Before I begin, let me stress that this was not our family’s first time to Sapporo. So if you are visiting Hokkaido for the first time, you may not exactly want to follow what we did here. Because rather than going around to visit conventional tourist destinations, we kind of just hung around shopping, eating and chilling for the first 3 days of our trip. :p
Let me start with how we spent our 3 days in Sapporo. And at the end of the post, I will share more travel ideas for visitors, particularly first-timers.
Day 1: Susukino
On the first day, we arrived at New Chitose Airport in the morning and went to check in early to our hotel, Mercure Hotel Sapporo, to wash up and rest. We had booked an extra night starting from the day before we arrived, so we could check in early in the morning. One thing I learned from our Australia trip was to not plan anything major on the first day after an overnight flight with kids, because everyone would be tired and cranky.
We spent the rest of the day just shopping and eating around Susukino area, not forgetting to hit our favourite oyster joint, Go Tsubo.
Day 2: Susukino, Sapporo White Illumination
On the second day, we spent the whole morning at Dino’s, an entertainment complex very near the hotel. We first stopped by Nakau, a Japanese fast food outlet (by fast food in Japan, we mean beef rice, udon etc, NOT burger and fries) for breakfast.
Feeling full and energetic, we went for unlimited bowling at Dino’s. The bowling here was great for kids! They had kids ball so light that MY (who was not even 2 yo yet) had no problem carrying. They had bowling shoe sizes so super tiny that I think any toddler who was able to walk would be able to find shoes of the right size here! And the boys super loved the ball slopes for easy peasy ‘bowling’ and bumper lanes that prevented the balls from falling into the drain.
We bowled from 10.30am until almost 2pm and went for lunch and did a little shopping around the Susukino area before going back to the hotel to rest. And in the evening, we did our first propoer sightseeing, heading to Odori Park for the White Illumination and German Christmas Market.
I have been to quite a number of illuminations in Japan, and to be honest, Sapporo White Illumination was rather small-scale in comparison.
While I wasn’t too impressed with Sapporo White Illumination after visiting the likes of Kobe Luminarie and Sagamiko Illumillion, I enjoyed strolling around the German Christmas Market. Because, well, I have never been to a real German Christmas Market before.
Furthermore, I thought it was great that they had roaming Santa Claus going around the Christmas Market to take photos with visitors! And check out those Matryoshka dolls, reminds me of Russia!
We headed back to Susukino where we had dinner at a yakiniku restaurant, Kanechan. I was pretty disappointed with the meal – the servings were small and expensive. Hubby and I agreed that the yakiniku restaurant we visited in June was better.
Day 3: Jyogai Ichiba, Mitsui Outlet Park Kitahiroshima
On the third day, we started the morning with a visit to Jyogai Ichiba (also known as Sapporo Central Wholesale Market / Curb Market). Since we weren’t driving, we took the FREE shuttle bus provided by Kita No Gourmet to get there. The travel desk at the hotel made the reservation for us and the bus picked us up from the hotel – very convenient!
Below is a copy of the leaflet we picked up with their shuttle bus timing and the number to call to make reservation for the shuttle service. Do note that reservation is required for the shuttle.
We had our breakfast (and by breakfast we mean sashimi platter and chirashi don, NOT bacon and eggs) once we reached there.
After eating, we shopped around the rest of the market before taking Kita No Gourmet’s shuttle service back. We had a choice to drop off back at our hotel or at Sapporo station. We decided to go to Sapporo station where we shopped around for a bit, before catching a bus to Mitsui Outlet Park Kitahiroshima.
The easiest way to get to Mitsui Outlet Park from Sapporo / Susukino area was the take the direct bus. From Sapporo Station, look for the bus-stop outside Tokyu Department store.
The bus then made stops at every block South of Sapporo station until Minami 4 (which is where Mercure Hotel is), so you can board at a nearer bus stop if you are at Odori Park or Susukino. The map below shows where the bus stops are:
We spent the afternoon shopping at Mitsui Outlet Park Kitahiroshima. Over there, we found a Lego shop with a nice play Duplo and Lego play areas for kids. The food court also had a play area and a nice family dining area with soft, colourful chairs that were great for kids!
We missed the last direct bus back to Susukino (which was at 5pm on a weekday / 6pm on weekends) and had to use the long (and more expensive) way to get back: Taking the bus to Fukuzumi station, followed by subway to Hosui-Susukino station.
The next morning, we picked up our rental car in the morning, checked out of the hotel and started our drive to Asahikawa.
Other Sapporo Travel Ideas
As I mentioned, this was not our first trip to Sapporo and hence we skipped the more common tourist destinations in Sapporo. But here are some other places in Sapporo that are worth visiting:
Shiroi Koibito Park
Sapporo Beer Factory
Posts from the same trip:
Itinerary for 17-day Hokkaido trip with kids in December
Part 1: Sapporo (You’re on this post now)
Part 2: Asahikawa, Akan National Park
Part 3: Kushiro, Obihiro, Tomamu
Part 4: Niseko, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya, Rusutsu
Part 5: Otaru, New Chitose Airport
Posts from our other Hokkaido Trips:
Hokkaido in Autumn (October 2013):
Hokkaido in Summer (June 2014):
Part 1: New Chitose Airport, Lake Shikotsu, Lake Toya, Hakodate
Part 2: Onuma Koen, Niseko, Shakotan
Part 3: Otaru
Part 4: Sapporo
Part 5: Furano, Biei, Tomamu, Obihiro, New Chitose Airport
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