(This post is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the very beginning, click here.)
From Asahiyama Zoo, we took the free shuttle bus back to the JR train station (this time we all got seats). The train station was quite empty, as it was quite early in the afternoon. I can imagine how packed this station will be later at 5pm when zoo is closed. We were looking for a cafe or a snack bar to get some hot food and drinks, but there weren’t any after the turnstiles, but we found one on the platform. We bought some hot coffee.
When the train arrived, we had to wait about 10 minutes while the station workers hurried to turn the all seats around, clear the rubbish and scrape the ice off the entrance.
This time we got comfortable seats, though the train was also quite packed with standing passengers. Finally, we got 90 minutes of good rest and sleep.
By the time, we reached Sapporo, it was about 5.30pm and dark outside. First things first, navigate the maze that is Sapporo Station to find the Daimaru department store. Our mission – to buy LeTao Double Frommage cheesecake. LeTao is a popular brand across Hokkaido (especially in Otaru), but since we were here in Sapporo Station, we wanted to buy one to sample it.
We found it after a little walking around. They have a lot of delicacies on offer, it is a little tough not to buy them all. We also tried their chocolate Swiss roll. But the cheesecake… mmm…. this is a must-try if you are in Hokkaido.
Next, we took a subway to Odori Station (1 station away). There is actually an underground walkway from Sapporo to Odori station lined with shops, but we took the train instead. Next on the itinerary is Tokyu Hands, the mega store that sells stationery and almost every other household item you need.
But we went straight to the 6th floor to check out the stationery. Alyssa wanted to buy some ink pens for her friend.
At the ground floor they also had some discount clearance items, including chocolate.
Our main destination is Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade. This a 1.5km long shopping street that runs parallel to Odori Park. Most major cities in Japan have many numerous streets like this, partially covered from the elements and packed with restaurants and shops. We were looking for a nice place to eat sushi.
We found every other type of restaurant except an affordable sushi place, including McDonald’s. There was one sushi place, but it looked rather pricey. There were a lot of places serving Hokkaido specialties, though, like seafood hotpot, shoyu ramen, ikura don (salmon roe rice bowl), etc.
And guess what else we found in the far northern frozen tundra of Japan, 6,000 km from home…?
Honestly, I’ve read about these two restaurants (located side by side) and they seem to be popular with the locals here…
But there are lots of other shops to look at if you’re into shopping. They have a few good shoe shops, lots of drug stores, pachinko and arcades, and stores similar to Daiso. But this one store caught our attention…
Finally, after walking the length of the shopping street at least twice, we couldn’t find a suitable restaurant to makan, so we decided to walk back towards our hotel 4 blocks away. Just outside Tanukikoji, we found this small curry soup restaurant called Ouchi!
The place was so small they have 6 tables only. We tried their Furano Pork Hamburger, chicken soup and cubed pork versions of the soup curry. Their version of the curry was slightly different from Suage+ two days ago, but it was also very good. I would recommend this place if you are looking for soup curry near Tanukikoji.
It was a good, hearty dinner after a long, long day out. We were out for almost 12 hours today (and almost every day here with exception of the first and fifth day), despite our initial plan of doing a less packed itinerary. But it was really fun today. The Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade is the only large shopping street in Sapporo, compared to Kyoto and Osaka where they had many.
This was our loot for the day. The oranges were from Tanukikoji, the croissant, ramen and sushi was from Lawson for our breakfast tomorrow.
Next – onward to Rusutsu.