(This post is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the very beginning, click here.)
From the Tsudome site, we walked back to the subway station and took a short train ride to Higashi-kuyakusho-mae Station. Our last stop for the day is the Sapporo Beer Museum. From the station, to walk quite a little distance to the Museum. At this juncture, we got a little lost, since it was quite dark already, and fresh snow had covered whatever shortcut path (mostly through side lanes and parking spaces). And to top it all off, our WiFi egg battery was dead so we could not use Google Maps. But getting some directions from the guy at the convenience store, and following some fellow pedestrians, we found our way to the Museum.
The Sapporo Beer Museum is a large building that once used to be a beer factory. It has been converted to a small museum, and the ancillary buildings have been turned into a restaurants, called the Sapporo Beer Garden. The main attraction here is to eat Jingisukan, or Genghis Khan, a local delicacy.
But first, we went to the museum. If you are planning to eat dinner here, do book your table as soon as you arrive at the museum, before going for the tour. Waiting time is usually 1-2 hours due to the popularity of the restaurants here. When we booked our table, we were told that the next available table would only be ready in 1.5 hours.
So we went to tour the museum first.
Entry to the museum is free of charge, but if you want to participate in the beer tasting, there is a fee.
The museum is rather small, with video and exhibits detailing the history of the beer factory from its humble beginnings to becoming the biggest beer producer in the country. They are a few interesting exhibits in Japanese and English, but the whole museum is rather small. We finished walking through it in about 30 minutes. We didn’t participate in the beer tasting, so we basically sat down and waited for another half an hour before going back to the counter to ask about our table.
We were in luck. Our table was ready earlier, after only 1 hour. So they gave us our tickets, and gave us directions walk to the adjoining building. Sapporo Beer Garden consists of 4 different restaurants, ranging from the affordable to fine dining. We chose Kessel Hall, as they had this really affordable all-you-can-eat offer for JPY 2,900 per person.
Kessel Hall is on the 1st floor of the Garden, and is a very, very big hall with many tables. Jingisukan, or Genghis Khan, is lamnb meat BBQ-ed on a special helmet shaped pan. I guess the helmet looks like something Genghis Khan would have worn, hence the name stuck (contrary to popular belief, this dish did not originate from Mongolia). So for our package, we get free flow of cabbages, onions, pumpkins, and two different cuts of lamb meat. They also give you a cube of lamb fat to oil the pan.
The place is so smoky that before you start, they give you a plastic bag to put all your jackets and outer clothes in, then hang it under your table. This is to avoid your clothes from absorbing all the smell and smoke.
Beer is a separate order, though. But of course, you can’t come to Sapporo Beer Garden and NOT have beer! But it is not just vegetables and mutton, they have other stuff to eat like crab and sushi.
So you just keep loading the ingredients onto the pan and cooking it. They give you clear instructions on how to BBQ if you are not familiar with it.
For the buffet, they give you a 90 minute time limit, though. Honestly, you can’t eat a lot since the meat takes some time to cook, and it is a lot of work to keep flipping the meat to get it evenly cooked.
But we really enjoyed the meal. The meat is really succulent and juicy, and according to them, lamb meat is a healthier than most other red meat. This is something I would recommend you to try if you are in Hokkaido. There are Jingisukan restaurants all over Sapporo, but this one is one of the more popular ones.
Next – Zoo!