Day of Travel: 10/02/2012 We woke up to the heaviest snowfall we had seen yet in Sapporo. We checked out of our accommodation early to make sure we reach New Chitose airport on time. Our main worry was that the trains would be delayed, but luckily this wasn’t the case! Still, it was a shame to leave the Snow Festival when the Snow finally started falling. We ended up arriving at New Chitose Airport earlier than expected and checked in our luggage. As there was still over an hour before we had to go through security, we decided to explore the airport. The main foyer featured a large Hatsune Miku and Vocaloid exhibition. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Vocaloid, it is a voice synthesizer program which is increasing with popularity with many popular pop-songs being released in Japan. Hatsune Miku in particular is the face of the most popular voice bank in the range available. I also use her for my virtual rock band Contradicting Illusions. The Vocaloid brand originated in Hokkaido, and hence Hatsune Miku/Vocaloid has a very huge presence at most Winter Festivals in the region.
In addition to the Vocaloid exhibition, there was also Melon Bear. This is a popular mascot of Hokkaido. It combines together melons and brown bears, both of which Hokkaido is well known for. We also stumbled across Mos Burger, which is a Japanese burger chain. We decided to eat there to see how its like compared to western burger chains. The burgers were somewhat small, but were definitely tastier than those from McDs! Also helped that I had a shrimp burger, which was very unique (and I love seafood)!
We went through security checks after lunch, but then found that the plane was delayed because of the snowfall. Unfortunately there wasn’t much that interested us in the departure hall, so we just lazed around until our flight was due to take off. We did spot a Pokemon plane though!
By the time we arrived in Fukuoka, it was already evening and the sun had set. We took a train to Hakata station, and checked into our accommodation at Fukuoka Riverside. The room we stayed in was the smallest of the trip, as there was barely enough space to fit our luggage – let alone move around the room. However its proximity to Canal City, a subway station, and a shopping arcade made it worthwhile.
After resting for a short while, we headed off to find some Yatai stalls to have dinner. Most of these are located near Canal City, which is one of the largest shopping malls I had ever seen. We found that many people dining in these stalls were smoking – a lot. As such, we decided to just take a few pictures of the stalls, and head to Canal City for dinner instead.
One of the floors of Canal City featured a large array of ramen restaurants. We decided to give ramen another try (after the monstrosity which was miso ramen). We tried ramen from Ramenjinanbo Hakatadu, and must say it was pretty darn delicious! We also ordered some Gyoza (dumplings) on the side to share around.
After dinner, we explored as much of Canal City as we could before the shops closed. We first entered an amusement arcade that featured games a lot older than I was expecting. I even saw a Typing of the Dead game that even featured keyboards you would expect to see being used back in the 1990s! There was also a display with hundreds of small screens showing strange light patterns, and looking at it for a prolonged period of time made me feel like my mind was tripping. There was also a cute cleaning robot with a happy face. Touching its face will bring up many options, such as playing mini-games or drawing. It was awesome!
A quick view over the ledge of some of the levels shows just how large Canal City was. As we were getting tired, many of the shops were closing, and we had barely covered many areas within the mall, we decided to start heading back. We did get distracted by crepes along the way, as well as a water fountain display.
Back at the accommodation, I climbed up to the roof to have a view of the surrounding area. It was not the best view ever, but it sunk in that we were no longer in Hokkaido due to the lack of snow. Looking back at our activities throughout the day, we did not get up to very much. Still, it was good to take a bit of a break once in a while!
Subway from Sapporo JR Station to New Chitose Airport – 1,040 yen
Flight from New Chitose Airport to Fukuoka Airport – 10,000 yen
Subway from Fukuoka Airport to Gion Station – 250 yen
Fukuoka Riverside Hostel (since been closed) – 3,000 yen
Breakfast from convenience store near Sapporo JR Station – 260 yen (egg/tomato/cheese sandwich)
Lunch at Mos Burger @ New Chitose Airport – 740 yen (Shrimp burger set)
Dinner at Ramenjinanbo Hakatadu @ Canal City – 820 yen (Ramen and Gyoza)
Strawberry crepe with ice cream and chocolate @ Canal City – 430 yen
N/A ~All free~
N/A [Need to save money once in a while right?]
TOTAL (cost for whole trip in brackets)
6,540 yen excluding flights, 16,540 yen including flights (274,883 yen total)