Saturday, June 30, 2018

Last Minute Shopping in New Chitose Airport @ Hokkaido [Japan]

After the fuss free rapid train ride from Sapporo, we finally arrived at New Chitose airport with mixed feelings; on one hand, i am devastated to leave as i enjoyed myself tremendously for this first visit to the land of the rising sun and on the other hand, i needed to go back to work to earn my upkeep for my next trip!

Took a trolley for our luggage!

Every airport should provide a luggage scale for their customers to use for free! This would give us a better idea on the weight for each piece of luggage before we check in and this would help free up unnecessary time spent when passengers were not keen to top up the excess weight.

Checking in - the wood-based sculpture draws reference from popular souvenirs sold in Sapporo's Maruyama Zoo. The left one is an outcast by the way; looks more like the 'the scream by Expressionist artist Edvard Munch.

Time to explore the shops; some of which had already opened for business before 7.30 am! The shopping really continued and unlike airports like Singapore's Changi Airport, the things sold were generally priced the same as those you found in the city! 

And if you forget to buy the iconic Japanese / Hokkaido snacks for your family and friends; fret not as there were plenty in New Chitose Airport! Should you realize your luggage had yet to reach its max, maybe it's time to buy more too! 

Notable brands like LeTAO (for their double fromage cheesecake that came with ice pack), Tokyo Bananas, Ishiya (for Shiroi Koibito cookies), potato farm can be found. Only issue is that the expiry dates for many Japanese snacks are not long. 

For us, we almost bought the Hokkaido melon! It's not the highly acclaimed Yubari melon but i was as impressed with the Furano melon we had when we visited Tomita Farm

Can't get enough of the king crab? Grab a few legs and had them for dinner when you reached home! To drive up sales, the operators had even kindly put up signs in Chinese and English that indicated no issue to bring the crabs back to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. 

With plenty of time to spare (another two and half hours before boarding), we decided to check out the rest of the publicly accessible area of the airport.

Like the Smile Road which would be a happy place for both adults and children. Pity we were too early as both Happy Kitty Happy Flight & Doraemon Sky Park were still closed. However, we did manage to check out Royce's Chocolate World with its plentiful of chocolate offerings and exhibition on chocolates! Click here to find out more. 

Almost life-sized stuffed animals! 

There were just about two hours to go before boarding and we thought it's about time for us to clear the customs as i have had experiences of immigration taking more than an hour and i heard there are more things to shop within the international departure terminal! 

Remember to show your receipts for your tax-free purchases. 

Entering the departure hall in less than ten minutes; with just seven gates; i was wondering if i should have just stepped in later as there might not be much shopping outlets for me in here. Memory of Bandung came into picture at that moment.

That fear was unfounded as there were quite a few commercial entities where we can spend our last yen on and as expected, they were all duty free; i.e. devoid of the 8% consumption tax.

I got some toys for the kids! 

Those who couldn't decide if they should buy anymore snacks would have the last call here! The good thing about shopping in the duty free arena is that you don't have to meet the minimum spent of 5,000 yen.

Thinking that Casio watches might be cheaper in Hokkaido, i am shocked to find them about equivalent in pricing and i bet i can find the same thing that's priced cheaper at Bras Basah complex! 

Food kiosk! Speaking of which; i had yet to have breakfast even though i can usually survive with just a cup of coffee and i believe Thai Airways would provide me with some food.

Don't you just love the markings on the floor that would show us the direction of the gates?! Not that it really matters much given that there were only seven gates for the international terminal.

Oh, a second floor! Let's check it out! 

A food court with a mini kid playground! Despite what i mentioned a few paragraphs above, i couldn't resist the temptation to have my last ramen before i departed from Hokkaido. Turned out it was a disappointing meal and you may read more here

Menu as appended above for your reference if hunger strikes and you have no choice but to dine at the food court wing. Hopefully the chef had changed then; if not, please don't order the miso ramen.

More shops and different from the one below. Over at this particular shop, you can find Japanese porcelain, green tea, traditional Japanese souvenirs etc.

You can even find abalone and they don't come cheap despite an eye-dropping discount of 40%; from 120,000 yen to 72,000 (about S$900)! 

All things mint; from bath salt to cookies, sweets, cream! 

Beautiful glass dolls (68,000 yen) for the doll / girl's festival held on 03 March every year and an entire set consists of seven tiers! According to wikipedia, the dolls used for hinamatsuri (as it's called in Japan) nowadays are for display only and maybe be heirlooms passed down from generation to generation.

Anello; the favourite bag for mothers and those who love bags with big capacity! Prices were cheaper and i almost got for my niece and nephew. Thank god the designs for the kids' range were not great.

I absolutely love the sofa chairs! 

View of the floor below us; think there would either be more commercial entities for visitors shop at in the future or the hoarded up space would eventually open up to more gates.

Time for us to get ready! 


For my 8 days, 7 nights Hokkaido itinerary in summer, click here.

Smile Road - Royce's Chocolate World, Hello Kitty Happy Flight & Doraemon Sky Park @ New Chitose Airport [Hokkaido, Japan]

What would make you smile? Seeing your salary deposited in your bank account or the time when you look at your work email box and realise you have (finally) cleared all outstanding emails?! 

I admit the above do make me smile but i am an easily satisfied person; the simple pleasures of life would also result in the same effect. Just like when i chanced upon the aptly named 'smile road' in Hokkaido's New Chitose airport

Comprising three main attractions - Doraemon Sky Park, Hello Kitty Happy Flight & Royce's Chocolate World; it's mostly just a touch and go for us as we had to be in the airport for a 10am flight and businesses don't open that early.

Doraemon Sky Park - as the cartoon of this robot cat that came from the future was also shown in Singapore when i was a kid, i can still vividly remember the h many impressive high tech tools that came out from Doraemon's magical pocket! For more information on what's at the sky park, click here

Hello Kitty Happy Flight - i know of the cat with no mouth even though i don't recall watching the cartoon at all. Nevertheless, Hello Kitty is no doubt the world's most famous cat and even in Singapore, its popularity back in 2000 resulted in long queues and a shattered glass incident injuring seven people. So what's there at Happy Flight? Click here

Royce's Chocolate World - the origin of Royce chocolates actually started from Sapporo back in 1983 and since then, its following has even extended to Singapore (first store opened in 2001) where its chocolates remain popular choices as Christmas gifts! 

This chocolate world has, in fact, an exhibition on chocolates and for those who couldn't make it to Shiroi Koibito Park, this would be pretty similar as far as content is concerned, with a heavier emphasis on the history of cocao.

Pictures as above to give you a brief preview; which included the vessels used in the early days (like a few thousand years ago) to hold a chocolate drink that's different from what we had now, chocolate moulds, tin as preferred material to store chocolate and cocoa powder and chocolate wrappers. 

For me, it's definitely the wide variety of Royce's products that blew me away! There were so many to choose from and you can't find some of them in their Singapore's stores! 

For example, the chocolates in a chocolate pod. 

Or the above although they didn't quite attract me. Sometimes, it's best to concentrate on a favourite few instead of exporting all the products. Furthermore, as the home base, i think it's fair that Royce maintains a wider choice for holidaymakers in Hokkaido

So what's available in both Singapore and Hokkaido? Royce's Nama Chocolates and they came in a smaller size in Hokkaido that's mostly priced 474 yen. The common size found in Singapore was cost 777 yen. 

In comparison to what we pay for in our little red dot, it's closed to almost a 40 percent discount! Rather hefty if you ask me and even i was tempted to get a few packs despite having an almost 24-hour transit in Bangkok

The 'pure chocolate' series that i love to keep in my fridge and indulge in a few pieces a day; a 15-piece box cost 335 yen whereas in Singapore, they are sold in 42-piece boxes priced at S$15 a box.

My favourite Royce product - their potatochip chocolate and this is coming from a guy who doesn't like potato chips in general. However, Royce's potatochip won me over with its savoury sweetness that's an utter addiction!  Needless to say, i got a few packs back to Singapore!


3rd Floor of New Chitose Airport,
Hokkaido, Japan
Accessible to the public