Friday 9 March 2018

Hokkaido Pt 10: Sapporo Sightseeing II

Tanukikoji Shopping Street
If you have very limited time but want to do some shopping in Sapporo, Tanukikoji Shopping Street is probably the best place to head to. Tanukikoji which mean 'Raccoon' is Hokkaido's oldest shopping arcade with a history that dates back 130 years. This street stretches 1 km from east to west traversing seven perpendicular streets and has about 200 shops with a wide range of merchandise. Other than souvenirs, you can find grocery stores, drugstores, fashion, digitalware, furniture, restaurants, 2nd hand shops and lots other things. It is also a place to get a better bargain considering the fact that things are generally expensive in Hokkaido.
The special thing about this shopping street is it is pedestrianized and totally covered with an arched roof so you don't have to worry about rain, cold or shine. It is broken at 7 spots by streets running perpendicular to it and crossing these sections you'll have to be careful as many vehicles will just speed through. 

Ganso Sapporo Ramen Yokocho
Ramen (noodles) is one Hokkaido's popular food and eateries selling ramen can be found almost everywhere. In Sapporo, there is a tiny alley that is famous for its miso ramen. Ganso Sapporo Ramen Yokocho (yokocho means side street) is a very tiny alley that runs perpendicular to two bigger streets in Susukino District. It was tricky finding this place as the alley is very narrow but we found it nevertheless. This alley is a few blocks south of Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade and not too far from Susukino Subway Station. A landmark that may help you find this place is ANA Holiday Inn which is just 67 meters away. 
This alley has a history dating back to 1951. It started with only 7 ramen stalls but today there are 17. The alley gained much popularity after the visit of Anthony Bourdain who came to dine at Aji No Karyu which is the first ramen stall at the entrance.
The eateries along the alley are all very small with seating capacity not exceeding 15. 
Each stall has its own menu. Walking down this alley you can find at least 100 types to choose from. They come in different flavours, different toppings and different pricing. 

Susukino District
Susukino district is the biggest entertainment hub of Hokkaido. The street is filled with bars, restaurants, karaoke outlets, shops and hotels. This is also the red light district of Hokkaido.

Susukino has a vibrant nightlife and the streets are brightly lighted up with neon lights at night.

Sapporo Underground Shopping 
Sapporo boasts of two underground shopping malls which are filled with modern shops selling among other things branded and imported goods. We visited one of them called Pole Town (picture above). Another underground shopping centre is known as Aurora Town.

Sapporo City Tram
A great way to sightsee Sapporo would be to hop onto its city tram. This tram makes a loop around the city's hub and it could be a worthwhile thing to do for ¥ 200 per ride.

         Within the hub of the city you do get a charming wintry sight like this too!

Hokkaido Shrine
About 3km from the hub of Sapporo lies another popular tourist attraction. The Hokkaido Shrine is Hokkaido's biggest and most visited.  Built in 1869, this shrine is home to four deities including that of Emperor Meiji. Devotees of the Shinto religion  come here to pay homage to the deities and pray for good fortune.
The devotees are required to follow certain etiquette here. They have to wash their hands and rinse their mouth using water from this well before doing their devotion!
For a token they can get slips of paper (omikuji) which can supposedly forecast their fortunes. If the fortunes turn out bad, the slips of paper are to be hung on some prepared wire racks. If they turn out good, they will be kept and brought home.

I peeped inside the prayer hall and saw a lady dancing on the stage.  This religion is very unique indeed.

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