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Note: The opinions and views expressed in this user report are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of japan-guide.com.

July 2, 2016 - Hokkaido Day 1 - Late Night Ramen Dinner

日本にただいま戻りました!

Those who have no idea what I've written above, it means simply that I've returned to Japan (actually I'm back at home in Malaysia while writing this report).

Why I chose to start off my first report on japan-guide.com with the greeting above is because this is not about my first trip but the sixth trip to Japan since 2014. With its immense wealth of information, japan-guide.com has been an invaluable tool for me to plan my trips to the Land of the Rising Sun and for that I would like contribute to the site by sharing my travel experiences with everyone.

This time, I'm going to write about my recent two-week trip to Hokkaido, where I'll be making a big round around the island prefecture by train, visiting key attractions including Yoichi, Otaru, Noboribetsu, Shiretoko, Rebun, Farm Tomita and Biei.

Since this is my first time visiting Hokkaido, my first stop was naturally the prefectural capital of Sapporo. Although there were direct flights from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to New Chitose Airport by Air Asia, I chose to fly with ANA instead as ANA had started a new route between KL and Narita and had offered some nice discounts during the time the route was announced. Good luck trying to get a cheap ticket from Air Asia in July and August, as these months are known to be the peak season for lavender viewing and tour companies would buy up these tickets in bulk. After all, what's the harm of adding a couple hundred ringgit on a 5-star airline with food, beverages and in-flight entertainment on board?

P.S. At the time of writing, ANA announced a second Malaysian route between KL and Haneda.

I've finally arrived at Sapporo station at about 9pm. The rain had stopped and to my surprise the weather was cool and pleasant even though it was summer - now I know why tourists love Hokkaido so much. At this time I was already hungry. It's such a shame that the flight between Narita and New Chitose didn't provide any snacks on board. Nevertheless, I've already made plans to sample Sapporo's famous dish - miso ramen.

After checking in at the nearby backpacker's hostel Wagayado Hale, I headed back to the station to board the subway to Sapporo's famous watering hole, Susukino. This is the place to be if you want to find late night eats, as there are plenty of ramen shops and other restaurants open until 3 in the morning.

The most famous place to have ramen in Susukino is Ramen Yokocho. However, after some extensive research on Sapporo ramen, I had the impression that Ramen Yokocho is too touristy and caters too much to the foreigner's palate. I've decided to stray away from the main thoroughfares of Susukino by taking the streetcar to Higashi-Honganji-Mae station.

From Higashi-Honganji-Mae station, I walked another 3 minutes or so to a well known ramen establishment called Ebisoba Ichigen. This restaurant's specialty is its broth made purely from prawn heads and customers can choose between different combinations of miso, salt or soy sauce with either pure prawn stock (sonomama), prawn stock mixed with some pork stock (hodohodo) or a rich blend of prawn and pork stock (ajiwai). This restaurant has branches in New Chitose Airport and Shinjuku.

What I like about this restaurant is its spacious interior with plenty of waiting seats.

I've ordered the restaurant's recommendation (according to their website) of miso-ajiwai with hosomen (thin noodles) and a side of ebi onigiri, a rice ball infused with prawn stock that goes well with the soup. Ramen toppings include an egg, a piece of chashu, some tempura bits (tenkasu) and a bit of crushed fried prawn heads to add richness to the broth.

Ah, it's been a long time since I had ramen this good. However, I couldn't help to think that there had to be better ramen out there in Sapporo. Nevertheless, this was not going to be the only ramen in Sapporo that I'd be tasting.

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List of Posts:
2019/05/31 - Matsue Horanenya - Koyasan
2019/05/30 - Matsue Horanenya - Horyuji and to Wakayama Prefecture
2019/05/29 - Matsue Horanenya - Uji
2019/05/28 - Matsue Horanenya - Amanohashidate
2019/05/27 - Matsue Horanenya - Tottori Sand Dunes
2019/05/26 - Matsue Horanenya - Kangyosai 還御祭
2019/05/25 - Matsue Horanenya - The World Heritage Sites of Hagi
2019/05/24 - Matsue Horanenya - Akiyoshido and Akiyoshidai
2019/05/23 - Matsue Horanenya - The Beluga Whales of AQUAS
2019/05/22 - Matsue Horanenya - Chunichisai 中日祭
2019/05/21 - Matsue Horanenya - Matengai Cliff and the Kuniga Coast
2019/05/20 - Matsue Horanenya - Sakaiminato
2019/05/19 - Matsue Horanenya - Izumo Taisha
2019/05/18 - Matsue Horanenya - Togyosai 渡御祭
2019/05/17 - Matsue Horanenya - Getting to Matsue from KIX
2016/07/15 - Hokkaido Day 14 - End of the Trip and My Top Five Highlights
2016/07/14 - Hokkaido Day 13 - Biei's Patchwork Road and the Blue Pond
2016/07/13 - Hokkaido Day 12 - The Lavender Fields of Furano
2016/07/12 - Hokkaido Day 11 - Usuyukiso Habitat and Peach Rock
2016/07/11 - Hokkaido Day 10 - Rebun's 4-Hour Trekking Course
2016/07/10 - Hokkaido Day 9 - Wakkanai, the Northernmost City of Japan
2016/07/09 - Hokkaido Day 8 - Journey to the North
2016/07/08 - Hokkaido Day 7 - Last Day in Shiretoko
2016/07/07 - Hokkaido Day 6 - Bear Watching Cruise and Rausu
2016/07/06 - Hokkaido Day 5 - Shiretoko Five Lakes
2016/07/05 - Hokkaido Day 4 - Obihiro Butadon and the Kushiro Norokko Train
2016/07/04 - Hokkaido Day 3 - Hell Valley and Heavenly Ramen
2016/07/03 - Hokkaido Day 2 - Yoichi and Otaru
2016/07/02 - Hokkaido Day 1 - Late Night Ramen Dinner
2015/05/02 - Hanami 2015 Day 6 - The Wisterias of Ashikaga Flower Park
2015/05/01 - Hanami 2015 Day 5 - Kakunodate and Long Winding Route to Aomori
2015/04/30 - Hanami 2015 Day 4 - The Lonely Sakura of Koiwai Farm
2015/04/29 - Hanami 2015 Day 3 - Matsushima and the Shiogamazakura
2015/04/28 - Hanami 2015 Day 2 - Hirosaki
2015/04/27 - Hanami 2015 Day 1 - Shibazakura in Chichibu