Thursday, 31 December 2015


We left our very last Ryokan stay and bid farewell to sleepy Noboribetsu. We had an early train to catch bound for Sapporo. Unfortunately many attractions in Sapporo have closed for the New Year period including the Clock Tower. We dumped our bags and made a beeline for Shiroi Koibito Park. Shiroi Koibito is a biscuit made of chocolate sandwiched between langue de chat. I first started to get addicted to them from my days of working for a Japanese company. My boss used to bring them back to the office from his trips to Japan. Well guess what? Sapporo is the home of Shiroi Koibito! It is also apparently the second most popular souvenir that Japanese buy.

The "factory" was a rather unusual tudor-esque building with eclectic collections including gramophones and old toys. It did run through the process of how chocolate is created as well as how the biscuit is made. There were large panes with views into the production area. Unfortunately, it was packed when we went which made it very difficult to read and take in everything. The cafe which sold ice-creams and trreats was also highly popular, partly because it had a birds eye view of the surrounds. We had to wait for 30 minutes to get a seat, but were glad we did! The one disappointing thing was that the biscuits were not cheaper at the factory than at other outlets. The only difference was that they had special souvenir combinations that were available elsewhere. With so many people in the store, we had to move with the tide of human bodies. We had at most a mere 2 or 3 seconds to decide whether or not we wanted a particular box before we were shuffled past it. Paranoia set in and we grabbed as many boxes as we could that were labelled "not available at New Chitose Airport". We left with $183 worth of biscuits!

Part of the factory!

A fountain made by Royal Doulton in the late 1800s as you enter

Part of the collection of diaromas to relay how chocolate is made

One of the views of the factory floor

gramophone collection...

One could get married is proof

Our "lunch"

At 3pm, we lugged our haul to Stellar Place at Sapporo Station to have a sushi "lunch" at the well-known Hanamaru. We were too late even for dinner. The restaurant had tickets patrons take to join the queue. By the time we arrived, all the queue tickets for the day were gone!! We trudged into the closest restaurant which looked reasonable and had our default pork cutlets instead. A reliably tasty and cheap meal!

No Hanamaru sushi for us :(

The grate for Sapporo. Finally found one not covered up by snow!

Our post "lunch" shop at Stellar Place did not last long. We survived the hordes at the food section of Daimaru long enough to purchase some breads and headed for our base for our Sapporo stay. We made reservations at Hotel Clubby we were able to get two very rare QUADRUPLE rooms. Yes you read correctly! FOUR beds in the one Japanese hotel room and with space to spare for our large suitcases!

The range of Star Wars merchandise in Japan is mind-boggling but this one takes the cake. Moving R2D2 fridge!

Darth Vader vacuum anyone?!?!

Kit Kat store!

Butter, strawberry and maple, sakura and green tea to add to our collection of shinshu apple, rum and raisin, wasabi, red bean, oolong tea, and the bakeable kit kat...

Everyone was too tired to go out again and so it was a quite New Year's Eve for the family, much like our other New Year's Eves...


  1. I didn't realise as you did about the distinctive grates - makes me wonder what Kanasawa grate emblem was! probably related to its infamous garden.

  2. Give the children something else specific to look for in each place we visit! Otaru's is 2 beavers but I couldn't find one to photograph :(