Ten Things to do in Sapporo by The Spoiled Mummy
Photo of Niseko taken from www.niseko.ne,jp
You might know her as The Spoiled Mummy, author of the blog of the same name – Grace Barbers Baja is definitely a luxe Gypsetter, traveling around the world with her husband and kids in tow in search of the best food experiences, great hotel stays, fabulous shopping and all around enjoyment of travel. Whether it’s a fast paced Michelin starred foodie trip to Hong Kong or a relaxed family vacation in Australia, her trips abroad are definitely worth lusting over… She graciously shares with us her Ten Things to do in Sapporo on the Japanese island of Hokkaido where the snow capped town of Niseko is becoming more and more of favorite for people looking for a winter wonderland escape. More accessible thant the alps from the Philippines and full of amazing produce such as their famous Hokkaido crab!
Apart from food and travel her blog also has wonderful lifestyle articles and a section on inspiring women… TheSpoiledMummy.com is definitely worth the visit.
Love and Light, Stephanie
“One of my favorite places that I had the opportunity to visit last year is the snow-capped, sleepy town of Niseko in Japan. Niseko is in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, which is located in the northernmost part of Japan. It was a holiday that was filled with the gorgeous beauty of nature, exhilirating snow adventures and of course, lots (and I mean lots) of good food which I really enjoyed!” – Grace a.k.a. The Spoiled Mummy
1. Wake up to the amazing view of Mount Yotei. This is one of Japan’s most famous mountains. This gorgeous beauty with a perfect cone shape and a snow white cap is also known as the Mount Fuji of Hokkaido. This high mountain can be seen from almost any high vantage point within the town of Niseko.
2. Enjoy the snow by learning how to ski in a ski camp! The town of Niseko has 4 main ski resorts and we spent most of our time in the Grand Hirafu Ski Resort, which is the one closest to our ski lodge. It was the first ski experience for me and my kids, so naturally there were a lot of hits and misses, bumps and falls along the way – until we all got the hang of it! Of course, my two adventure-loving boys learned everything at half the amount of time I did! Never mind that I had the most number of falls! The gorgeous beauty of nature around me more than made up for it!
3. Ride the ski lift. If you think skiing is not your thing, or are simply bummed out from all the falling, then you might as well take the ski lift instead to enjoy the gorgeous view from the top. Skiers take this when they want to easily reach a high point of the mountain so they can then ski down. The ski lift is the easiest way to see the magnificent view from the top. It’s very safe and kids love this amazing experience!
4. Visit the Nijo Fresh Seafood Market. This is a public market right in central Sapporo that is one-city block long. The market is open from 7am to 6pm daily, 7 days of the week. Several little seafood and sushi restaurants can be found within the market too. The best way to enjoy this seafood market is to have breakfast right here! The most popular dish to order? This Uni Salmon Ikura Donburi made with sea urchin, salmon eggs and salmon sashimi on top of steamed Japanese white rice.
5. Tour the Sapporro Beer Museum. Whenever I would dine in small Japanese restaurants here in Manila (the ones that are frequented by the local Japanese expats), I would always notice their canned beer bearing the name : Sapporo. Little did I realize sooner than later, that I would actually be going to Sapporo, the city itself, which is also the birthplace of Japanese beer. Sapporo Beer being one of the oldest and most popular beer brands in Japan, opened the first and only beer museum in the country in 1987. This beer museum shows visitors the history and brewing process of beer. This beautiful brick building is in fact registered as one of Hokkaido’s Heritage sites. Within the same compound of the museum, there is the Sapporo Beer Garden which has two restaurants and a gift shop. This gift shop is quite amusing since you will find all kinds of unique beer products and souvenirs here, like this Hokkaido Beer Flavor Chocolate and Sapporo Beer Crackers, pictured above.
6. Eat Hokkaido’s seafood delicacies. Hokkaido is famous for its fresh seafood produce. This is the reason why in most Japanese restaurants all over the world, having fresh seafood delivery from Hokkaido is a very rare and special occasion. Photo above shows ready-to-eat uni (sea urchin) straight from the sea. This is by far, the freshest and creamiest uni I’ve ever tried. Fresh, giant Hokkaido Scallops. And this is how they usually eat it : lightly torched and then wrapped in fresh, crunchy seaweed. No other flavors or spices are added since the scallop itself is unbelievably tasty on its own. But amongst all the seafood delicacies, it is the Hokkaido Crab which is the most popular of them all. These Hokkaido crabs which were just lightly steamed (and again no other flavors were added) were the biggest, meatiest and sweetest crabs I’ve ever tried.
7. Have a warm, comforting bowl of Hokkaido Ramen. Because when we visited Sapporo it was still winter, it was only but expected to indulge in the warm, comforting bowl of Hokkaido’s popular ramen. Yes this region in Japan, is not only known for its fresh seafood produce, but is also recognized as the birthplace of Japan’s famous hot noodle soup, the ramen. Amongst the many different kinds you can get here, my favorite is their original ramen in miso broth flavor. The broth of this ramen was light and yet creamy and flavorful. The noodles were fresh, handmade and firm to the bite. It was so tasty that you can literally eat it on its own. The whole bowl was an explosion of warm, comforting flavors.
8. Eat sushi and sashimi. We all know that sushi and sashimi are two of the most popular and widely known Japanese dishes, so when you are in Sapporo (or anywhere in Japan for that matter), make sure you order as much sushi or sashimi as you can. You can have sushi or sashimi practically almost anywhere : in any of their seafood markets or hole-in-the wall sushi places or even in their Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants. No matter where you are in Japan, you are assured to get the freshest catch of the day. Guaranteed, this is the place where you can get the best quality and most delicious sushi and sashimi of your life!
9. Drink Hokkaido milk. Another famous product of the region of Hokkaido is its dairy products. This is because the cows here are well cared for and if I must say — are very spoiled! They only eat clean grass from rich and fertile soil. They are surrounded by a perfectly cool climate and they breathe unpolluted and fresh air. There is such an abundance of milk products here – from fresh milk to yogurt to ice cream and to everything else in between. Even if I had not considered myself a milk lover, I became a convert when I had a small sip from my daughter’s stash. Since then and throughout our stay, we would buy fresh Hokkaido milk and have it with our breakfast cereals and drink it before bedtime. The quality and taste of Hokkaido milk is just unbelievably good and exceptional.
10. Indulge in chocolates in Royce’ Chocolate World. When in Sapporo, by all means, see this chocolate wonderland! As a certified and true-blue chocoholic, this was one of the most delightful and fun parts of the trip. It was a pleasant surprise since we found it right in the middle of the International Airport of Sapporo (Chitose Airport). Here’s a little bit of trivia for those who are not familiar with Royce’ Chocolates : The brand Royce’ was actually founded right here in the city of Sapporo. The unpolluted fresh air and the rich green fields in this part of Japan were discovered to be the most ideal environment in making these chocolates extraordinary. This chocolate factory in the airport has big glass windows where everyone can see the machines and the chocolatiers making different sizes and shapes of chocolates. With the Japanese’ keen eye for detail, precise artisan techniques and high standards for taste and quality control, Royce’ has been widely known to be making the best kind of fresh chocolates from this side of the world. The Royce Chocolate World Shop contains the biggest number and most unique Royce’ Chocolates I’ve ever seen! They have about 30 different kinds of Fresh Nama Chocolates here, from banana to yogurt to whisky flavors, to everything else in between. Different kinds of Royce’ Chocolate bars, tablets, chocolate covered biscuits and souvenirs can be found here too. And the freshest, best tasting salted caramel macarons I’ve ever tried were from here as well. It was indeed heaven for a sweet-toothed and chocolate lover like me!
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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.
We are The Gypsetters.