It’s already time for the post about our 4th day in Hokkaido. We spent this entire day in the biggest city in the North of Japan: Sapporo. Sapporo is also the fourth largest city in Japan is you’re looking at population, which is quite different from the rest of Hokkaido, where you can see almost no one on the streets.
We started out with a visit to the Shiroi Koibito Park. We found this place somewhere on a website and when we looked it up on Google maps, we thought we saw some nice houses, so we decided to visit this place. What we didn’t know, was that the Shiroi Koibito Park is actually a big chocolate factory!
Outside of the factory you can find all sorts of decorations. I’m not sure what they are supposed to be, but at least they looked quite beautiful and they gave the factory a cheerful appearance.
Right after we got into the factory building (or at least we thought it was the entrance to the factory), we walked into the souvenir shop that sold all sorts of candy and chocolate! It was the end of the factory tour, but we looked around nonetheless. Beautiful packages and colors, all sorts of sweets and other candy. Wonderful is you have a sweet tooth!
So we walked outside again to find the entrance to the factory and thus to the tour around the factory. We bumped into this massive masterpiece first. It wasn’t made out of real candy, but it was very impressive to see!
And finally we found the actual entrance! After paying the entrance fees, we did not only receive our tickets, but also a cookie and a piece of chocolate. These were both made in the chocolate factory and they tasted pretty okay. Especially the cookie! The tour took us around the factory, through rooms with mugs for hot chocolate and also right next to the actual factory where they were producing cookies.
Next up was the old village in Sapporo. This was a recreation of how old Japanese villages looked like in the past. You could walk into all of the buildings and look at the inside of the houses how it was a long time ago.
It was very nice to see the buildings and to walk around the village, but the only problem for the smaller houses was that if you wanted to get inside, you had to remove your shoes. This is very common in Japanese houses: you are not allowed to walk inside the house with your shoes on. I can understand this, but for the winter months it was just too cold to remove your shoes every single time that you wanted to visit one of the houses. So that meant that we didn’t get a look inside every house.
Nonetheless, for the houses that we thought were special enough, we took out our shoes and walked around. Japanese houses look completely different from Western style houses, so this was quite an experience!
After visiting the old village, we drove into the city center. This was very busy comparing to the other cities that we visited (Furano and Asahikawa). It reminded me a bit of a smaller and little less busy version of Toronto or New York. And as I always try to do during my trips: I visited the highest point in town where you can actually go. This time it was the JR Tower, which is the tower that is attached to the JR train station.
The train station itself was attached to a big mall as well. That’s very common in Japan: you can see lots of shopping malls attached to train stations. We went all the way up to the 38th floor to have a good view of the city. Sapporo is surrounded by a lot of mountains, which creates an impressive sight with all the building and the mountains in the distance.
And of course, because we were cold again, we had a nice hot chocolate at the top of the JR building. They also had some chairs and tables around, so you could enjoy your beverage or snack whilst enjoying the views.
Old Government Office Building
After the pretty views and our late lunch, we started walking towards the Odori Park. On the way there, we first arrived at the Old Government Office Building. This was a huge building built with red stones. We didn’t go inside, but the outside was impressive. It is located next to a small park with some water. The atmosphere was quite cozy.
When we arrived at Odori Park, it was already dark, but that was actually a very good thing! That’s because every year in the winter months, Sapporo organizes its annual White Illumination festival. This means that Odori Park is covered with bright lights in all different kinds of colors. There was a small (German) Christmas market as well, right next to the TV tower.
The TV tower was also covered by lights. As you can see it was only 4:43 when we were around the TV tower, but it was already completely dark. In front of the tower, they placed a big Christmas tree made out of small lights with a big heart shape at the bottom of the tree.
You could see illuminated objects all around the park, separated by theme or by color. For more pictures of these lights, you can look on my Flickr page (Click here!).
And also the streets around the park were covered with lights, like you can see in the trees below.
Visited on the 265th of November, 2016