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Travel: Trip to Sapporo-Otaru-Hakodate-Onuma, 17-27 Apr 2016 (Part 3 - Day 2 in Sapporo)

>> Thursday, May 5, 2016

Day 2's weather was slightly gloomy, drizzly & cold, but it didn't dampen our spirits to further explore the city of Sapporo.

My heart was still as excited & I was happily whispering to the trees (or more like shouting softly at them), "Wake up! Spring is here!!"

Everyday is a new adventure & we'll always make it a point to be at restaurants during off-peak hours, either before or after the main meal hours, so that we can slowly enjoy our meal (Japanese eat really fast & they won't sit & chit-chat all the time!). Brunch on day 2 was the affordable yet tasty meal at cafeteria in City Hall's basement. As usual, we didn't take the subway, but walked all the way from our hotel to the cafeteria, which wasn't very far since it was nice & cool.

I've decided to provide more details of each pit-stop, but it is taking a lot of time to research & be as accurate as I could, so bear with me if I don't publish 1 blog post a day!

Cafeteria @ City Hall Basement 札幌市役所 (本庁舎)
北1条西2丁目, Chuo Ward
Sapporo 〒060-0001 Hokkaido Prefecture
URL: http://札幌市役所地下食堂.jp
Business hours: Mon - Fri only, 10:00a.m. –6:00p.m. (Last Order 5:45p.m.)
GPS: 43.062036, 141.354732
Getting there: Subway Namboku Line, Tozai Line, Toho Line "Odori" Station (one minute walk from the Exit 31)

Dining at the cafeteria is very straight-forward once you are familiar with the system. Frankly speaking, we were the only foreigners there & as usual, English is rarely used, be it written or spoken. So if you're using my blog post as reference, you're really blessed as I'm gonna save you from all the embarrassment & hassle of asking around & playing charades with the Japanese! :P

1. As you enter the cafeteria, you'll find a glass-shelf display of dishes available at the cafeteria. Spot the dish that you're keen to order & remember the number of the dish.

2. Head to the ticketing machine, enter cash into the machine (notes or coins), & press on the button with the label of your dish number. Thankfully there are simple descriptions in English on the side buttons! Retrieve your order ticket & change of cash, if any.

3. Go to the section of cafeteria of your dish type: noodles at Section A, rice at Section B.
4. Hand the order ticket to the kitchen staff.
5. Grab your tray & utensils & just wait for your dish. Noodles take a longer time as they cook the noodles on the spot (at least at the time when I was there around 10:40a.m.), but rice is all prepared in the bento boxes, so it's true fast food!

6. Get an empty cup & fill it up with drinking water at the nearby dispenser (if desired).
7. Find your preferred seat & enjoy your meal!

You can also purchase drinks & take-away meals from another counter 

We chose a 'garden-view' seat although it wasn't a very pretty sight that time

Prawn tempura soba (JP¥500/serving; RM18.00)
I love hot soup noodles on a cool, gloomy day as I find it comforting. It wasn't too salty nor was it oily, plus the portion was quite generous (the noodles weren't over-cooked as well), so I thought it was a good meal for the price paid.

Bento rice set (JP¥540/serving; RM19.44)
This was really worth eating if you enjoy a variety for a meal! They don't give you a large bowl of rice, but it's 3/4 of a normal Chinese rice-bowl of rice that could keep you quite full. You'll get some stir-fried meat with beancurd, a piece of fried mackerel, some tempura shrimp & vegetables, some pieces of chicken, egg & fish cake, a side of pickles, a side of salad & a bowl of miso soup. Seriously, it's quite a good deal for the price we paid. I'm not sure if it's the same variety in the bento each day, but my hubs was satisfied.

Check it out, everything's aligned in a straight row!! *gasps*

After a satisfying meal, it was time to 'burn the calories'. We walked over to the Sapporo TV Tower to check out the place first (didn't bother going up to the observatory deck since the weather wouldn't give a fantastic view anyway), then slowly made our way to the Sapporo Factory. It was quite a walk (slightly more than 1km) & with us not getting proper bearings nor having a great sense of direction, of course it took us more than 15 minutes to get there...hahaha...

Sapporo Factory
北2条東4, 4 Chome Kita 2 Jōhigashi, Chūō-ku
Sapporo-shi, Hokkaidō 060-0032
Business hours: 10:00a.m. - 10:00p.m. (shops close at 8:00p.m., but restaurants will be opened 'til 10:00p.m.)
GPS: 43.065716, 141.363257
Getting there: Subway Tozai Line - Bus Center mae Station

Sapporo Factory & the mall

Sapporo Factory isn't an operating factory now. It used to be the Sapporo Beer Brewery, but is now a commercial complex with 160 stores and facilities, ranging from clothes, entertainment, restaurants, to even an artsy area at the red brick building itself.

It wasn't a very exciting place for us, but we did enjoy our walk at the large pet shop & the 100 yen shop at the complex! :P Without a doubt, food is always our favorite, so when we saw a dessert shop, Dipper Dan, with large banners showing JP¥300, we had to find out what's the deal there before we continue with our journey...hahaha...

We were thrilled (or more like I was thrilled) to find out that Crepe Day falls on every 9th, 19th & 29th of each month! Woohoo...it's the 19th!

So crepe it was & I chose the crepe with strawberries, whipped cream & mochi with vanilla ice-cream drizzled with chocolate sauce...oolala...and yes, it was for JP¥300/crepe; RM10.80!

Our crepe of choice
AP loves strawberries & I like my mochi, so I went ahead to pick this flavor of crepe :) The crepe wasn't crispy though, which was what we expected, but the dessert was quite a nice treat on a lazy afternoon.

Macha Bubble Tea with Whipped Cream (JP¥290/cup; RM10.44)
The macha was pungent, but oh boy was this drink fattening...haha...

The cinema side of Sapporo Factory 

Look what we saw...ee...found out that it's called the 'Marimokkori' mascot
"Marimokkori (まりもっこり?) is a character popularized in Hokkaidō, Japan. Much like the Tamagotchi, the name "Marimokkori" is a portmanteau: marimo is the word for the green algae clusters that grow in some of Hokkaidō's lakes, while mokkori, literally "bulge", is a Japanese slang term for an erection." - Wikipedia

We spent at least 2 hours at the Sapporo Factory area, so we just wanted to head back to the hotel to rest & shower before dinner. Time really flies, eh?

On our way back, we stopped by at the Sapporo Clock Tower since it's such a well-known tourist attraction. The clock tower was constructed during the early days of Sapporo's development in the year 1878 as a drill hall of the Sapporo Agricultural College. In 1881, a clock was purchased from Boston & was installed. At present, the clock tower serves as a museum (ground floor), providing visitors with information on the building's history & the early days of Sapporo's town development. The clock sits at the 1st floor with a spacious ceremony hall that was used for events.

Sapporo Clock Tower (時計台, Tokeidai)
北1条西2, 2 Chome Kita 1 Jōnishi, Chūō-ku
Sapporo-shi, Hokkaidō 060-0001
Opening hours: 8:45p.m. to 5:10p.m. (entry until 5:00p.m.) daily; closed from December 31 to January 3.
Entrance fee: JP¥200 per adults; children enter for free
GPS: 43.062633, 141.354090
Getting there: JR Sapporo Station (four blocks or a 10-minute walk southwards) /one block north of Odori Park

The rather short clock tower, surrounded by new developments of tall buildings & sky-scrappers

The original clock that was purchased from Boston still works! 

The mechanism is amazing... 

The ceremony hall 

Between the clock tower & our hotel lies many shops & convenience stores, so knowing us, we had to stop by for some mid-day snacks! :D

Maki-sushi & inari from our favorite Mitsukoshi Departmental Store, Mini Croissants from Johan Bakery (again!), Hori Pure Melon Jelly that we bought from a shop in Sapporo Factory & some fruit juice from 7-11 

Love the inari from Mitsukoshi - SO special with edamame & wasabi mixed with the rice 

We were on a sushi crave after having the sushi from Mitsukoshi, so we began our hunt for a nearby sushi restaurant. Unfortunately, there aren't any conveyor belt sushi restaurants near our hotel (that we noticed), so we walked to Susukino again to hunt for dinner.

We arrived at the "Green Building 1" & found a conveyor belt sushi restaurant tucked inside the building :D *hurray!* Not knowing if it's a restaurant that serves good sushi or not & not knowing the restaurant's name when we entered, we just decided to enjoy our dinner there.

あじこう Ajiko Conveyor Belt Sushi
No1グリーンビル1階, 中央区南4条西3丁目
Sapporo, 〒064ー0804 Hokkaido Prefecture
Tel: (+81)(11) 5182062
Business hours: 12:00p.m. - 3:00a.m. daily (closes at 4:00a.m. on weekends)
GPS: 43.055056, 141.353722 
Getting there: Subway Tozai Line - Susukino Station (2 minutes walk from Exit 3)

Freshly made sushi of sorts 

To the very least, they have some 'romanized' menu & color coded plates with their prices ;) 

We ate to our hearts' content, trying out every other sushi that we like without considering much on the price per plate as all of it tasted GOOD! As you would have noticed, we're quite simple when it comes to taste of food, eh? :P

Total bill came up to JP¥3657 for both of us; RM131.65It was quite a steal! In Malaysia, such meals would cost way more & we don't get this level of freshness & variety as well!

Variety of fish

Variety of seafood 

Pick your favorites as it comes your way! 

We're not big eaters, are we? I was quite stuffed with the load of rice although the hubs could probably take in more...

As if the sushi wasn't sufficient, the greedy/"wai sek" us had to buy the takoyaki as we walked past the shop on the way back to our hotel!

Gindaco's Takoyaki are available everywhere. I remember seeing another branch at the underground area from Odori subway station towards Sapporo subway station. Their takoyakis were DELICIOUS! AP has never tried takoyaki, so I told him that he's getting a good start :D On a cold night on the streets, biting into piping-hot takoyaki balls was a true comfort!

Gindaco Takoyaki 銀のあん (nearest to Susukino subway station)
URL: http://www.gindaco.com/
Business hours: 5:00p.m. - 4:00a.m. daily
GPS: 43.0545356,141.35452399999997
Getting there: Subway Tozai Line - Susukino Station (2 minutes walk from Exit 3)

We didn't know they were THAT famous 'til we realized Gindaco's almost everywhere!
I think we paid around JP¥550 for 8 takoyaki balls (RM19.80)?

Firm on the outside, soft & smooth on the inside with a piece of chewy octopus at the center of the well-flavored batter (like the consistency of mashed potatoes, not solid flour balls!) 

Seems like we've been eating the whole day! But hey, we walked quite a lot, okay...hahaha...with such cold weather, having 2 main meals + snacks in between can be forgiven, can't it? :D

Stay tuned for more on our trip to Sapporo as I'll be cooking up Day 3's post soon!

Craving for Gindaco's Takoyaki now,


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