Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade (狸小路商业街) @ Sapporo [Hokkaido, Japan]

Like any city, there's always a shopping street popular with tourists and the one in Sapporo is Tanukikoji (狸小路). In Japanese, it refers to the street of the Japanese raccoon dog!

The Japanese raccoon dog (tanuki) actually has cultural significance in Japan and is featured heavily in Japanese folklore and legends; quite similar to the long-nosed tengu I featured a few months ago. To read more about the tanuki, click here.

Let's now focus on the shopping arcade itself which is a long (about 1 kilometer) stretch of seven different sections located conveniently in the center of Sapporo with the Susukino subway station and within walking distance from Odori Park.

Yes, seven sections! The impression I got from my friends who have been to Hokkaido was that it's just one section with a lot of souvenirs shops. I am showing the entrances to the various segments as above for your reference. 

Number 7 appeared to be the most rundown and coupled with the dingy orange ceiling lights, I felt like I had gone back in time to the 70s and 80s.

Each section was covered and by right, you can happily shop without a care for the weather.

However, as roads cut across the 7-section shopping arcade, there are intervals of direct exposure to the weather elements! Not an issue in summer I guess which was still pretty cool for Singaporean.

So what can you find at Tanukikoji shopping arcade? Let me show you with the remaining fifty over pictures. As commercial entities come and go, just take the pictures as a source of reference. For the list of shops, you can refer to the main Tanukikoji website here.

Tall ceiling with hanging decorations! Instagrammable and each section featured different decorations with number 7 (as shown in earlier pictures) as the barest and most boring.

Those who enjoy shopping in Don Don Donki in Singapore should note that there's a humongous, five levels, 24-hour Don Quijote shop in Sapporo!

If you are not given sufficient time to shop at Sapporo and need to buy food souvenirs for your family and friends, I personally feel that you should just concentrate on Don Quijote and go up to the level where a huge variety of local food snacks await your picking.

Pet shop! Even though I no longer have a pet, I still couldn't resist stepping in for a look at how well-organized Japanese pet shops are. To be fair, Singapore's pet industry has come a long way and a few established shops had thrown away the old school way of putting in way too products in their shop.

Puppies! In terms of display of live animals, however, Singapore's standard has yet to reach the mark. I don't understand how the pet shop can be devoid of any smelly odor with puppies!

And unlike the standard mesh flooring (for ease of clearing) said to be bad for the puppies' feet, it's an arena of comfort for the puppies in this pet shop. Small enclosure, no doubt, but I have seen worse in some of the pet shops in Singapore

Random shot of the pedestrian-only shopping arcade.

A restaurant/cafe in the basement that's designed like a passage down a cave!

Claw machines filled with minions!

Bicycle parking area with painted aluminum sheets. There's a strong cycling culture in Japan but in contrast to the messiness we faced in Singapore, all the bicycles were parked nicely and tidily without any block to the passage.

It looks like a nightclub but the main entertainment was the many rows of machines emitting sounds similar to jackpot machines yet are unique to Japan.

Pachinko! I sneakily took the above picture. Gambling is illegal in Japan and to circumvent that; pachinko was created as technically, you play for the metal balls and not the money. In reality, those gifts can be changed to money at another business that's operated separately from the pachinko parlor.

Two of the many souvenir shops along the way; the loudest had to be those with the character "藥" and that's the same kind of shop where I got the cheapest deal for Mikakuto Kororo grape gummies and calbee cereal (800g, I think, at only about S$8).

You can't find everything though as the "藥" shops were similar to guardian / watson pharmacy and concentrate a lot more on cosmetics and personal healthcare/hygiene products; for the insanely popular potato farm jagapee chips, you can find them in the more official souvenir shops.

Remember, you can get tax rebates after purchasing a certain amount (think it's about 5,000 yen); it isn't that hard if you are buying a for family members, friends, and colleagues!

McDonald's - surprisingly, Alex didn't insist on having a meal there but we had fast food for dinner on our first night in Sapporo; more on that in my detailed posting for day 5.

Daschund found along the street! It's so nice to see this as we can't really do it that openly in public places in Singapore; given our multiracialism, being considerate to others is essential for peace and harmony within the country.

Publicity for an animal cafe and a petting zoo with a cover charge of 1,200 yen per adult and came with the following: a free drink and no time limit.

Uninterested yet wouldn't mind catching a live owl in the middle of the city? Go look for this vegas vegas owl's forest; why you ask?

Owls behind the glass panel! Guess the forest's sponsored by the pachinko company and from my check, it should be along section 2 of Tanukikoji shopping arcade, right opposite the vegas vegas pachinko parlor.

Covered linkway connecting section 1 and 2; for those visiting the nijo market, it's in close proximity to section 1 of Tanukikoji.

Guitar store.

Snobbish babies; if not for its name, I would not have given it a second look and a closer look revealed that the store also offered pet wear for sale!

Stuffed bears; sad to see them on display even though they appeared to be the norm in Hokkaido. Despite my love for animals, I do understand that the words "pest" and "danger" can be different things in different countries.

For sale or for rental? At 5,800 yen, it seemed too pricey for rental although, at the same time, the pricing was too cheap for a kimono! Well, the designs didn't seem particularly attractive.

An old-school electric tram that remained operational and not only for foreigners as locals do take them to shuttle around; we experienced a ride two days later and for sure I would document it on this blog. :)

A shrine for the Japanese raccoon dogs!

Kit Kat specialty shop with a ton of flavors that could only be found in Japan and nowhere else in this world! I was looking to buy a few packs of fuji apple kit kats that my friend brought back for me a few months earlier. Alas, I couldn't find them and without any sample, I am unwilling to try new offerings.

The intense matcha (green tea) kit kat; said to be a Japan exclusive edition, I saw them for sale in Singapore just a few days ago.

Pictures showing the numerous hanging decorations throughout the seven sections and they were not the standard, one size fits all kind.

Fruits for sale and I was so glad to have eaten my fill of fruits at Sobetsu Fruit Village at Lake Toya as fruits, in general, are priced too high for me to afford them on a daily basis.

Vintage and second-handed records! 

Japanese style barbershop - I had to strategize and move Alex away from it as he loves to cut hair when he is overseas and that's usually a waste of time in my opinion.

A two-floor bistro that provided shisha! It's a pity that Singapore has banned shisha from the streets as I always want to give it a try. 

Notice a familiar sight that made me missed home for just a few seconds! Affectionately called Kopitiam, it's our typical Singapore coffee shop that featured the signboard and even the shutters commonly found in the little red dot! 

You can find comfort food like bak kut teh, satay, chicken porridge, nasi goreng, mee goreng, tahu goreng and even Singapore's very own tiger beer! 

Prefer prawn mee? It's available next door! 

Last picture - a Shinto monk/priest silently soliciting donations. I had an encounter with one in Singapore when I was in polytechnic and the experience was quite weird as he almost hit me with his prayer beads. Anyway, that's a story for another day.



Minami 2 & 3-jo Nishi 1-chom ~ 7-chome, 
Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan


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