Whittling down the top sites to see in any place can be difficult, so I’ve started the Super Six Series! In these articles, you’ll be able to read all about the best places to visit in some of the best locations around the world! Super Six indeed!
Hokkaido is Japan’s northern island, and for most of the year, is covered in a thick blanket of snow. This means the whole island often feels like your stepping into a magical winter wonderland, and miles away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, or the serene, cultural centre of Kyoto.
#1 Ice Hills Hotel
The snowiest of our six is the Ice Hills Hotel. This is a hotel and bar made entirely out of ice and snow, that is open throughout the winter, right outside of the main city of Sapporo. While you can stay overnight here, you can also experience the beauty of this place with a short day trip from the Cross Hotel Sapporo (which, incidentally is a great place to stay while exploring). The hotel is made up of 3 rooms and a bar, and you can freely explore all of this during your trip. The bar serves both alcohol and soft drinks, including some super-fun ice drinks served in ice glasses, or shots sent to you down an ice slide!
#2 Asahiyama Zoo
Asahiyama Zoo is located in the small town of Asahikawa, and is a must see for any animal addict. It’s a huge, open air zoo, filled with arctic animals who love the snow and cold air that permeates this island for so much of the year. If you time your visit right, you’ll also get to see the adorable penguin parade, which happens twice a day, in which the penguins take a walk around the zoo, and you can see their little feet waddle in the snow!
#3 Sapporo Beer Garden
The Sapporo Beer Garden is located in, you’ve guessed it, Sapporo, and serves a multitude of different beers made by the brewery of the same name. This is also a great place to try one of the local dishes – Genghis Khan! No, you’re not eating the Mongol invader, but a dish that was favoured by his troops. You are served plates of fresh or frozen lamb, and given a metal dome to cook them on – inspired by the Mongol soldier helmets that they used to cook their meat. Super tasty, and you can even wash it down with some chocolate beer.
#4 Sapporo Beer Museum
Attached to the Beer Garden is the Beer Museum. In here, you can explore the history of Sapporo Beer, along with the beer brewing process. A must for any beer lover, as you also have opportunity to sample a wide range of the breweries beer for yourself after the tour is over!
#5 Shiroi Koibito Chocolate Factory
This is a real, working chocolate factory, and museum all rolled into one and is just outside of Sapporo itself. You can walk through the factory, seeing the staff at work making beautiful chocolate creations, you can decorate your own cookies in the cookie craft studio, and you can see a history of chocolate throughout the museum! Also, in typical Japanese style, there are a lot of random additions that may not make sense to the rest of us! I don’t want to spoil it for you though – you’ll have to discover them for yourself!
#6 Dancing Squid
While this may not be a place, it certainly is a wonder. The famous Dancing Squid started off in the city of Hakodate, but is slowly making its way across the rest of Hokkaido. This is a squid dish so fresh, that the tentacles are still moving! Don’t worry though, it’s nothing cruel. The squid is killed and served up very quickly, so the nerves are still twitching in the head and tentacles! Just be sure to pour some soy sauce over it and see what happens – you wont be disappointed!
Read my itinerary for a weekend in Hokkaido right here!
To read more of my Super Six Series click here. Or if you want to submit a Super Six list of your own – send me a message at email@example.com
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