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Monday, September 26, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Roadtrip 2016 (Part 1) Sapporo

On our way to Hokkaido from KL. Taken on the plane.

Date : 9 /9/2016
We took a bus from Paradigm mall to the KLIA2 4.5 hours ahead of departure time. Traffic was heavy from Petaling Jaya to USJ. We arrived at KLIA2 at about 9pm. Although we had already checked in online, the queue to drop baggage was really long with only a few counters opened. One hour before boarding, we walked past the gates. The terminal is really far, so, we tried to get in a bit earlier.

My first time going on a night flight and I can't sleep well. The flight duration was about 8 hours from Kuala Lumpur to Chitose , arriving at about 8.10am.

Date 10/9/2016

After clearing at the arrival hall, the first thing was to get our free phone set from Telecom Square that was right outside of the arrival hall.

Next thing was breakfast. We didn't sleep too well in the plane , and so we were quite hungry. We headed to the domestic flight hall and looked for Kinotoya. It's not hard to find with the smell of freshly baked tarts leading us to it. Bought 3 baked cheese tarts to be shared.

1080yen (RM40) for a box of 6

From Chitose Airport to Hotel
Chitose airport is quite big, but not as horrible as KLIA2. We found the train station and bought our tickets via the vending machine.

One ticket costs 1070yen. (RM40)

The train ride was around 40 minutes from the airport to Sapporo station.
We took a taxi to our hotel in Susukino.
Taxi fare starts at 670¥ and the final fare was 970¥ (RM40). It was only a 2km ride. I printed the address in Japanese and it sure does help a lot. They won't understand the way we pronounce Hotel Frame.

It was still early at 11am and we couldn't check in. So we left our luggage there and went walking around town.

I came to Hokkaido without any warm jacket and because the trip was only decided in late Spring, I had to wait until now to get something warm. And Autumn has just begun. So, the first thing that has to be done is to get a jacket that isn't too expensive. We headed back to Sapporo Station, to Esta where there is the biggest Uniqlo in town.

Underground Shopping in Sapporo

We went into the underground shopping center via Susukino. There are two 'shopping centers', namely Pole Town and Aurora Town. The underground shopping area connects 3 major subway stations, Susukino, Odori and Sapporo Station. Perfect for winter if one wants to escape the cold snow.

We didn't quite enjoy it as it was quite warm and felt quite stuffy.
From Susukino to Odori (Underground)

From Odori to Sapporo Station (Underground)

Sapporo Autumn Fest
We were hungry and it was around lunch time. We got up to Odori and headed to Sapporo Autumn Fest to have a bite before walking further to Sapporo Station. Sapporo Autumn Fest is a large food fest that spreads over a few blocks in the city's garden, from Chome 1 to Chome 11. Yes, that large scale, and each Chome offers different food. I was particularly interested in Chome 4, Chome5, Chome 6 and Chome 8 only. I did my homework by browsing their official website before coming here.

It was drizzling, just a bit and we braved it. Stopped by Chome 4 as it was the nearest. Bought a plate of tempura cod milt and maitake mushrooms. Cod milt is actually cod sperm. It's a Japanese specialty that we have never seen in Malaysia. It looked like pork brains, but tasted like seasoned tofu. If I didn't tell my husband what were these, he would never know, hahaha.

Looks like pork brains?

Yummy cod sperm, LOL. Don't think dirty!

After getting my jacket at Uniqlo, we came back again for another round of eating.
This time, the rain has stopped and we walked around a few of the 'Chome'.

At Chome 5, we had Betsukai Jumbo Scallop Burger. It was not very memorable. I wanted to try salt ramen, but the queue was really long.

Chome 6, we had the ultra yummy Strawberry Kezuri which is shaved frozen strawberries, topped with condensed milk mousse. It was so good that my husband tempted me to get another cup, but I refused to queue again.

See the shaved strawberries? 

Chome 8, is where specialties from different towns in Hokkado were showcased. We ate the most here. We had wagyu yakitori, jumbo scallop and grilled sea urchin. I was still trying to tune my brain to the price.

This was only so so, but tasted beefy. Not very tender.

So huge!!!

We didn't have a good rest throughout the night flight and we started feeling a little bit tired. We decided to go back to the hotel to check in and take a short rest.

Sumire, Sapporo's Miso Ramen

After resting, we came out for dinner.

Sapporo's Miso Ramen was 'created' by Sumire, the old Sumire to be exact, by the owner's mother. Sumire later split to two. Refer here for local reviews. Read here for the story behind Sapporo's miso ramen
Located just behind KFC at Susukino main junction

To order a ramen, we needed to buy a ticket from the ticket machine, The English menu doesn't work as it only provided intructions for paying, there's no English names for the noodles. In the end, we asked for help from the waiter. we just bought one to share. Miso ramen is very flavourful but too salty for us.
900yen Miso Ramen

After eating ramen, we went to a huge Daiso to shop. The range of products is different compared to Malaysia and I bought a few things to bring home. This is the only Daiso I went to throughout my trip.

Samurai, Sapporo Soup Curry

One ramen is not much. After shopping in Daiso, I wanted to eat more. My husband isn't keen to try another ramen so I suggested curry rice. He thought it's the regular roux curry.

Soup curry is a specialty of Hokkaido, said to be invented in Sapporo itself. It doesn't taste the same as the sweet thick Japanese Curry. So, one must try Soup Curry at least once here, ok!

To order Soup Curry, one has to choose a few things...
1. The type of main -- chicken, pork, seafood, 20 types veggie
2. The soup base -- Tomato, ccoconut, soy milk or mix
3. The heat level -- 1 to 10
4. The amount of rice. -- from less to more.

Samurai Soup Curry is situated in a quaint shop near our hotel. We felt big when we were there in that small narrow shoplot. LOL. Refer here for the local reviews

My husband took pork, coconut milk and level 4. I took chicken, tomato and level 7. I UNDERESTIMATED them!

Coconut, Pork (Belly), Level 4

Our bowl of curries arrived and my husband liked his and I liked mine. I find the canned coconut flavour very strong, something of which I never like as I love the taste of fresh coconut milk. He didn't like my tomato base curry as he finds it too sourish for his liking, plus it's too spicy for him to handle. See! Customization is good!

Regular, Chicken, Level 7
The meat tasted like as if they are slowly cooked in oil until the meat fall off the bone, and the pork belly was melting soft, like confit. The variety of vegetables are deep fried and then put into the choice of gravy. There's pumpkin, eggplant, green capsicum, red capsicum, yellow capsicum,  burdock, carrot, potato, black fungus, broccoli, white beans, lotus root, mizuna and some others that I don't remember.

A heavy late meal. Not the healthiest choice, but very hearty, hahahahaha!

It's already more than 9pm. Time to go back to the hotel and have a good night's rest.
The big bowl of curry helped me warm up on the way back. It's 17C.

Useful links:
1. Welcome to Sapporo

Hokkaido Early Autumn Road Trip 2016

1. Planning the trip - 9 things to think of
2. Driving in Hokkaido - 9 points to consider
3. Part 1 - Sapporo
4. Part 2 - Furano and Biei 
5. Part 3 - Asahikawa and Sounkyo
6. Part 4 - Abashiri
7. Part 5 - Teshikaga (Kussharo, Mashu, Mount Iou)
8. Part 6 - Kushiro
9. Part 7 - Obihiro and Tokachi Subprefecture
10. Part 8 - Yoichi and Otaru
11. Part 9 - Sapporo again and going home.
12. Hotels we stayed in Hokkaido
13. Shopping in Hokkaido
14. Things to Eat and Drink in Hokkaido


Veronica September 26, 2016 at 1:32 PM  

Thanks for sharing your holiday with us Wendy. Felt like I was there too, heehee.

Cindi September 26, 2016 at 4:55 PM  

Free telephone set. Given by who? You are well prepared for the journey.

WendyinKK September 26, 2016 at 10:40 PM  

As mentioned above the picture, it was from Telecom square.
It's a tourism promotion thingy by the tourism board.
Just need to go searching the internet for perks in Hokkaido, lots of them!

Unknown September 27, 2016 at 12:56 PM  

I wish I can taste the cod sperm too...

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