I always wanted to visit and explore different parts of Japan.
I had chanced upon the Sapporo snow festival and hence planned and booked a trip to Sapporo for early February and planned to travel down towards Tokyo visiting some cities along the way.
In this Japan series of travel blog, I’ll be introducing you to various winter highlights of Japan which I had planned and also some tips and tricks on how to travel!
Day 1 (Singapore – New Chitose – Sapporo)
Took the plane using Scoot from Singapore about 5.55am and landed in New Chitose at about 4pm.
Exchanging for my Rail Pass
After landing, I switched on my Wifi and went to the JR rail pass exchange office to exchange for my Rail Pass.
I activated it to start on Day 4 onwards where I will be using more of the JR trains to travel down from Sapporo.
At the same time, I’ve also booked a seat for the Hayabusa Shinkansen to travel for Day 6 from Shin-Hakodate to Sendai.
You need to book a seat for this train as they do not have non-reserved seating. If you have the JR Rail Pass, you can reserve the seat for this train for no additional cost.
Buying a Train Ticket
After that bought a train ticket to travel to Sapporo (札幌市). You can easily purchase a train ticket using the machines before the gantry.
To travel to Sapporo from New Chitose Airport, you just need to take the JR Rapid Airport service train which will quickly take you to Sapporo station in less than 1 hour.
The weather is really cold in Hokkaido during the February period so do remember to wear more layers of clothes! It was minus 2 degrees Celcius when I was there!
Once reached Sapporo, transferred to the local subway to travel to the station nearest to my hotel, which is Hotel Lifort Sapporo.
Checked into the hotel at Hotel Lifort Sapporo which was very fast.
The hotel is not bad as it is located within a 5 min walking distance to the Nakajima Koen subway and also it’s nearby a park.
As there was the Sapporo Snow Festival going on, many hotels were fully booked and non-smoking rooms were sold out.
So I have no choice but to book the smoking room.
Surprisingly, at the room level I could not even smell any smoke at all! Pretty pleasant surprise!
The room was spacious for me and their included breakfast selection was pretty good.
So it’s quiet in the night for a good night sleep and comes with a good view in the morning!
Not wasting much time, I headed down to what I wanted to do when I planned for this Japan trip!
Sapporo Snow Festival 2017 (Night)
There is an event during the February period which is the Sapporo Snow Festival (6 Feb – 12 Feb 2017) in Odori Park.
It’s a very popular event in Hokkaido where many people come to see various interesting snow sculptures and various events.
Many hotels are fully booked during this period so, if you want to come to see the festival, I suggest booking your hotel a few months ahead!
Every year there will be ultra large sculptures of different themes. This year the main attractions were the Final Fantasy VII and Star Wars which were awesome!
It was snowing heavily during the festival and it was really cold!
There was a light show of the Final Fantasy VII so check out the video!
Had several street food at the festival and a hot bowl of soup will bring relief and warm you up!
Not forgetting there were many yummy seafood!
There there is a corn soup also which was really delicious!
I walked on and saw many beautiful ice structures and snow statues.
It was really cold that night!
I bought many hot drinks to drink and one of them was hot wine.
It was the first time I drank hot wine and it’s really good for cold weathers like this as it warms you up!
After that I went back to my hotel for a rest and to warm up.
Went out again for a supper at Daruma.
Must Eat In Sapporo: Jingisukan (Genghis Khan)
One of the must eat food in Hokkaido is the Genghis Khan (Jingisukan) BBQ meat.
Daruma is one of the must eat recommendations to have Genghis Khan BBQ meat!
I dropped by the main outlet but the queue was very long.
There are several outlets clustered close to each other so if one is fully queued, just head to the other. I went to Daruma 6.4 outlet (click to get map)
Inside is warm and cosy and you can hear the sizzling of the meat and chatter of the patrons eating.
You’ll be smelling like bbq after eating but they have lockers to help you put your jackets in so that it won’t smell after your meal.
You just order the Genghis Khan (785 Yen) (you can ask for english menu).
The pan heated by charcoals and is topped with lots of onions and you’ll be given raw mutton which you’ll bbq yourself.
You’ll be given some condiments like kimchi which is delicious.
How you cook it is by cooking the lard on top first to grease the plate.
Then you place the meat to BBQ it. Once it’s done, you can leave it on the onions to soak the oil and later dip it into the sauce and eat!
Don’t forget to order a beer as it really goes well with the bbq meat!
Here’s a menu and instructions on how to eat the Genghis Khan.
Note that the shops open late in the evening and closes at 5 am.
So makes a perfect supper during the cold winter if you are hungry during the midnight!
Back to Hotel
After a good supper, I took a walk back to the hotel and rest for the night.
Continue to Day 2!
Looking for More Itineraries For Hokkaido?
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 2 (Sapporo – Nijio Market – Odori Park – Mt Moiwa)
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 3 (Sapporo – Wholesale Curb Market – Hokkaido University – Otaru)
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 4 (Sapporo – Noboribetsu)
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 5 (Noboribetsu – Hakodate – Mt Hakodate)
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 6 (Hakodate – Yamadera – Yamagata)
- Amazing Japan 11D10N: Day 7 (Yamagata – Mt Zao – Tokyo)
- 7D6N Hokkaido Trip Day 4 (Sounkyo – Asahikawa – Furano – Otofuke)
- Top 50 Things to Do and Experience In Hokkaido
Thinking of going to Japan?
Check out my guide on How to Plan a Trip to Japan!