Thursday, June 28, 2018

Day Seven - Our Last Full Day in Hokkaido [Japan] : Shiroi Koibito Park, Maruyama Zoo, Nijo Market, NORBESA, Mutton BBQ

It's the last full day of our Hokkaido trip and knowing myself; it shall be packed full of activities as there were so many things i had yet to do! Darn, i should have planned for a two-week stay! 

Before starting the day; let's have breakfast at McDonald's! Okay, technically not our typical Singaporean morning offerings as i had ginger pork burger

Exiting the Miyanosawa subway station which near to our first destination! p.s. McDonald's doesn't count. Anyway, you may check out my posting here on taking the subway in Sapporo

Pretty flowers lining the streets! Remember the post i had on common flowers found in Hokkaido? Strangely, they didn't seem to appear when i was in Sapporo. 

Nicely parked bicycles; a rarity in Singapore where the bicycle-sharing system was overwhelmed with tons of bicycles strewn all over the place! 

Walking from the subway station to this pretty European-style building took about ten minutes; no prize for guessing where we were as its name can be seen on the photo; Shiroi Koibito Chocolate Factory.

A working factory with a live production line that, unfortunately would be closed until May / June next year; i was totally immersed in the wonderland atmosphere of the outdoors known simply as Shiroi Koibito Park!

I paid for the shiroi koibito factory tour where i continued to be marveled by the aurora fountain chocolate cups collection, the many cakes on display etc and the toy museum housing toys from 1868 to 1989. Those with a sweet tooth should consider having desserts and hot chocolate at the Chocolate Lounge; my tummy was literally piled with sugar!

Taking an almost empty subway to our next place of interest; it was already close to noon and this particular attraction should have been visited early in the morning.

No, no, no; we didn't have the space for Kentucky Fried Chicken even though we should have as KFC (as we know it in Singapore) is hugely popular with the Japanese; it was a well known fact that having a KFC meal is the standard for Christmas! Whatever the case, i am sharing the menu for those who are interested.

500 meters - to the zoo! Yes, after what happened on Day Six; we decided to address our disappointment by going to Maruyama Zoo again when it's not closed for its scheduled closure!

Cutting across Maruyama Park; a route we had already familiarized ourselves with, the day before.

However, we opted to sidetrack a bit by checking out the boardwalk that's flaked with tall trees on both sides! A truly peaceful and relaxing walk; i can so imagine my body absorbing all the negative oxygen ions like the time i was at Gupo Mountain National Forest Park in China's Guangxi province.

Two hours spent in the Maruyama Zoo and took so many photographs; i had no choice but to break them up into one combined and six smaller postings consisting of Children's Zoo, old polar bear enclosure, tropical monkeys section, Japanese monkeys hill, reptiles and amphibians hall and the deer and wolves!

Objectively, i enjoyed Maruyama Zoo better than Dusit Zoo; animals appeared better taken care of, more alert with blessings from the cooler Hokkaido summer weather (trust me, the stench was manageable).

After the exhausting visit in the sun, we dragged our feet back to the subway station and took our bags of goodies purchased from Shiroi Koibito Chocolate Factory that were stored in the locker (click here to know how to use the lockers). 

Back at UNIZO Inn to unload our bags of goodies and off we hit the streets shortly in seek of food as our tummies were finally craving for food! We had to walk past Matsuya (松屋) restaurant daily when we were in Sapporo and its poster touting a 290-yen beef bowl proved to be too irresistible! For review, click here

Strolling past the 140-year old Sapporo Clock Tower; didn't step in as time was too tight for us to spend another one or two hours inside!

One of the many izakayas; at that time, the alcoholic in me had yet to be awaken and it was a blessing in disguise as i would have, otherwise, burnt a big hole in my pocket.

Sapporo City Office with its boring, serious facade.

Up close with the Sapporo TV Tower at Odori Park

Bought a boiled corn near the Sapporo TV Tower which didn't impress; guess i must have been too full with the food i had thrown into my mouth since morning!

Activity looks fun! I actually kind of regretted not going up to the TV Tower although there were quite a number of observatories in the city and a TV tower of that height (147.2 meters) wasn't spectacularly tall.

Another four-way directional crossing!

An old building in the midst of modern structures; it belonged to a pharmacy / medicinal hall that had its origins traced back to 明治五年. I ran a check on google and the year it falls on is 1872! Wow wow wow!

That's ancient and i guess parts were falling apart as the wooden windows were encased in ugly, wired metal enclosures. Isn't there a heritage conservation board in Japan?

A large book store with loads of comics of the pervertic hentai genre! I have always heard about them and am seeing them with my own eyes for the first time!

Buildings along the way with Daiso being the one Singaporeans are most familiar with! Nope, i didn't even attempt to step into its five-level outlet as it would be another time waster on our last full day.

Arrived at Nijo Market where most of the shops were still operating with just an hour plus to go before their official closing for the day! Finally got my hands on the scallop snacks, that mom requested, from a super nice ojisan (uncle) manning the store. Click here to find out which store i am referring to. 

NORBESA would seem like the typical shopping mall that's scattered all over Sapporo but there's one interest point that set it apart from the rest.

It has the only ferris wheel in Hokkaido that's built atop a building and when i was there last August, it was in pink and white! Curious about the price of the tickets and the surrounding view of the 4-person gondola? Click here

Beer garden that's just next to the ferris wheel; beer drinking is a favourite pastime for the Japanese in summer and i am so glad to down an entire mug later in the evening. At least when people ask, i can tell them (proudly) i did have Japanese beer in Japan! 

Exploring the rest of NORBESA; for example, the karaoke lounge - on television, it always seems that karaokes in other countries were more happening but i guess i wouldn't be spending the money in a country that i don't know the language to. Furthermore, i prefer Mandarin songs. 

Bowling alley - i saw the twinkle in Alex's eyes and knew i had to pull him away. I know for a fact he would love to show off his bowling skill to the Japanese! 

Oh my gosh; i heard so much about this! The 24-hour comic and internet cafe that's popular with even foreigners who want to save cash by not staying in a hotel. 

Maybe i can check it out in the future; rates as appended above for ease of future reference! An overnight stay from 7.00 pm to 7.00 am only cost 2,260 yen a day; that works out to less than S$30.

Claw machines! I never had any luck with these machines although i managed to pick up two soft toys in my recent visit to Johore Bahru in Malaysia! 

Mandarake - said to be "one of Tokyo's largest vendors of used anime and manga-related products"! Well, i didn't get wind of its fame but the supposedly cosplay costumes attracted my attention.

Large store where anime lovers might spend hours browsing through its huge stash of comic books, vintage comics, toys, cosplay costumes etc. 

I am so glad i don't know the language as some of the comic books (in Japanese) were selling at only 100 yen a book or 200 yen for three books! That's a good deal and in the good old days, when i still read, i would have hauled back a dozen or so. Did that in Kuala Lumpur over ten years ago.

How could a doll head cost so much?! 15,000 yen? *using fingers to convert* That's almost S$200 bucks! I noticed the brand; Super Dollfie and there's actually a wikipedia page on it! Click here

Out to the streets again! 

Are the Japanese conservative? I guess they are yet not really as stores like the above, serving entertainment unsuitable for the kids, were common in the red-light district. The geylang in Singapore seriously paled in comparison. 

Traditional restaurant with servers dressed in kimonos. We do see them in Singapore too but the feeling would be different as most of you would think it's crazy to dress like that in the hot and humid climate we are in! 

Dinner time at Daruma Honten Genghis Khan (Main Store) where i got to try the mutton BBQ which didn't quite impress me. It was good as barbecued meat; however, i wouldn't have minded going back to the nearby Suage + for their soup curry again! By the way, Suage is going to open a branch in Singapore soon! Can't wait! 

Night had descended when we departed from Daruma Honten Genghis Khan

The many billboards publicizing adult entertainment; this particular one in the photo seemed to serve the ladies; i can recognise the Chinese characters that mentioned something exclusive to the fairer sex. 

Other less seedy entertainment like the 24-hour entertainment centre offering karaoke, bowling, billiard, ping pong, darts and amusement which i presumed to be arcade games! 

Icon of Susukino district; Nikka is actually a whisky brand that hailed from Japan with a number of awards to its name; like the world's best blended malt at the World Whiskies Awards 2018.

Another picture of the district as it would be our final night in Hokkaido

Restaurant selling Japanese skewers grilled over charcoal; for a person who loves yakitori and grilled chicken skin, i couldn't believe i didn't check out establishments like the above when i was in Japan! Hm... a regret has to be made right, somewhat, sometime, in the future. 

Last activity - last minute shopping at Sapporo renowned shopping street; Tanukikoji (狸小路商业街) and it's a frenzy deciding what i should get for my family, friends and colleagues back home! 

As we had still a bit of time, i decided to take the escalator and go underground to this place known as pole town. I don't know what to expect and could only hope there's more shopping.

Almost all the stores' shutters were down! I was deliberating if i should return to Tanukikoji but i guess i had purchased enough. While we can walk all the way to UNIZO Inn using this underground passage, i am not going to waste my energy; not when we still had that subway day pass.

Oh, a poster on what to do when there's an earthquake. Unlike in a fire emergency, proceeding to the exit is not recommended; find a table or something. The problem is; i couldn't find any table-like items in the underground passage! 

I did mention we would pass by Matsuya (松屋) a few times a day right? 


Detailed Postings for the Day

  1. McDonald's Ginger Pork Burger
  2. Shiroi Koibito Park
  3. The Factory Tour of Shiroi Koibito Park
  4. Children's Toy Box @ Shiroi Koibito Park
  5. Chocolate Lounge Cafe in Shiroi Koibito Park
  6. Boardwalk Lined with Tall Trees @ Maruyama Park
  7. Maruyama Zoo - Oldest Zoo in Hokkaido
  8. Children's Zoo in Maruyama Zoo
  9. The Old Polar Bear Exhibit in Maruyama Zoo
  10. Tropical Monkeys Section in Sapporo Maruyama Zoo
  11. Japanese Monkeys Hill in Sapporo Maruyama Zoo
  12. Reptiles and Amphibians Hall in Maruyama Zoo
  13. Deer and Wolves in Maruyama Zoo
  14. Using the Lockers in Sapporo Subways
  15. Matsuya (松屋) - The Cheapest Meal in Hokkaido
  16. Boiled Corn near Sapporo TV Tower
  17. Nijo Market - Seafood Centre in the Heart of Sapporo
  18. The Only Ferris Wheel in Hokkaido Atop a Building
  19. Daruma Honten Genghis Khan Mutton BBQ (Main)

Hell Valley at Noboribetsu

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