On the fourth day, we checked out of Loisir hotel in Asahikawa and drove all the way to Sapporo (札幌市) to check into the local Super Hotel (it’s the real name of a budget business hotel chain in Japan).

Along the way, we visited a park which offers free sledding. Meiyen, Rachel and I were quite pissed with Mark when we discovered that you can also ski at this same park at a much cheaper price, minus the gondola rental. Although it did not have steep slopes liken to the professional ski resort we went to on our second day in Hokkaido, the environment there was good enough for amateurs like us who do not even have a ski coach or lesson.

Then again, poor Mark is also the one who planned and took care of all the itinerary. Plus he did most of the driving… on account of these, we forgave him.

At the sled park

At the sled park

Nice weather

Nice weather

Kids ski lesson

Kids’ ski lesson

Inside an igloo

Inside an igloo

Rachel and I hiding in an igloo

Rachel and I hiding in an igloo

Mark and Meiyen peeking in

Mark and Meiyen peeking in

Playing with snow

Playing with snow

Decomposing snowmen

Decomposing snowmen

Rachel posing with the barely-there snowmen

Rachel posing with the barely-there snowmen

Rachel with her red sled

Rachel with her red sled

A mechanism to pull us up the slope

A mechanism to pull us up the slope

This is how we are pulled up

This is how we are pulled up

My dangling feet

My dangling feet

Getting into position

Getting into position

Rachel is ready to go down

Rachel is ready to go down

Wheeeeeee!

“Wheeeeeee!”

Rachel sledding down

Rachel speeding down

Rachel and Meiyen loves sledding

Rachel and Meiyen loves sledding

Staff helping lazy Meiyen clear her sled

Staff helping lazy Meiyen clear her sled

Me with my green sled

Me with my green sled

Lots of kids queuing for sledding

Lots of kids queuing for sledding

Mark bullying small kids

Mark bullying small kids

Mark cuts small kids queue and put up a cheese sign

Mark cuts small kids’ queue and put up a cheese sign

A rare group photo of all four of us

A rare group photo of all four of us

Rachel with a giant flying fox - the parks mascot

Rachel with a giant flying fox – the park’s mascot

We went for a quick supermarket lunch at Isetan after that, following which we proceeded to the Ishiya chocolate factory that manufactures the famous Shiroi Koibito cookies (with white chocolate sandwiched between). The place is kind of like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory in real life, filled with cutesy animated toys and gadgets. At certain fixed timings, the factory would even “spring to life” as a cheery music plays in the background while the various statues outside the factory start singing and dancing.

Inside the factory, you will get to see how the cookies are being made and the stringent quality control they go through before they are boxed and wrapped up for sale. I was quite disturbed by the huge amount of wastage actually. Slightly chipped or crooked cookies are tossed into the waste bin without a second look. These are still food…

Anyway, the factory also has many galleries and exhibits showcasing quite random stuff from the history of chocolate to old Japanese toys. Usually, Rachel and I love visiting museums, but this prove to quite painful in Japan as 99% of the explanatory text will be in Japanese only.

My lunch

My lunch – beef rice

Rachels lunch - bamboo rice

Rachel’s lunch – bamboo rice

Sweet corn for desert

Sweet corn for desert

Coroquette!

Coroquettes as snacks

One last photo of the car before we returned it

One last photo of the car before we returned it

Outside Ishiya chocolate factory

Outside Ishiya chocolate factory

The toys came out singing and dancing

The toys came out singing and dancing

Drummer bear

Drummer bear

The joyous singing chefs

The joyous singing chefs

European looking facade

European looking facade

Smiley Rachel

Smiley Rachel

In front of a small house with small furniture

In front of a small house with small furniture

Mechanical chef and a squirrel

Mechanical chef and a squirrel

Rachel said the statues at Ishiyi are all very modest as their private parts are all covered

The statues at Ishiyi are all very modest as their private parts are all covered

Complementary Shoiroi Koibito cookies and Ishiya passports

Complementary Shiroi Koibito cookies and Ishiya “passports”

We were given the dark chocolate ones

We were given the dark chocolate ones

Abraham Lincoln and me

Giant white chocolate bunny

Giant white chocolate bunny

Wooden dog that guards the stairway

Wooden dog that guards the stairway

An indoor fountain greeted us as we stepped into the factory

An indoor fountain greeted us as we stepped into the factory

A town made of confectionary

A town made of confectionary

Freaky faceless narrator

Freaky faceless narrator

The King and Queen of the Ishiya factory

The King and Queen of the Ishiya factory

Can you smell the cocoa?

Can you smell the cocoa?

Isnt this like Willy Wonka in real life?

Isn’t this like Willy Wonka in real life?

The assembly line

The assembly line

Checking for defects

Checking for defects

Giant screen that imprints visitors face onto it - can you see us?

Giant screen that imprints visitors face onto it – can you see us?

Close-up of the big screen

Close-up of the big screen

The other corner

The other corner

Rachel and I

Rachel and I

Each piece of these cookies cost around S$1

Each piece of these cookies cost around S$1

I dont know what this Singapore flag is about, but its nice to see it there

I don’t know what this Singapore flag is about, but it’s nice to see it there

Sugar pastries

Sugar pastries

Flower-shaped pastries

Flower-shaped pastries

Lady-shaped pastries

Baby-shaped pastries

Cutesy damsels

Cutesy damsels

Pastry and bakery lessons for kids

Pastry and bakery lessons for kids

An automated piano that plays by itself

An automated piano that plays by itself

Delicious looking cakes at the Ishiya cafe

Delicious looking cakes at the Ishiya cafe

Nice window view from the cafe

Nice window view from the cafe

Lots of exquisite cocoa cups

Lots of exquisite cocoa cups

Beautfully carved egg

Beautfully carved egg

Beautiful pink cup

Beautiful pink cup

A square cup

A square cup

Venetian glasses

Venetian glasses

A cup heavily ornated with flowers

A cup heavily ornated with flowers

Little birdies cup

Little birdies cup

Cup with fan-shaped saucer

Cup with fan-shaped saucer

Cup with many angels and fairies

Cup with many angels and fairies

Small bust head

Small bust head

Hologram kids explaining the invention of chocolate

Hologram kids explaining the invention of chocolate

Worlds top ten chocolate

Worlds top chocolates

Antique chocolate boxes

Antique chocolate boxes

More antique chocolate boxes

More antique chocolate boxes

Plastic toy figurines

Plastic toy figurines

Japanese governmental mascots (our Sharity Elephant and the Clean and Green Frog were probably copied from these two)

Japanese governmental mascots (our Sharity Elephant and the “Clean and Green” Frog were probably copied from these two)

The Meiji girl

The Meiji girl

Large tin ship

Large tin ship

Battleships toys

Battleships toys

Vintage tin toys

Vintage tin toys

Tintin toys

Tintin toys

The Beetles!

The Beetles!

Toy Beetles and other Beetles stuff

Toy Beetles and other Beetles’ stuff

Michael Jackson when he was still human

Michael Jackson when he was still human

Slyvester Stallone has been to Ishiya before

Slyvester Stallone has been to Ishiya before

The superman in the middle looks funny

The superman in the middle looks funny

Old Mickey Mouse toys

Old Mickey Mouse toys

Antique Mickey Mouse toys

Antique Mickey Mouse toys

Vintage toy guns

Vintage toy guns

A metal biker

A metal biker

Autograph of a famous Japanese wrestler

Autograph of a famous Japanese wrestler

Tezuka Osamus autographed work!

Tezuka Osamu’s autographed work!

More astroboy stuff

More astroboy stuff

Still more astroboy toys

Still more astroboy toys

Astroboy and me

Astroboy and me

I love this cartoon when I was young

I love this cartoon when I was young

traditional Japanese toys

traditional Japanese toys

retro Japanese playing cards

retro Japanese playing cards

Toy farmer with funny expression

Toy farmer with funny expression

Old Japanese-designed toys

Old Japanese-designed toys

What an old Japanese home looks like

What an old Japanese home looks like

Dragonball cards - Mark and I used to collect lots of these

Dragonball cards – Mark and I used to collect lots of these

Retro Kamen Rider toys

Retro Kamen Rider toys

Collecting the Ishiya stamp chop before we left

Collecting the Ishiya stamp chop before we left

For a fee, you can imprint your photo onto a can of Ishiya cocoa

For a fee, you can imprint your photo onto a can of Ishiya cocoa

Snowmen chocolate

Snowmen chocolate

Gourmet chocolate on sale

Gourmet chocolate on sale

Shoiri Kubito

Shiroi Koibito cookies – we bought a box

Outside the factory at night

Outside the factory at night

After the factory visit, we headed to the Sapporo Super Hotel to check-in for the night. I quite like Super Hotel for it’s cleanliness; attention to detail; and many hi-tech gimmicks like password-operated doors. There’s also free Internet access in all the room, HD-TV and choice of your type of sleeping pillow. The ladies get some free bathroom and skin care samples too. The only minus point is the extreme small size of the rooms (after putting in our luggage, there’s barely room to even walk around); then again, weighed against all the other perks, I find this sole weakness neligible.

Outside Super Hotel

Super Hotel (that’s how it’s read in Japanese)

You can choose the type of pillow you like at the lobby

You can choose the type of pillow you like at the lobby

Teeny weeny room

Teeny weeny room

Proper work desk and a HD-TV

Proper work desk and a HD-TV

Double-decker beds

Double-decker beds

The toilet is so small that even Rachel can touch the ceiling

The toilet is so small that even Rachel can touch the ceiling

Btw, most toilet seats in Japan comes with automated butt wash, air freshener, music and seat warming functions

Btw, most toilet seats in Japan comes with automated butt wash, air freshener, music and seat warming functions

Kawaii toilet roll

Kawaii toilet roll

What they are trying to say is that you need to close the door when bathing as the steam may sound off the fire alarm

What they are trying to say is that you need to close the door when bathing as the steam may sound off the fire alarm

Freebies for the ladies

Freebies for the ladies

View from our hotel window

View from our hotel window

From another angle

From another angle

After checking-in, we waited for Mark as he drove off to return our trusty Nissan Wingroad. We will be without a car for the rest of our stay in Hokkaido as carpark fees are very expensive in Sapporo. Plus in the town area, the attractions are well-connected to each other and it make more sense to take public transport.

We had a very heavy dinner that night – a all-you-can-eat crab buffet! I think Mark and I collectively ate up at least eight King Crabs in the stipulated 90 minutes limit for the buffet. That’s not including the other crabs we ate and the compulsory first serving of sushi, chawamushi and tempura. Actually, we could have eaten more, but it was quite tiring to cut and extract the meat out from the giant King Crabs’ legs. We tired out hands before we maxed out our tummies.

Entering the crab buffet restaurant

Entering the crab buffet restaurant

The menu explaining the 90 mins rule and the compulsory first serving of staple food

Menu explaining the 90 mins rule and the compulsory first serving of staple foodMenu explaining the 90 mins rule and the compulsory first serving of staple food

Crabs galore!

Crabs galore!

Close-up of the crabs

Close-up of the crabs

The crabs are quite hairy...

The crabs are quite hairy…

Time for a crab feast!

Time for a crab feast!

Mark and Meiyen starts working on the crabs

Mark and Meiyen starts working on the crabs

Peeled King Crab meat

Peeled King Crab meat

First sushi serving - each of us have to finish a set of these before we can order more crabs

Sushi set – each of us have to finish a set of these before we can order more crabs

Rachel and her small bottle of sake

Rachel and her small bottle of sake

Outside the restaurant

Outside the restaurant

On our way back to the hotel, we managed to catch a preview of some of the ice sculptures which were part of the 60th Sapporo Snow Festival exhibits. They were not lit yet, but still looks really good. That ended our tight-packed programs for the day.

Checking out the streets of Sapporo

Checking out the streets of Sapporo

At Sapporo

Rachel looks happy

We found a ramen street and vow to go back the next day

We found a ramen street and vow to go back the next day

Even the bears love ramen

Even the bears love ramen

Rachel is always freezing cold

Rachel is always freezing cold

Lots of bright signboards

Lots of bright signboards

Glimpses of the snow sculptures

Glimpses of the snow sculptures

Sculpture of a peacock

Sculpture of a peacock

Ice sculpture with embedded frozen seafood

Ice sculpture with embedded frozen seafood

More frozen seafood

More frozen seafood

Frozen crabs

Frozen crabs

These fishes look rotten

These fishes look rotten

Bleeding fish

Bleeding fish

Fish with a long red tailfin

Fish with a long red tailfin

More rotten fishes

More rotten fishes

Sea angels sculpture

Sea angels sculpture

Watch out for my next entry on my fifth day in Hokkaido. 🙂 Meanwhile, you can read my previous entries if you haven’t already:

Day 1 – Kansai Airport, Hokkaido

Day 2 – Skiing, Otaru

Day 3 – Asahikawa, Asahiyama Zoo

Day 4 – Sledding, Shiroi Koibito, Crab Buffet

Day 5 – The 60th Sapporo Snow Festival

Day 6 – Staying with the Asai, Shōnan

Day 7 – Ueno, Tokyo

Day 8 – Shibuya and Akihabara, Tokyo

Day 9 – Ikeda, Osaka

Day 10 – Kobe

Day 11 – Kyoto

Day 12 – Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and Dotonbori

Day 13 – Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge and Mt. Rokko

Day 14 – Return to Singapore

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