Hokkaido Trip 15th June 2010: Sapporo(札幌) – Sounkyo(層雲峡)
After breakfast, we left for Ishiya White Chocolate Factory. In fact the entire area is called Shiroi Koibito Park where visitors can has a tour of Shiroi Koibito Cookies production line as shown in the photos below, the outdoor Rose Garden, Aurora Fountain, Sapporo Mechanical Clock Tower and many more.
Sapporo Mechanical Clock Tower: this is the entrance to the Factory Walk.
There are cat symbols everywhere, on the wall facing the Rose Garden and outside the gate of the main building. I am not sure what does it symbolize but they look cute.
The Shiroi Koibito Cookies production line.
Look at those Sugar Craft, be careful, they are not edible.
The famous Shiroi Koibito cookies(白い恋人) are so delicious! I keep eating one after another one. Yummy! Btw, Shiroi Koibito means “white beloved ones” in Japanese.
Cute Gramophone Theater outside the Gramophone Gallery.
Old-style Children’s Toy Box housed numerous classical toys from 1868 to 1989.
Hmm… Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe?
Odori Park(大通公園) was suppose to be next in the itinerary but we were simply brought to the Aurora Town underground Shopping for our free time. At that time was around 11.25am and we should be back to the bus by 1.45pm, if I remember correctly. Lunch was not included on this day.
There are two underground shopping malls, the first one where we entered is the horizontal line Aurora Town, which stretches 312 m east-west from Odori Subway Station to Sapporo TV Tower; next is Pole Town which stretches 400m north-south from Odori Subway Station to Susukino Subway Station on the Nanboku Subway Line. Both sides of these pedestrian corridors are lined with shops selling clothes, souvenirs and many others, not forgetting plenty of restaurants and cafés.
Since this was the first day that we could do a little shopping on our own, I headed down straight to a pharmacy store and searched for the local Japanese skin care brands.
After about 40min of shopping, see below:
DHC products are much cheaper in Japan compare to Singapore.
Same for Fancl health food products, I didn’t realize that Fancl are also sold in drug store like this, I was so happy when I saw them but only bought those below. My initial thought was: since Fancl products are sold in drug store, I will buy more when I reach Tokyo in order to save the trouble carrying so many items throughout the Hokkaido tour. This was the big mistake I have ever make here! For those who are interested in Fancl products, they are not available in any Tokyo drug stores, I could not find one the sell it there. It seems that it is available only in Hokkaido? Sigh!
Well, I know I can get it at the cosmetic section of a departmental store in Japan but the price here in drug store is definitely cheaper. At Kokomin, if you purchase above ¥2000 or ¥5000(I can’t recall the exact amount), the 5% tax is excluded.
Hokkaido Jingu(北海道神宮) was supposed to be the next in itinerary but again, we were brought to one of the shop in Tanuki Koji Shopping Street to buy Shiroi Koibito cookies. According to the tour guide, a main festival was held at Hokkaido Jingu and it would be extremely crowded; therefore we would be visiting it on the last day of our tour.
Looking at the itinerary , Tanuki Koji Shopping Street would be the last place on the last day of our tour but since it was changed, this place was considered being “covered” in the itinerary already. In actual fact, we only visited this one and the only shop below. Sigh! Another minus point for Chan Brother Tour!
Around 3pm, say goodbye to Sapporo and leaving for a night stay in Sounkyo Choyo Resort Hotel. It was about 3 hours bus ride from Sapporo.
Our tatami room.
Futon were laid when we were out for our buffet dinner at the hotel restaurant.
At the end of the day, I am not so impressed of the way of this local tour guide lead the tour. For the next few days of tour, we always ended up at the hotel about 5 to 6pm and no where else to go. I guess I overheard someone in our tour group asked her why we need to check in to the hotels so early and if I am not wrong, she replied that it was required by the various hotels that group must be check in before 5pm? Huh? I remember during our Central Japan Tour in 2007, the tour guide from SA Tours was so thoughtful that whenever there was a day being arranged to stay in a hotel which was away from the city area, she would take the initiative to bring us to a near by supermarket for a short shopping spree.
After dinner we went for our “soaking spree” at the hotel hot spring. The onsen here in Hokkaido is so much different as compared to those in central Japan tour, this one is huge with several hot spring baths. I soaked into the onsen one after another, of course in about 5 minutes interval in each of them. My face was red like lobster the moment I went back to the hotel room. 😀