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7 Days Flower World of Hokkaido

#1 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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  Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:08 PM

Exchange Rate S$1 = ¥80

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This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 25 November 2013 - 04:39 PM

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#2 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:10 PM

This was one vacation that almost never became reality. Just 10 days prior to the trip, I was down with fever and flu. Fast forward to the weekend before the trip, I had to do overtime on a Saturday and it seem like I picked up the flu virus again and by Monday I was down with fever, cough and running nose. But I was not the only one who was sick as 75% of my HR department and 50% of the Finance staffs was on medical leave too that week. Worst was my assistant was on MC the whole week and I also need to go to Johor Bahru to attend to some company’s issues. With just 3 days to go, I had to tell the doctor I need to get well soon and fast. I was put on two prescriptions of antibiotics but the side effects…

Day 1 & 2: Singapore > Tokyo > Chitose > Sapporo

Took the 9.30pm SQ flight from Changi Airport Terminal 3 and flew to Haneda Airport in Tokyo. As we need to transit at Narita International Airport, we hopped onto the one and the half hour bus journey to get there. While on the bus, most of us took the opportunity to catch a few winks.

Tokyo - Took this shot from the bus as we were leaving Haneda Airport.

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Narita Airport Terminal 1 - The bus was going in circles trying to get us to the correct level.


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This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 12 November 2014 - 09:20 AM

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#3 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:15 PM

Our connecting flight was on ANA for which we had to transfer to a shuttle bus to bring us to the plane. No pictures here as I just wasn’t feeling well nor had the mood to snap them anyway. One and the half hour later, we touched down at New Chitose Airport and we were quickly ushered to our bus.

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The weather’s fairly warm in the afternoon with temperature hovering in the 20+ degree Celsius range and dipping into single digit at night. Although the sunshine was warm, the wind was still cold. It is advisable to bring warm clothing but a jacket was just too warm for me so I just went with a T-shirt and jean combination. You might also want to pack in that umbrella or raincoat for the occasional drizzles though for us, we never need to use either.

This will be our Bus for the rest of the 5 days tour.

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Our tour guide was Frankie Fong, who hailed from Hong Kong, a very funny man indeed, that is if you can avoid his saliva (he said so himself). The tour was conducted primarily in Mandarin (with a heavy Cantonese accent) plus a rojak of English and dialects mixed in. From time to time, we have to help him correct his pronunciation of certain English, Mandarin and Hokkien words though. However, his command of the Japanese language was very good as he came over to Japan for his education at a young age.

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A Map of Hokkaido plotting out the route and areas we will be visiting during our 5 days stay.


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#4 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:20 PM

By now, everyone must have been famished except me since it was passed noon. So we headed over to this restaurant aptly named Eat Up which does Yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) buffet style.

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Eat-Up Restaurant
千歳市上長都961-1
Tel: 0123(40)2929

The Buffet Price of ¥1080 which was about S$13.50 equivalent was cheap considering they do offered more than 150 items.

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Payment Counter and Dining Area - The man on the right is our Tour Leader – Uoon. He handles the administrative side like bringing us to the check-in counters, informing us on boarding procedures & times, room arrangements, meal times etc…


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This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 01 July 2013 - 08:10 PM

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#5 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:25 PM

The Dining Area is brightly lit and spacious with high ceiling.

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At each table, there was a small Manually Operated Vending Machine selling One Piece 3D cards that cost ¥100 (about S$1.25) each.

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My very own BBQ Hot Plate and Plate of Meats. They have a selection of pork, beef (including liver and short ribs), chicken (and even chicken skin), salmon, sausages and vegetables. A few varieties of sushi, deep fried stuffs, cold noodle and soups were also available, as were desserts like cakes, cream puff, mochi, ice cream and fruits. They also have Oden (关东煮) with meat balls, daikon radish, konnyaku, and processed fish cakes stewed in a light, soy-flavoured dashi broth.


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This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 01 July 2013 - 08:10 PM

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#6 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:30 PM

On the Grill - Unfortunately the double dosages of antibiotics had robbed me of my appetite and taste. I could only manage to down some grilled meats, a piece of salmon and a couple of sushi with some iced fruit cocktail plus a scoop of chocolate ice cream before calling it quit. The 2nd stove was not mine, since I did not eat much, I took the picture of the group's sitting next to me.

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Let’s get the ball rolling; our next stop was Asahi Beer Hokkaido Brewery, home to one of Japan home grown beers. Asahi which commanded 40% of the Japanese beer market share is one of the top alcohol brands in Japan, next to Kirin, Sapporo Beer and Suntory. In 1987 the launch of Asahi Super Dry by Asahi Breweries led to a period of intense competition between Japanese brewery companies over dry beer known as Dorai Senso or Dry Wars. Asahi Super Dry came out victorious and that helped Asahi gain a much larger market share than before. I do not have many pictures to show as photography was prohibited in most of the area.

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Asahi Beer Hokkaido Brewery
Nango Dori 4 Chome Minami 1-1,
Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo, Japan


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#7 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:45 PM

We were each distributed with a Brewery Tours Folded Leaflet before the start of the factory tour.

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Our tour guide and the guide from Asahi Brewery – Ms Nagasawa. The factory tour was conducted in Japanese so Frankie had to do the translation for us. She is 27 year old and still single if anyone is interested to know. :D/>

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She was explaining the Three Main Ingredients to making beer. We got to try (eating) the barley but as for the hops, she don’t recommend we try it, something to do with affecting the hormone level in males if eaten in the raw state.


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#8 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:55 PM

Hops are the female flowers of the hop plant, Humulus lupulus. The species is a main ingredient of many beers, and as such is widely cultivated for use by the brewing industry. The fragrant flower cones (hops) impart bitterness and flavor, and also have preservative qualities.

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Next the Fermentation and Maturation processes were briefly touched on.

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For the manufacturing to Canning and Packaging Processes, we were informed that no photography was allowed. According to Frankie, photography was previously allowed but someone stole their conveyor belt concept and “invented” the conveyor belt sushi. How true was it, I don't know.

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 11:15 AM

Some History behind the Company but I wasn’t paying attention as I was busy snapping photographs.

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Range of Products by Asahi Breweries beside beers, included soft drinks, fruit juices, mineral water, coffee, tea, wines, snacks to beauty products etc…

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100% Recycling of Waste - She said the company was committed to recycling almost all if not all waste generated. Even the uniform she is wearing was made of recycled materials. Japan did a good job of instilling the recycling mindset not just to companies but right down to the citizen level too.


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#10 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 11:31 AM

Preserving Nature's Gift for Tomorrow is Asahi Group Environmental Vision 2020.

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We ended the factory tour at the canteen where we were told we could have as many glasses of beer or cans of fruit juices, coffee, milk tea or mineral water as we desired. They also have a non-alcoholic beer but I did not try as my tummy was still not well yet so I had to make do with one can each of the Bireley’s Orange and Apple juices. Packages of Snack were also provided on each table for the nibbling.

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After the short break, I headed to the Retail Shop to purchase the Beer Cake that I saw prior to the tour of the factory. I think I bought it more for the wooden barrel than the cake itself.


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Posted 23 June 2013 - 11:35 AM

The Beer Cake itself tasted like butter cake but with the added bitter aftertaste and fragrant of the beer which me and my family do not like since we are non-drinkers. It’s also rather moist or should I say, oily for a cake as plastic wrapper was wet with it. The wooden barrel actually had a nice woody smell.

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 01:20 PM

Earlier on, we chanced upon this small patch of plum trees through the windows of the Asahi Beer Hokkaido Brewery and everyone was eager to snap some photos with the pretty blossoms when the factory tour ended.

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These White and Pink Plum Trees (Ume) look very old and needed the help of wooden poles to prop up the branches. Originally introduced from China, the Japanese plum (sometimes referred to as Japanese apricot) has played an important role in Japanese culture for many centuries. Its popularity was eventually surpassed by that of the cherry tree.


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This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 21 November 2013 - 08:32 PM

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 01:40 PM

A Red Plum Tree planted in celebration the 50th anniversary of some club or event, though it look more pink than red to me.

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A couple of close-up shots of the White Plum Blossoms. The plum is associated with the start of spring, because plum blossoms are some of the first blossoms to open during the year. In the Tokyo area, they typically flower in February and March. The event is celebrated with plum festivals (ume matsuri) in public parks, shrines and temples across the country.


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This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 21 November 2013 - 08:32 PM

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:25 PM

Most plum blossoms have five petals and range in color from white to dark pink. Some varieties with more than five petals (yae-ume) and weeping branches (shidare-ume) have also been cultivated. Unlike cherry blossoms, plum blossoms have a strong, sweet fragrance. A couple more shots of the White and Pink Plum Blossoms before we head over to Odori Park. More information on the Plum Blossoms can be found here.

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Flower Clock at Odori Park- Can you tell what was the time when this picture was taken? It’s 4.15pm in the afternoon actually.

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A Statue of Hope, but alas, hope wasn’t on our side. The chill in the air had been lingering past its welcome stay resulting in an average temperature of 5°C lower than usual in Hokkaido. According to Frankie, our tour guide, this May had experienced the longest period of cold streak since the 80s. By right this late in spring, most of the snow should have already melted but we were still seeing snow-capped mountains and even residual snow on the ground. Many of the flowers we had specially come to see weren’t showing off their best forms yet, with others still not blooming or hiding under the warm blanket of the earth. All was not lost however, as we got to see Cherry and Plum blossoms which would otherwise have faded in the rising heat.


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This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 21 November 2013 - 08:33 PM

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 03:25 PM

Marui Imai Sapporo Main Store - Established 140 years ago, this shop is one of Hokkaido's oldest department stores and carries a large selection of luxury brand goods and cosmetics. Don't miss out on their stylish and tasteful furnishings or the specially selected local Hokkaido food. Conveniently situated next to Odori Park.

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Marui Imai Sapporo Main Store
Address: Minami-ichijo-nishi 2-chome, Chou-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Access: Direct from Sapporo Subway Odori Station
Phone: 011-205-1151
Hours: Mon – Sat, 10am – 8pm
Sun: 10am – 7.30pm
Holidays: Closed on January 1st

The most prominent landmark in Odori Park has got to be the Sapporo TV Tower, standing at 147.2 meters tall. From its observation deck is a bird's eye view of the surrounding cityscape.

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But now is not the time to explore the park just yet as we continued walking to the Former Hokkaido Government Office, an American neo-baroque style building called also known as “Red Bricks”. The facilities include a conference room, a museum shop, a tourist information office and a few historical exhibition rooms and libraries. Visitors can enter the building for free. Flower gardens and ponds are located in front of the building, which occasionally are designated as some event venues.

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Former Hokkaido Government Office
Address: Kita 3 Nishi 6, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Access: 10 min on foot from Sapporo Station


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Posted 23 June 2013 - 03:30 PM

The Former Hokkaido Government Office is also known as The Old Red Brick Hokkaido Government Building. Why the popular name Red Bricks? The building is constructed from about 2.5 million red bricks that are made in Toyohira and Shiroishi villages. Brick buildings are rare in Japan; a red brick building this big attracts a lot of attentions.

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Asian Peace Messages of 1996 Hokkaido Program in front of the building: "Peace is the bridge between countries".

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A pretty and well groomed Bonsai Tree stood in the lush green garden.

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:00 PM

A nearby office block mirrored its own Reflection in the Pond.

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A row of Sakura Trees with its pink flowers and newly emerged leaves lined the sidewalk next to the pond.

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Red Brick Building's Foreyard Tree Map - A signboard detailing the numerous shrubs and trees growing in the area but unfortunately, it’s in Japanese language only. The four pictures below show the visitors how the estate looks like for the four seasons.

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Lamp Post – If you ask me why I took the picture, I cannot really reply. Maybe it’s the rustic antique look coupled with the clean polished glasses that attracted me to it.


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Posted 24 June 2013 - 08:02 PM

Among the bright green leaves of the Maple Tree are tiny red clusters of red flowers adding specks of colour to the greenish overtone.

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These Magnolia Trees with large pink and white flowers vying for attention against the clear blue sky.


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Posted 24 June 2013 - 08:35 PM

The leaves of the Red Japanese Maple and White Magnolia Flowers contrasted nicely against each other.

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A couple enjoying their Quiet Moment on a bench next to the pond, one would never imagine this garden is located in the middle of a busy city. While the man was taking a photo of the lady, I took theirs from afar. :D/>

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The calm tranquillity of the Water Lily Pond offers a soothing relief to the troubled minds and also as an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city.


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Posted 24 June 2013 - 10:06 PM

Mother and Son Statue – But I suggest they go dip in the onsen first as there were bird droppings all over it. :D/>

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These Sakura Trees were covered with multi-petal pink blossoms, a truly sight to behold. They were the same kind I had seen when I was in Holland during the spring season many years ago.


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