We decided to leave Otaru for Sapporo in the late evening to maximize our day in Otaru. The journey from Otaru to Sapporo is just less than 1 hour.
The drive to Sapporo was very smooth. Although it is more dangerous to drive in winter, we found plenty of conveniences of driving and do recommend for travellers to self-drive in Hokkaido. However, we drove much slower and allocate ample time without the need to rush around.
Susukino District, Sapporo
We reached Sapporo at night and our hotel is located in Susukino, the red light district in Sapporo. Although a red light district, it isn’t obvious from the main road until you wonder inner to the alleys.
One of the reasons we stayed in Susukino was the location is very strategic to get around. There are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby our hotel.
Our Hotel: Mercure Sapporo
Mercure Sapporo is a 4-star hotel which we managed to book for only RM240 per night during hotel promotion. At certain the hotel price can fluctuate to RM600 per night so it was perfect for us.
After breakfast at the hotel, we drove to Shiroi Kobito Park, which is the factory of the famous Ishiya Shiroi Koibito Chocolate. In the Shiroi Kobito Park, you can join the factory tour and also enjoy the cafe with a magnificent view.
The factory tour cost is JPY600 per pax and is open daily from 9.00am to 18.00pm.
Parfait & Confectionery with a splendid view
While sushi and ramen is the most well known Japanese food, Soup curry is the most distinguished food in Sapporo. Rarely available outside Sapporo, the curry is cooked with various herbs and usually accompanied by meat, vegetables and rice.
The Sapporo beer is one of Hokkaido oldest beer brand, brewed since 1877. The company has opened a Sapporo beer museum in one of their former brewery introducing the history of beer and the process of making them.
Beside the museum is the Sapporo Beer Garden consisting several restaurants in a beer hall design. Visitors can enjoy buffet beer and mutton BBQ.
Sapporo Tanukikoji shopping street
Sapporo tanukikoji shopping street is a 1km long shopping street that houses restaurants, pharmacies and fashion boutiques. It is a great place for shopping in Sapporo.
Apart from the Sapporo Beer Museum, Asahi also offers Free Factory Tour for visitors. Unlike Sapporo Beer Museum where you need to pay for beer tasting, Asahi factory offers 4 complimentary beer for tasting after the factory tour.
It is recommended to ask your hotel to help reserve the time slot to avoid disappointment. The factory tour takes about 40 mins.
Beer Tasting Session
Why you drink my beer?
Unlike in most countries where you are permitted to drink 1 or 2 glass and drive, you are not allowed to drink even 1 glass of alcohol and drive. So you might need a driver to bring you to the factory.
Next, we visited Hokkaido Shrine which was built in 1869 after the Meiji Emperor decreed that the “three pioneering gods” be enshrined to uplift the spirit of the pioneers.
The soul of Emperor Meiji was newly enshrined to the shrine in 1964. Unfortunately, the shrine was destroyed by the fire in 1974 and was restored in 1978.
Our first try of molten cheese start was in Sapporo and Kinotoya Bake is definitely the best we ever tried. Despite several shops opened in Malaysia & Singapore, the taste in Hokkaido is much creamier and tastier than the ones sold in Malaysia.
Kinotoya Cheese Cheese Tart
For dinner, we decided to indulge in all you can eat wagyu buffet at Minamisanjo. For 6500 jpy we get to eat all the wagyu we desired. Also included are scallops, prawns and even alcohol as well!
Japanese Yakiniku Wagyu
Nijo Fish Market
The Nijo Fish Market is one of the must-visit places in Sapporo. Nijo Market is said to start 100 years ago during the early Meiji Period when fishermen from Ishikari Bay started selling fresh fish there.
You can pick and choose fresh seafood especially Alaskan King Crab to be cooked at a nearby restaurant.
A variety of crabs and seafood
The best part of Nijo fish market is they actually give you Alaskan King Crab CHUNKS to try!!
Melt in your mouth Otoro Sashimi
Alaskan King Crab
We bought our King Crab from the first stall and they steamed it for us. It cost us JPY10,000 for an Alaskan King Crab and hairy crab. The King Crab was very sweet and juicy you just couldn’t believe they just steam and serve it.
Sapporo Clock Tower
The Clock Tower is one of the few surviving western architectures and is a symbol of Sapporo. It is the oldest building in Sapporo. Currently, the clock tower serves as a museum.
Former Hokkaidō Government Office
Picanta Soup Curry
Another round of soup curry for dinner before we depart back to Malaysia the next day. As our flight is morning flight, I decided to drop all passengers and luggage at the airport first before returning the car.
This allows the rest to queue for check-in as some car rental opens at 8-9am. While 11 days looks a lot, time passes quite fast and there are more locations and cities in Hokkaido yet to be visited.
We have started to blog our Hokkaido Self Drive Trip, feel free to read the blog for our full travel experiences in Hokkaido.
- 11 Days 9 Nights Hokkaido Self Drive Trip – Shin Chitose & Hakodate (Part 1)
- 11 Days 9 Nights Hokkaido Self Drive Trip – Lake Toya & Niseko (Part 2)
- 11 Days 9 Nights Hokkaido Self Drive Trip – Otaru (Part 3)
- 11 Days 9 Nights Hokkaido Self Drive Trip – Sapporo (Part 4)
- Noboribetsu & Shiraoi
- Kushiro, Lake Akan & Lake Mashu
Hokkaido Car Rental
We did a self-drive trip in Hokkaido which we were glad we did especially during winter and visiting small cities. Driving made our trip much more comfortable and convenient. We rented our Car Rental online from ToCoo!
If you are planning to drive a few days, rent from companies that offer Hokkaido Highway Pass which allows unlimited expressway with fix fare on certain highways. Do note not all car rental companies offer this.
Note: an International driving license is needed to rent a car in Japan.
For Hokkaido hotels, we used HotelCombined to search for the cheapest accommodation & to compare hotel prices.