Discovering Japan: Hokkaido

First off, let’s talk about priorities :

FOOD

If you have not tried Hokkaido milk from the local supermarkets (supa), you are really in for a treat. During my first month in Japan, I was blown away with the difference Hokkaido milk had compared to normal milk.

Trust me, that extra ¥150 is worth it per carton.

As you have guessed it, first on my list is :

Hokkaido Milk Ice Cream

I’ll let the creaminess do the talking.

Of course, there are also layers of different milk ice creams available in Hokkaido. What can I say, try ’em all!

From cold foods, let turn to something fresh yet not entirely cold.

Seafood.

Japan is famous for raw fish known as sashimi (さしみ – 刺身). In Hokkaido, grab a fresh serving of prawns, scallops, sea urchins and crabs topped over a warm bowl of rice. Wash it down with some warm sake (rice wine) or hot tea. Heck, it even goes well with beer.

Well, I said it, beer.

Sapporo Beer.

Visit the museum, learn about the process. Splurge yourself over the awesome fresh flavours. Warming the soul in times of winter, chilling you during summer seasons.

Lastly, something warm to wash down all the food mentioned thus far.

Miso Ramen.

Topped with a ton of garlic and bean sprouts, let the warm soup warm you up. Hokkaido is infamous for its miso ramen and cheese tarts. Be sure not to miss out on ’em. Trust me, I had like three types of miso ramen during my stay there.

Now, let’s not diverge too far. Depending on the seasons, Hokkaido is famous for various activities. Let’s run over the snowy weather first.

Winter

A wonderful time to be visiting Hokkaido.

Other than ski-ing, there’s a wide variety of things one can do.

For one who grew up in a tropical, summer all year round, country, snow may come as a magical mystical occurrence. Well, fret not my friend, Hokkaido is pretty much all snow in times of winter. I would highly suggest prepping well for the slippery cold roads and wind chills.

During my visit, my “fluent” mandarin skills from those five years of elementary school paid off. It may come off as a strange deja-vu as I pen down my experience a year later, but it might have been that friendly warm gentle assurance on the shoulders that nudged me onto the path I set forth for myself now.

Use your language ability to help others see Japan.

our friendly bnb ojisan

Whilst everyone is visiting Hokkaido for their annual ski trips in winter, my friends and I were adventuring on icy roads at Chitose Shrine and Aoba Park. It’s the little places you least expect to visit that turn out to be a memory forever.

Yuki Matsuri

I would say, in winter, do not miss out on the snow festival (Yuki Matsuri) available at Odori Park in the city center. Marvellous ice sculptures from around the world are displayed here.

Within walking distance from Sapporo station to Odori Park, there is quite a bit of tourist attraction spots available such as Sapporo Beer Museum, Nijo Market and Sapporo TV tower. Most of the information can be found on my 7 day itinerary.

Otaru Canal

I do not remember how I ended up hiking up to an observation deck and shrine (Suitengu) near Otaru Canal. The view was magical and no one was at sight. It was the best time to really feel,”Here I am, in Hokkaido, Japan.”

I still remember the sight as though it was yesterday I was on that hill, feeling the breeze on my cheeks. It was just too surreal.

And then, I got lost. Let’s not dwell into those details but what I was trying to relay is: sometimes, best parts of a trip are the ones unplanned.

The locations that you just spot on the map and get lost trying to get to.

Of course, watch out for the time as the sun sets early in winter times.

Sometimes. Discovering a place requires getting lost at. Then, can you truly experience the journey.

me (duh)

Till our summer edition next time.

Ichi Yen