Monday, September 12, 2016

[Hokkaido 2016] Day 3 - Self Walk Tour in Sapporo

Admittedly, this self walk tour was impromptu. We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day on our third day in Sapporo and decided to hit all the outdoor activities and attractions in the city. It just so happened that everything was more or less within walking distance of each other that we decided to save money and not take the train.

Carmen was our automatically anointed navigator for the tour and with her trusty phone and portal wifi in hand, she led the way. From our accommodation at Khaosan Sapporo International Hostel, we took a nice leisurely stroll to the Sapporo TV Tower. Breakfast was purchased from a passing convenient mart and consumed on a bench in Odori park located at the foot of the tower allowing us to enjoy the blooming flowers on a lovely sunny morning.

Because we wanted to see the day and night view that the tower had to offer, we opted for the the day-night ticket combo (1,100yen). This meant we could come back on another day (three days from the date of purchase) to see the night view. With a clear sky, the 360 view of the city and its surrounding landscape was beautiful and we were excited to see what the night view looked like. But that is a story for the next post.

We spent about an hour at the observatory deck before we headed to what was claimed as the most disappointing tourist attraction in town, the Sapporo Clock Tower, a 15 mins walk from the TV Tower. I wouldn't call it a disappointment but rather an underwhelming attraction. We didn't go inside so after taking a family photo outside, we departed for the Former Hokkaido Government Office Building aka the Red Brick Office.

To our delight, there was a Hokkaido Small Business food fair in the courtyard of the compound and that gave us the opportunity to dig into everything the prefecture had to offer under one roof. And just right around lunch time too! The atmosphere was lively drawing in tourists and locals alike. To escape from it, one only needed to venture into the gardens and ponds in the compound. Now, that was a beautiful place to be.

The gardens were in fact more enjoyable to spend time in than the Government Office. The Government Office was free to explore but without a proper English guide or exhibition descriptions in English, the exhibitions were a bit boring. But if you have time to spare and have a hack for history, then do visit this place.

We headed on over to the Chitosetsuru Sake Museum, quite a walk from Hokkaido Government Office as it required us to walk pass the clock tower and TV tower again but the pleasant weather made a relaxing one. We passed the Nijo Seafood Market on the way but nothing really caught our attention to stop and eat.

The Chitosetsuru Sake Museum was yet another disappointing attraction as it was hardly a museum but more of a sake store. The location itself was rather isolated and the lack of visitors told us that it wasn't a place that even the locals made the effort to visit. None of the product descriptions were in English nor were the staff attentive at all. The building itself was rather nice and they did offer some really nice sake ice-cream but other than that, unless you're a hardcore sake fan, this place isn't worth a visit.

Our self-directed, wifi dictated walking tour ended with a slow stroll back to the hostel through the sheltered Tanukikoji shopping area. Many a times, I ended up stopped at a random shop that my parents and sisters decided to leave me behind and agreed to meet back at the hostel. One of the biggest Don Quixote shop was located along the Tanukikoji and even if you can't find it, just follow the scene of pipping hot sweet potatoes.

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