Posted in Hokkaido, Japan

[Hokkaido Day 01: Sapporo]

We took the night flight out from Tokyo, departing at 9pm and arriving Sapporo 1.5hrs later. It was such a good experience flying the local domestic flights, we are definitely going to do it again. We flew by SkyMark Airlines – the flights were booked exactly 2 months prior to boarding, in order to enjoy the cheapest possible flights. It was a nail-biting experience booking the flights, as we were a big party of 6 and I was so worried we couldn’t get all the flights before they were sold out! (yes, they sell out within 15minutes, and even though it says on the website that flight sales start at 9am, i managed to book my flights at 8.30am and by 9am, all the cheapest tickets were sold out!) so it pays to be “kiasu”!πŸ™‚ Things I would change if I were to do this trip again – Fly from Singapore to Haneda, then Haneda to Hokkaido (distances are nearer to town on the Tokyo end and Haneda have more frequent flights to Sapporo – although the flights are slightly more expensive) By booking our own tickets, we managed to save quite a bit on airfare, usually the bulk of the travel costs. We scored cheap SQ tickets ($628 per person, also purchased online), and the domestic flights were approx $400 per person, making our total flight to Hokkaido just past the $1k mark. Plus we had a stopover at Tokyo!

Our trip to Hokkaido was going to be a very slow and easy trip. My parents wanted to have really good and fresh seafood, the kids wanted snow and more snow, so the trip centered around those activities, with a little bit of shopping thrown in. We arrived at Sapporo way too late for anything, so just bundled everybody to the hotel (which was really good btw- location & price-wise, booked through HERE) We made Sapporo our base, and took day-trips out to different parts of Hokkaido. With all that warm clothing, it was a good thing to do – no endless packing and unpacking! Plus the transportation system was super easy to navigate, even though we had no clue how to get to the different places when we arrived!

Early in the morning, G’s 1s encounter with the snow in Sapporo. It was also bitterly cold at minus 4 or 5 degrees, thankfully no rain!
Nice walk on the streets of Sapporo. It’s one of the major cities of Japan, and also it’s youngest, hence it’s “unjapanese” feel. We wondered why there were nobody on the street walks, then discovered later a whole network of comfortably heated underground streets!
G clowning around and trying to stay warm. She was SO thrilled to see so much snow!
1st Stop – Odori Park in the middle of Sapporo. Not much to shout about, but we reckoned it would be the first stop for the girls to get their fix of playing in the snow. It’s also the venue for the Ice-Sculpture festival that just ended.
Mummy & Papa looking nice and warm in front of the clock tower. It was so nice to be in nice sunny weather after the rain of Tokyo.
K dressed for the snow in her down jacket.
G of course wasted no time and got straight into her snow building
V & K, looking so alike…
2nd Stop was for the fresh seafood at Nijo Market. We had to really cajole the kids to walk there, as it was really cold and all they wanted to do was to continue playing with the snow! Very worth the walk though – fresh fresh sashimi, sea urchin. Word of warning – they only take cash!
Kid friendly sausages. Love the presentation in this “made-to-fit” hotplate.
So pleased with lunchπŸ™‚
Walking the inner streets of the market after lunch. I found it a little bit too touristy, and we didn’t really want to buy back any seafood, so left the place empty handed. The girls had fun looking at wierd sea creatures being sold though!
Enroute back to the underground streets, G of course couldn’t resist playing with the snow!
Snow snow everywhere!
We left the girls with my parents in the wonderfully heated shopping streets and snuck out for a little local coffee.
The coffee came with Hokkaido fresh cream all whipped up in a side dish, and the set came also with very very good lemon cream cheese cake!
By midday, the kids and my dad have had enough of all the shopping (it was crazy! The underground streets were endless and connected to these streets were 3 large departmental shopping centres) One could literally spend the whole time in Sapporo indoors! (which I guess is what most pple do when the temperatures dip below zero!) We made an impromptu decision to visit Mt Moiwa, which is accessible via a tramride away.
It was a good decision, the air was nice and fresh, there was a LOT of snow, and the tramride was very fun! Travel tip – most of the transportation in Sapporo have “bundled fares”, so if you wanted to take the tram, they have a package fare together with the subway ticket. We only found out about it when we were at the destination!
G and her very 1st igloo. She was so intent of decorating it. Love her rosy cheeks!
That’s us in the snowy fields at the foot of Mt Moiwa. There was actually a ropeway that brings you all the way up to the top, but the girls were not interested and it was actually quite pricey. They were content to just play with snow…..πŸ™‚
View of the cemetery and you can just see the ropeway in a distance. Love the serenity of this place.. and it was SOOOO quiet!
Last stop before heading back to the hotel was to check out Sapporo’s famous dish – Ramen! V found this place – Ramen Alley, which was a series of small little streets, with many ramen shops side by side. We didn’t really know which was good, so just went in based on availibility and seating!
This little shop was 5sqm max! Super tiny with a small space for the chef and a booth. We were the only patrons and we took up all the seating!
The food was really good and we went back to the hotel really pleased with a good 1st day!

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