Otaru pt 1 – daytime wanderings (mostly food)

Pretty sure I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I have a bit of a soft spot for small towns. Not sure how I’d go living in one for a long time, but they sure are lovely places to visit. One of my most favourite places in Japan was a small rural town: Otaru is located somewhere west of Sapporo, in Hokkaido, and we visited on February 8th.

Otaru is only about half an hour from Sapporo by train. Things like this amaze me because sometimes it takes over half an hour to get from one part of Brisbane to another by train – on one train line, travelling through the same city!

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Asahikawa pt 2 – Winter Festival

This year, the Asahikawa Winter Festival was held over the same week as the Sapporo Snow Festival. Since Asahikawa isn’t too far from Sapporo, it was an easy decision to add it to our itinerary when KF and I visited Japan in February. It is a considerably smaller city (about a fifth (?) of the population of Sapporo) so the festival wasn’t quite as big as Sapporo’s, but still worth the trip.

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Asahikawa pt 1 – Asahiyama Zoo

I’ve lived my whole life in Australia, in a place that doesn’t snow. Growing up, I’d watch American movies and TV shows (and probably some British ones too), and always see those stereotypical scenes of children waking up to snow (usually on or around Christmas), and I’d think how wonderful that would be (on any day of the year). So you can probably imagine my delight, on the morning February 7th (yes, these posts are taking a lot longer than I’d originally foreseen), when I peered out the window of our Sapporo hotel, and saw flurries of glorious snow falling from the sky!

The snow continued to fall quite heavily as we left our hotel and made our way to Susukino Station. I could not take the smile from my face. (I was probably also still on a high from the Sapporo Snow Festival the day before.)

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Sapporo Yuki Matsuri – part 2 (Susukino)

I reckon I could’ve spent the entire day at Odori Park for the Sapporo Snow Festival – just eating, and watching random performances on the snow stages, and drinking hot sake and hot mojitos (yes, hot mojitos are a thing, and they are delicious; plus, with the lime and mint together in a hot beverage, it almost feels like it’s actually good for you) – but, of course, there was more to see, and time was limited!

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Thursday Doors – Sapporo Shiryokan

The Sapporo Shiryokan, also known as the Former Court of Appeals, sits at the western-most end of Odori Park. Amidst explorations of the Sapporo Snow Festival, I took a moment to stop and admire this regal building and its neat gardens.

From what I gather from this website, it’s now used as an art gallery and museum of sorts. (Side note: it’s so weird seeing a photo of the gardens (on the website) with so much colour, and none of that snow it was buried under when I was there!)

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