Konnichiwa from Hokkaido!

Snowing

Brr…it’s a bone chilling -13 Celsius in Hokkaido right now. こんにちは! We’re here on our annual overseas trip and decided to book a room in a classic Japanese ryokan complete with kaiseki dinner for the first night. It’s been snowing non-stop since we arrived and the fresh powder makes it hard to walk around. I neglected to bring proper cold weather boots but at least my parka is very warm.

Sapporo Snow

It’s interesting to hear that getting a voice SIM card is practically impossible in Japan. You need to be a resident in order to get one. However, we managed to get a data SIM from the airport. Yup, you can buy almost anything from a vending machine in the Land of the Rising Sun. It’s JPY 3,000 (about RM 110) for 1 GB.

SIM Card Vending Machine

Another thing I love about Japan is that their combini (convenience stores) have a wide range of interesting and unusual snacks and food items. I have been to many 7-Eleven (called 7 & i Holdings here) and Lawson stores while we were here. It’s not very hard when you can find more than one in a block. I have taken to eating the onigiri when I want a quick bite.

Onigiri

Oh, and the density of vending machines is mind-boggling too. There’s more than two per city block as well and they pop up at the most random places. Here’s the one below our apartment in Hokkaido. You can get both hot AND cold drinks from them.

Vending-Machine

My favorite is corn pottage! smirk
(Yup, you can get savory drinks in cans here)

Corn Pottage

It’s still winter in Sapporo and the temperatures frequently drop below zero. The highest was -3 degrees Celsius and the lowest was -16 degrees Celsius when we arrived. That means the weather didn’t breach 0 degrees Celsius the entire day, needless to say a positive number! We’re having a lot of fun though, there’s nothing quite like having a hot onsen bath outdoors while the snow falls on you.

Japan

It feels amazing! :)

Snowball

I’ll blog again soon. Check out my Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook for live updates!

Posted: 7:37 pm Japan time (GMT/UTC +9)

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31 thoughts on “Konnichiwa from Hokkaido!”

    • Thanks for the well wishes! :)

      We’re having a blast, making the most of our time. We’ve eaten at 2 different Michelin star restaurants in Hokkaido already and also indulged in their king crab, snow crab and hairy crab. I also love their 4,000 yen bowls of uni. It’s RM 180 per bowl based on the rates I exchanged at but it’s awesome stuff!

    • Yeah, it’s a lot of fun! :)

      I highly recommend staying at a ryokan. It’s not cheap (around RM 2,000 per night) but it’s a great traditional Japanese experience with kaiseki dinner and breakfast. Onsen is awesome too but usually extra 3,000+ yen per 30-40 minutes for private ones. I’ll blog more soon.

  1. The weather, the convenience stores and the vending machines. You practically listed everything that I miss about Japan! (I also miss their fancy toilets). Have a great trip!

    • Yeah, the weather is awesome! :)

      The toilets are unbelievable too! It opens automatically as soon as you step up and closes when you leave. Seat warming is great too as well as so many buttons I don’t know what to do with them except different types of spray bidet functions. Haha.

  2. May both of you enjoy the trip to the fullest! I have not been to Hokkaido but I heard the milk there is very tasty so try out all the delicious dairy products! The snow is beautiful but must be very cold, brrr brrr brrr. Keep warm and have fun! :D

    • Thanks Mun! :)

      The dairy is indeed awesome. I’ve been drinking a 3.8% milk which is incredibly creamy and nice. The ice cream made with Hokkaido milk is delicious too, as is the limited edition Butter Kit Kats (only available at one shop in Sapporo).

  3. brrrrrrr indeed! greetings right back from KL, where it’s unfortunately a sweat-inducing 30-plus degrees :D it looks and sounds like you’re having a fun and memorable trip though … here’s wishing you lots of good food adventures throughout! :D

    • Cheers mate! :)

      It’s been awesome so far! We went to 2 different Michelin starred restaurants, including one sushi place. Delicious omakase sushi, best I ever had, freshest ingredients I’ve tasted too. My better half (usually not a fan of uncooked sushi) enjoyed it very much too. I love the crabs here too – king crab, snow crab, hairy crab.

    • Thanks mate! :)

      We’ve been eating several meals per day! I’ve eaten crab 4 times, uni 4 times and Michelin star restaurants 2 times. Had Hokkaido style ramen twice too. So much food!

    • I haven’t seen snow since my last backpacking trip to Latvia in 2010! :)

      Used to snowboard and ski in Melbourne when I was studying there though, and I’m more of a cold weather person so the minus 0 temperature doesn’t bother me much. I totally wilt in hot weather though and I get heatstroke fairly easily.

    • Yeah, it’s a refreshing change! :)

      I love the snow, up to a certain extent. Latvia was the coldest place I’ve been to, it was -20 degrees Celsius when I went and I was totally miserable without thermal underwear. -11 in Hokkaido is fine though, 10 degrees makes a lot of difference.

    • I didn’t get any this time! :)

      I was tempted to though, but the variety of Japanese single malts and pure malts tempted me more. They have 1 year old aged umeshu too, very very nice stuff.

    • Thanks Azura! :)

      We’re having a lot of fun, despite the snow. I love the cold weather here, it doesn’t bother me.

    • Yup, it’s a blast! :)

      We’re eating lots of good food and having tons of fun. Good thing I saved up really hard for this vacation so didn’t have to budget as much, can spend more freely so it’s more luxurious in some ways.

    • Thanks Agnes! :)

      Yup, it’s a lot of fun, we just came back from a long day of eating, shopping and sight seeing. The snow is nice too, it makes walking around less tiring and the bracing weather is refreshing.

    • Thanks Mei! :)

      Yeah, Hokkaido is fun, we ate a lot too, had lunch at 2 different Michelin restaurants and stuffed myself with snow crab, king crab, hairy crab and sweet, delicious uni.

    • Thanks Angeline! :)

      I love Japan so much, it’s my first time there. I’ll love to go again – in fact, we’re already planning our next trip. This time we’ll go further south, maybe Tokyo or Osaka.

    • Yup, it’s very cold at this time! :)

      It’s usually around -10 degrees Celsius or so when we walk out first thing in the morning. One day I though I can just wear a pullover and my clothes but when the wind blew into the apartment I knew it was too cold and got my blue parka in addition to the very thick pullover. Haha.

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