Friday, 30 September 2016

2016 Hokkaido Trip Day 10 (11 Sep)

Sapporo 札幌

This is our last day in Sapporo before going back to reality tomorrow... We were torn between making a trip to Noboribetsu onsen 登別温泉 to do the walking path leading to Oyunuma footbath お湯沼足湯 or the Sapporo Beer Museum 札幌ビール博物館 (Sapporo Biiru Hakubutsukan). We decided to just take it easy and go to the beer museum and were so glad we did because we chanced upon the most amazing supermarket beside the museum!! The beer museum tour was so-so for us cos we are not fans of beer. We bought one glass to try and nope, we still don't like it haha we definitely enjoyed the supermarket much much more than the beer museum hahaha!  It's at a building called Ario and has a good variety of fruits at very reasonable prices! 

Check out their variety of limited edition Haagen Daz flavours!


Lockers that are mini refrigerators! Gasp!



Dry ice dispenser. Not just ice.
Strollers that are just too kawaii
I got these kawaii rice molds
We also found the Evita rose facial wash from Kanebo (which was sold out in every shop we went to near Sapporo station!) and grabbed enough bottles for my girlfriends and female family members that we got tax rebates! The salesgirl kindly allowed us to deposit it at the counter to be retrieved after the beer museum tour.


On the way there from the train station, we met an old man walking his little bunny. How cute! She really reminded us of our late Inkie girl =')


Back at JR Sapporo station, we had lunch at Sapporo Ramen Kingdom 札幌らーめん巨倭国 (Sapporo Raamen Kyowakoku) which I find rather touristy too and the ramen was so-so. It's shopping again at Disney Store! I also customized a Tsum Tsum tee-shirt for myself and Pom Pom Purin tee-shirts for my nieces at My Uniqlo.



More shopping at Disney Store Sapporo


Dinner was at Kushidori 串鳥 near the station. Prices are reasonable but I think it's one of those chain places so the variety and taste is OK but not fantastic.

The melons we ordered arrived!


2016 Hokkaido Trip Day 8 (9 Sep)

Sapporo 札幌
Accommodation: Century Royal Hotel

The weather didn't hold up again so we didn't manage to get on the nature cruise at all during our stay in Shiretoko due to the strong winds and waves. That means I can use it as an excuse to come back another year. We checked out of Hotel Kifu Club and brave a 2-hour drive in the rain to Memanbetsu Airport, returned the car and took a domestic flight to Shin Chitose Airport. 

As I have mentioned in my first post, on hindsight, we could have rented the car starting from Sapporo, head to Furano, Biei, Asahidake, Sounkyo, Shiretoko, Akanko and back to Sapporo as it would have been much cheaper to pick up and return the car at the same place but that means an entire loop of driving which can potentially be tiring for the driver. The way we did it was more expensive but at least my husband didn't have to do the long drive back to Sapporo.

It's shopping in Bic Camera and Yodobashi and dinner at Ichi Nii San! I've written about Ichi Nii San previous here




And I finally got myself a Hitachi Hada Crie N4000. I love that the new model allows for cordless use and one charge lasted me about 1.5 weeks.



I personally find the ink stamp at JR Sapporo the cutest by far. I love collecting these ink stamps and have a whole book full of them haha.


I'm not really a fan of milk tea back home in Singapore but somehow when I'm in Japan, I just love drinking their milk tea. The tea is infused just to perfection and the amount of sweetness is just right to complement the tea and steamed fresh milk. We found this cafe at JR Sapporo station near our hotel that serves one of the best milk teas I've ever had so we had breakfast there everyday haha


Century Royal Hotel is conveniently located right beside the station which is near Yodobashi, Bic Camera and Daimaru!


They actually have a thermometer that can measure all the way down to -20 deg C! I wouldn't want to be there in Winter haha




2016 Hokkaido Trip Day 9 (10 Sep)

2016 Hokkaido Trip Day 9 (10 Sep)
Sapporo 札幌
Market
Hokkaido Shrine

The good thing about being in the city is that there are more options for wet weather contingency plans such as shopping and museums.  Weather forecast for today is scattered showers so we took a train to higashi kiyakusho mae and walked to the market hoping to get some good quality Hokkaido dried scallops (conpoy). To our disappointment, the prices are not that much cheaper than in Singapore (Hock Hua and ZTP). In fact, I found the place touristy because the shop owners who recognised us as tourists rightaway tried pushing us their conpoy.  I find the ones sold in Singapore larger and the fact that you can haggle didn't appeal to me so we didn't buy anything except 2 slices of cut melons to eat there.



We then visited Hokkaido Shrine and chanced upon some really cute Japanese kids partaking in some kind of ceremony.






Lunch was at Kani Honke カニ本家 opposite JR Sapporo station. The crabs are very fresh and succulent though a little expensive. Worth trying are the lunch sets as they are much cheaper than dinner. I think we over-ordered so we were really stuffed! We could have ordered just one set to share since we added on ala carte dishes.


Cute ink stamp!

Poor crab doesn't know it is going to get eaten soon








Then it's crazy shopping again and dinner at La Maison which I suspect is a branch of the one we went to in Yokohama. The pasta and fruit tart are so pretty and delicious. I personally prefer European food in Japan (than in Europe) because they are so much more delicious, portions are Asian-sized and prices are very reasonable. Of cos you get really good Italian food in nice restaurants in Italy but the prices are much higher. My yummy pasta was only about SG$15 which is so cheap. Their Halloween pumpkin tart is so creatively presented too.





Monday, 26 September 2016

2016 Hokkaido Trip Day 7 (8 Sep)

Shiretoko Goko 知床五湖 (Shiretoko Five Lakes)
Kamuiwakka no taki カムイワッカの滝 (Kamuiwakka Falls)


Our nature cruise was cancelled due to strong waves and although the weather is cloudy, we were thankful that there is no rain so we could go to the Shiretoko Goko 知床五湖 (Shiretoko Five Lakes) region. There is a ¥500 carpark fee. The long course is 3 km (1.5 hours) which starts from 5th lake and ends at 1st Lake and the short course is 1.5 km (40 min). To enter, you need to pay a small fee of ¥250 at the center, register to obtain a certification card and attend a short 10 min lecture about how to respond if you come face to face with a brown bear. The building is right in front of the carpark with clear signage so you won't miss it. There is also a souvenir shop with light meals (venison burger, soft ice cream) and toilet. There are no toilets on the trail.

Certificate for Entry
We took our time and stopped to take photos so we took about 3 hours. Do wear long pants and use insect repellant as I was bitten very badly by sandflies (I counted 82 bites in total!) in my shorts (they bit through my leggings). Do not bring any food unless you want to attract brown bears.


5th Lake

4th Lake



3rd Lake

2nd Lake
1st Lake
Finally at the boardwalk! One item off our bucket list =)
We stopped by the Shiretoko Nature Center for lunch. We had venison burger and venison cutlet with curry. Not too bad. To my surprise, they actually have Nasi Goreng (a kind of Malay fried rice popular in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia). 


Venison cutlet curry
Na Shi Go Ren
We also bought a pair of non-slip socks each for Kamuiwakka Falls カムイワッカの滝 (Kamuiwakka no taki), an onsen waterfall that you can enter. 



However, as we didn't dare to climb up too high, the water was only lukewarm (comfortable, not warm but not freezing cold kind). Here's a video of our experience there.



As we were driving around, we spotted some deer and a little brown fox so we managed to see 2 out of the 3 inhabitants (deer, fox, brown bear).





Dinner on the second night was much much better. The mushishabu 蒸ししゃぶ of pork slices and assorted vegetables with tare たれ dip was really satisfying after a day of walking. We also used the chartered private outdoor hot spring bath (which has a shelter).