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October 23, 2017 - Sapporo - Fresh Seafood and Western History
As part of my Hokkaido trip in October 2017, I had the chance to visit Sapporo. I've heard a lot of Sapporo and visiting here was one of the things I wanted to do. So let's take this photographic journey together.
Whether you are taking the JR Hokkaido train or flying to Chitose Airport, you will have to take the train into Sapporo Station. This is a large transportation, shopping, and hotel complex that is anchored by a few department stores and hotel. This station is also the northern terminus of a very extensive underground mall and pedestrian tunnel, meant to shield visitors from the harsh winters.
One of the top tourist draws here are the Western style architecture. Like in other parts of Hokkaido, the west had a large influence in the city building and economic development of the island. As a result many buildings built in the period evoke Western design and flair.
The Hokkaido Prefectual Building is a grand Victorian building with generous chances to take lots of photos here. The grand staircase is incredible with red carpets and dark stained wood. The moldings are also made of the same wood and stain. Each of the rooms have an exhibit so you can learn a lot of Hokkaido in the 1800s. And what's even better, is admission is free!
The Clock Tower represents another example of a historic building with Western architecture. This has been converted to a museum with many artifacts on permanent displays on the ground floor, and a large sitting space on the second floor.
In the spirit and tradition of other cities in Japan, Sapporo also has a tower that is also not to be missed. There is a small observatory level where you can see the skyline around you. The day I was there, the remnants of Super Typhoon Lan lashed Hokkaido with heavy snow.
A little less popular for the regular tourist is the Hokkaido Bank Curling Stadium. This world-class facility has seen it host several international curling tournaments over the years. The space includes four sheets and fan seating. They offer lessons to beginners as well for those who want to learn. The closest subway station is Tsukisamu Chuo Station on the Toho Line.
Sapporo has two seafood markets and both are great places to have a nice kaisendon (sashimi on a bed of rice). The first is the Sapporo Central Market and is located near the JR Soren Station. Here, shops and restaurants mingle giving a very lively and photogenic environment.
The second location is Nijo Market located in downtown Sapporo. In both locations you can find amazing fresh seafood, but the prices here are a little more expensive than in Hakodate. Overall the seafood was really fresh and delicious, and probably even fresher than at Tsukiji Market. Remember that the seafood here, especially crabs, are harvested off the coast of Hokkaido so the crab you are eating may have been caught last night or a few nights ago.
So there you have it, Sapporo is a place to visit for a few days. I would love to go back because of the more laid back atmosphere and the lack of people in most areas.