Sapporo (札幌), the major city in the northern island, Hokkaido. Although it is the capital of the island, the city itself seemed a bit mute compared the other cities. To me, it reminded a bit like Toronto, because it is a large city, lots of shopping areas, and modern buildings. Although I thought the city itself was a bit boring (I’m not much of a shopper), it’s really a good place to base out; they have cheap hotels (Super Hotel) that are really nice for the price, and everything interesting is quickly accessible by JR.
I went there for a week during the winter festival, in February. It was surprisingly cold, but what made up for it is the amount of snow the city receives. I have always preferred winters with an abundance of snow, as oppose to the damp wet winters Toronto got a few times. There weren’t that many tourists as I expected, but I suppose those two come to Japan for vacation would try to go there during a warmer time? Or maybe those that go there spend most of the day in the Niseko (the famous mountain range that receives the most amount of high quality powered snow in the world).
In any case, Hokkaido is definitely a nice place to go, and Sapporo is worth the visit if you’re already there.
SNOW SCULPTURE – One of the many sculptures that are in Sapporo during the snow festival. Every morning a group of the creators clean up the sculptures of the freshly fallen snow. The people in the picture really provides a scale of how big these sculptures are.
DISNEY LAND – A large snow sculpture in Sapporo’s city centre. It depicts Mickey and gang and the 25th anniversary of Disney Land in Japan.
SEAFOOD BBQ – This was really cool and I wished there were more stores like this. The store is an all you can eat restaurant that provided a large variety of fresh hard shell seafood (and some raw meat).
GENGHIS KHAN – Formerly a conquering emperor of the Mongol Empire, he is now reincarnated in Sapporo as an all you can eat mutton dinner. In some places, like in the Sapporo beer factory, it’s an all you can eat and drink meal.
GARUDA & NAGA – The Thailand’s entry for the snow sculpture contest. It is of the legendary animals of Thailand that represent wealth and power.
GIANT KIWI – The snow sculpture entry by Australia. Maybe one of the few native Australia animals that are not poisonous or will try to eat you.
HAPPY FACES – It’s been a few years, and I’ve forgotten the names of these characters, but they seem so happy.