24 hours in Sapporo

February 12th, 2011

It’s about 8:30 right now, and I’m sitting in our hotel room in Asahikawa. I wanted to get a post up today, so I woke up at 6:00am to get started. Since we only had 1 full day in Sapporo we thought it would be fun to do a travel guide if you want to see the best of the city in 24 hours. Of course this is the same premise as the essential Wallpaper city guide, but who cares!

If you have ever been to Japan before, you know that getting a good breakfast is near impossible, even in Tokyo. We read about Vege Cafe Marcle, and walked there with the promise of bagels.

Well there were no bagels, but we ordered the breakfast special which included rice balls, sausage, potato salad, carrots, tomatoes, and a pickled cabbage salad. It was the best breakfast we’ve ever had in Japan!

Our next stop was Cholon, a specialty shop that stocks beautiful handmade products from Japan and abroad. We got the chance to visit the sister store in Daikanyama Tokyo, but liked this one better. Plus it had a cafe.

The cafe is called Morihiko, and there are two locations in Sapporo, both of which I’m told are worth visiting.

We sat down to look at the goodies we had just purchased at Cholon.

We thought we would split some toast, some of which had some rather peculiar toppings: potato, ice cream, or cheese.

We stuck with the cheese, and I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious this big thick piece of toast with melted cheese on it tasted!

We paid our bill and rushed off to our lunch appointment at D&Department.

D&Department is run by Shin Sasaki, the creative director of D&Department and founder of graphic design firm 3KG design, who have their offices on the top floor of the store.

D&Department first launched in 1997 and has since progressed into 6 shops in different prefectures all over Japan, each stocking designs found in their own region.

We were in heaven.

This is a collection of city guides published by D&Department. On our last trip to Tokyo, Oji Masanori gave us the D&Department guide to Hokkaido, and I think it made a big impact on the decision we made to visit Hokkaido for our Honeymoon.

The 2nd floor is a furniture showroom, which has a lot of mid century Japanese designs that were put back into product by D&Department. It was such a pleasure to see all of the pieces in person. And if that wasn’t enough, the 3rd floor has a gallery space too.

Naoto Yoshida from To-Mo-Ni arranged for us to meet with Shin Sasaki for lunch in at “Pippin” the D&Department cafe.

Juli had the fish course, which she said was delicious, and I had the pork.

Shin took us on a tour of the shop, we stopped in to the stockroom to find out that all of the paper bags in the store are recycled. Their customers come in and drop off their old bags, and D&Department puts their branding stickers on them. It is such a fantastic idea!

Our little purchase.

Shin offered to show us around for the rest of the day. Instead of bikes we opted for public transit.

The first place I wanted to see was Kusaka Koushi, a custom leather shop run by Mikasa and his wife Hiroko. Our hearts sunk when we noticed they were closed, but Shin knocked on the door and they graciously let us peruse the shop.

Each leather piece is a work of art, there are some stocked leather pieces for sale but the shop specializes in bespoke leather items made from the best sourced leather in Europe.

We noticed the little harimi dustpan on the table.

The music case.

Each leather bag is made from start to finish by one artisan.

Down the street we stopped for a coffee at FAB coffee.

A generous collection of Japanese magazines. I could flip through them for hours.

Easily the best clothing shop in town, Garage 69 carries some pretty amazing brands including one of my personal favorites, Comme Des Garcons.

The store inside was an experience, and among beautiful clothes the shop also had a large record shop and cafe.

A section of the indoor/outdoor market street.

BEARS! The symbol of Hokkaido.

Our last shop visit of the night was “Weird Meddle Records”.

The owner Akiba runs the shop by himself and hand writes very honest reviews on all of the cds (in Japanese). I mentioned I liked 1960s Japanese surf rock and he got out a few cds, which he let me listen to.

Needless to say…

I made some purchases….

Last stop of the night was Tolumaru, an izakaya pub that looks really old but is really built out of antique wood.

Smokey, dark and cozy.

Various grilled meats…

Hokkaido sake!

A more traditional dish of radish, tofu and miso, on the house.

Asparagus wrapped in bacon.

Chicken with various toppings.

It’s currently the Sapporo Snow Festival. We had a good laugh at this random snowman.


We are naturally exhausted, but wanted to get this post up. More to follow, and we’ll update with links and more photos eventually. I just inhaled way too much indoor bbq smoke (an oxymoron to be sure) and need to go to bed (John is already passed out, though it must be said that he was up very early working on the bulk of this post).

Filed under: Travel | 22 comments