Day 1 and 2 was exploring Sapporo city and starting our road trip around Hokkaido, first with Furano and then ending with the popular Shirogane Blue Pond and Shirahige Waterfall.
By the time we reached Sapporo, it was close to evening, having missed our earlier flight . While we could not explore as much, we managed to visit Nijo market for our first proper meal of the day, explored Tanukikoji Shopping Street while managing to grab dessert from pastry specialists Chocolatier Masale Mitsukoshi.
Nijo market is basically a seafood market catered mainly for tourists, so expect higher than usual prices. There’s not much to see at night, so go early. If you are on a budget, there are several places selling similar fare, especially if you are going to other parts of Hokkaido.
We opted for the restaurant 大磯, one of the recommended places on food review site Tabelog.
The uni, crab and salmon combo set us back around 3,000 JPY, but the taste was pretty decent. Uni can be hit-or-miss at times but fortunately this time, ours was pretty fresh.
As we wanted to keep our stomachs for dessert, we opted for a mini bowl of scallops and fish eggs. Expect to pay at least 5,000 JPY and above for 2.
Along the way, we dropped by Chocolatier Masale Mitsukoshi, where we bought a couple of cakes to satisfy our sweet cravings.
Once our stomachs were filled, we took off to Tanukikoji Shopping Street, a covered shopping street in the heart of Sapporo, popular with tourists. It’s fully sheltered, and the layout and style is somewhat similar to Osaka’s famed Shinsaibashi street.
You can get souvenirs from here, as well as necessities for your road trip if you are travelling out. Sapporo Drug Store has a good selection of food along with cosmetics and toiletries products at a low price.
We stayed the night at Tokyu Stay Sapporo Odori. It’s a new hotel, built around 1-2 years ago. Location is a short 2 minute walk from Tanukikoji Shopping Street. Do note that they have a similarly named Tokyu Stay Sapporo that is also nearby, where we stayed for our final night. Don’t go to the wrong one if you happen to book one of these hotels.
While the rooms were small, as you would expect from most Japanese hotels, it is clean, comfortable and cosy. There’s also the added touch of having a washing machine and dryer, so you can do your laundry if you wish. Breakfast is decent, though without a large variety. A nice hotel to stay overall.
We started off Day 2 by collecting our car at Nippon Car Rental. Since it was a rather long drive from Sapporo city to Furano, we stopped for lunch first at Cafe Goryo. It’s a quaint little cafe made out of wood, with a small guesthouse next to it.
While the food was a little pricey, I thought the drinks were excellent, both the coffee and the hot chai. We ordered a main set and a dessert set, which I thought was sufficient for 2 to share. The owners can speak English, so you don’t have to worry about communication here.
After lunch, we stopped by Furano Cheese factory and Furano Delice. You probably can give the cheese factory a miss unless you are a hardcore cheese lover, but don’t miss out on Furano Delice, which sells excellent cheese fromage.
Our next stop was Farm Tomita, known for its flower beds. The best time to visit are the summer months. As we visited in October, most of the flowers weren’t in full bloom.
There’s also Tomita Melon House nearby, but it was closed when we went. Hokkaido is well-known for its melon fruits, so it is probably worth a trip especially if in season.
Our final 2 stops for the day were Shirogane Blue Pond and Shirahige Waterfall.
You probably know Shirokane Blue Pond since the iPhone used it as one of its wallpapers before. The tranquil pond is worth a look, so pick a good spot to get your mandatory photo since it can get pretty crowded.
Directly translated to English, Shirahige Waterfall is known as “White Beard Waterfall”, due to its resemblance to the white, flowing beard of a man. You view this waterfall from a bridge at height so those with vertigo may have some problems.
We spent the night at JR Inn Asahikawa, a new and comfortable hotel in the heart of Asahikawa. It has several new features and amenities, like a lounge, free coffee, and different types of pillows to choose from. Rooms, while small, are clean and nice.
Stay tuned for Day 3 & day 4 in the next post!