Day 14 [8th June]: Tokyo to Sapporo

My flight to Sapporo is at 3:25pm, so I checked out of the hotel at about 11am to make my way to Narita Airport. I took the inexpensive Keisei Limited Express to the airport and it costs ¥1,000. I reached the airport a little earlier than the check-in time, so I had to wait awhile before I could check-in. After checking in, I went to a restaurant to have my lunch.

After my enjoyable lunch, it was almost 1 hour to flight time, so I headed to the gate and wait for boarding. After the short flight, I arrived in New Chitose Airport slightly after 5pm. From the airport, I took the airport train to Sapporo and I was pleasantly surprised that the transport network here supports ICOCA card from Kansai as well.

From Sapporo Station, it was rather easy to find Mitsui Garden Hotel. I was so happy that the hotel is so near the main train station. It was less than 10 minutes walk even though I was clumsy with my bags and suitcase. I checked in to the hotel and headed for my room on the 13th floor. At just ¥38,829 for 4 nights, I was surprised that the room looks so nice and spacious. The location is fantastic and the bathroom even has a bath tub. It was certainly beyond my expectations since I was expecting Japan to be a really expensive place to be in. In comparison, such hotel room would probably cost at least twice as much in Hong Kong or Singapore.

I did some research on where to go for a meal and made up my mind to start my Sapporo visit with a crab feast. I navigated my way to Kani Honke using Google Maps and it was a pleasant 15 to 20 minutes walk in the nice cool weather. When I reached the restaurant, I realised there were several people waiting in queue for tables. I waited patiently for about 15-25 minutes for my table and I was served by a staff who spoke mandarin. Ordering my food and asking questions was so much easier without the language barrier. I ordered a 10-course set menu and also ordered a plate of king crab sashimi for my dinner. I totally enjoyed my meal and particularly loved the snow crab sashimi and king crab sashimi alot. Raw crab seems to taste so much sweeter and softer. The crab porridge was also exceptionally tasty! Service standard was also excellent over here. They seem to time the serving of each dish so well. Everytime they walk past, they will try to catch a glimpse of how fast I am eating and time the serving of subsequent dishes though the soji-style sliding door was closed. For the price of ¥8,463, it was certainly quite a feast. But the food was exceptional and so was the service standard, so I was pretty happy.

After my extravagant dinner, I went in search of one sento (public bath house) that was within 2km away. It was quite a long walk but the weather was very pleasant to walk in. After some effort, I found Gokurakuyu Sapporo Yayoi. The entrance fee was just ¥420 and I also paid an extra ¥250 for rental of towels, shower foam and shampoo. It's definitely very cheap compared to the sentos/onsens in Kansai area and Tokyo. When I entered the bathing area, I was quite surprised to see a huge crowd in there. There are 2 rotenburos (outdoor pools) but I did not soak inside them as they were too hot for my liking. I spent most of my time releaxing in the indoor pools and also outside in the cool nice weather where there are seats and place to lie down. I stayed in the sento until it was close to the closing time at 12 midnight before dressing up and going back to my hotel to rest.

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