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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Sapporo Yuki Matsuri – part 1 (Odori Park)

Well, after all this build up, I’m finally at my Sapporo Snow Festival (Yuki Matsuri) post, so I won’t waste any more time. Lots of photos in this one too! (Well, it’s a lot compared to my usual posts. I actually took SO MANY photos, it was so hard to pick just a few to include in this post.)

This was February 6th, the first day of the 68th Sapporo Snow Festival, which would run for an entire week. Even after wanting to attend this event for so long, I don’t think I really knew what to expect. I mean, I knew there’d be impressive snow sculptures, but, honestly, I knew little else about the festival. But I was so excited, and I was probably on a high the whole day.

At the end of our holiday, when I asked KF what part of the trip was her favourite, her answer was Sapporo, which both surprised me (because she doesn’t like cold weather) and didn’t surprise me (because it was always going to be my favourite).  Continue reading

off to Sapporo! (…two months ago)

I can’t believe two months have already passed since I went to Sapporo! The memory has become almost dream-like in quality, so I suppose I’d better get on with writing my snow festival posts before I’m awake for too long and can’t recall all the glittering details!

Quick geography lesson: Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido, which is the northernmost of Japan’s main islands. It is possible to travel to Sapporo, from Tokyo, by shinkansen (bullet train), but this would take at least an entire day (if exclusively using JR trains, to make use of pre-bought JR passes), and wouldn’t really be worth it unless you were planning to stop for a while at some of the in-between towns. I mean, this would’ve been a great option, but we were short on time, so I made the executive decision to fly instead.

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