After a successful day trip to Yoichi and Otaru yesterday, it was time to start exploring Sapporo proper.
Our hotel, attached to Sapporo Station, made for a great starting point, mainly due to the vast underground network of walkways which extends South out from the station. The walkways can be rather daunting at first, but once you get a sense of their layout you’ll be navigating them with no problem. We felt like pros by the end of the day.
Episode 4: https://youtu.be/dVomtq5Pea4
Having said that though I would recommend looking up some information on the various underground walkways and shopping areas before arriving in Sapporo. It will just give you a heads start on making use of them.
Here is a site that explains the walkways.
You can also see how vast the walkways are from this Google Map, the pink showing the underground.
When we entered the walkways for the day we had a destination in mind, Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing store. It was not in the underground so we had to figure out which exit would take us up to it. It proved easy as I was able to get internet on my iPhone from the underground and was able to see once we were under the store, then we just had to find an exit and pop up.
Uniqlo wasn’t the only destination we had in mind. After our soft serve experience our first night in Sapporo we wanted to try some more. I did a bit of quick research and found a recommended shop which sold soft serve and we headed for it after we finished our little bit of Shopping. It was easy to find with the help of Google Maps, but were surprised by the look of the place from the outside. If it wasn’t for the plastic light-up soft serve cone they had out beside the front door, we would easily have walked right past the place. We were doubly surprised when we walked in the front door and were told by the sole person inside that they were closed and wouldn’t open for another hour or two. Shocked we stood in the doorway trying to decide what to do instead. I guess the disappointment must have showed on our faces as she said we could order and take a seat. That was very nice of her, and lucky for us as the soft serve was excellent. Not only that, but they had an interesting spin; they served their soft serve with a ball of homemade ice cream. The combination of the soft serve and ice cream was very good, especially my coffee ice cream which when mixed with the plain soft serve created a nice mellow latte flavour. It was all so good I had two servings!
After a quick stop at a Lawson’s around the corner from the soft serve shop, we continued South in the underground until we hit Odori Park where the Sapporo TV Tower is located. We were able to get up into the Tower via the underground exits, and had a quick look around the first level of the tower. There were a few restaurants, a gift shop and ticket counter selling access to the observation decks above. Instead of heading up to the observation decks we decided to just go down to the base of the tower and take a look around. We were also going to walk through Odori Park but noticed that they had their White Illumination going already and thought it would be better to come back at night to explore Odori Park all lit up. White Illumination is a yearly event they hold in the winter where the entirety of Odori Park is lit up with lights. We got lucky as it started a few days before we arrived. They also seem to have a European style Christmas market, but that was still being setup while we were there.
You can learn more about the White Illumination here.
Another convenience store stop to pick up a few things for a snack back at the hotel. This time I tried a curry bun and Hokkaido only Sapporo beer. The bun was very good! Curry and cheese is a great combination. We took a short rest at the hotel before heading out for our last activity for the day.
Next up was the Sapporo Beer Museum. It was a short walk from our hotel at Sapporo Station, for which we were rewarded with a beautifully decorated museum building. The building was stunning, a red brick building adorned with the old Sapporo Beer red star symbol. Along with the building, the grounds were beautifully decorated for the season with lights. The inside was equally impressive. A well laid out and English friendly museum about the history of beer in Japan and of the Sapporo Beer company. At the end of the museum was a tasting room, with a huge bar and vending machine where you buy tickets to exchange for beer. The pinnacle of the evening was an amazing feast we had in the beer hall of the museum of crab legs. There was very little talking amongst us, as we went to town for the maximum one and a half hours we were allowed to dine. After dinner we literally stumbled back to the hotel and crawled into bed.
There were several locations featured in this episode
- JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo – Our home for 5 nights as we explored Sapporo and a couple of close by towns. Our room was very comfortable and spacious (we had a corner room), and the view South over Sapporo was amazing. I think our favourite part of this hotel was the ridiculously good breakfast buffet.
- Penguin-Dou – an amazing soft-serve and ice cream shop which also doubles as a bar at night. Interesting building from the outside, keep an eye out or you may walk right by.
- Sapporo TV Tower – the iconic tower in Sapporo. We explored the base of the tower but did not venture up to the observation decks.
- Aurora Town – underground shopping area attached to the underground walkways leading south from Sapporo station.
- Sapporo Beer Museum – a very well put together museum on the history of beer in Japan which is very apropos as Sapporo is the birth place of Japanese beer. Do not miss a meal at the beer halls, there are a few offering different types of meals. We got the all-you-can-eat crab feast!
Mentioned but not seen
- Kita Kitchen – See #49 on the map, this is the Hokkaido food specialty shop where we purchased the crab curry pack we ate at the end of the video.
Thanks for watching/reading!