the plane left for Hokkaido at 12:45PM, very close to midnight. aina was very sleepy. after watching 1 movie on the plane, we basically slept the whole way to Sapporo… we woke up as soon as the wheel touched the ground. yay!
we landed at 8 in the morning at New Chitose Airport, which was the perfect time for breakfast. we found a very cute Doraemon Cafe for breakfast… yes, perfect, indeed!
a day early for a birthday wish, but otherwise a perfect cup of chocolate… maybe it’d wake up the sleepyhead 🙂 and it turns out that Aina is still shorter than Doraemon. although taller than Dorami…
oh yea, before breakfast, we went to pick up our Pocket Wifi at the post office. you see, to stay connected with the internet on this trip, we decided to rent a Pocket WIFI from Global Advanced Communication. in Japan, free WIFI is scarce, so your better bet is either renting a local SIM card with data or a Pocket WIFI. we chose Pocket WIFI so that we can share with the rest of the group.
according to Global, since we’re going to be visiting Hokkaido and its mountain areas, we should rent the Premium WIFI. they can send it to your hotel or to the post office at the airport where you land. it came with a charger and a return envelope. and when you leave Japan, you can just put the it into the return envelope and drop it into any post box, which are usually available in all airports in Japan. very convenient!
the New Chitose Airport, the international airport of Sapporo, is a very kids-friendly airport. it has this thing called Smile Road on the 2nd floor, connecting the domestic and the international terminal. since we can’t check in to our hotel until 2pm, we decided to explore the Smile Road before leaving the airport.
the Doraemon Cafe is a part of the Doraemon Wakuwaku Sky Park. we didn’t go in, because aina wasn’t interested, but even the outside is fun enough. there were photobooths and stuff, but you have to pay to get in or to participate. so we just walked around and enjoyed the freebies.
next on the Smile Road was the Steiff Museum. again, we didn’t get in, because at that time, the museum was not open yet. it looks like everything there open at 10-10:30am. they have stuffed animals the size of the real thing… and the theme was, i think, africa… so, you can imagine what we saw. a stuffed lion, a stuffed rhino, and even a stuffed elephant, all in real size… crazy!
we also passed the Royce Chocolate World. they have the chocolate factory on display, and an exhibition about chocolates all over the world. it was fun!
there some stores in the Smile Road too, like this Hello Kitty Store, which aina spent some time in (good thing she didn’t spend any money 😅).
the airport was also decorated with lots of Trick-Art murals. we haven’t had time to visit the Trick-Art museum in Singapore, so aina had a lot of fun with those art here in the airport…
after walking around the airport for a few hours, we took the train to Sapporo Station. the Hotel we’re staying was only two blocks away from the station, so we just walked there.
we learned our lesson from our previous trip to Tokyo last year. aina fell sick for the whole 4 days and we were homebound pretty much for the whole trip. this time we planned to sleep and rest often. so as soon as we checked in, we went to bed again for a nap. we were still full from the late breakfast at the Doraemon Cafe, so we just bought some onigiri and Giant Caplico* from a convenient store (konbini) at the Sapporo Station, before checking in to the hotel… we had our light lunch in bed 🙂
i guess we were tired, because when we woke up, it was almost dinner time.
we went out and walked around the area for a bit. even though it was summer, once the sun started to come down, Hokkaido gets a bit chilly… especially for us, the equatorial people… 🙂 so, the three of us were bundled up with scarves and jacket, while some locals were in shorts and tanktops. we stuck out like a sore thumb, indeed.
we decided to try an izakaya on the basement of the station. it turns out to be so-so, although the place makes good photos…
that night, we took a warm bath (we don’t have a bathtub at home, so whenever we stay in a hotel that has a bathtub, aina has to bathe), and tried to sleep early. tomorrow would be a big and busy day…
more photos of the time we spent in Sapporo is in the Sapporo 2015 Flickr photo album.
Other entries of this trip is at Hokkaido Trip Summer 2015.
* Giant Caplico is a kind of japanese sweets. it’s shaped like an ice cream, but served in room temperature. when i was small, a supermarket my mother often go for groceries also sold Giant Caplicos. and my brother and i often got them as kiddy snacks. now, i can’t find them anymore, unless i go to konbinis in Japan. so, this is something that i always get when i visit Japan… childhood memory in a shape of a very sweet cone.