life · travel

Sapporo 2019 Part 2! Canals, Ice and Snow Miku!

Hello hello, I am back today continuing with finally covering the trip I took to Sapporo in February 2019, to meet my best friend ❤ If you haven’t seen part one of my trip, you can click on this link to see what I got up to. So, let’s get stuck into the rest of the trip- be warned, it is quite picture heavy!

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After visiting Maruyama (in my last post), the next trip I took with my best friend was to visit the town of OtaruWe took a bus to the area from Sapporo itself. Otaru generally is quite a cute little town known for its glassware, but in February it puts on its own snow festival, which is really well known. There were lots of mini snow sculptures dotted all around the town; most of which the shops themselves have made ❤ It was super cute, and it made it almost like a mini treasure hunt as you weren’t sure which shops has taken part!

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My faves definitely have the be the little snow house and the BIG boy in the bow tie, haha!

So during the day my friend and I mainly explored the area and all the little independent shops. They also had a free rest area with heating to help recharge when we got too cold, which was so nice! 🙂

Then in the evening the second part of the snow festival really takes form- all the lights come on! ❤ One of the most famous parts of the town (and the festival) is the canal, and during this festivals there are candles both in and along the side of the canal, making it a really cute illuminated walk~

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We also briefly visited another illuminated walk in a park on the way to the station. We didn’t go too far down as we didn’t want to miss the next train, but there were some amazingly detailed ice structures to go with the candles! It was super fun, there’s something special about seeing decorative lights at night 🙂

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The next festive location I visited with my friend was the Ishiya Chocolate Factory, or Shiroi Koibito park. Shiroi Koibito means “white lover” in Japanese, and it is actually the a type of biscuit that the factory is most well known for! Essentially it is two thin crisps sort of biscuit, with a layer of white chocolate in the middle.

The factory itself is a romantic-looking affair, in the form of a Tudor-styled building. It also has a park/garden at the front that is typically themed according to the year. Of course because I visited in the winter months it was covered in lights and snowmen- it was particularly nice once it started to get dark! Photos below:

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I have to admit, the day I went the factory itself was closed for maintenance, but usually you can go for a tour and see the chocolate/biscuits being made. It was a shame though, as the factory inside has a really elegant theme running through!

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Either way it was nice for me to spend the afternoon looking round the small park, and of course I had to buy some Shiroi Koibito biscuits as souvenirs. 🙂

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While in Sapporo my friend’s partner had a car, and so I was lucky to get the opportunity to visit a festival in the mountains! ❤ I can’t remember exactly but I feel like it was 1-1.5 hours drive from Sapporo, along winding roads through the mountain area. There was some great views, and we spent the journey listening to Yonezu Kenshi, so it was a really nice journey. Eventually we ended up at our destination- Lake Shikotsu! And what a destination- look at the view ❤ ❤

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I was in awe at how beautiful the place is, the lake stretches so far too! And in winter, they host the Lake Shikotsu ice festival– they use the lake water and spray it around to create some truly impressive structures. It was cold, but a lot of fun to experience a new festival in Hokkaido. After 4:30pm the ice structures are illuminated too, followed by a firework show finale. I’ll include some pictures below. It was suuuper cold (definitely couldn’t feel my toes at the end of the night), but it was so fun, and such a unique experience for me. It isn’t something I would have done myself without the help of my friend and her partner, so thank you! ❤

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In everything I have talked about in these two Sapporo posts, I have tried to cover the main seasonal & tourist-y things I did in the area. Of course, in between these experiences I did some more exploring- I went to Karaoke, went to a language class (where I sucked), did A LOT of shopping and took so many purikura ❤ However, the good times had to come to an end, so I sadly made my way back to Sapporo airport.

However, something I didn’t experience when I arrived, but Sapporo airport is huge!! There is so much there, I mean they even had a cinema and spa there! My flight was delayed and the airline gave me some vouchers, so I decided to explore a little. And, right at the top of the airport, is a Hatsune Miku museum!

 

Hatsune Miku is a vocaloid- a computer engineered singer- who si from Sapporo. She is also the Snow festival mascot, so at this time of year she is more popular than usual. But the airport has a full museum dedicated to her or, more specifically, her time as the snow festival mascot. They had an area showing all the snow festival designs over the years, as well as a section where famous artists had drawn Miku 🙂 It is a small area, but I loved seeing all the designs (2017 Miku– with the darker blue outfit above- is my favourite).

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Alas, but sadly all good things must come to an end, and I unfortunately had to make my way back to England. I had so much fun with my best friend; not only was it my first time in Sapporo but it was my first time experiencing such a level of snow, let alone amazing winter-themed festivals! It was an amazing experience, and I cant wait until I can next visit her again ❤

But that concludes my very late travel post about my trip to Sapporo! As it has been so long I may be forgetting some of the more specific information, so do let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to answer them 🙂

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