Guest post by: Jojo Aquino
Sapporo Shopping Station
The shopping mecca
Head over to Sapporo Station, the main train station of Hokkaido. And like all major stations in Japan, it has a few malls connected to it, so shop your heart out with tax-free shopping! A few favorite malls to shop at are JR Bargain Tower for high-end bargain shopping and ESTA where BIC Camera, Uniqlo, and Loft is located.
TIP: Make sure to bring your passport with you! Most places require that you bring your passport and buy at least 50 US dollars worth of stuff to get it tax-free.
IF SHOPPING ISN’T YOUR THING: Take the subway over to the Sapporo Beer Museum to learn about the history of Sapporo beer while beer tasting!
SAPPORO UNDERGROUND PEDESTRIAN SPACE
Walk through this place to build your appetite for ramen!
After drinking, walk your tipsiness off underground through the Sapporo Underground Pedestrian Space. It’s an underground walkway between Odori and Sapporo Station. It’s got a rat race feeling that you wouldn’t otherwise experience in the rest of Hokkaido.
GANSO SAPPORO RAMEN STREET
The best miso ramen I’ve ever had.
For dinner, eat at Ganso Sapporo Ramen Street. It’s a tight alleyway of small ramen shops tucked inside Susukino which is only 2 subway stops away from Sapporo Station. Anthony Bourdain is known to have eaten here and you can see why once you have your share of the ramen. The best miso ramen I’ve ever had was from this alleyway. So don’t miss out on this!
IF IT’S NOT TOO LATE: Walk your ramen-filled belly off at Tanukikoji Shopping Street a few blocks away. The stores close at
Pick up your car rental from Toyota Rent-A-Car at Sapporo Station. Make sure to reserve it online beforehand because we decided to walk in and we ended up waiting more than an hour. And take your time getting used to driving on the other side of the road, especially if you’re not used to it. When in doubt, keep left.
LUNCH AT KUMAGERA RESTAURANT
Pork whey curry is local to Hokkaido.
Take a 2 and a half hour scenic drive through mountains and tunnels and stop at Furano to have lunch at Kumagera, a restaurant recommended by locals for their Hokkaido twist on Japanese cuisine. We had the pork whey curry which was really good. I actually couldn’t tell how different it was from other Japanese curries but it was some pretty damn good curry.
Can you imagine a spot that smelled just as good as it looked?
Next up, take a 15-minute drive to top your lunch with dessert at Tomita Lavender Farm, with their fresh lavender soft serve and walk around the flower farm. And don’t forget to take photos at this beautiful spot! The lavender is only in bloom from late June to early August and best viewed within the first 2 weeks of July.
TOMITA MELON HOUSE
Freshly made soft serve with fresh melons.
WHILE YOU’RE IN THE AREA: Drive 30-minutes to Shirogane Blue Pond and/or Shikisai No Oka, another beautiful flower farm. We decided to drive back since we didn’t want to drive in the dark.
Sparkling city lights of Sapporo
Once you’re back in Sapporo, head over to Mt. Moiwa, known for its view of Sapporo. How you reach the top of the mountain is by ropeway and cable car. By going this way, you get to see the city lights slowly unfold in front of you, it’s a beautiful sight.
TIP: It’s best to go here at night. Even better is during sunset because the skies turn to a pretty purple and pink.
Like hiking along the back of a dragon
Drive 2 and a half hours down to Cape Kamui by oceans, mountains, and farmland. Cape Kamui is a peninsula with a hiking trail that looks like you’re walking along the back of a huge dragon. It goes up and down with some parts steeper than the other. After your hike, cool yourself down with soft serve ice cream served at the parking lot called “Shakotan Blue.” It’s vanilla-flavored but they colored the ice cream to match the blue color of the ocean in Shakotan.
TIP: Once you arrive at Cape Kamui, wear comfy shoes, use the bathroom, and bring water with you because you’re about to go on quite a hike
The best uni in Hokkaido is found in a small town called Misaki.
Head over to Misaki restaurant, 15 minutes from Cape Kamui, for the freshest uni you’ve ever had! If you’ve never had uni or sea urchin, this is the best place to eat it for the first time.
TIP: Come in earlier for their rare, red uni since they only sell 20 to 30 bowls a day.
IF UNI ISN’T YOUR THING: Drive to Jozankei farm, a fruit farm that’s only 40 minutes from Sapporo, and eat “
MORE SHOPPING AT SAPPORO STATION!
Polaroid cameras at Loft, ESTA Building at Sapporo Station
Head back to Sapporo Station for one last shopping binge! Because if you’re Filipino like me, you’re always buying pasalubong for your family and friends back home. At the station, stores close at
TIP: Don’t forget your passport again! And a yummy spot for dinner is Nemuro Hanamaru, a popular rotary sushi restaurant for fresh seafood that won’t break the bank.
I’m Jojo – the 26-year-old traveler/photographer/videographer behind the blog Traveling Petite Girl.
On December 2016, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I decided to adjust my schedule so that I could be able to travel, while at the same time, practicing the discipline of working and studying on my own time.
Three values that are most important to me are authenticity, freedom, and happiness. And to me, that looks like bringing you lovable fun and juicy inspiration while being grounded in reality by sharing the discomforts (and the delights) of travel!
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