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Travel: Trip to Sapporo-Otaru-Hakodate-Onuma, 17-27 Apr 2016 (Part 4 - Day 3 in Sapporo)

>> Friday, May 6, 2016

Mr Sun appeared on Day 3, so it was a lovely day to "walk a lot" & check out the panoramic view of the city from the Sapporo TV Tower!

Summary for the day:
1. Nijo Market 二條市場
2. Sapporo TV Tower (day view)
3. Meg-Milk Factory
4. Sapporo Beer Garden
5. Sapporo TV Tower (night view)

Our 1st agenda every morning was to hunt for our brunch. We took a 15-20 minutes walk from our hotel to the Nijo Market, a typical fish market, in search of some fresh seafood donburi (rice bowl).

This fish market is over a hundred years old & is said to have started during the Meiji period. I think it's a livelier market in the early mornings cos when we got there past 9:30a.m., all we noticed were a block of shops selling fresh seafood & some restaurants. It's far from what I've imagined a fish market to be: noisy, wet, fishy-smelling, & fresh seafood all over the entire market.

The seafood to me weren't exactly cheap, but it's probably cheaper to get certain items here than back in Malaysia, not to talk about availability as well. We weren't very keen on buying any dried seafood back home, considering the fact that the hubs hail from Kuantan, a coastal town with an abundance of dried seafood!

After walking almost 2 rounds just to decide on what we want to have for brunch & which restaurant we should dine at, we came to this small restaurant at an alley between the shops with a "Trip Advisor" sign (exact location/map available on Donburi Chaya's website)! Yeah, we didn't research on the 'best restaurant to eat at Nijo Market'.

海鮮丼の店どんぶり茶屋 Sapporo Nijo Ichiba Donburi Chaya
Tel: (+81)(011) 2002223
URL: http://www.donburi.jp/shop/index.php
Business hours: 7:30a.m. - 5:30p.m.
GPS: 43.073590, 141.358468
Getting there: Subway Tozai Line - Bus Center mae Station
Cost of our meal: JP¥3570; RM128.52

Right, I finally found out that the name of this restaurant is Donburi Chaya...like just. Goodness gracious, it took me a while to write out the Japanese characters onto Google translate to find out what those characters mean! *sigh* I really suck when it comes to Chinese-looking characters...

We were full-on ready to order some fresh seafood & enjoy our 1st meal for Day 3, so the 1st thing that we HAD to order was the fatty salmon belly - grilled!

Grilled Fatty Salmon (JP¥650/serving; RM23.40)
We just love the smooth, fragrant fatty salmon when it's grilled. It's not cheap, but it tastes good, so it's worth the money paid :P

Special spring sashimi plate (JP¥850/serving; RM30.60)
There were 2 types of fish & a sweet shrimp, just like a 'starter' plate. Serving's somewhat small for the price paid, but I guess it's quite the average price. At least the seafood pieces were fresh :)

Ryoba Donburi (JP¥1380/serving; RM49.68)
King crab's meat, salmon, ama-ebi/shrimp, tuna, scallop, squid, herring-roe, tamago/egg
We ordered this for the variety; a 'lil bit of everything! Furthermore, we just wanted to try how different herring-roe tastes compared to the usual small orange ones. The verdict: Can't really taste the difference!

Grilled Large Scallop (JP¥690/scallop; RM24.84)
We didn't order this earlier but once we were done with our meal, the lady came to us & asked "do you want this?" & gave us the 'puppy-eye' look, so we obliged without asking the price. Well, no regrets, really. The scallop was really plump, sweet & had the aroma of grilled salted butter! Yums!

With a satisfied tummy, we made our way back to the Sapporo TV Tower to purchase the day + night ticket so that we can check out the view of the Sapporo city both during the beautiful sunny day & hopefully during a good, clear night.

Sapporo TV Tower
Odorinishi 1 Chome, Chuo Ward
Sapporo 〒060-0042, Hokkaido Prefecture 
Business hours: 9:30a.m. - 9:30p.m. daily (time varies throughout the year, so please double-check their website before heading there)
Tel: (+81)(011) 2411131
GPS: 43.061034, 141.356919
Getting there: Odori subway station (Exit 27 from the underground mall/Aurora Town or take the connection via the underground from Sapporo subway station & Susukino subway station)
Entrance fee: JP¥720/adult for single entry; RM25.92 or JP¥1100/day & night entry; RM39.60

The Sapporo TV Tower was built in the year 1957 & stands at 147.2m tall. You can get tickets, information & souvenirs from the ground floor of the TV Tower, while a restaurant & another ticketing counter/entrance to the observatory deck, is located on the 3rd floor. The TV Tower's mascot, Tawakkie, is apparently a very common & favorite character in Hokkaido & is seen everywhere within the TV Tower itself.

We decided to purchase tickets for both day & night for their 90m-high observatory deck just to have a panoramic view of city. It was quite worth the price paid, especially since we had a clear, sunny day :) Don't bother purchasing tickets to the observatory deck if it's a cloudy/raining day.

The lift will tell you how high you are from ground level

Panoramic view of the city with Odori Park in the middle

The Tawakkie Shrine :P

Day view vs night view

This is the 'happening' part of Sapporo i.e. Susukino area, identified by the iconic Ferris wheel

Mount Okurayama at the distance - that's where the Winter Olympic Ski-Jump Stadium is located
You can see the ski-jump area during the night as it'll be lighted up 

When we purchased our TV Tower tickets, we were given some discount coupons for the purchase of ice-cream & "Tawakkei-shaped stuffed-pancake" a.k.a. "Taiyaki", so being foodies, we went to the basement of the TV Tower for our snacks.

Ice-cream & milk-custard taiyaki (JP¥310 for both; RM11.16)

Normal price

We also noticed a very long queue at a restaurant on the same floor, so we actually came back to check this place out the following day :P

Up next, we had a tour reservation made at Megmilk Snow Brand Factory, one of Hokkaido's largest dairy manufacturers. After the tour, we felt that unless you really love & want to know how milk, cheese, butter & dairy products alike are made, it may not be worth the effort to get there.

Sapica card: JP¥2000 (there's a deposit & the rest is refundable if you don't finish using the credit); RM72.00

It took us more than half an hour to just keep walking 'til we arrive at our destination. It was tiring! Thankfully the weather was cloudy & cool. If it was hot, humid or even rainy, I don't think we would have successfully completed the journey. It was also a different taste of Sapporo for us as we entered into a suburb area where life is even more relaxed/slower & it feels much safer there too (with school children walking back from school, kids playing on the road & playground freely...etc).

Right before the factory, we were lured into a bakery by the sweet smelling scent of Japanese sweet potato. We've no clue what they sell as the shop was really small, but we pointed to something that looks familiar & bought it anyway.

Sapporomura's Sweet Potato 札幌村 スイ一トポテト
4 Chome-12-6 Naebocho, Higashi Ward
Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture
Tel: (+81)(11)7501100
URL: http://www.sapporomura-sp.com/
Business hours: N/A
 43.075037, 141.40701GPS:5
Getting there: Subway Toho Line - Higashikuyakusho-mae station (1.9km walk from the station)

We were like excited noobs, wondering how the sweet potato should be eaten since it was cold. So upon walking out of the shop (they do not speak English at all!), we unwrapped the 'sweet potato' & AP sunk his teeth into the 'brick'...yes, it was HARD! Bummer...ok, no sweet potato as snack on the way there *throws the brick into the backpack*

Sweet potato (JP¥540/piece; RM19.44)
We actually forgot about the sweet potato in the bag that evening & it was left there undisturbed 'til the next morning when I wanted to repack our backpack & I found the brick lying in there. "Oh my goodness...we forgot about the sweet potato! Dunno if still can eat le..." *AP picks it up & sinks his teeth into the 'brick' & didn't wanna let go...hahaha...

It was soft, 'creamy' & SO DELICIOUS! Very filling though, but it didn't feel like a whole sweet potato, but some sweet potato mixed with we've no idea what...it just tasted 'divine' for a humble potato! 

Ok, back to the milk factory...

Megmilk Snow Brand Factory & Museum
Higashi-ku, Naebochō, 6 Chome−1
Sapporo-shi, 〒065-0043 Hokkaidō
Tel: (+81)(011) 7042329
URL: http://www.meg-snow.com/fun/factory/sapporo.html
Business hours: 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.
GPS:43.073408, 141.385404
Getting there: Subway Toho Line - Higashikuyakusho-mae station (Take exit No. 1, turn left upon exiting the subway station. At the traffic light, turn left & walk straight 'til the 8th traffic light, then turn right into the road where the factory is located...if my memory serves me right...)

We were really tired after the long walk there. A litre of cold, fresh milk would be nice...hahaha, but we were only treated to some samples of milk & chocolate cheese after the 1-hour tour, fully Japanese-spoken. You'll be given an English-translated guide to refer, but that's about it....use your eyes to follow the tour...hahaha...

"Megmilk Snow Brand is one of Hokkaido’s largest dairy manufacturers. This history museum was opened in 1977 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Snow Brand Dairy, Megmilk Snow Brand’s antecedent. It exhibits nearly 850 items including dairy manufacturing devices, a 1/30 model of the factory, a butter churner, and manufacturing machine used during the early days of the corporation. Reservations are required for tours through the Sapporo Factory, which visitors can take after seeing the exhibitions of machines used over 50years ago and models of the current factory. The milk and cheese tasting, which takes place after tours, are also popular. It’s great to drink freshly made milk immediately after learning about dairy farming and industry." - taken from the Welcome to Sapporo website

The factory - REALLY clean & everything's well planned in its place

The English-translated guide
We're not allowed to take any photos during the tour, so I can't really show you anything :( You'll probably get a glimpse of how the factory looks like from its website.

Treats after the tour

The walk back to the station was even more tiring as my legs were jello & the temperature took a plunge as the sun sets *wuwuwuwuwu* It definitely took us more than 30 minutes to walk back to the subway station & mind you, we had to keep count of the traffic lights as well in case we miss the turning! *sigh*

After having kids' treat, it was time for some adults' treat, so Sapporo Beer Garden was next on our list!

Sapporo Beer Garden/Museum
東区北7条東9-1-1, 9 Chome-2 Kita 7 Jōhigashi, Higashi-ku
065-8633 Sapporo-shi, Hokkaidō 
Tel: (+81)(11) 7421531
URL: http://www.sapporoholdings.jp/english/guide/sapporo/
Business hours: 11:30a.m. - 10:00p.m.
GPS: 43.071560, 141.369320
Getting there: Subway Toho Line - Higashi-kuyakusho station (about 10 minutes walk from the station) or take a bus from the Sapporo JR Station 

Unfortunately for us, the Sapporo Beer Museum (free admission) was closed on that day when we're there for some upgrading/renovation works :( So we just headed over to the Sapporo Beer Garden restaurant at the next building since we're kinda famished anyway. We just had the brunch, remember?

The Sapporo Beer Museum

We had the Genghis Khan lamb buffet with a top of of free-flow special beer for 1 pax & normal beer + drinks for 1 pax. The bill came up to JP¥8748; RM314.93 for both of us. We had a total of 7 plates of lamb with 3 plates of veggie, 3-4 mugs of beer, & 3 glasses of non-alcoholic drinks. If I'm not mistaken, you're given 2 hours to enjoy the eat-all-you-can barbecue lamb buffet. We felt that it was quite worth the price paid since we actually ate & drank 'til we were satisfied!

You can choose from fresh lamb or frozen lamb, both taste slightly different, but both were delicious!
Once the lamb slices are cooked, you can dip it in the special Genghis Khan sauce & enjoy it with your mug of beer. In this particular buffet, it's just lamb, veggie, drinks & nothing else. Any additional items will be charged separately, but we're fine with just lamb :P

I love my hubs...hahaha...one of the rare times where he cooks for me :P

The slightly smoky-looking dining hall filled with people on a weekday night

The Sapporo Beer Garden

It was a long day for us & the night was superbly cold like some 4°C or alike! We didn't need to walk back to the subway station where we came from since we're heading back towards the main Sapporo city centre, so we took the loop bus & started walking back from the Sapporo JR Station towards the Sapporo TV Tower for the night view before walking back to our hotel, which was an additional 15-20 minutes of dragging our tired feet & body along after walking 15 minutes to the TV Tower.

Dead tired were we....
And thus ends Day 3 in Sapporo...

We walked more than 10km today!


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