Saturday, 27 February 2016

Hokkaido 5-Day Itinerary: Day Four

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

Today was a slower day spent in Sapporo (札幌) because I wasn’t feeling very well. After traveling at least once a month this past half year, I have realized that it is important to take a slower-paced day during your journey so you do not burn out. It’s best to have the energy to actually enjoy your travels while you’re there and sometimes that means not being able to see everything. For me, that meant not visiting the Sapporo Beer Museum. Most people recommended going because well, Sapporo. But I’m not really a fan of beer so it wasn’t a regret to skip that on my itinerary.

Odori Park food square
On this day I went back to Odori Park (大通公園) and walked the middle sections. Odori Park stretches 1.5 km from east to west and is labelled from 1 to 12 chome (block). I had visited the 12 chome side on day one and the 1 chome side with the Sapporo TV Tower on day two. There was a food square in the middle sections and some more snow structures.

It was a warm 6C in the city which was a big contrast to the -4C afternoons of days before. Taking advantage of the nice weather, I walked aboveground rather than underground. I walked to the Clock Tower (時計台) which costs a few hundred yen to go up. I didn’t opt for that and the plaques outside explaining why it was famous were in Japanese. I looked it up on the Internet after which said that the structure was built in 1878 and used to serve as a drill hall for Sapporo Agriculture College. Today it is a historical symbol of Sapporo.

Clock Tower
From the Clock Tower, I walked to Susukino (すすきの) to see the fish market. It wasn’t that busy on this weekday afternoon despite still being in the midst of the Snow Festival . Many stalls were selling the famous Hokkaido crab and other seafood goodies.

Fish market in Susukino area
For dinner we ate soup curry at a restaurant named Garaku. I knew soup curry was a thing to eat here and Garaku came up on TripAdvisor so we went at 5pm when it opened. When we got up the stairs of the second level shop, the place was already full and we were the third in line. The soup really was quite good and you can choose your preferred level of spiciness and how much rice you want. When we left, there was a line going down the stairs and out the door onto the sidewalk. Looks like we found a famous place without knowing! Glad we came early so we didn’t have to wait in the cramped stairway or cold outdoors.

Garaku soup curry
Ice bar in Susukino
I went back to the ice festival in Susukino to see the sculptures lit up at night. There was an ice bar that I hadn’t noticed before where blocks of ice made up the bar selling beer.

Walking from Susukino back to Odori via underground malls, I went back to Odori Park. It really does have a different atmosphere during different times of the day! I went to several big snow structures and waited for the light mapping show to begin. My favourite was the action packed Shinkansen and horse racing one. One had a pianist playing live music accompaniment for the light show while sitting inside a glass dome next to the structure. I went to three but there were several more in the park. It was a day of seeing the various parts of the snow festival in the city, which was the reason I came to Sapporo in the first place.


Odori Park - Attack on Titan snow sculpture
Odori Park - Taiwan ice sculpture
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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