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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.

10 popular shopping malls in Sapporo

Sapporo has the largest population in Hokkaido and even has 4th largest population in Japan. It is not such big city as Tokyo or Osaka, but you can surely enjoy shopping in Sapporo which has a lot of shopping spots as well.
In this post, I introduce 10 popular shopping places like shopping malls, department stores and outlet malls in Sapporo city and near Sapporo area.

1. Sapporo Stellar Place
Sapporo stellar Place is located at quite convenient place directly connected from Sapporo station. The shopping mall is composed by more than two hundred shops from apparel shops, cosmetics shops and movie theater to restaurants, which always attracts both local people and tourists. Sapporo Stellar Place is also linked to Daimaru department store and under ground shopping area such as ESTA and APIA. If you stay at JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo, you can easily reach Sapporo Stellar Place as well as JR Sapporo station.
By the way, I obtained valuable information regarding discount coupon for shopping at APIA, ESTA, paseo and STELLAR PLACE. “Welcome Coupon” is given to foreign tourists when they show their own passport or “JR pass” at each information counter. Please check JR TOWER WELCOME COUPON to see more details about it

– Popular shops in Sapporo Stellar Place-
– Shiro- Made-in-Japan natural skin care items
– ORBIS-Skin care items
– Diana-Shoes
– DIESEL-Clothes
– ADAM ET ROPÉ-Clothes
– Disney Store
– ABC Mart-Shoes
– Sanseido Book Store
– Sapporo cinema flonteer-Movie theater
– Hands Be by Tokyu Hands-Stationary and cosmetics
– Nemuro Hanamaru-Kaiten Sushi restaurant

– Basic information –
Address: Nishi 2-5, Kita 5, Chuo-Ku, Sapporo
*Directly connected from JR Sapporo station and subway Sapporo station
Official website: http://www.stellarplace.net/foreign
Open: 10:00-21:00(11:00-23:00 for restaurants)

2. Sapporo Factory
Sapporo factory is a shopping complex including more than 160 shops such as apparel shops, amusement zone, restaurants and hotel. Red brick building in Sapporo factory especially has a spot to sell souvenirs and locally originated items which is limited to be sold at this place. It is not a selling product, but the most famous attraction about Sapporo factory is a big beautiful Christmas tree appeared from Nov to Dec.

– Popular shops in Sapporo factory –
– Toko Store-Supermarket
– United Cinema-Movie theater
– Namco-Gaming place
– Nike Shop
– The North Face Plus
– Mont-bell Factory Outlet
– Beer Keller Sapporo Kaitakushi-Beer Hole
– Seria-100 Yen Shop
– Sapporo Drug Store-Cosmetics, medicines

– Basic information –
Address: Higashi 4, Kita 2, Chuo Ku, Sapporo
*3 minutes walk from Subway Bus Center Mae station
Official website: http://sapporofactory.jp/foreigin/english/index.html
Open: 10:00-21:00(11:00-23:00 for restaurants)

MITSUI OUTLET PARK SAPPORO KITAHIROSHIMA is one of the biggest outlet mall in Hokkaido. It is not located at Sapporo but located at Kitahiroshima city. More than 170 shops including domestic and international brand shops are offering items with special discounted price. Not only clothes, but accessories, watches, glasses, cosmetics and kitchen items are also sold at MITSUI OUTLET PARK SAPPORO KITAHIROSHIMA. Spacious places are offered for shopping and you can also enjoy eating at food coat and restaurants.

– Jimmy Choo
– United Arrows
– Micheal Kors
– Dunhill
– See By Chloe
– Folli Follie
– Ray-Ban
– Crocs
– LUPICIA-Tea shop
– GODIVA-Chocolate
– Combi-Kids Items
– Matsumoto Kiyoshi-Cosmetics & Medicines

– Basic information –
Address: 7-6, 3 Chome Omagari Saiwai Cho, Kitahiroshima
*20 minutes by bus from JR Kitahiroshima station, 50 minutes by bus from JR Sapporo station,
Official website: http://www.31op.com/sapporo/english/
Open: 10:00-21:00(11:00-21:00 for restaurants)

140 shops are gathering and offering popular brand items at CHITOSE OUTLET MALL RERA. Free shuttle bus runs from New Chitose airport, so you can directly reach there on the day of your arrival. CHITOSE OUTLET MALL RERA is just located next to JR Minami Chitose station, so the access would not be so inconvenient even though it is not situated in Sapporo city.

– Popular shops in CHITOSE OUTLET MALL RERA –
– Gucci
– Coach
– MAX&Co.
– Samsonite
– Beams
– Levi’s
– Seiko
– Tasaki- Accessories
– Lego-Toy
– Laox- Electrical Appliances
– Sapporo Drug Store-Cosmetics, medicines
– ABC Mart-Shoes

– Basic information –
Address: 2-1, 1 Chome Kashiwadai Minami Chitose
*10 minutes by free shuttle bus from New Chitose Airport, 3 minutes walk from JR Minami Chitose station
Official website: http://www.outlet-rera.com/english/
Open: 10:00-19:00

ESTA is directly linked to JR Sapporo station. From B2 to 10F, you can enjoy shopping at local sweet snack shops, 100 yen shop, Uniqlo and big camera etc… . These ESTA’s wide varieties of shops attracts local people as well. There is a special zone named as “Ramen Kyowakoku” gathering many Ramen shops on the 10th floor.

– Popular shops in ESTA –
– Can Do-100 Yen Shop
– Bic Camera-Electrical Appliances
– Uniqro-Clothes
– Loft-Stationary, Interior items
– Nitori-Interior items
– Global Works-Clothes
– ABC Mart-Shoes
– GU-Clothes
– Namco-Gaming place
– Ramen Kyowakoku-Ramen shops

– Basic information –
Address: Kita 5 Nishi 2, Chuo-Ku, Sapporo
*Directly connected from JR Sapporo station and subway Sapporo station
Official website: http://www.sapporo-esta.jp/foreign
Open: 10:00-21:00(11:00-22:00 for restaurants)

DAIMARU Saporo branch, the department store directly linked to JR Sapporo station, is the best place to buy luxury brands goods in Hokkaido. Not only clothes and accessories, I also recommend foreign tourists to go to the basement floor which is selling delicious local foods from fresh seafood to sweet snacks. Some of them would be good for souvenirs.

– Popular shops in DAIMARU –
– 4℃-Accessaries
– M・A・C-Cosmetics
– ALBION-Cosmetics
– Armani
– Helmes
– Cultier-Accessories
– Shu Uemura- Cosmetics
– Tasaki-Accessories
– Tiffany & Co.
– Paul Smith
– Pokemon Center
– Max Factor/SKⅡ-Cosmetics

– Basic information –
Address: NIshi 4-7, Kita 5, Chuo-Ku, Sapporo
*Directly connected from JR Sapporo station and subway Sapporo station
Official website: http://www.daimaru.co.jp.e.md.hp.transer.com/sapporo/index.html
Open: 10:00-20:00(11:00-22:00 for restaurants)

7. Ario Sapporo
Ario Sapporo is located at residential area which is still not far from JR Sapporo station. The nearest station is JR Naebo station and you can get to Ario Sapporo by approximately 10 minutes walk from the station. There is Sapporo beer garden neighborhood, so you can enjoy both shopping and drinking there! A big supermarket, Ito Yokado and more than 100 shops are situated in Ario Sapporo.

– Popular shops in Ario Sapporo-
– Ito Yokado-Supermarkt
– Tower Record-CD&DVD
– XEBIO Sport-Sports item
– HABA-Cosmetics
– Uniqro
– ABC Mart-Shoes
– Cando-100 Yen Shop
– Ainz-Cosmetics&Medicines
– Akachan Honpo-Baby Items

– Basic information –
Address: Higashi 9-2-20, Kita 7, Higashi-Ku, Sapporo
*10 minutes walk from JR Naebo Station
Official website: http://www.ario-sapporo.jp/web/en/
Open: 10:00-21:00(11:00-22:00 for restaurants)

PARCO has been attracting young people for long years. Many apparel shops, MUJI, interior goods shop and hair salon are located in PARCO. Restaurants offering nice foods with cozy atmosphere on 8th floor are getting high reputation from local people. As the 8th floor is open until 23:00, you can enjoy food and relax there after shopping.

– Popular shops in PARCO –
– LUSH-Cosmetics
– Cath Kidston
– Samantha Thavasa
– Onitsuka Tiger
– United Arrows-Clothes
– DIESEL–Clothes
– LABLISS-Kimono

– Basic information –
Address: Nishi 3-3, Minami 1, Chuo-Ku, Sapporo
*Directly connected from subway Odori station
Official website: http://sapporo.parco.jp/page/storeinformation/index?type=recommend&lang=eng
Open: 10:00-20:00(11:00-23:00 for restaurants)

9. AEON Sapporo Soen Shopping Center
The core tenant of AEON Sapporo Soen Shopping Center is AEON supermarket. Because AEON Sapporo Soen Shopping Center is situated just next to JR Soen staion, its access would be very convenient for tourists. The number of shops in the shopping mall is not many, but it is attractive that the large scale supermarket is unusually located in Sapporo city center.

Popular shops in AEON Sapporo Soen Shopping Center
– AEON Supermarket
– Seria-100 Yen Shop
– Miraiya Book Store
– Claire’s-Accessories
– Donguri-Bakery
– Sazae-Japanese snucks
– Roman Tei-Cake shop

– Basic information –
Address: Nishi 14-28, Kita 8, Chuo-Ku, Sapporo
* 5 minutes walk from JR Soen Station
Official website: http://www.aeon.jp.e.aai.hp.transer.com/sc/sapporosoen/

10. Marui Imai Sapporo branch
Marui Imai Sapporo branch is directly linked to Subway Odori station and it is very close to Sapporo TV tower, one of the major sight seeing spots in Sapporo. Marui Imai Sapporo branch has been offering books, clothes and furniture, etc…for many years as a local department store. Basement floor selling delicious local foods is most attractive for me. It is surely good place to buy souvenirs, in addition that, is also fun place to check many variety of local foods as well.

-Popular shops in Marui Imai Sapporo branch-
– Chloé
– Fendi

– Basic information –
Address: Nishi 2 Minami 1, Chuo-Ku Sapporo
*Directly linked to Subway Odori Station
Official website: http://www.marui-imai.jp.e.ba.hp.transer.com/sapporo/s_top/index.html/
Open: 10:00-19:00(11:00-21:00 for restaurants)

Hokkaido local foods and drinks Vol.3-2

Not only Hokkaido local companies, Japanese major beverage companies also sell area limited products in Hokkaido. Drinks introducing here are all available at supermarkets or convenient stores, so you can enjoy them at the hotel room during travel or even bring back to your home country as one of souvenirs.

Sapporo Classic by Sapporo Breweries Ltd.
Hearing the words “Sapporo”, not a few people may come up with Sapporo beer first. Though it is named as “Sapporo”, most Sapporo beer brand products are sold all over Japan, even seen many places in the world. The exception is Sapporo Classic and you can only buy it in Hokkaido. Sapporo Classic is a beer produced from 100% malt and not including auxiliary ingredients, which especially matches made-in-Hokkaido foods such as fresh seafoods and vegetables.
Convenience stores in Sapporo are keeping this product as ordinary items, so you can easily get them.

Katsugen by Megmilk Snow Brand
Who knows Katsugen? Anyone knows what Katsugen is? People excepting those who are from Hokkaido would have no idea about this drink, but it is very familiar to Hokkaido local. Many people say the taste is similar to Yakult, but it still has original fragrance and flavor along with bit sournesss and sweetness. The taste with not too sweet has been attracting many fans. We can find Katsugen at supermarkets and convenience stores in Hokkaido.

Fire milk taste limited in Hokkaido by Kirin Company
When I went to Asahikawa, found a Hokkaido limited edition of popular brand canned coffee in the vending machine at Sapporo station. Fire milk taste limited in Hokkaido looked as usual types of canned coffee sold everywhere, but it was actually described as Hokkaido limited on the can. Sugar and milk added into the coffee are made-in-Hokkaido and the canned coffee is sold only in Hokkaido. Milk produced in Hokkaido is used in various tasty products and even seen them in other countries, meanwhile, sugar produced in Hokkaido is not as popular as milk. In addition to rich taste of Hokkaido milk and fresh cream, the mildly sweet sugar are making the nice taste. Fire milk taste limited in Hokkaido is a mild taste milk coffee, so those who don’t like the bitter taste of coffee could even try it.