Aug 27, 2017

Hokkaido Spring Day 5:

My fifth day in Hokkaido this spring turned out to be a little more exciting than I expected. After a bit of research, I decided against an early bus out to Furano and set out to explore the capital of the region instead.  It wasn't originally on my itinerary but I decided to check out Hokkaido's hallmark omiyage manufacturer and it's equally hallmark attraction. I went to the famous Shiro Koibito Park.


The nearest train station is Miyanosawa Station. It is roughly 7 minutes (walking distance) away with well-marked signages to guide you along. The possibility of getting lost is close to zero. Entrance fee is free.

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The park features old town buildings with an amazing rose garden and a chance to tour the making of those addictive chocolate biscuits. There are plenty of entertainment facilities to enjoy such as the colourful flowerbed photo spot where you climb in from the tiny houses below and pop out from the chimney above. Or, schedule your own mini photo shoot inside the sparkling white pavilion with its Instagram worthy Sailormoon-Heart-Like decor. You can even take part in their Sweets-making or Cookie painting courses

At each hour, the clock tower strikes and performs a little serenade with its line of Chefs and animal mascots/ characters.

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A random tree house!

There is also a water fountain and several snack booths with plenty of sitting space around the porch for those who enjoy alfresco. The ground floor of the main building was full of merchandise and candies in various form. The most popular area was without a doubt, the famed chocolate manufacturer's chocolate corner - Shop Piccadilly. I didn’t bother taking much photographs here due to the crowd but you can get a sense of it from the vlog.


Candy making zone which I saw nothing happened

The second level of the building was a toy museum set in the 20th century. From Mechanic Choo- Choo trains to old Japanese posters - stepping into the place was like stepping back in time. Here are more pictures of the random decorations outside.

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I got myself two cones of soft serve ice cream (300 yen) when I was there. The rich cold peaks persuaded me that every bite was worth the consequential calories. And they were right! it was the best soft serve ice creams I've ever had!

Can someone tell me why the statue of Abraham Lincoln is here?

I left the park after two hours. I wasn't interested in shelling out cash to tour the factory nor partake in some cookie making course to have the cookie become a hindrance in my travel. So I headed towards my second destination.

By chance, I had met two Malaysian girls in my hostel in Hakodate. And one of them introduced me to a special ktype of animal cafe in Sapporo that I cannot find in Singapore. So I made my way down to Susukino to check out the Animal Cafe that features not only a nice variety of owls and birds but also a residential hedgehog!

It took a tiny bit of effort to find the place since it was in the middle of a sheltered shopping street and despite its vibrant shop front, was overshadowed by its equivalently vibrant Neighbours. The cafe can be accessed a straight walk down from either Odori Station or Susukino Station. However, it is closer to Susukino Station.


Name: Animal Cafe Jungle Go Tanukikoji
Address: 4-6 Minami 2 Jonishi, Chuo-ku | T4 Dai2 Bldg. 4th Floor, Sapporo 060-0062, Hokkaido
Tel: +81 11-242-2022
Nearest Train Station: Susukino

Animal Cafe Jungle Go!! Is a small animal cafe that features animals such as large tortoises, parrots, parakeets, owls, and hedgehogs! They go by the rate of 500yen per 15 mins. Perfect for the time pressed traveler who doesn't even have an hour to spare!

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I admit I didn't know what I roped myself into so I was ecstatic when the staff placed the owls on my gloved forearm. I didn't know you could do that! Check out my video to see those adorable and quirky feather balls in action~

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After my short serenade with the cafe's furry and spiky inhabitants, I rushed back to my hostel for my luggage and made my way back to the Chuo Bus Terminal in the ESTA Building. level 1.
For a guide of the Sapporo Area Bus Lines, click here:
ESTA Building:

I bought a bento and some sakura-mochi from the level above the Bus Terminal. It was a bustling area selling all sorts of bento food, pastries, and omiyage. The ESTA building not only features a few levels of BIC CAMERA (Electonic appliances store) but also have a themed food park on the 10th floor that throws a spotlight on 8 popular shops that best represent Hokkaido. Sadly, I didn't have enough time to explore the building as much as I liked given the overflowing crowd and navigating around can be confusing for a first timer.


I bought my return ticket from the Chuo Bus Counter's Self-Help Kiosk. I couldn't find the 'return' ticket option so I got one of the staff to help me. A single-way bus ticket to Furano from Sapporo will cost 2,260 yen while a return ticket will cost 4,150 yen. That's like 370 yen worth of saving I can't ignore!

The Bus to Furano is Bus Bay 16.

chuo bus

Here is the bus schedule for the bus from Sapporo to Furano and vice-versa. The bus does not accept reservation and seating is by a first-come-first-serve only. But even during the golden week ( the week I travel), the bus had always had ample space.
If you don't have time to buy a ticket, you can always pay the driver in cash. You pay when you alight.


The bus ride was comfortable and relaxing and allowed me to appreciate the scenery while catching up some work. Each Chuo buses also have a clean toilet inside the bus that comes with toilet papers. I shall blog about my Chuo bus experience soon!


The scenery along the way were pleasant and comfortable to rest your eyes on while you while your time away.


I took the 4:40 pm ride and arrive at Furano around 7:08 pm. Since I was near an hour early for my hostel pick up, I begin to settle down for my bento dinner. It took a complete meal and a full hour later for me to realize I had left my one and only luggage behind on the bus! Thankfully, I was able to communicate to my hostel owner with my Anime-level Japanese that I've left my bag behind. With a few calls and the grace of the Lord, we were soon on the way to the Furano bus office to pick my bag up. I filled a few forms up and thanked the staff at the office multiple times before we jolted back to the hostel.

This marks the end of my 5th day in Sapporo. It might not have sounded rushed on text but it was a lot of mad dashing to find the right way around. The final straw was how I had absent mindedly left my one and only bag behind on the bus! A testament to the incredible extent of my absentminded-ness and of course, testament to God’s everlasting grace upon me. I cannot imagine losing my only bag in the middle of a holiday!
Hope you found this window to my life interesting!

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