BumblebeeMum
Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip (June 2016) Part 3: Sapporo, Otaru

Hokkaido Trip June 2014 - Sapporo and Otaru - Bumble Bee Mum

Continued from: Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip (June 2014) Part 2: Lake Shikotsu, Lake Toya, Niseko

So the previous leg of our Hokkaido trip didn’t go so well, with crappy weather and all.   But things started to change for the better once we reached Sapporo.  And by things, I really meant the weather.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (01) - Sapporo

It seemed as if the sky cleared up because it knew that the Yosakoi Soran Festival was taking place.  I couldn’t help feeling like it was the festival that chased away the rain.  Because right after the festival ended, the rain came back the very next day.

Yosakoi-Soran-Festival-Sapporo-Hokkaido-02

Anyway, Yosakoi Soran Festival was THE main highlight of the trip for me.  I had actually visited Hokkaido in June two years earlier, and was not all that keen to visit in June again.  Because if you read my travel journal from the last trip, I already said June was a bad time to visit Hokkaido as it rained every single day during that trip.

But during that trip, I missed the Yosakoi Soran Festival.  And I LOVE Japanese festivals.  So you can say that I was back in Hokkaido this June specially for the Yosakoi Soran Festival.

We arrived in Sapporo from Niseko in the late afternoon.  After we checked into Mercure Hotel Sapporo and let the kids play in the bath tub for a bit, we wanted to head out for ‘Soran Night’ at Odori Park.  But as we were making our way there, we realised there were performances at Susukino itself, not far from the hotel.

So we just planted ourselves along the road and watched the teams of dancers put up their performances at Susukino.

It was AWESOME!! I loved the performances so much!! It was so full of energy and happiness.  The performers all put on their widest smiles when they came on – the joy was infectious!

I forgot all about the crappy weather previously and the fact that I was sick.  It was very hard to feel crappy when there was so much joy and energy in the air!

Yosakoi-Soran-Festival-Sapporo-Hokkaido-04

We didn’t stay for the entire event, which was scheduled till 10pm, because we needed to go for dinner.  I had made reservation for dinner at Sapporo Bier Garten.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (05) - Sapporo Bier Garten Jingisukan

Sapporo Bier Garten is famous for their jingisukan at Kessel Hall.  I tried it the first time I visited Hokkaido and frankly, I wasn’t a fan of the jingisukan here.  Though I admit the atmosphere was great.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (04) - Sapporo Bier Garten Jingisukan

This time, we decided to try the jingisukan + crab buffet at Trommel Hall instead.  Since most of the people in the group generally preferred seafood to jingisukan.  What I loved about the buffet at Trommel Hall was that it also included prawns and hotate! Plus all the kids (6 years and below) could dine for free.  #CHEAPO

Day 6: Sapporo

In the morning, we headed to the Maruyama Koen district and had breakfast at a lovely cafe called Cafe Anniversary.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (02) - Cafe Anniversary Sapporo

It was soooo pretty!! This was like totally my kind of cafe.

You just cannot resist ordering their beautiful cakes and having coffee served in a pretty cup.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (03) - Cafe Anniversary Sapporo

Right after that, we went on for lunch at Sushi Zen.

Sushi Zen Honten at Maruyama Koen actually stated in their website that they did not allow children under 7 years old.  But my friend helped to call them to enquire and they said they could accommodate us in their private room.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (07) - Sapporo Sushizen Honten

When we arrived at the private room, it was all set up with two sets of children’s utensils and high chairs!  I was pleasantly surprised.  So I guess they do allow children after all?

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (06) - Sapporo Sushizen Honten

But of course, they didn’t have kids meals, so we ordered ala-carte tamago (egg) sushi for the kids.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (09) - Sapporo Sushizen Honten

On the whole, dining at Sushi Zen was a great experience.  Their service was excellent – from waiting for us at the road in front of the restaurant to greet us as we arrived, to sending us off to our car as we left.  And they had a super value-for-money lunch set which cost ¥3,564++.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (08) - Sapporo Sushizen Honten

After lunch, the kids had some fun at ARIO (near Sapporo Beer Museum) where there was a mini festival going on.  MF had a lot of fun playing traditional Japanese festival games and winning a lot of prizes!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (10) - Sapporo ARIO

For the rest of the day, we hung out at Odori Park to catch the Yosakoi Soran Festival.

Odori Park is a huge park, stretching 13 blocks from 1-chome to 13-chome.  We camped at 9-chome, where there were playgrounds for the kids and also where there was free public viewing area for the parade.  So it was kind of killing two birds with one stone.  The kids got to play, I got to watch the festival.

For dinner, we just grabbed some food at the festival’s food park.

Day 7: Sapporo

We started the morning with a visit to Sapporo Central Wholesale Market.  I was actually a bit lazy to drive to the market and wanted to go to Nijo Market in town.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (30) - Sapporo Central Wholesale Curb Market

But somehow, the debate of which market to visit ended up with the group deciding the central wholesale market was better, so there we went.

As usual, we ended up having breakfast at Kita No Gourmet.

After breakfast, we shopped around the market.  Usually I would buy a slice of Hokkaido melon when I visit markets.  But since we had so many people this time, it was more cost-effective for us to buy a whole melon – which the staff helped to slice up for us!  When we couldn’t finish, he even put the leftover in a styrofoam plate and wrapped it up with cling wrap for us to bring back.  A+ service!!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (11) - Sapporo Central Wholesale Market

Next, we.. or rather I wanted to have desserts.  So we drove to Chocolate Masale Cafe.

But I had a feeling nobody else in the family wanted to be there having desserts except me. I reckoned my in-laws would rather be sightseeing or shopping instead of sitting in a cafe since this was their first trip to Hokkaido.  There was nothing in Sapporo that I really wanted to see that i haven’t seen, or any souvenir that I wanted to buy that I haven’t bought at least twice before.  But there were lots of things I wanted to eat but haven’t eaten.  So we ended up splitting up.

I joined my friend who was sort of a coffee connoisseur and had done some research on where to find good coffee in Sapporo.  I am no coffee connoisseur.  To me, there are only two types of coffee: The ones that can keep me awake and the ones that can’t.  So I just tagged along with him.  I was actually very glad to be following brainlessly rather than leading the way for once.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (12) - Sapporo Ritaru Coffee

We first arrived at Ritaru Coffee.  Since I knew nothing about choosing coffee, I always just order house blend.  I had a slice of their signature cake to go with my Ritaru Blend coffee.

Imo, cafes in Japan can be divided into two categories: Those that serve good coffee, and those that serve good cakes.  Usually those cafes that serve good coffee only have so-so cakes, while those that serve good cakes only have so-so coffee.  So I wasn’t expecting much from the cake at Ritaru.  It was better than I expected.  Not WOW but okay, not bad.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (13) - Sapporo Ritaru Coffee

Next, my friend brought us to Morihico coffee.  There was a looooong waiting time to get a table on a Sunday afternoon.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (14) - Sapporo Mirihico Coffee

At least it was quite entertaining to watch the lady prepare the coffee while waiting.  The way she did it was like an art.

According to my friend, the ice drip coffee at Morihico was awesome.  In his words, he said the aftertaste was like wine.  I had ordered boring house blend again.  And yes, that’s an old-school sewing machine on the table.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (17) - Sapporo Mirihico Coffee

But I tell you what, imo,  was awesome at Morihico.  THE TOAST.  It was not just any toast.  Morihico gets their bread from Marumugi, a super popular bakery in the vicinity.  I super loved the toast!!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (16) - Sapporo Mirihico Coffee

I had maxed out the amount of coffee I could take in a day, and headed back to spend the rest of the day checking out Yosakoi Soran Festival at Odori Park.

My friend continued his food hunt and found the ramen joint which Anthony Bourdain visited – Aji no Karyu (味の華龍)!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (32) - Sapporo Aji no Karyu

Like OMG!!! In my previous post, I raved about how we followed Anthony Bourdain’s recommendation and ended up at Torimatsu in Niseko – which was awesome.  And here is a video of Anthony Bourdain’s ramen hunt in Sapporo:

And my friend just had to send us a photo of the ramen, ala Anthony Bourdain style.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (33) - Sapporo Aji no Karyu

We later met up at my favourite hole-in-wall joint, Go Tsubo, for grilled oysters, grilled hotate and grilled hokki! Considering each grilled oyster here only cost 105yen, we somehow managed to chalk up a bill of about 8000yen.  Just imagine how much we ate! Okay, we ordered beer too – so maybe we didn’t eat THAT much.  I hope.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (34) - Sapporo Go Tsubo

Day 8: Otaru

After visiting Otaru so many times, my husband suggested that we go out of Central Otaru this time round.  I wanted to protest about not being able to eat my favourite ice-cream from Kita on Ice Cream Ya San and favourite chou cream from Kitakaro.  But I had to agree with him that it was time to go explore somewhere off the beaten track.

I asked my friend (an Otaru resident) for restaurant recommendations and he asked us to go to Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou at Shukutsu Peninsular and Shokudou Misaki at Shakotan.  Always listen to the locals yo!

So we started with breakfast at Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou.  Which was fabulous!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (19) - Otaru Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou

Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou is something that deserves a post of its own.  So keeping it short here.  Go for their signature grilled Nishin or Nishin sashimi when you’re here – I liked them both ways!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (18) - Otaru Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou

After our meal, we drove up to the hill beside the restaurant for a view of the peninsular.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (36) - Otaru Shukutsu Peninsular

Our next destination was Nikka Whisky Distillery at the neighbouring town of Yoichi.  You can have a tour of the facilities to understand how whisky is made here.

It was raining quite heavily when we were there, so we did not complete the whole tour – which required us to walk between various facilities in their expansive grounds.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (22) - Yoichi Nikka Whiskey Distillery

Instead, we enjoyed whisky tasting at the tasting hall.  The tasting hall was awesome.  Not only can you enjoy whisky neat, you can help yourself to ice if you prefer on the rocks, or you can even add soda water to make ‘highball’!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (21) - Yoichi Nikka Whiskey Distillery

And you absolutely cannot leave the souvenir shop without buying some whisky or whisky flavoured snacks! I loved how they sold their whisky in tiny souvenir-sized bottles.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (20) - Yoichi Nikka Whiskey Distillery

Before we got drunk, we drove on to Shakotan to have lunch at Shokudou Misaki.  That was when I realised I made a huge mistake in planning.  We should have gone to Shokudou Misaki for breakfast and Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou for lunch!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (24) - Shakotan Peninsular Shokudou Misaki

By the time we got to Shokudou Misaki for lunch, many of the items on their menu were sold out!! Including the aka bafun uni (red sea urchin) and their grilled fish.  I drove all the way here for bafun uni can? *sob sob* Not just did I have no bafun uni to eat, those in the group who did not eat raw food had NOTHING to eat.  (Even worse.)

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (23) - Shakotan Peninsular Shokudou Misaki

Anyway since we had driven all the way here, we just ordered a few bowls of their normal uni don – which was still very nice and value-for-money compared to other restaurants in Hokkaido.

Read more:  Hokkaido’s Best Food (By Region)

And believe it or not, the boys actually enjoyed eating the uni don here!  Usually I would have ordered some grilled fish for them but since uni don was the only item available here at that hour, I just let them have some (desperate times call for desperate measures – figured it was better than letting them skip lunch).   Surprisingly they liked it a lot!

Uni season at Shakotan is very short.  You can only get them here from June to August. Knowing that, I guess it was not that wasted a trip to Shakotan, even though we had to settle for second best.  Let me just insert a photo of the bafun uni from our previous visit here to make myself feel better.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (37) - Shakotan Shokudou Misaki

After lunch, I was hoping we could take at least take a nice photo at Shakotan Peninsular after lunch.   You know, to make the drive all the way to Shakotan more worthwhile.  But it was raining heavily so we gave that up as well.  So back to central Otaru we went.

At Otaru, we checked in to Zen Otaru Hostel, which was ran by my friend Sano and his wife.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (25) - Otaru Zen Hostel

We had planned to visit Mount Tenguyama in Otaru, but scrapped the plan as it was raining.  So we decided to go for a walk at Otaru canal and Sakaimachi instead, especially since this was my in-laws’ first visit to Otaru.

MY was not feeling well and kept wanting to be carried.  The walk from Otaru station, where Zen Otaru Hostel was, to Sakaimachi was not exactly near when you have to carry a 16kg kid.  Plus it was drizzling and I needed one hand to hold an umbrella and only had one hand to support the 16kg.

So I decided to only walk as far as Otaru Canal.  Actually no.  I did not even walk until Otaru Canal.  I only walked until Kita No Ice Cream Ya San.  And discovered to my horror that it was closed!!!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (35) - Otaru Kita No Ice

I checked my watch and it was what.. 5.05pm?  Kita No Ice Cream Ya San closed ON THE DOT at 5pm! I missed it by 5 minutes!! Super upset as this was the second time in a row I came to Kita No Ice Cream Ya San to find it closed.  Previously they were closed because of winter.  So again, let me dig out an old photo to fill in the gap.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (38) - Otaru Kita no Ice

In case you are wondering why I have that photo of myself eating ice-cream at Kita No Ice Cream Ya San in winter when I said that they close during winter,  let me explain.  Kita No Ice Cream Ya San is closed during winter – BUT they open when there is a festival.  I was there during the Otaru Snow Light Path festival, which was why they were open.

My husband and his parents went ahead to explore Otaru Canal and Sakaimachi while I decided to take a break at Otaru Denuki.  Because without my ice-cream break, I didn’t have the energy to carry MY and walk all the way back to the hostel.

I decided to order the melon with soft-serve from Popura Farm to perk myself up before heading back.  But I felt totally cheated when the melon that came was green and not orange?!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (15) - Otaru Denuki Poplar

But it was okay.  The green melon was sweet and juicy and it made me happy enough to pick MY up and walk back to the hostel.

After we got back to the hostel, Sano brought us to the pharmacy nearby to pick up some medication for MY.  We also went to the supermarket to buy some groceries to prepare dinner in the hostel, because nobody wanted to go out in the crappy weather.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (25) - Zen Otaru Hostel

Day 9: Otaru – Asahikawa – Kitami

Since we were staying near Otaru station for this trip, we thought we would pay a visit to Sankaku Market in the morning.  I have never visited Sankaku Market although I have been to Otaru many times.  Sano warned me that Sankaku Market was a tourist trap – that the seafood there was overpriced and not fresh.  Listen to the locals yo!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (26) - Otaru Sankaku Market

Even if it was a tourist trap, I decided I had to go and take a look for myself at least once.  How stubborn can I get right? In my mind I was thinking, this is Hokkaido! How bad can it get??

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (27) - Otaru Sankaku Market

It was bad.  Don’t go there.  Walk into any other restaurant in Otaru and you can probably get better food.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (29) - Otaru Sankaku Market

I had no idea ‘fresh’ seafood could be tasteless.  I mean.. We ordered prawns that were swimming and served as sashimi once they were taken out from the tank.  Figured we couldn’t go wrong with live prawns.  But the prawns were icy and tasteless.  I really didn’t get it.  So far everywhere I went in Hokkaido, from the 100yen conveyer belt sushi bars to the eat-all-you-can-prawns served during buffets at ryokans, I got sweet prawns.  This was the first time I had tasteless prawns in Hokkaido.  I was very perturbed.

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (28) - Otaru Sankaku Market

So yeah, I repeat: Sankaku Market IS a tourist trap.  And yes, listen to the locals yo!!

Oh, I forgot to mention Sano bought us three packs of uni from a local supermarket the day before.  So we went back to the hostel, cooked some rice to eat with the uni he bought – which tasted soooo heavenly compared to what we had at Sankaku Market.

If you are looking for a more decent breakfast spot near Otaru station, my coffee connoisseur friend recommended the coffee shop called Shalon (シャロン) just in front of Otaru station, very near to Zen Otaru Hostel.  He said the coffee and toast there was pretty good!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip Itinerary Pt 3 (39) - Otaru

After we checked out, I couldn’t leave Otaru without eating my favourite ice-cream! So we drove over to Kita No Ice Cream Ya San, which was open *hooray*, where I grabbed an ice-cream cone before we drove on to Asahikawa.

 

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Hokkaido Trip June 2014 - Sapporo and Otaru - Bumble Bee Mum

 

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17 Comments

  • Jolin says:

    I don’t like traveling during the rainy season too. Isn’t it great that the weather finally clears up after so many days of rain?
    Reading this post even while I’m munching on my breakfast makes me hungry. Love all the food pictures!

  • Joe says:

    Hi, I’d really enjoyed reading your informative travel blogs on Hokkaido! However, I have mixed feelings as to whether is it still safe to travel there after the radiation incident as I do not want to risk having to expose my little one…Pardon me for side tracking but just would like to understand what are the actual condition there as I’d never been to Japan and wondering how are the locals coping with it? Any safety precaution that we should be aware of to minimise risk of exposure? Thank you in advanced for clearing some doubts here…

    • bumblebeemum says:

      The locals just go about their lives as usual. But as a visitor, you really have to use your own discretion on whether you want to visit. The world is so big. If you’re worried about the radiation, then better not to go.

  • Jayne says:

    Hi BBM, did u drive around in Sapporo? is it easier to train around to go to the curb market, Shiroi Koibito Park, and beer factory?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Sometimes I drive, sometimes I use public transport. For curb market, they provide free shuttle service from hotels in central Sapporo, so you should make use of that. For Shiroi Koibito Park, you can use the subway. For Beer factory, there is a bus to go there from Sapporo station. So you can visit these places even without a car.

  • june says:

    Hi Bumblebee mum,
    My flight out from New Chitose Airport is 10am. I am worried it will be too rush to buy stuffs. Could you kindly advise if I could buy all food souvenirs inside the departure gate? Is there anything recommend to buy outside departure gate that does not have inside ? Is there any price diff. inside and outside departure gate? I am thinking if I should shop on arrival as my flight arrived at 830am
    Royce and 白い恋人 is a must.

    Your advise is much appreciated. Thank you.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      You can buy Royce and Shiroi Koibito at just about anywhere. Lol… But I think the public area of CTS is a lot more happening with much more shops than the departure area. Usually when I have a morning flight out of CTS, I would go there one day earlier to do all my souvenir shopping and spend my last night at Air Terminal Hotel.

  • Lyrad says:

    Hi bumblebeemum, love your travel blog. Been most useful and informative.

    We are planning a summer holiday to Hokkaido in the first week of school holidays next year (end may to early June). Because of timeshare, we have accommodation in niseko for a week. Probably going to take it easy, but what day trips are doable from niseko? Have penciled in lake toya and otaru. Any other possibilities? Will be driving.

    Thanks.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Other day trips from Niseko you can do are Shakotan Peninsular, Rusutsu Resort and Noboribetsu.

      • Lyrad says:

        Thanks! Have you been to the amusement park at rusutsu? Noboribetsu would be to see hells valley and perhaps take a soak in the water – any kid friendly places to visit there?

        • bumblebeemum says:

          Sorry for the late reply and I have been overseas.

          I have never been to the amusement park in Rusutsu. In general, amusement parks in Hokkaido look pretty old and out-dated to me. So I wouldn’t have too high expectation of it. I prefer to spend more time on food and scenery when I’m in Hokkaido and leave the theme / amusement parks to cities like Tokyo and Osaka.

          The most kids-friendly place in Noboribetsu would be the Noboribetsu Marine Park (NIXE). It’s not in the onsen town but near the train station (about 15 min drive from Jigokudani). Within the onsen town, there is the bear park which is very popular tourist attraction though not something I like so I have never been there.

  • Jocelyn says:

    Hi BumbleBeeMum,

    Wondering if you know of any private outdoor onsen which is available to rent without stay (half day trip) nearby Sapporo?

    Thanks!

  • Sue says:

    Hi bumblebee mum,

    thank-you for sharing so much on self drive trips to Hokkaido. You have been a blessing to many who are planning trips to Hokkaido. I am using your blog to plan my family trip to Hokkaido 12 to 21 June. I have a number of questions. Hope you can help me and also give me some tips and suggestions regarding my itinerary.

    12 June : reach New Chitose and
    drive to Lake Toya.
    13 June : Otaru then to Sapporo
    14 & 15 June : sapporo
    16 June : Biei then to Furano
    17 & 18 : Furano
    19 June : Hoshino Resort Tomamu
    20 June : Air Terminal Hotel
    21 June : Fly out of New Chitose

    Qns :

    1) We are keen to take a look at the Hokkaido festival but worried Sapporo will be very crowded. Will it?

    2) According to our itinerary, we plan to rent car to Lake Toya and ditch car while at Sapporo and rent car again to drive to Furano. Will it be a hassle to pick up and return car twice?

    3) I saw you booked New Furano Prince hotel for $150 per night in your blog on budgetting for self drive holiday in hokkaido. May I ask how early in advance did you book it? I try to book it for June but there is no room available and the rate advertised on their website is now $630 per night up to 19 March.

    4) In your same blog, you also mentioned you booked a quad room and 6 of you shared the room. Do the hotels allow that? Do I have to declare my children when booking accommodation?

    5) Do you have any other hotel recommendation for Tomamu? We hope to go to Unkai Terrace. Wondering if there is any other budget hotel nearby. What is the lowest rate for Hoshino Resort Tomamu? I went to the website and it required a minimum two night booking.

    6) Have you been to Hoshini Tegatodokuoka Campsite? Would you recommend this for our family of 2 adults & 2 children (5 & 7)?

    http://www.furanotourism.com/en/spot/spot_D.php?id=354&kid1=1&kid2=8&kid3=25

    7) I noticed it is rather common for onsen hotels to have shared bathrooms. Would you recommend staying at such hotels with two young children?

    Would appreciate your advice and tips.
    Thank-you so much for our time 🙂

    • bumblebeemum says:

      1) The city itself won’t be super crowded just because of the festival. The festivals sites will be crowded, but that’s what makes it fun. Lol..

      2) It does seem like a hassle. You will have to check the cost of two separate rentals versus one long rental and see what’s the price difference and determine if it’s worth the effort to save that money. Usually if it’s just one or two days, I will keep the car all the way.

      3) Yeah, the $150 deal I got was a lucky deal. I like to surf hotel booking sites like agoda and booking.com occassionally and that price just happened to pop out. Usually New Furano Prince Hotel is very expensive. I’m not sure when they have promotions, think you’ll just have to check periodically to see if any pops up.

      4) The hotel’s child policy allowed for children to stay without existing bedding. Usually for such hotels, I don’t include my children in the booking. So far I haven’t had a problem with it.

      5) Hmm… I’ve always only booked one night at Tomamu. I don’t think Tomamu’s booking for June is open yet, is it? When they open their summer booking, there is usually early bird discount. Otherwise, you can try the AirBnb there:
      https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/8532167

      6) I’ve never tried this before.

      7) I am okay with shared bathrooms, because my kids do go to the onsen and they will bath there. But I usually try to find rooms with at least a toilet in our room. It’s a bit of a hassle if the kids wake up in the middle of the night wanting to go to the toilet and we need to walk down the corridor for that.

  • Julie says:

    Hi BBM,

    We are looking forward to dining at Sushi Zen Honten at Maruyama Koen. You noted that they have a lunch special for ¥3,564, but we can’t seem to find any mention of that on the website. http://www.sushizen.co.jp/en/ They are quoting meals from ¥16200 on the site.

    I’m just wondering if this lunch deal was just a seasonal special or was it a course you had to specifically ask for?

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