SAPPORO – JAPAN’S NORTHERN CITY

Four days in Sapporo is not nearly enough! The city has a lovely feel to it – unhurried, clean and very friendly. It is easy to walk around and the public transport is very frequent, efficient and cheap. We didn’t get into the mountains but did visit the pretty little town of Otaru.

The local train to the port city runs several times an hour and the journey takes about 40 minutes. Otaru flourished from the Meiji to the Trisha Era and was known as “the entrance of the North”. It is a fun place to walk around and our first encounter was with the fish market, situated next to the station.

This is a popular place for the locals as well as visitors and the variety of seafood on offer is staggering. We found a little restaurant behind one of the stalls and had a wonderful lunch of sashimi and rice with roe – the roe is plentiful and is sold in jars and buckets!

The Otaru Canal is a beautiful attraction and is reminiscent of days gone by. Old warehouses line the canal and are now shops and restaurants. There are other lovely historical buildings nearby which have been preserved and are also banks and offices.

That night, back in Sapporo, we went to Odori Park where the Autumn Festival was in full swing with food and drink stalls and tents in abundance. We wandered through the Park and ate the biggest scallops we have ever seen

Plus other delicacies and ramen noodles – which is a speciality of Sapporo.

The Hokkaido Historic Village is an open air museum of relocated and restored buildings that represent the history of Hokkaido from 1868 to the 1920’s. We reached it by local train from Sapporo and on entering took a short ride around the village in a horse drawn tram. In all there are 52 buildings representing the Town, a Fishing Village, Farm Village and a Mountain Village. Each building shows the lifestyle of the people of that era.

It was easy to imagine life in those days – and wonderful to see local schoolchildren enjoying an excursion to learn about the history of their region.

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