Hokkaido, the European Side of Japan Part 413.09.00
Yay, finally it is the last post about Hokkaido traveling story! The island was so big that I had to divide my stories into four parts. This last part will tell you about the capital of Hokkaido prefecture, Sapporo city: a nicely designed city with good chocolate and good seafood around.
Day 6: Sapporo city
We arrived in the city around 10 am. Hayashi-san dropped us in front of our hotel. After we put our luggage, we headed to Sapporo Curb Market (札幌場外市場, Sapporo Jōgai Ichiba) where we plan to have our lunch. Fyi, Sapporo - Hokkaido, in general - is famous for its fresh seafood, and the most popular here is uni ikura don (rice bowl with sea urchin and roe). The curb market, with lots of seafood stores and restaurants around, is a perfect place to have a good taste of the sea. I and Wina ordered a bowl with a mix of sea urchin, roe, salmon, scallop, and wakame (seaweed). Meanwhile, Maria ordered a bowl with all stars seafood. I forgot the exact price, but I guess it is around 1500-3000 yen a bowl. It is worth to notice that most restaurants open only for breakfast and lunch, as they will close around 5 pm.
From the Curb Market, we continued our trip through subway Tozai Line to Shiroi Koibito Park. If you ever dream of a house like Hansel and Gretel have one their story (full of desserts!), then your dream will come true when you visit this place. Shiroi Koibito (means "white lover") is actually a cookie name that famous as Hokkaido's souvenir. It is made by Ishiya, a local chocolate company. Here in the park, they share the story of the company in an European-looked-like-museum: how they started their business and how they developed their products. They also displayed some antiques that happened to be the collection of the company's owner.
What makes it more interesting is they did not only display things and provide the stories in visuals but also showed us the process of making the chocolate cookie in real. Through large windows, we can observe the process of making the chocolate cookie from above.
Finished exploring the museum, we then arrived in the restaurants and shops area. We did not have anything from the restaurant, but we did taste the ice cream from a small counter outside the building. Btw, I strongly recommend anyone who loves chocolate to buy their can chocolate drink as a souvenir (for yourself). Because, it. was. so. good. Unfortunately I didn't snap the product, and snap this instead.
The last part of the park is the garden. Shiroi Koibito Park has a rose garden, which looks beautiful with European design landscape and building around. The garden also has several other "attraction", such as small houses where you can enter and feels like a giant, a train (?), and a performance of dancing dolls every once in an hour. It was really a nice place to visit, especially for kids and girls.
Shiroi Koibito Park
Fee: 600 yen
Happily entertained in Shiroi Koibito Park, we moved back to the central of the city, again with Tozai Line. We arrived at Odori Park, a pleasing square park in the center of Sapporo. People were enjoying the afternoon in the park: lying in the grass or doing a group activity. A nicely used public space, indeed.
We spent the rest of our late afternoon (it was almost sunset) exploring places around. We went to Sapporo Clock Tower that located in the north park of Odori Park and to Hokkaido Prefecture City Office that we found really beautiful. As someone who stays in Kyoto, I can say Sapporo city feels like a part of Europe instead of a part of Japan. The city didn't have Japanese architecture at all. The most significant difference with Kyoto, especially, is the absence of shrines and temples. I found that here in Hokkaido, a church is easier to found.
And that is the end of our trip in Hokkaido! We went back to Kyoto the next day (Day 7), using a train from Sapporo Station to New Chitose Airport. I can say I fell in love with Hokkaido and will not refuse to go back here if I have a chance. Thank you, Hokkaido. Looking forward to seeing you again - hopefully in winter time!