Today started with breakfast at a local Starbucks – the coffee was nice enough, but the food wasn’t so great. After a brief return to the room to get organised for a full day in the city, we set out and walked to the TV Tower at street level. (Underground passages were also available, but we stayed outside as it wasn’t snowing.)
Ascending the tower on arrival, we got some good, clear views of the city, including City Hall and right along Odori Park, the main site of the Snow Festival to which we would be returning once darkness had fallen. Our next stop was at the Sapporo Clock Tower, regarded as a symbol of the city and an almost obligatory stop for all visitors. Its surprisingly Western appearance is a reminder that the city was initially built with American involvement. Today, the building houses a small museum, hosts occasional concerts and can be rented for private functions.
… Noon …
Next up was Nijo Market, which specialises in fish. We walked there in something close to blizzard conditions; thankfully these proved to be short-lived. We had originally hoped to find some lunch at the market, but were put off by the high prices. Instead, we made for the oddly named Sapporo Factory, a modern shopping mall and wider entertainment and business complex, based in a former brewery and enhanced by a splendid new atrium. There, our search for an eating venue proved successful. Bruce had a tempura set lunch, while I enjoyed a bowl of soup topped with an omelette.
Another short walk took us to our final objective during daylight hours, the Sapporo Beer Museum. Perhaps not surprisingly, this proved to be an enormously popular attraction. We did the tour and the experience ended with sampling a three-beer ‘flight’.
… and Night, in Sapporo
Our night visit to Odori Park, principal site of the Snow Festival, again started at the TV Tower. This time, we accessed it via the subterranean passages; there was no point in getting too chilled, too soon. We enjoyed the various snow sculptures (many of which were on a massive scale), light shows and food stalls, although some of the latter were better than others. Soon enough, we found ourselves back in Susukino.