Another snowy morning. Everyone was in the mood for a nice breakfast so we walked over to JR Sapporo Station. There were a couple of cafes that opened at 7.30 am. I brought the group to Ueshima Coffee Shop at APIA as it was on route to Odori subway station where we’ll be taking the Tozai Line to Shiroi Koibito Park, or more commonly known as White Chocolate Lovers factory.Everyone chose breakfast sets. I opted for yogurt and my favourite milk tea from a nearby Lawsons.Sapporo has 3 subway lines – Tozai, Toho and Namboku. Shiroi Koibito Park was located near Miyanosawa, the first station on the Tozai Line. I could have taken the Toho or Namboku Line from Sapporo Station, alight at the next stop which is Odori Station and change to Tozai Line. Instead, I chose to walk through the Sapporo Ekimae-dori underground walkway (Chi-Ka-Ho) that links Sapporo subway station to Odori subway station. It was a straight and spacious path with exit points to various places which we would explore later in the trip. For today, we just walked to Odori and took the subway. Prior to the trip, I studied Google Map to find a sheltered walking route from Miyanosawa Station to Shiroi. I was hoping to avoid the cold and the slippery pavements. I couldn’t find any and none of the blogs I read wrote about it. Thankfully when we exited Miyanosawa Station, we got an access map that showed an underground walkway.There were also clear signage directing us to Shiroi.The underground passage did not take us directly to the chocolate factory. We needed to exit from Chieria, which was like a lifelong learning centre, and walk in the open for a short distance.Here’s what the courtyard of Shiroi Koibito Park looked like in winter once you entered through the metal gates.If you want to take a tour of the factory, go to the ticket counter at the building with the clock tower. Pay 600 yen and you’ll be given a passport and a free sample of the famous white chocolate cookie.Before you start the tour, check out the restroom near the ticket counter. I chose the Warwick cubicle and inside was so pretty. It just occurred to me as I was writing this post that I should have gone into the other cubicles and see if the toilet bowl designs were different.Some of my favourite shots during the tour …And then we have the production line for Shiroi Koibito cookies.Notice the big bag of rejected cookies? We were guessing our free samples came from there.We decided to skip the Chocolate Lounge and go straight to the souvenir shop. I tried the soft-serve and the gateau, and concluded I’m not a fan of Ishiya products. The plan for the rest of the day was to explore Odori area so we headed back the same way we came. Coming out of Odori Station, we entered Chi-Ka-Ho and took the first exit (either 11 or 13) on our left to Odori Bisse, a commercial building with mostly F&B establishments. A friend recommended us to try a steak restaurant here. At first I thought it was 43° Steak House which I read about but it was actually Tamura on Level 4.The rest of the group weren’t too keen to eat beef so we split up. My parents and sister chose Sushi Natsume, while my aunts and cousin went Yoshimi. After studying the menu, my husband ordered a Hokkaido Wagyu Beef Special Yakiniku set, a Hokkaido Beef BBQ set, a Hokkaido Wagyu Beef Hamburg and a Hokkaido Wagyu Beef Cheese Hamburg. Everything was super delicious. At first we were a bit overwhelmed by the amount of food but we managed to finish all of it. Considering the quantity and quality served, it’s really value for money. And definitely go during lunch because it’s much cheaper.
For those into desserts, there’s a Bisse Sweets on Level 1 where you can enjoy Snaffle’s, Bocca, Machimura, Honma Seika and Kinotoya. We were way too full so after meeting up with the rest of the group we went shopping.
The older folks wanted to go Daiso, the younger wanted Animate. Instead of walking in the open which Google Map suggested, we chose to take the underground passage – Sapporo Chikagai.
The underground starts from Odori Subway Station and runs perpendicular from there. On one side is Aurora Town that ends at Sapporo TV Tower, on the other is Pole Town that ends at Susukino Subway Station. We took the Pole Town route and came out to the open from one of the exits. From there it was a short walk to Daiso. This was one of those big outlets with several floors. Across the road was Animate. My girls and my sister are into anime so they were eager to get their hands on their favourite anime merchandise, which at that time were Haikyuu and Bungou Stray Dogs.
I wasn’t interested in either shops and wanted to explore elsewhere on my own. There was Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade, Tokyu Hands and Central. But I was feeling quite tired and didn’t like the idea of walking alone. Thankfully there was a Daikoku Drug Store beside Animate so I spent my time there and rested at a small seating area inside the shop.
It was the 15th Sapporo German Christmas Market when we were there. Every year they have a theme and merchandise to go with it, which you could purchase at the Original Goods Shop. I chose to get a folder.We thought of having dinner at the market but it was too cold to eat outdoors, so we left to see the illumination.There were a couple more illuminations down the entire stretch of Odori Park. Unfortunately, everybody was cold and tired so we headed back to JR Sapporo Station.
Dinner was at Sapporo Ramen Kyowakoku. Located on level 10 at ESTA, this place housed eight different ramen eateries. When we arrived, every establishment was crowded. After walking a full round, we managed to find enough seats for all of us at Yoshiyama Shouten. I personally found the soup here a tad too salty and the pork was on the fatty side. However, the group of Japanese high school students sitting beside us happily slurped down their bowls of ramen.