(This post is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the very beginning, click here.)
It’s Day 2 in Sapporo! Usually, during holidays, we start early to make the most of daylight. But for this trip, early morning = VERY COLD, so we started out a bit later, at about 9am. Outside our window, we can see fresh snow. The Sapporo Streetcar, a tram service circling the city, runs right beside us.
But before that, always start with a good breakfast. We bought some food from the convenience store the night before. If you have the chance, buy their fresh milk here in Hokkaido. And I always try the instant ramen at any chance.
Today, we have a full itinerary. We’re going to the Ishiya Chocolate Factory, lunch at Curb Market, visit the Tsudome site, then visit the Sapporo Beer Museum.
Both the chocolate factory and curb market are quite a distance from the city centre, so we took a long walk to the Nishi Jyuhachi Chome subway station (the nearer Susukino station is on a different line). From there, we take the train all the way to Miyanosawa station at the end of the orange line. From the station, the factory is a short walk away.
Ishiya is a large company in Japan that manufactures and sells different types of chocolates and biscuits. They’ve turned this factory into a park of sorts, where you can visit the factory and try your hand at making chocolates. The park is called Shiroi Koibito, which means White Lover (in reference to their most popular product). In spring, the park is covered with colourful flowers. In winter, they have lots of sculptures for photo ops.
There are two types of tour you can take. One is guided, which costs more. Of course we took the self-walking tour. It costs JPY 600 per person, and you get a complimentary biscuit, which is their best selling product.
Actually, in the first part of the tour, there isn’t much interesting to see. Just a lot of faux-Renaissance decor and collection of plates and manufacturing equipment and the ilk. Then there are some explanation on the history of chocolate and the company, followed by the explanation of the manufacturing process.
At the end of the factory tour, there is a nice cafe with a view of the park and the mountains in the distance. You can also see the animated show that comes on every hour.
The coffee, chocolate and ice-cream served here is delicious. They really know how to make good chocolate.
The beautiful view as you sip hot chocolate. The wide open space you see is actually a stadium. Ishiya sponsors a J-League football team called Consadole Sapporo, and that is their training ground.
After the cafe you will come to a big shop where you can buy any of their products. If you don’t want to carry it around, you can buy it anywhere in Hokkaido, the price is the same. Don’t forget to get your tax refund if you spend over JPY 5,400.
After spending more time taking photos in the park (though it was snowing quite heavily then), it was time to leave. Across the road there is a large Book-off. This chain is very popular here in Hokkaido.
Along the way back to the subway station, we saw an open field with nice, clean snow. We couldnt help but make some snowballs and our first snow man.
Next – Lunch at Curb Market