Friday, December 3, 2010

Japan Day 7 - Tokyo to Sapporo (3 Dec 2010)

0833-0900: took train (Keikyu line) from Shinagawa station to Haneda Airport station
0930: ate breakfast
1000-1115: flight delay
1115-1245: flight from Haneda Airport to Shin Chitose Airport
1315-1345: booked train tickets at JR train office at Chitose airport
1404: boarded train from Shin Chitose Airport to Sapporo station
1515-1540: hotel check-in at Hotel Gracery
1600-1630: lunch at Ramen Republic at ESTA building
1700-1710: took subway from Sapporo to Susukino
1710-1910: walked around from Susukino to Sapporo
1915-2120: crab dinner at Kani-honke
2150: arrived at hotel

21120yen (S$339.52): Train Tickets (for 2 pax) for Sapporo to Toya (Day 10), Toya to Noboribetsu (Day 11), Noboribetsu to Shin Chitose (Day 12)
2000x2=4000yen: Suica card top-up
650yen: tonkatsu sandwhich
750yen: alf's sushi bento
700+750+350yen: Ramen + Gyoza lunch at Ramen Republic
10648yen: Crab dinner at Kani-honke
200x2=400yen: Subway tickets from Sapporo to Susukino station
????: packet drinks & snacks from 7-11

1 thing I like about staying at Shinagawa is the direct train (Keikyu line) from Shinagawa to Haneda Airport in about 25mins.  The ANA domestic flight we booked originally was a 11am flight from Haneda to Shin Chitose (Sapporo).  However, during the purchasing of the tickets, we were told that we were able to try to get on any earlier (not later) flight on the day if there's available seats.  So Alf and I managed to get seats on the 10am flight.  HOWEVER, almost all flights were being delayed due to weather our supposedly 10am flight was delayed till 11:15am. -_-

travel insurance vending station
As there's no food being served on domestic flight, therefore there's bento sets being sold in the airport just before you board the plane.

Bento sets sold at Haneda Airport
Bento sets sold at Haneda Airport

Bento sets sold at Haneda Airport

Directions for using Japanese toilet seat controls

Awaiting to board our ANA flight from Haneda (Tokyo) to Shin Chitose (Sapporo)

.....waiting for our delayed flight
Some time...while we were waiting to board the plane, there was an announcement (announcements are in Japanese and English so don't worry if you don't understand Japanese) that our flight might either be redirected to Hakodate (about 4hrs by train, south of Sapporo in Hokkaido) or U-turn back to Haneda should the weather conditions at Shin-Chitose be bad by the time we arrive there.  Luckily for us, we were able to land at Shin-Chitose Airport and not get re-directed.
Tonkatsu sandwich which I bought for our flight
Special rates for JR trips in Hokkaido, being sold at JR station at Shin Chitose Airport
After arriving at Shin-Chitose airport, we went to the JR train office to buy our long distance train tickets for 3 trips for the following days.  Sapporo to Toya, Toya to Noboribetsu, and Noboribetsu to Shin Chitose.
Apparantly there's some sort of discount tickets for return trips between Sapporo and certain stations so the JR staff calculated for us and told us that it's cheaper to get this discount tickets than single trip tickets.
Initially i got my train tickets' prices (and timings) from and these discount tickets are cheaper. :)
Taking train from Shin Chitose Airport to Sapporo
After buying our long distance trip tickets, we went to top up our Suica card (again...) and boarded the train from Shin-Chitose Airport to Sapporo station.
By the way, there's toilets on board the train from Airport to Sapporo. :)
Arrived at Sapporo station

It was raining when we arrived at Sapporo.  We didnt realised there's direct underground pass from the station to our hotel (Hotel Gracery) so we walked in the rain with our umbrella and luggage bags and crossed the road over to our hotel.
Our room at Hotel Gracery
Another small room.  This is the semi-double room (which means the bed is slightly larger than a single bed but smaller than a double bed).  To save $$ since we will be outside most of the time, so I booked the cheapest room which is the semi-double room.
Our view from the hotel room at Hotel Gracery.  Our hotel is located just across the road from Sapporo station. :)

My travel companions :)  Bear have been with me even for our Europe trip.  Rabbit just bought in Tokyo.
Underground shopping link from Sapporo our hotel.  
After dumping our luggage in our room, we decided to head for Ramen Republic at ESTA building nearby.  This is where we realised that our hotel's lift is linked directly to this underground pass to Daimaru, Sapporo station and ESTA building.

humongous Hello Kitty.

Ramen Republic, at ESTA building at Sapporo station

Inside Ramen Republic
Ramen Republic is made up of many individual Ramen stores.
Inside Ramen Republic

Map of Ramen Republic

We finally decided to eat here.

Located 1 level below Ramen Republic, also at ESTA building

Loved this.  

Basement of ESTA building

Subway ticket from Sapporo to Susukino station
The subway at Sapporo doesnt take we had to purchase single trip tickets. 200yen (about S$3) for adults, 100yen (about S$1.50) for children. We alighted at Susukino, which is just 2 stops (5mins?) from Sapporo.

The benches are warmed.

Rainy evening

Miffy theme event at 7-11.  

Many cookies and chocs giftboxes sold everywhere...this particular shop is located at Susukino
Cute biscuit

puppies at pet shop

the prices of the puppies at the pet shop
We walked around from Susukino to Odori to Sapporo trying to locate a king crab restaurant. I recalled our friend Yasutaka-san telling me there's a good one with branches at Susukino and Sapporo...but I forgot to print out the maps -_-

Odori Park

Finally found the place just 2 streets away from our hotel.  This entire building IS the restaurant.  I (WE) LOVE this place.  I've never eaten crabs before, however I fell in love with King crabs here.  We ate Crabs for dinner on all 3 nights at Sapporo.  Out of the 3 dinners, 2 dinners were had at this same restaurant.

Every level is being divided into little rooms where there's 1 or 2 tables in each room. 

just a part of our set dinner...more to come...

Press the button to get the attention of the service staff

It looks...erm.....but Alf said it's actually quite nice.

Tempura Kani (crab)

We ordered this set

pot for us to throw the crab shells

LOOOOOVVVEEEE this.  It's a porridge made from the soup base of our hot pot soup.
If you ever come here, this is a must-try!
Dessert was fruits...but they offered to change it to ice-cream after I told them I don't eat fruits.

8000yen-Crab set, 1360yen-Tempura crab, 320yen-Rice.
King crabs in a holding area at the Restaurant's lobby.

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