Exploring Sapporo, Hokkaido: Hoping For A Snowfall

Even though I just slept during the entire flight, I still found myself very sleepy inside the cab. Maybe it’s the calming sight of the snow on the streets of Hokkaido that lulled me to sleep. I have no idea how far the hotel is, so I thought it might be good to just seize the moment for a quick nap. I know. I’ve already had lots of it this morning. But when you’re in a vacation, there’s no such thing as too much sleep – – for me, at least.

I was still hesitant at first, because my sister-in-law, who was sitting beside me at the back seat, is already fast asleep, and now I don’t know if my husband, who was sitting in front beside the driver, have plans to take a nap as well. And so I was worried. In the country where I am from, it will never be a good idea to fall asleep in a cab, whether you’re a foreigner or a local. But this is Japan, I thought. What could possibly go wrong with the three of us sleeping all at the same time? So, I risked it.

I was not surprised when the cab finally pulled up outside the hotel. I knew it. The 2019 Global Peace Index wasn’t kidding when they said that Japan is on the list of the Top 10 Peaceful Countries in the World – – the 9th to be exact. Meanwhile, my country, the Philippines, is ranked 134th. Good job. We’re still safer compared to 29 other countries, with Afghanistan being the most dangerous. We should all visit Iceland though. They’re the number one when it comes to safety. Also, yes. I’m talking about GPI just because of a sleeping in a cab incident.

After the driver assisted us with our luggages, he said his thanks, and so did we. I faced the hotel. It’s a large building with revolving doors for its entrance. I quickly went inside because I am beginning to feel the cold, and I do not have my coat on. I took it off earlier inside the cab. I did not have enough time to have a glimpse of the surrounding buildings because I was thinking I could do that later, after we have checked in to our rooms.

Once you enter the hotel, you’ll be greeted by a very spacious lobby with a high ceiling. There’s a planter box separating the entrance hallway from the seating area, which is recessed by a few steps and kinda gives you the impression of a sunken lobby. The reception desk is at the far right end of the room, while another entrance/exit is at the far left side, beside Family Mart, which has also direct access to the hotel.

Few steps away from the reception desk is a beautiful staircase, leading to the mezzanine which I think is where the dining area is, or they probably have function rooms too, but I wouldn’t know because I did not bother to go up and take a look. There are no windows except for the few glass panels connected to the revolving door, and the lighting inside was just the perfect mixture of gloomy yet elegant. With a lobby like this, you would think this hotel is quite expensive. But nope. The prices are fair enough.

It took us quite a while to get settled. Our rooms are not ready yet so we all agreed to go out first and have lunch. And besides, it’s almost 12nn. It really is time for lunch. We left our luggages in the baggage storage area, and excitedly went outside to explore. We did ask for recommendations from the receptionist, but I’m not really sure what happened with the conversation, that we ended up deciding just based on what looks good in the photos of the restaurants we happen to pass by. Well, to be honest, that’s how it usually is when you’re in a country where English language isn’t much used.

After a few minutes of walking, we found a place where they have this really photogenic menu displayed on the street, and that was enough to convince us to go inside. We were given the option to be seated in one of the tatami rooms, but we figured it would be so much of a hassle, removing our shoes and all that. We requested to be seated at the sushi counter instead. The staff assisted us with our coats, and handed us menus.

I ordered a sushi set with hot noodles.

It was a good meal. It was quite amusing to see the sushi being assembled right in front of us, and I almost missed the part where they put the wasabi right on top of the rice, before adding the fish or whatever. Meaning, all their sushi have wasabi, by default. I’m sure you can ask for it to be removed, but goodluck trying to explain that to a Japanese local. Minutes later, we were back outside, now deciding which way to go to look for a coffee shop. We could still use a few minutes of coffee break before heading back to the hotel. While walking, I spotted a ferris-wheel on top of a building. Ha! Who would want to ride a ferris-wheel on top of a building in this weather? Err. I don’t know, maybe the Japanese?

We are lucky, because the hotel is right across the famous Tanuki-koji shopping arcade, and that’s where we found Cafe Ranban. It’s so comforting to smell the coffee once you enter the shop, and it immediately made us all feel warm. But still, I ordered hot chocolate because I’m still saying no to coffee after my body gave up on it few years ago. We were talking about the weather, and of how we wish that we could experience real snowfall in the next few days that we will be here. It was a very sunny day today with no hint of snowfall at all. I, myself, is looking forward to it a lot.

We went back to the hotel and agreed that we will go out again and explore later at 4pm. I have no idea what’s our itinerary for this entire trip. All I know is that for now, we still have a few hours to rest, or maybe sleep again. Once we got settled in our room, I saw that this has the same layout with the room we had in our hotel in Ota-ku last night. I love that there’s a window right across the bed, and there’s a couch right next to it. It would’ve been the perfect spot for a morning coffee while reading and enjoying the view outside. If only I can drink coffee, and if only we have enough space in the room to put our things. But no to coffee, and we have no enough space. Therefore, that couch is where I’ll put all my clothes.

It’s starting to feel a bit hot in here. And we have no idea how to adjust the settings of the AC. After a few tweaks, we gave up and decided to just switch it off, because all that comes out of it is warm air. We opened the window and enjoyed the cool wind of Sapporo, Hokkaido. Will there be a snowfall tomorrow? I don’t know. A girl could hope.

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