A trip to Hokkaido, Sapporo, Japan will welcome you to the gorgeous wild north of the country where you can find the most spectacular sceneries, friendly locals, and sumptuous cuisine.
However, before you pack your bags and book your plane ticket to Hokkaido, there are several key things you need to remember.
Plan Your Trip Accordingly
So, where is Hokkaido, Japan in the first place? The northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido makes up 22% of the land area of the country, which is much bigger than what you can imagine. Hokkaido is the largest prefecture of Japan.
Hokkaido is not a city’s name but instead, it is the name of the entire prefecture and island. Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido and this can be found on the western portion of Moto region.
The Grid Road System Makes Driving a Breeze
Sapporo, Hokkaido’s first ever city, was developed for urban living ever since the 1869 Meiji Period when construction started. Back then, when Sapporo was a wilderness, the roads were designed in a grid pattern resembles that of Kyoto.
The Sousei River and First Street divides this town into north, east, west, and south. The government office is located in the north, the industrial district in the east, the commercial and residential areas to the south, and the Odori Park serving as the line of fire protection between the south and north.
This is the reason why understanding Sapporo’s roads is very easy. Addresses are easy to understand as well since these are written out. If you understand it, it is easy and convenient to find your way when searching for an address. Large cities have similar constructions that make navigating the towns easy even though you might be visiting Hokkaido, Sapporo, Japan.
Don’t Forget Your Warm Clothes Even in Summer
You will hit the north country during your Hokkaido trip. It has a latitude of 41 to 45 North that places it on the same footing as South or Central France, Toronto, New York, Northern Spain, and Northern or Central Italy.
While these areas have the same latitude, the climate of Hokkaido can change based on the currents in the ocean. The weather in Hokkaido has the tendency to be generally much colder.
The best time to go sightseeing in Sapporo is in summer during the months of July through august, with average temperatures of 20.5°C to 22.3°C respectively. It makes for an easygoing and refreshing climate to wander around the area.
But, there are lots of days when the difference in temperature fluctuates during the day, with the evening and morning temperatures dipping lower than 20℃. It is recommended to have your parka or cardigan with you to stay warm.
Find the Charming Seicomart Convenience Stores Everywhere
Seicomart is the first name that pops out when it comes to convenience stores in Hokkaido, Sapporo, Japan. While there are competitors in the form of Lawson and 7-Eleven, Seicomart is no doubt the area’s number one convenient store.
There are approximately 1,190 stores that are scattered in both urban and remote island locations. You can also find these stores by the roadside anywhere you go. They have an orange sign with the Seicomart name written in white, with an inscribed phoenix in letter o in Seico.
This convenience store got everything that you need during your Hokkaido visit, from foods to drinks, alcohol, stationery, and even books. Seicomart’s main selling point goes beyond the fact that they sell their very own branded products like bread, milk, wine, soft drinks, and more. They provide dishes in small portions that are great if you are looking for a quick bite.
There is a kitchen right inside the store where they prepare fresh food including the popular giant onigiri and rice bowls. Some locations also have dining areas as well to complete the experience. The store also offers items that are exclusive to Hokkaido such as seasonings and cup noodles that are accessible and easy options for tourists searching for quick souvenirs. Their business hours may vary store from store but most locations are open 24 hours.
The city of Tokyo has so much in store for everyone and some of the popular attractions never fail to attract the onslaught of large groups of tourists. Read more information in article entitled Discover the Hidden Gems of Tokyo.
Enjoy One of the Top Nightscapes of Japan
Hokkaido has plenty of spots that are acclaimed for their glittering nightscapes including Otaru and Hakodate. However, it was Sapporo that was recently ranked as among the country’s top three city nightscapes together with Kitakyushu and Nagasaki.
The nightscape of Sapporo is similar to a bed of glittering jewels, a gorgeous lightshow put on by the extensive city and the lush nature that surrounds it. All of Sapporo’s surrounding mountain peaks offer stunning views. The best out of these peaks is Mount Moiwa but Okurayama is also worthy to visit, offering an exceptional view from the ski jump platform.
Food Differs Between the Inland and Coast of Hokkaido
What should you eat during your visit in Hokkaido, Sapporo, Japan? Well, you can find a notable difference in terms of local cuisine depending on where you are. In the coastal towns of Hokkaido like Shiretoko, Abashiri, Kushiro, Otaru, and Hakodate, seafood is used as the primary dish. But, even in similar coastal areas, the seafood taken from Pacific Ocean is still different from those taken from the Sea of Okhotsk.
The seafood can also differ even if it was taken from the same water body depending on the city. For instance, squid is Hakodate’s specialty, sea urchin and mantis shrimp in Otaru, mackerel in Kushiro, and salmon in the Shiretoko Peninsula and Abashiri.
As for the inland area, Tokachi area is famous for dairy farming and the popular food in Hokkaido are dairy products like yogurt and cheese. Beef cattle are also found here with the beef’s brand specific to the region.
Wheat cultivation thrives in Tokachi, Furano, and Biei and the places are known to make and eat pasta and bread that uses local wheat. Most local buckwheat specialties from Horokanai, Shintoku, and Tokachi are some of the finest in Japan and most of Hokkaido locals eat it.
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