Have been back from my Japan Winter Trip, and I have almost settled most of my stuff, except for some stuff. A
Shall start my travelogue, and hopefully this momentum will go on!!
Was in a panic rush as I had to rushed home for Xmas dinner right after work before heading to the Airport by 8pm, which means I only have like 2 hours or so. But thankfully, my Japanese boss offered to send me back home as I had to wait for him and my other bosses to tell that I’m leaving for my trip. Reached home by around 6.30p.m, and get myself ready.
My pink luggage in a luggage!! (P.S. Both are pink for easy identification at the baggage area)
Much thanks to my Dinosaur brother for sending me down to the Airport by 8pm right after our family’s Xmas dinner at home.
Reached T1 around 8.30p.m., and I was in time for my flight as my flight departs at 10p.m, so I quickly went to do a check-in (one of my colleagues asked me to do Web Check-in just in case the queue gets super long, but there WAS no queue at all!!), and my luggage weight was at 14.3kg. Went in to Departure area, as there was no one to send me off because I was flying off on Christmas Eve.
Boarded the plane around 9.30p.m, and to be honest I was feeling very horrible over the flight. (Btw, I was taking JAL if you’re curious) The reason why I felt horrible was not because of the flight or the service, but because I wore a heat tech shirt inside and a fleece tight, thinking that it would be very cold on the flight, and also the neighbours on my side were horrible despite them being Japanese. You must be thinking that Japanese people are very nice and so on, but this group of young adults (2 ladies with 2 guys sitting infront of them) were the exact opposite!! The young lady on my side was sitting in a very 见不得光 (very weird) sitting position, and I almost had no space to move around. Dinner was pretty good, but the timing that they served was near to midnight, and I really had no mood to eat, coz of the small space, and feeling very hot. Ate abit, then forced my forehead against the window (thankfully, the window was cool enough!!), and managed to catch some sleep till I reached Haneda around 5.20a.m. (Japan timing).
The flight reached Haneda pretty early, and my next flight to Sapporo was only at 7.30a.m., so I took the opportunity to explore the domestic airport!
Taking the free shuttle bus from Haneda International Airport to Haneda Domestic Airport Terminal 1!
FYI, if you’re taking a domestic flight using ANA/JAL, you can actually deposit your luggage at the transit counter (out of immigration and after taking your baggage), and you can transit to the domestic airport without lugging the heavy luggage.
Got myself a hot lemon tea, which I didn’t managed to finish on the day itself. Totally love their hot lemon drinks!
Reached the domestic airport around 6.30am, and started to wander around the airport thinking what to eat for breakfast.
In the end, I settled for this, which looks the best!
Looks delicious right?
If you’re at Terminal 1 (Haneda Airport), and looking for something nice to eat, this is the place!
Haneda Domestic Airport Terminal 1 North Wing
1,000yen (with tax)
It has 2 sets (rice or porridge) for the morning, and being a rice person, I decided to get this. If you’re a big eater, no worries, this shop provides free flow of rice! Before your meal comes, they will serve you with their special drink to warm you up first!
After my breakfast, it was near to 7.10a.m., and I quickly hurried to the departure gates, and I was so confused by the people there. Here’s the story. The ticket actually wrote that I should be inside the departure gate by 7.10a.m., but I only arrived at the gates around 7.20a.m, and they were super confused as to why I reached to late, and they were trying their best to talk to me in English. However, I told them I can understand Japanese, and they were still insists on talking to me in English. I also overheard their conversation on what they should do to help me to get on the flight. I told them I can find my way and reach the boarding gate in time, and they were like, ‘Oh, okay. Then we leave you alone”. I didn’t get such problems in the past while travelling on domestic flights.
Quickly head in, and saw that NO ONE has even boarded the plane, so I told myself to take it slowly, and head to the toilet first before boarding the plane. Slept throughout the flight, and there was a イケメン sitting one seat away from me. But I was so sleepy to keep looking at him, so I decided to sleep through the flight.
My sleepy look while on the plane to Sapporo!
Reached Shin-Chitose Airport within 1hr and 40 mins or so.
Shin-Chitose Airport in snow!! My first time seeing this!!
As I arrived on Christmas itself, there was a Santa there to greet us~~ Most of us stopped near the boarding area to take photos!
After that, went to baggage area to get my pink luggage, and off to get my Hokkaido Pass for the next 3 days!
4 years have passed since I last went to Sapporo just to catch Arashi concert during my final year in University (I was that crazy to see Arashi!!) And I was so excited to be back in Sapporo!!
I forget where to head, but thankfully there were guides there to help, so I went to ask for help. Managed to find the travel service center, which is located underground, to get my Hokkaido Rail Pass. If you’re travelling within Hokkaido only, I would recommend you to get the JR Hokkaido Pass! It is at a great deal especially if you want to travel to areas such as Hakodate, Furano and etc,. For me, I only have time to visit Hakodate, so I took the 3 days pass instead.
I would recommend all to get there early if you can especially during the peak periods, coz I spent like nearly 2 hours waiting for my turn there just to get the pass. They have English and Chinese speaking staff, so do not need to worry. While waiting, I also saw this very absurd customer (I think he is from Hong Kong), making a very big commotion on he being unable to exit out at Murano Station, and his friend(s) is waiting for him at Murano, plus he can only contact his friend thru LINE. I think that if he explains nicely instead of getting so agitated, the staff would be able to do something for him. In the end, the staff offered to help him call his friend, but the problem is that he does not have his friend’s contact (only LINE), and they are unable to give him the ticket to Murano. I didn’t really pay attention to the whole conversation because the guy’s Japanese intonation was very much unbearable to my ears, I decided to shut myself off.
Anyway, I got my pass, and hurried off to my hotel, which is located at Nakajima-koen, 2 stations away from Sapporo Station.
While on the Rapid Airport Train to Sapporo, I saw this!! Was totally amazed at it!!
And being a silly girl who has never seen snow ever, I was so excited to see snow (as in falling snow) for the first time!! I went “Oooooooo!!!!” , “WAH!!!!” all the while. Sounds stupid right? Hahaha, I’m sure the people who are onboard the train with me must be thinking that this girl is crazy.
I sort of made a mistake to stay at Nakajima-koen, coz I totally forget to factor in the luggage that I need to bring back to the Airport (it was super heavy in the end coz I bought way too much goodies for the family), and whats worst is that it snowed on the first day when I arrived. And I have to lug my luggage within the snow, and while trying to stuff my camera within my coat (coz I scared my lens would get cold, and blur), I accidentally dropped my lens cap, and only realized it when I reached the hotel. Was really sad that I lost it, coz I almost lost my way there while looking at the map. I only managed to find the hotel after 30 mins figuring out my way on the map.
Right outside Nakajima-koen station! Can you see the snow falling?
Checked in, got my package from b-mobile (totally recommend b-mobile for the data plans that provided if you’re on budget, and you don’t mind having slow speed), set it up, and off I go to Otaru!! I totally missed Otaru alot!!
Used my Hokkaido Rail Pass to get to Otaru!
While on my to Otaru, I was totally shocked….
Super strong winds…. o_O;
HEAVY SNOW IN OTARU!!!
I was so shocked, and the winds were so strong that I was shivering!!! I only had a normal winter coat, and it was not enough.
I saw a Mister Donuts shop opposite, and quickly hurried over. I also had to be extra careful as the ground was super slippery. Plus, the heavy snow made my hair super messy and wet… I was telling myself why did I wanted to go on this crazy trip all alone by myself….
But after drinking some hot milk and having some donuts for lunch, I decided to head on with my Otaru journey.
The snow is real heavy….
With a map in hand, I sort of figure my way out through the whole of Otaru on where to go. I totally like this type of travel, having to figure where to go and so on. The sense of satisfaction is really great!! Plus, I have been to Otaru once before back in 2011, I felt so happy when I saw some shops still there since 2011!!
On the way, I sort of got lost, and I also contemplated on walk somewhere new, but seeing how heavy the snow was, I gave up…..
The shopping street that looks pretty empty…Not many shops were open despite it was a weekday (I arrived on Xmas day itself) and I felt happy inside here, coz it was much warmer than walking outside!!
This was what I was contemplating about!!! The height of the snow is near to my mid calf, and I see no one walking thru there!! The map says that it would be nice to walk through, but the scaredy cat side of me decided not to walk thru it. So I got abit lost on where to turn….
Managed to find my way out after turning a few rounds, and the satisfaction of finding your way out was great!!
Snowing on Xmas Day itself is nice, but not a heavy snow…..
And then after walking for like 20 mins or so, I found this canal!!!
This is the famous canal in Otaru!! Most people would know. I didn’t take this photo with my Sony Camera, as my hands were freezing, and I was afraid that it cannot withstand such cold temperature, I used my handphone (Samsung S4) to take photos instead.
And I decided to camwhore there as fast as possible as it was super cold, and my fingers were freezing!!
This was how heavy the snow is…..
Walked from the start of the canal to the middle (where most tourists stopped at), and decided to take more photos before heading off to the shopping street.
I’m sure that the temperature that day was definitely not -1.8. It was even colder than that!!!
The view here is pretty nice, and they even have benches for people to sit on and take photos. (I think it is for tourist groups)
Walked into the shopping street (Sakaimachi Street), and I felt so happy!! Felt happy to be back there after 3 years!! I stopped at most shops to have a look at orgel, and I wanted to try making my own orgel, but decided not to do so after thinking about watching how much I spend. So I just went in to have a look, and I wanted to buy the orgel CDs instead, but not much changes since 2011, and I was pretty disappointed…
Saw some shops selling bbq scallops and some seafood. Wanted to have them, but there was a long queue, so I just gave it up. If I was in a big group, I don’t mind waiting. And while on the way, I found my favourite squid shop!! I got myself a big pack and was so happy to be back there.
This squid shop is pretty prominent. It is somewhere in the middle of the shopping street, and besides the squid they have other things too. But I personally recommend getting the squid instead. It is really chewy and yummy!!! Do remember to get it if you’re there!
After that, I walked to the end, and found Rokkatei (六花亭), which has the delicious cream cookie!!! Wanted to buy alot, but thinking about my next leg of the trip in Tokyo, I gave up. Well, Rokkatei’s cream cookie is nice, but because of the short expiry date, I couldn’t buy back. I remember in my last trip, I bought too much, and I had to force myself to eat them while I was in Tokyo. There was also other nice confectionary shops such as LeTao, and more.
Didn’t get the cheesecake from LeTao because of my short trip in Hokkaido, and long trip in Tokyo. Instead, I got the cookies, and it was yummy!
At the famous intersection near Minami-Otaru. Loads of people there, and I really recommend you to visit here once if you’re in Sapporo travelling~
After that, I walked back to Minami-Otaru Station, and took the train back to Sapporo. It was hard getting a seat, and I had to stand all the way back to Sapporo station for 30 mins.
At Minami-Otaru station waiting for the train, and I was crazily playing with the snow there.
Reached back Sapporo station around 4 plus, and decided to head back to the hotel to do my check in, and put down my heavy barang barang.
After resting for a while, I headed off to Mount Moiwa when the sun sets. The sun sets pretty early in Sapporo around 4 plus, so if you want to watch the sunset, it is best that you head over there early.
Here’s how to get to Mount Moiwa:
Take a train to Susukino, and exit from Nishi4Chome, and there is a shiden (tram train) once you head out and turn right.
Take the tram, and alight at Ropeway Entrance (ロープウェイ入口).
From there, walk towards to the shuttle bus to Mount Moiwa (there will be directions to lead you).
While waiting for the shuttle bus, I got to know a family from Hong Kong, and talked to them in my horrible Cantonese and Chinese whenever I don’t understand.
Reached Mount Moiwa, and quickly went to buy my ticket~
I personally recommend you to visit Mount Moiwa especially at night, as the night view is awesome, and I’m sure it will make you fall in love with Sapporo!!
Sorry if my photo doesn’t do justice to the pretty night view there.
This was taken with Samsung S4.
This was taken with Sony Nex 3
Seriously, my Sony camera does justice to the night scene here!!
Hard to focus on both the scenery behind and my face.
And at the top, there is this bell for you to ring it, and best if you can go with someone you love. For me, I have none, but I wanted to take a photo with this badly, the HK family group helped me to take this photo while I helped them take theirs~
The weather is freezing cold up there, and I can tell you for sure that my smile here is totally frozen….
There was an official photo booth there, but I didn’t went to take. Mainly for couples though….
Snowman at the middle of the station~
And while waiting for the next cable car back to the bottom of Mount Moiwa, I decided to take some snow and play~
Super thick snow!!!
During my trip to Mount Moiwa, I met 2 Singaporeans, and initially asked me to help me take their photos. Can’t remember it was in Japanese or English, but I think they mistaken me as Japanese. Then from their talk, I realised that they were Singaporeans. Singaporeans have this distinct accent that makes us so special. From there, I told them that I was Singaporean, and they were totally shocked!! We started chatting all the way until we reached the bottom of Mount Moiwa. Sadly, they were with this land tour, if not could have went dinner with them.
After that, I took the shuttle bus and shiden back to Susukino, and have dinner.
Wanted to have crab buffet for dinner, but while queuing, I realised that I have to take the morning train the next day, and I wanted something light, I decided to go for ramen since there is a ramen yokocho nearby susukino.
The crab shop that was pretty famous, and many people were queueing….
In the middle of Susukino street right after alighting from Shiden.
Went to the Ramen Yokocho opposite to have a quick dinner before heading back to the hotel. Ramen Yokocho is written there, but I don’t think it is the real Ramen Yokocho. Nevertheless, the food is pretty good.
Miso Ramen!! A must have in Sapporo!!!
Ordered a plate of gyoza coz it is so irresistible!!
Actually when I entered the shop there was practically no one, and after I entered, people start swarming in. I was thinking, “WHAT!!! Am I like a bee that attract people to come in?” . The shop was full after 10 mins, and I quickly finished my food. Also helped a couple to order their food.
That sums up my Day 1 in Sapporo, Otaru!!
Sorry that it took so long!!
Will do up Day 2, Hakodate asap!!!