Most recently made a trip to Hokkaido for a break and some snow! Blew quite a bit but it was well worth it. Will be blogging by cities and what we did there.
- Sapporo > Otaru > Asahikawa > Noboribetsu & Toya-cho > Hakodate > Niseko > Sapporo
- Free and easy, travelled mostly by JR train (there’s a 1 week unlimited pass that allows you to travel around Hokkaido for Y22,000 / SGD$316)
- Travelled with one other female friend, Janice – and neither of us speak Japanese, but we managed to get by! People working at the train stations are super helpful and will usually be able to supply you with all the information you need as a tourist in that city.
- Ordered a pocket mifi (cheaper than paying for wifi in hotels; we opted for the cheaper one with slower speed – totally regretted it. it’s good enough for whatsapp but not stuff like facebook / instagram.)
So here goes! Day 1. Arrived via ANA, transit at Tokyo.
My first Y270 meal. Breakkie that consists of an onigiri and warm citrus tea, purchased at Narita to accompany me on the local flight to Hokkaido.
Felt surreal looking down from a plane and looking at blocks of white!
After purchasing our JR passes, we took a train to JR Sapporo Station from Shin Chitose. The JR airport express train is available between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. from New Chitose Airport to JR Sapporo Station, and between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. from JR Sapporo Station to New Chitose Airport. The train runs every 15 min, the entire trip takes 36-40 minutes and costs Y1,040 (one way).
Tips for riding the JR?
- Invest in the JR pass – it saves you a lot
- Get a copy of the JR map and time tables – their trains are usually on time, so plan trips around it
- If in doubt, ask the staff at the ticketing counters
- Try to plan early and book seats. It’s not fun standing if you have to travel for more than an hour… scratch that, it’s not even fun standing for half an hour lol! Go for comfort! Reserve your seats early!
So after arriving at Sapporo and taking a few wrong turns, we arrived at our hotel – Hotel New Otani, threw down our stuff and walked to Sapporo Beer Museum. It was 4ish and already dark!
The museum was really not as close as we thought it would be. According to Google Maps it’s about 2km and a 25 min walk from our hotel. Bought oden from 7-11 to munch on the way. Eating piping hot oden in the snow? Bliss!
FINALLY arrived at Sapporo Beer Museum. The Museum’s open from 9am – 6pm. It’s set in what they call a beer garden – rather, an area with 4-5 old-style buildings and plenty of dining choices.
To be frank, the museum was pretty boring. Coupled with the fact that it was all in Japanese, we totally sped through it. Entry is free, thank goodness.
Token tourist shots
Here’s the best part – we paid Y500 for 3 kinds of beer and a snack of choice! There was a dark, the sapporo classic (which is only available in sapporo) and … a light? I think. I don’t remember. They were served by really cute waitresses too.
The funny thing is we were sitting there enjoying our drinks and the earth started shaking. No joke. Janice thought it was the after effects of alcohol but it turns out that an earthquake did hit Hokkaido (and actually triggered some tsunami warnings which really sucked for us). Anyways we were moved to another table (which wasn’t under a wobbling chandelier) and everyone was pretty calm. No biggie.
Except I guess the local media blew it out of proportion; when we went back to the hotel with wifi everyone was asking Janice if she was okay (I don’t think my friends read the news much :'()
This was dinner! We wandered into a 7-11 within a shopping center near the beer garden. I wish our local 7-11s had such good food – I could eat this every day! (I bet only a tourist would say this). It wasn’t exactly dirt-cheap; the entire meal cost us about 30 SGD. Still, it was good and there was too much food.
Also had a first taste of Hokkaido milk! It came in a really cute glass bottle and was so good that we drank it almost every day. But none were as good as what we had on the first day. Super creamy and sweet. Both of us are lactose intolerant so trust us when we say it’s good. :9
Okay stay tuned for our 2nd stop at Sapporo… Ishiya Chocolate Factory! Home of the famous White Lover’s Chocolate 🙂