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Hokkaido with Kids (December 2014) Part 5: Sapporo, Otaru, New Chitose Airport

The drive from Rusutsu to Sapporo took many hours because it was snowing very heavily with limited visibility.  We finally made it back to our hotel, ANA Holiday Inn Susukino, only to find that there was no sheltered drop-off point to unload our luggage and the kids!  So we parked our car along the road and unloaded all our luggage and the kids via a few mad dashes to the lobby in the snow.  Subsequently, hubby checked in with the kids while I went to return the rental car.

Since it was snowing heavily, we decided to have dinner at the restaurant located at the hotel lobby, All Day Dining Verde.  At least the food was pretty good.

After staying at ANA Holiday Inn Susukino, can’t say I would really recommend it. Mercure Hotel Sapporo still remains my favourite hotel in Susukino.

Read More: Review of Mercure Hotel Sapporo

Day 15: Otaru (Day trip from Sapporo)

The next day, we took a day trip to Otaru. Our initial plan was to go in the afternoon and stay until evening time for the Otaru Snow Story.  However, the news report said that it would be sunny in the morning and snowing in the afternoon at Otaru, so we changed our plan and went to Otaru first thing in the morning.

We took the JR train from Sapporo station to Minami Otaru station (which was nearer to Marchen Intersection than Otaru station).  There was no escalator nor elevator from the platform to the exit at Minami Otaru station, so hubby had to carry the stroller with MY sleeping inside up a long flight of stairs! Not a good start at all… After that, we had to push the stroller through the snow (which was seriously hard work) to get to Marchen Intersection.  Once we reached, we immediately went to Le Tao Main store for a break.

After we had our much-needed coffee and my mandatory dose of Le Tao’s double fromage cheesecake, we climbed up the clock tower of the Le Tao store to check out the scenery from the observation floor.   I love looking at Otaru in winter when it is covered in snow.  Somehow, Otaru just looks nicer in winter than in summer.

After we were well-rested, we continued our stroll along Sakaimachi.  You can read about Sakaimachi on this post from my previous visit in June, shall not repeat myself.  We walked and ate and walked until we finally reached Otaru canal.

Also Read: Side-trip from Otaru to Shukutsu Peninsular & Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou

After visiting Otaru in Autumn, Summer and Winter, I still think Otaru canal is most beautiful in winter.

We had lunch at Masazushi, the sushi restaurant facing Otaru canal.

Related Post: Hokkaido’s Best Food (by Region)

Since we have been pretty much eating our way through Otaru along Sakaimachi, we shared one sushi set and one sashimi set.

After lunch, we went to my favourite ice-cream shop, Kita No Ice, only to discovered that it was closed during winter! *cry*  When I was here in Feb 2010 for Otaru Snow Light Path, they were open.  So I think they do open during festival period, otherwise they are generally closed during winter.  Bummer.

Also Read: Guide to Sapporo Snow Festival

As as the weather forecast predicted, it started snowing as we were having our lunch.  So we decided to head back to Sapporo.  The walk back to Otaru station was very long and made worse by the difficulty of pushing a stroller through the snow.  I really cannot decide which is worse: Bringing the 2 kids (who were a few kg heavier than usual due to winter clothing) around without a stroller, or pushing the stroller through the snow.

Back at Sapporo, we shopped around the underground shopping arcade which was such a great escape from the snow.  By the end of the trip, I was quite glad to be out of the snow.  Like, enough of snow for now!  It was so nice to be able to push the stroller around smoothly on snow-less ground.

We shopped until it was time for dinner, and we settled for yakitori at the Kushidori before going back to the hotel.

Day 16: Sapporo – New Chitose Airport

The next morning, we had a quick breakfast at Yoshinoya before checking out of the hotel and taking the airport limousine to New Chitose Airport.  Our flight home wasn’t until the next morning, but to me, New Chitose Airport is a destination on its own and I was more than happy to spend a whole day there.

Read More: Activities for Kids at New Chitose Airport

Once at the airport, the kids went to play at the free playground in Doraemon Waku Waku Skypark while I sipped on a Doraemon latte.

For lunch, we went to Hanamaru, a popular sushi chain in Hokkaido which has a store at New Chitose Airport.   MY was rather amused by the hanging baby seat they attached to our booth table.

Update (2016): Hanamaru at New Chitose Airport is no longer around.  It has been replaced by another similar sushi restaurant.

We ate so much sushi at Hanamaru.  But the most memorable one must be this yucky-looking thing that my hubby decided to try.  It looked like something out of Fear Factor.   My hubby said it was nice and asked me to try.  Which I did.  And decided I was not a fan.  I suspect it’s the same reason tourists who come to Singapore do not like durians.

With our receipt from lunch, we were entitled to one hour of free play at Airport Kids Athletic.  The kids had so much fun there!

Update (June 2016):  Airport Kids Athletic is no longer available at New Chitose Airport.

After their play session ended, we went to the arcade next to the playground for more fun.  I tried out one of those UFO catcher game machine and caught a tin of Frozen biscuits!

After this, we checked in to our room at Air Terminal Hotel for the kids to take their nap.  In the evening, we went around shopping for souvenir and had dinner.  There was no lack of food options at New Chitose Airport and we just ate at a random restaurant.  Not particularly memorable.

For the record, can I say that I was super amused by the refrigerated lockers??

It’s not uncommon for airports to have lockers, but to have lockers with refridgerators is so…. Hokkaido.

And after the spending the night at Air Terminal Hotel, we caught our morning flight home.

Posts from the same trip:

Itinerary for 17-day Hokkaido trip with kids in December
Part 1: Sapporo
Part 2: Asahikawa, Akan National Park
Part 3: Kushiro, Obihiro, Tomamu
Part 4: Niseko, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya, Rusutsu
Part 5: Otaru, New Chitose Airport (You’re on this post now)

Posts from our other Hokkaido Trips:

Hokkaido in Autumn (October 2013):

Part 1: Flight, Hotel Mercure Sapporo, Toyota Rent-A-Car Sapporo
Part 2: Itinerary (with telephone numbers and GPS Map Codes)

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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