertheless, It was very delicious. The soup was so flavorful and spicy. So yum to go with rice. You will be ask to choose your spiciness level for the soup/gravy. Don’t under estimate the spiciness. I was greedy and chose the higher level….I end up having sore throat the following day. HAHAHA!

There goes the Day 1. We knocked out pretty early that night. So tired la…No more night owls. 😀

Total spending on day 1 ≅ Cost: ¥4703