Category Archives: Other

How to get cheaper winter clothes in Sapporo

I got a question about reasonable way to get cheaper winter outfit in this blog’s comment, so took research by myself and asked my friends for better answer in these a few days. It might not be the best answer, but I hope information could be helpful for you.
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What to wear in Hokkaido in winter (Jan to Feb)

Jan to Feb is the season having with a lot of snow as well as the lowest temperature in a year. Cold days with temperature which doesn’t reach 0℃ keep continuing in whole this period. It’s often around 0℃ even in South part of Hokkaido like Hakodate which is much warmer than other part of Hokkaido as well. Read More

What to wear in Hokkaido in winter (Nov to Dec)


When it comes to Nov, the temperature rapidly falls and the lowest is below 10℃ in most areas in Hokkaido until mid Nov. After late Nov, it becomes below 0℃ and even the highest temperature is lower than 5℃. The first snow also falls in late Oct to early Nov every year. If you plan to come to Hokkaido in this period, may be able to see such a fresh snow by chance.
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Welcome! HOKKAIDO, Japan. ~Special promotion for travel to Hokkaido~

I got a big news about special promotion for travel to Hokkaido today!(28 Sep 2018)
As long as you stay in Hokkaido, 70% of accommodation fee per night are deducted from original price up to five nights. (Maximum deduction is JPY 20,000 per night)
When you book a hotel via selected travel agencies, the price offered to you is supposed to be the discounted price, which means you may just pay the offering price without no any application or procedure to utilize this promotion.
This special discount for the accommodation fee is one of “Welcome! HOKKAIDO, Japan.” promotion by the government to support Hokkaido after the earth quake and it starts from 1 Oct 2018*.(* This promotion actually started on 1 Oct, but the main target of this first round is Japanese local tourists. It is said another promotion especially for foreign tourists will start from mid Oct)
I will update here if any new discount plan or valuable information is released.
Now, the season of autumn is my favorite season, so I strongly hope more and more people come in and enjoy Hokkaido!

Detail about the special discount for the accommodation fee named as “Hokkaido Fukko wari” in Japanese released by Japan Tourism Agency
http://www.mlit.go.jp/common/001255942.pdf

 

[Updated below on 22 Nov 2018]
Big discount accommodation plans have been released by HANKYU TRAVEL!
1.Sapporo A Plan
* Price:JPY 8,800 per person for 2 Nights with 2 breakfasts!
* Hotel:Either Monterey Edelhof Sapporo, Hotel Monterey Sapporo or ANA Crown Plaza Hotel Sapporo (These three hotels are all close to JR Sapporo station)
* Period:17 Dec 2018~26 Feb 2019
* Details and booking –>http://traveltojapan.hankyu-travel.com/en/tour/detail_d.php?p_course_id=HF001Z&p_hei=99

2.Sapporo B Plan
* Price:JPY 7,800 per person for 2 Nights with 2 breakfasts!
* Hotel:Either New Otani Inn Sapporo, Hotel Gracery Sapporo or Sapporo Tobu Hotel (These three hotels are located in Sapporo city center)
* Period:17 Dec 2018~26 Feb 2019
* Details and booking –>http://traveltojapan.hankyu-travel.com/en/tour/detail_d.php?p_course_id=HF002Z&p_hei=99

3. Otaru Plan
* Price:JPY 12,000 per person for 2 Nights with 2 breakfasts!
* Hotel:Hotel Sonia Otaru
* Period:17 Dec 2018~26 Feb 2019
* Details and booking –>http://traveltojapan.hankyu-travel.com/en/tour/detail_d.php?p_course_id=HF003Z&p_hei=99

[Updated below on 20 Oct 2018]
I’ve finally found two websites offering the promotion products for Hokkaido accommodations and package tours.
japanican.com: https://www.japanican.com/en/special/campaign/discount/WelcomeHOKKAIDO/index.aspx
JTB Singapore: https://www.jtb.com.sg/hokkaido-fukko-recovery-discount/

Both websites are actually owned by JTB group which is one of the biggest Japanese travel agencies. JTB has a lot of group companies over the world, so now you may be better to directly ask your country’s JTB staff in details. They possibly have helpful information for you.
I believe more travel agencies will join this promotion activity later because Hokkaido travel relevant organization just started to look for travel agencies which will sell the discount travel products for foreign tourists from this week. They haven’t mentioned how many travel agencies would sell the discount products in future, but would not be only one or two agencies like current situation. I continuously check the relevant information.

[Updated below on 4 Oct 2018]
After a few days the promotion started, information revealed about “Hokkaido Fukko wari” especially for foreign tourists are still not clearly announced except above original news.
What I got about “Hokkaido Fukko wari” after 1 Oct is just as follows. I hope it would be somehow useful information for you.

When can we take advantage of the promotion, “Hokkaido Fukko wari”?
The first program was released on 1 Oct, but its major target is Japanese domestic tourists. (Information was announced only in Japanese and the discount rate is same or lower than that for foreign tourists)
The second program will be released in mid Oct and the targets would be both domestic and overseas tourists.

Where should we go to get “Hokkaido Fukko wari” before booking hotel?
Not officially announced about the second program yet.
The first program was released as the discount voucher at Japanese travel agencies website such as
Rakuten: https://travel.rakuten.co.jp/special/prj/201809/?scid=af_pc_etc&sc2id=af_103_1_10000645 ,
Jalan: https://www.jalan.net/discountCoupon/CAM9708503/ and
Rurubu: https://rurubu.travel/theme/area/local18/18a0108/?utm_source=valuecommerce&utm_medium=affiliate.
It is said other travel agencies including China and Korea’s travel companies would also join the second program, but not determined yet.

How can we utilize “Hokkaido Fukko wari” to book hotel?
Not officially announced about the second program yet.
It is just for your reference, but as mentioned above, discount vouchers with limited number were distributed on some travel agencies websites at the first program. Once any traveler get the voucher, she/he needs to choose one in the selected hotels and make reservation in the same website so that the discount amount could be deducted from original hotel fare.
I will update once any news about the second program come in!

 

[Updated below on 1 Oct 2018]
Japanese aviation companies also released some promotions for travel to Hokkaido.

JAL
Ticket of Japan domestic flight to Hokkaido is offered with 88% discount at maximum such as JPY 7,200 for Fukuoka to Sapporo.
Special voucher for flight & hotel package will be also released from 5 Oct according to JAL official website.
You can get more details in its website(In Japanese) https://www.jal.co.jp/dom/special/hokkaido-ouen/

ANA
Some promotion ticket types are released. JPY 6,400 for Tokyo to Sapporo (Original price JPY 9,200 before discount) and JPY 7,900 for Osaka to Sapporo (Original price JPY 9,000 before discount) are one of the cheapest ticket types.
You can check details at ANA’s official website(In Japanese). https://www.ana.co.jp/ja/jp/domestic/promotions/special-info/hokkaido-150/

AIRDO
AIRDO, a Hokkaido based aviation company is also offering special promotion ticket from Tokyo to Sapporo or other cities in Hokkaido. The promotion ticket, “Welcome to HOKKAIDO Fare” is JPY 5,400, which is very cheap compared to the original price of JPY 8,800.

You can check the details at AIRDO official website(In English)
https://www.airdo.jp/en/plan/fare/list/welcome-hokkaido/

* The top page still keeps showing the original price, but you can find current price at the booking page.

Current condition in Sapporo after the earth quake on 6 Sep 2018 (as of 16 Sep 2018 )

As you may know, a big earth quake hit Hokkaido in the early morning on 6 Sep 2018. The epicenter is 65km away from Sapporo, but Sapporo city or other areas in Hokkaido also took some damages like blackout or water outage for some hours occurred by the earth quake.
I was coincidentally in Sapporo when the earth quake hit. Let me explain the situation immediately after the earthquake and current condition in Sapporo as it may become useful information for those who plan to visit Sapporo in the near future. Read More

5 tips for winter clothes in Hokkaido


Winter is the season exactly representing the image of Hokkaido, beautiful, white and quiet ,which would be very attractive for lots of domestic and foreign tourists. Hokkaido’s major events, white illumination and each local area’s winter festivals including Sapporo snow festival are also held in this season. However, some tourists may guess winter in Hokkaido is too cold to enjoy the trip…. To enjoy and stay more comfortable in winter in Hokkaido, let me introduce not only outfits commonly known, but also tips for winter clothings in Hokkaido. The season almost starts from November and continue until early April. People in Hokkaido overcome the serious coldness of winter for a half of the year along with following tips!

1, Difference between city and county side

Outfit for shopping in Sapporo and exploring nature like watching drift ice on the ship at Okhotsk sea is totally different. Even though saying “Travel in Hokkaido”, the option is various and clothings should adjust to locations where you go and activity you do. If you go to Shiretoko, Mt. Taisetu or any spots with beautiful natural surroundings, I recommend to visit outdoor shops in advance to get winter jacket and other clothes to protect from severe coldness.
Meanwhile, it’s actually enough hot in the department stores and shopping malls in Hokkaido, so outfit doesn’t look much different from shopping places in Tokyo, Osaka or other areas in Japan. I often feel too hot during shopping at Sapporo city, therefore also recommend tourists not to wear heavy sweater on under your coat. My most comfortable sets of closing is Uniqlo’s HEATTECH underwear + long sleeve T-shirts + thin sweater. Some local people may feel even this set of clothing looks too hot, but layering with three clothes is just comfortable for me and also helpful as I can take off shirts at washroom once feeling too hot^^

2, Unbrella is not necessary but hooded coat is more helpful

You would expect to see lots of snow in Hokkaido, on the other hand, may be anxious about it. Snow can be continuously falling from morning to evening in a day , but it is not always necessary to use umbrella in whole winter. In case we move from a building to another building or walking distance is short during a little snowing, local people don’t use umbrellas. Instead of that, hooded coat is very useful. Snow in Hokkaido is very light and not watery , so covering by hood is enough helpful to avoid snow. In order to walk safe on the slippery and frozen road, it would not be a good idea to bring an umbrella and be better to keep both hands free.


3, Winter shoes to avoid falling over frozen road

If you move around Sapporo city center, walking with sneaker should be no problem as from Sapporo station to subway Odori and Susukino station is connected by underground path or most road in the city area is developed with heating system to melt snow of the surface. Wearing business shoes whose sole are smooth and slippery or high heels are dangerous in winter in Hokkaido. If you want to continue to wear your own shoes during travel in Hokkaido, some shops in new Chitose airport or JR station selling non- slip tools to directly attach on your shoes might be convenient for you. As local shoes shops are normally allocates most of selling space to snow boots or other winter foot wears during snow season, you could also find your favorite one there.

4, Gloves, wool scarf and woollen hat

Gloves and wool scarf are the accessories most Hokkaido people are putting on in Winter. Those are not for looking fashionable, but also used for protecting against coldness. It is good to prepare wool scarf and gloves made by wool or fleece fabric or whatever light and handy rather than thick ones like used at skiing. Once hands are getting colder, it’s difficult to recover warm when staying outside. Additionally, I especially emphasis that walking with own hands in the pockets is very dangerous as it makes us much difficult to keep balance and easier to fall down.
Sometimes in winter the wind brow strong, so woolen hat or earmuff is very useful to cover your ear and head. A hat is also useful to avoid head hitting on ground in case you fall down on slippery road.

 


5, Underwears

I recommend to wear tight underwears to protect cold air coming in your body during winter in Hokkaido. HEATTECH underwear by Uniqlo which is made by thin material and also has high heat keeping effect is one of my necessary winter clothes. For ladies, it would be just suitable to wear before wool sweater and cotton shirts or cotton blouse. Although it is actually cold in winter in Hokkaido, local women don’t hesitate to wear skirt as well. I also usually don’t feel cold when wearing long boots and putting on thick stockings with the thickness of 60 denier to 80 denier under the skirt. If the temperature becomes below -5℃, many ladies even put on stockings under jeans. By the way, you plan to keep staying inside like department stores or shopping malls over a long hours in a day, clothes under the winter jacket are no need too thick as those places always keep enough warm in winter.

What to wear in Hokkaido in autumn (Sep to Oct)

Autumn in Hokkaido is so beautiful and it brings delicious foods like vegetables, fruits and seafood to us. It is also my favorite season.
Getting colder in late Aug, we just feel the beginning of autumn from that time on. It falls snow on the top of mountains in Oct, which almost means the season is changing to Winter. It is commonly said that autumn in Hokkaido is short period almost only two months from Sep to Oct.
Below chart is showing highest and lowest temperature in Sapporo for each month in 2016 provided by official website of Japan Meteorological Agency. <!–more–>
As you may aware, the difference between highest and lowest is very large, and in other words, temperature between day time and morning or night is also very different. It is very important to prepare properly clothes for travel in Hokkaido. Most Japanese domestic tourists always concern what to wear for the travel to Hokkaido, so I guess foreign tourists are much annoying this matter due to luck of enough local information in English….
 

Highest and lowest temperature in Sapporo (2016)

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Highest 4.0 8.3 13.5 21.1 29.7  28.4
Lowest  -10.7  -10.9  -6.9  0.1  1.7  8.4
Month Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Highest 30.5  31.9 31.1  24.7  14.5  11.9
Lowest  13.4  15.1 9.5  0.5  -7.0 -9.2
In Sep, it is better to wear long sleeves rather than short sleeves and also good to wear long pants rather than short pants. If you are lady and like to wear skirt, it is better to wear stockings with skirt. When you have a plan to go north or east Hokkaido, such as Asahikawa, Kushiro or Obihiro, better to bring cardigan, hooded jacket or hooded sweatshirt to keep warm.
In Oct, we seldom see people wearing short sleeves! 😀 Local people usually wear cardigan, hooded jacket or sweatshirt on long sleeves and additionally put light down jacket or light coat on in case it becomes colder around 10°C. Wool scarf or wool gloves may be useful when you go to see night view especially from the mountain top like Mt. Moiwa in Sapporo. It sometimes falls snow in Oct, but we can still walk with sneakers, not necessary winter shoes.
Below is a sample of suitable clothing by temperature. I hope this helps you to judge what to wear in Hokkaido at the time of preparation for your trip.

 

Sample of suitable clothes in Hokkaido

Temperature below Sample of suitable clothes in Hokkaido
25°C  Better to prepare long sleeves to put it on short sleeves  for night
20°C  Wear cotton cardigan or cotton jacket on long sleeves
15°C  Start wearing winter clothes such as wool sweater, wool jacket and down made vest on long sleeves
10°C  Wear cotton made coat or light down coat on wool sweater
8°C  Wear wool made coat or light down coat on wool sweater
5°C  Wear wool made coat or thick down coat on wool sweater. Better to put on wool gloves and wool scarf.
0°C  Wear wool made coat or thick down coat on wool sweater with turtle-necked underwear. Better to put on wool gloves and wool scarf

Hokkaido local foods and drinks vol.3

“Sujiko” taste rice ball (Middle in above photo)
There are a lot of foods and drinks sold only in Hokkaido.
For example, it would be difficult to find “Sujiko” rice ball in other areas in Japan except Hokkaido. Rice ball is very familiar as a traditional food for most Japanese people, which generally includes pickled plums(Umeboshi), fish flakes(Katsuobushi) or salmon in its inside. In Hokkaido, “Sujiko”, salmon roe is also very popular taste of rice ball. “Sujiko” is quite similar to “Ikura” which is also salmon roe and often eaten in Sushi, but “Sujiko” with a bit salty taste rather matches white rice.

Guarana (Right in above photo)
Guarana is a famous beverage as a drink sold only in Hokkaido.
It is similar to the taste of Coca Cola, on the other hand, Guarana has original aroma that attracts many fans after tried. As there is almost no chance to encounter Guarana aside from Hokkaido, I recommend to try it once you visit to Hokkaido.

Dairy products(Left in above photo)
Phrases such as “Using milk produced in Hokkaido ” have been seen for the desserts sold even outside Japan. If you visit to Hokkaido, I especially recommend to try milk itself, ice creams and desserts using fresh cream. It is often said even ordinary milk or ice cream sold at general local supermarkets and convenience stores in Hokkaido are very tasty. In Hokkaido, Japan’s No 1 milk producing land, you can easy to get cheaper and higher quality dairy foods.



Three kinds of foods, “Sujiko” taste rice ball, Guarana and Dairy products I explained above are all available at Seico mart, a Hokkaido local convenience store chain. Seico mart is very familiar to local people for long years and its outlets are located at Sapporo and country side in Hokkaido. Comparing to other major convenience stores such as seven eleven and family mart, Seico mart is especially dealing Hokkaido local products with its original brand. If you visit to Seico mart, can also see many kinds of dried fishes introduced in my previous post, Hokkaido local foods and drinks vol.2. It can be also said very convenient shop to get small souvenirs on the last day of the travel.
You can easily find that the Seico mart’s appearance with orange color is standing out!


“Matsuri” -festival- in Sapporo early summer

Sapporo Lilac Festival starts from mid May every year (17 May to 28 May for year 2017) when lilac, the flower of Sapporo city is blooming. The festival is held at Odori park where four hundred trees of lilac are planted and Kawashimo park. Some attractions like music concerts are taken place in the festival period as well.
Sapporo Lilac Festival is a symbol event to enjoy outside activities for Sapporo citizen after the winter over a half year finishes.


Following Sapporo Lilac Festival, Sapporo city transforms to much bustling town by YOSAKOI Soran Festival in early Jun (7 Jun to 11 Jun for year 2017).
This festival was created by university students in 1992, so it only has quite short history compared to other traditional Japanese festivals, but it already became an important event in early summer in Sapporo. Totally different from traditional Japanese Matsuri, dancing with up-tempo musics is the characteristic of YOSAKOI Soran Festival. Not only dancers, but audiences also come to feel excited during this festive season. The winning team at the contest and major teams often visit overseas countries to show their great dancing performance.

What is YOSAKOI Soran Festival?
According to official website of Yosakoi YOSAKOI Soran Festival,
The YOSAKOI Soran Festival first came about when in 1992, the clappers used in the original Yosakoi Festival from Kochi Prefecture was adapted into Hokkaido’s traditional folk song “Soran Bushi”. Clothed in brightly colored outfits, the dancers beat their clappers to the melody of Soran Bushi, dancing in a spirited and dynamic way. The energy from their dances permeates through the streets, creating a lively atmosphere.

Sapporo Masturi with a hundred year history is the oldest festival in Sapporo, which should be a traditional style festival as most foreign people could be guessing as Japanese Matsuri. If you have chance to visit to Sapporo during Sapporo Matsuri from 14 Jun to 16 Jun fixed every year, would see many local ladies wearing Yukata, one of Japanese traditional clothes at Nakajima park, Susukino area and Odori park in the city.
At Hokkaido Jingu (Hokkaido Shrine), you can find the array of food stalls and traditional ceremony for dedication to the god of the shrine, meanwhile more than 400 stalls and entertainments such as haunted house, freak shows and circus tent appear in Nakajima park for three days.
People wearing ancient clothes will march in the town on 16 Jun, which especially approach Sapporo central in the afternoon on the day.

Enjoy ski in Sapporo

It already started real winter in Hokkado. Snow itself is troublesome for most local people, but the beautiful view with silver white colour still attracts us even though we see such scenery every year. if you never seen lots of snow, it must be impressing you indeed.
By the way, most ski area in Hokkaido generally opens mid Dec. Ski which gives us a chance to see nature view with snow white while we can exercise in the mountain is also one of the most fun activities for local people in winter since childhood.
Speaking of ski in Hokkaido, most famous place would be “Niseko” nowadays, but there are also some locations for skiing in Sapporo city which held winter olympic games in 1972. If you stay and have enough time in Sapporo, enjoying ski in the city would make memory of your journey more impressive.
Ski areas below are located in Sapporo city and convinient for tourists.


Sapporo Kokusai Skiing Resort
– Official website in English: http://www.sapporo-kokusai.jp/en/
– Transportation: There are shuttle buses from Subway and JR “Sapporo” Stations and the Hotel.
– Rental Ski & Ski-wear: Ski, Snowboard sets, each ¥5,200 yen, ski-wear rental available
– Has ski lessons

Sapporo Teine
– Official website in English: http://www.sapporo-teine.com/snow/lang/en/
– Transportation: From the center of Sapporo; around ¥5,500 by taxi. There are shuttle buses from Subway and JR “Sapporo” Stations and the Hotel.
– Rental Ski & Ski-wear: Ski set Adults ¥5,100 / per-day, Snowboard set Adults ¥4,200 / 4 hours–, Clothing Set Adults ¥3,900 / per-day
– Has ski lessons

Sapporo Bankei Ski Area
– Official website in English: http://www.bankei.co.jp/multilingual/english.html
– Transportation: From the center of Sapporo; around ¥5,000 by taxi. There are buses from Subway Namboku Line “Makomanai”, Tozai Line “Maruyama Park” and “Hassamu-Minami” Stations.
– Rental Ski & Ski-wear: Ski, Snowboard, Snow-blade sets, each 3,000 yen / 2 hours-, ski-wear rental available
– Has ski lessons

Mount Moiwa Ski Resort
– Official website in Japanese: http://www.rinyu.co.jp/modules/pico02/
– Transportation: From the center of Sapporo; around ¥2,700 by taxi. 10 minutes by taxi from Subway Namboku Line “Makomanai” and “Sumikawa” stations, for around ¥1,500.
– Rental Ski & Ski-wear :Ski set Adults ¥3,500 / 3 hours–, ski-wear rental available