Saturday, 27 February 2016

Hokkaido 5-Day Itinerary: Bonus Day

Read Day 1 here - Sapporo Snow Festival, Ramen Theme Park
Read Day 2 here - Sapporo TV Tower, Otaru Lantern Festival
Read Day 3 here - Mount Teine, Jingisukan
Read Day 4 here - Odori Park, Susukino Ice Festival
Read Day 5 here - Ishiya Chocolate Factory
Read Day 6 here - Bonus Day! Strawberry Farm

This was an unexpected extension day to my trip in Hokkaido and I didn’t have a plan. After my flight was delayed, I ended up staying with a friend in Eniwa (恵庭) which was less than a 15 minute train ride from Shin-Chitose Airport (新千歳空港). I was lucky because a lot of accommodation options back in Sapporo (札幌) were full due to the Snow Festival.

In direct contrast from yesterday, the sun was shining and the sky a friendly shade of blue. It seemed as if the snow storm hadn’t happened at all. Eniwa is a small town and my friend had found a strawberry farm called Suparuberry (スパルベリー) about 45 minutes walk from Eniwa Station. We could have walked it but we were not sure about the Google Maps directions so we ended up taking a taxi. The short 10 minute ride cost us 1100 yen one way.

Suparuberry Strawberry Farm
At the strawberry farm, which opened at 10am, we entered the large green house and paid our admission fee of 1700 yen each. We were told to remove our bags, jackets and shoes and were given slippers to wear. Past the cash register were rows of fresh strawberries elevated about a metre to allow for easy picking. We were given a pair of scissors and a paper cup each to cut the strawberries off the vine and to hold the leaves after we pop them in our mouths. We had 30 minutes to eat all the strawberries to our heart’s content.

Ready to eat!
Back in Canada I have gone strawberry picking many times before. They were at ground level, muddy and required crouching and bending over for a long time to pick. That is the more natural way but the fruits of your labour were delayed since you had to wait until you could wash the dirt off to eat.

I didn’t know what to expect of Hokkaido strawberries but I was very pleasantly surprised. Because the strawberries were fresh off the vine and never placed in a fridge, they were so soft and tender. Not soft as in mushy but that it required no effort to pierce through the gentle skin. There were many large, plump, red strawberries on site but the smaller ones were some of the sweetest strawberries I have ever eaten.

So fresh
 By 15 minutes I was already full and I must have eaten over 25 of this sweet fruit. We were the only tourists there and many families with their young children were happily eating and taking pictures between the rows.

I took a break and continued eating because I knew it would be a while until I could eat this many strawberries in one sitting again. Non-ripe looking strawberries (the base is still white!) sold at my local supermarket in Hyogo (兵庫県) cost about 500 yen for eight. This was definitely one of the best breakfasts I have had in Japan J

Strawberry feast
After the strawberry farm, we took the train to Shin-Chitose Airport for our afternoon flight. Lining up to check in our baggage took over an hour because the airport was completely packed from tourists leaving on the last day of the Snow Festival and from tourists coming back for their rescheduled flights. We were at the airport two hours earlier for a domestic flight and made it through security without much time left. Although we actually didn’t need to hurry because our flights were delayed once more on this sunny day.

Now I know that no matter what the weather is, it is important to be flexible with travel plans when going to Hokkaido in the winter.

Read Day 1 here - Sapporo Snow Festival, Ramen Theme Park
Read Day 2 here - Sapporo TV Tower, Otaru Lantern Festival
Read Day 3 here - Mount Teine, Jingisukan
Read Day 4 here - Odori Park, Susukino Ice Festival
Read Day 5 here - Ishiya Chocolate Factory
Read Day 6 here - Bonus Day! Strawberry Farm
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