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7 Days Flower World of Hokkaido

#21 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:15 PM

The well-kept lawn featured a round flowerbed filled with Multi-Coloured Tulips.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0077-FormerHokkaidoGovernmentOffice.jpg

It’s a rare encounter to see this five-petaled White Sakura Tree still with flowers this late in spring as they typically bloom 2-4 weeks earlier than their multi-petaled (above 5 petals) cousins.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0078-FormerHokkaidoGovernmentOffice.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0079-FormerHokkaidoGovernmentOffice.jpg

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#22 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:20 PM

A Pine Tree with new shoots or maybe it’s the flower buds.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0081-FormerHokkaidoGovernmentOffice.jpg

Time to say goodbye to the Former Hokkaido Government Office and only when I got home did I know that I can enter the building to view the interior. Well, so much so for not doing my homework beforehand.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0082-FormerHokkaidoGovernmentOffice.jpg

Backtracking, we came across this neat looking Stone Pillar at a traffic junction.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0083-OdoriPark.jpg

Back to Odori Park (大通公园), a vast expands of open space in the centre of a crowded metropolitan city of Sapporo. This 105m wide park stretches 13 blocks or about 1.5km from east to west and and covers an area of 78,901 m², separating the city into north and south sections. During the urban planning of Sapporo, it was originally designated as the main street but became a firebreak and then eventually became a park. The park offers a pleasant green oasis with a kaleidoscopic explosion of colourful blooming flowers and their enchanting fragrances herald the arrival of the warmer months.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0084-OdoriPark.jpg
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#23 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:02 PM

Odori Park is also the site of the city’s major annual events, including, of course, the Sapporo Snow Festival in February. It’s one of Japan's largest winter events, attracts a growing number of visitors from Japan and abroad every year. Every winter, about two million people come to Sapporo to see a large number of splendid snow statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park, the grounds at Community Dome Tsudome, and the main street in Susukino. For seven days in February, these statues and sculptures (both large and small) turn Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow.

From mid-July to mid-August, Odori Park is the setting for the Sapporo Summer Festival, celebrated with open-air beer gardens set up by various beer companies. Over 13,000 seats along with various events such as Hokkaido bon dancing and the Sapporo Bazaar, it’s a good place to be if you like to drink.

If you would like to find out more, follow this link > Event Calendar 2013-2014

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0085-OdoriPark.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0086-OdoriPark.jpg

At the eastern end of Odori Park stands the 147.2 meters tall Sapporo TV Tower, with an observation deck at 90.38 meters that offers a great view of Odori Park and panoramic views of the city of Sapporo. During the evening the tower is illuminated, making it an attractive landmark.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0087-SapporoTVTower.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0088-SapporoTVTower.jpg
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#24 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:15 PM

The Underground Shopping Mall - Underneath the Odori Park brings a whole new world to experience, especially for the shopping fanatics. Think of it like our very own CityLink Mall but many times bigger with a more extensive network of corridors linking to train stations, shops and departmental stores. The two underground shopping arcades, known collectively as Sapporo Chikagai is made up of Aurora Town and Pole Town with a collection of about 140 shops opening daily from 10am to 8pm.

Aurora Town stretches 312m from the Odori Station in the west all the way to the Sapporo TV tower in the east.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0089-AuroraTown.JPG

Pole Town extends itself even further south from the Odori Station to the Susukino Subway Station on the Nanboku Subway Line, 400m away.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0090-PoleTown.JPG

With little time left to explore, I quickly descended to the basement using one of the many exits/entrances. Once there, I zoomed in to the nearest convenience store and bought a drink while trying to find my way back to the Sapporo TV Tower where the bus was.

During my exploration, I chanced upon this stall promoting The 50th Annual Jigoku Festival also known as Jigoku Matsuri or Hell Festival. Demons abound at this festival which begins with the Hell Parade with taiko drums and 1-ton mikoshi (miniature shrines), followed by the Lord of Death Float and the massive Demon Dance. This annual event is held on the last Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the month of August.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0091-UndergroundShoppingMall.jpg

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#25 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:35 PM

After walking for a while and not knowing if I made the correct choice, I went up to the surface. Oh no!!! I have taken the opposite direction and was now even further away from my target. On the surface, the pace was more relax and layback maybe due to the cold weather but down below, the action was more hectic as crowds of people were streaming along the corridors since all three of Sapporo’s subway lines intersect at Odori Subway Station plus the numerous shops and departmental stores were in operation.

During our brief stay, the flower beds in Odori Park were teeming with various exotic colours Pansies, Daisies and Tulips, forming a quilt work of coloured patterns.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0093-OdoriPark.jpg

Lilac is the official tree of Sapporo and the Lilac Festival was supposed to happen from 22nd to 28th May, heralding the arrival of summer but I nary noticed any blooms at all as many trees were still naked or just putting out fresh new growths. Checked the internet when I am back home and it seems the Lilac Festival had been rescheduled to June due to the unusually long cold spell in May.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0094-OdoriPark.jpg

At the heart of the Susukino Entertainment District is the Noria Ferris Wheel located 78m on top of the Norbesa Center with a diameter of 45.5m. Its 32 temperature controlled capsules can accommodate up to four persons at ¥2000 (S$25), offer a fantastic panoramic views of Sapporo City, day and night. It takes approximately 10 minutes for the wheel to complete one revolution. The Noria is open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11pm on other days. If your head is still not spinning, drop by to the roof top beer garden next door.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0095-Noria.jpg

Some of us even came prepared with lists of items to bring back. So when Frankie brought us to this Shirakaba Souvenir Shop (おみやげの店しらかば), we were like kids visiting a candy store, each one grabbed a shopping basket and started depositing items into it. Without a shopping list, I just picked some items and then get the hell out of there as the smallish shop was just too cramped with all the people and shopping baskets. What great about the shop besides offering you some discount, is that:

  • The shop staff can converse in Mandarin.
  • They stocked the popular Hokkaido snacks and other items.
  • Offered to pack your purchases into a carton so you can check-in with your luggage.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0096-SouvenirShop.jpg

Shirakaba Souvenir Shop (おみやげの店しらかば)
6 Chome Minami 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo
Hokkaido Prefecture 060-0063, Japan
Tel: 011-222-7888
Shop Hours: 9am - 9pm

Once on the bus, we started checking out what each other had bought. Horse oil, Shiroi Koibito, Rokkaitei, Potato Farm… Oh my god!!! I completely forgotten about Potato Farm and I promised my colleague to help her buy it! Too late now, the bus had moved on. Later, one of my tour mate told me the shop did not displayed the snack on the shelves but rather you have to ask for it and then they limited you to one box purchase only. He barely had time to rush across the road over to the shopping alley of Tanuki Koji (狸小路) and then only managed to buy just another box.

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 13 May 2015 - 02:33 PM

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#26 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 10:00 PM

Here's some of the snacks and souvenirs I got for myself and colleagues. Bought both the white & chocolate Shiroi Koibito (白い恋人) and Yoshimi Collet.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0097-SouvenirShop.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0099-SouvenirShop.jpg

Yoshimi Collet - In my opinion, the Corn Chocolate with Rye Biscuit Sand was a better buy as it's not so sweet plus it had that natural sweetness and flavour of the corn.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0098-SouvenirShop.jpg

A few of my colleagues had commented the Apple and Melon Soft Candy had a nice flavour which tasted like the real fruit and it's not too sweet either.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0100-SouvenirShop.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 01 July 2013 - 08:12 PM

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#27 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 10:55 PM

Time check, it’s 7.30pm in the evening and we are having Shabu Shabu for dinner at Hokkaido Cuisine Restaurant Miyanomori (宮之森).

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0101-Miyanomori.jpg

Hokkaido Cuisine Restaurant Miyanomori (宮之森)
7-2-39 Nijuyonken 3 Jo, Nishi Ward, Sapporo,
Hokkaido Prefecture 063-0803, Japan

A fearsome looking Mounted Bear standing in front of the entrance to the restaurant.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0102-Miyanomori.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0103-Miyanomori.jpg

The Live Abalones here will set you back at ¥6000 (S$75) per shellfish but in Otaru Town, this just cost ¥780 (S$9.75) each. That is a difference of S$65.25!!!


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0104-Miyanomori.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 29 October 2013 - 10:27 AM

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#28 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 06:55 PM

Dining Hall - The two walls on the left and right sides can be removed to form a big dining area if required.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0105-Miyanomori.jpg

Shabu Shabu - You started off with a plate of mainly noodles, some vegetables, plus a slice of fish cake and tofu. Additional helpings of meats (Chicken, Beef, Pork and Mutton) and vegetables (Beansprout, Cabbage and a green leafy one) were available buffet style at one corner.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0106-Miyanomori.jpg

The thin Slices of Meats weren’t too shabby either though the beef look better with its pattern of fats distribution.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0107-Miyanomori.jpg

One minor issue I had was that the Shabu Shabu was using plain water and not some soup stock so the soup wasn’t “sweet” enough. Or maybe I had to add that lump of orange coloured stuff (miso paste?) for the flavour which I do not know what it was. Of the two condiment sauces, I preferred the sesame one which went very well with the meats. Also my appetite had returned slightly maybe due to the less oily cooking method and I even managed to eat a bowl of rice with it.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0108-Miyanomori.jpg
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#29 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 07:00 PM

When we finally check-in to the Sapporo Renaissance Hotel, it was almost 9pm. Frankie had offered to bring us go check out the nightlife in Susukino Entertainment District, which is also where the biggest red light district north of Japan was located. Standard briefing of where to go for your breakfast and time to check out applied.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0109-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

Renaissance Sapporo Hotel
1-1-1 Toyohira 4 Jo, Toyohira Ward, Sapporo,
Hokkaido Prefecture 062-0904, Japan

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0110-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0111-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

In less than 30 minutes, a small group of us including our tour leader was gathered in the Hotel Lobby while the rest decided to retire early for the night. Rushing over to me, the same tour mate informed me about the availability of the Potato Farm at the hotel’s souvenir shop and the shop is closing at 9.30pm!


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0112-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 11 November 2013 - 02:02 PM

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#30 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 07:25 PM

I managed to buy a few boxes of the Potato Farm Jaga Pokkuru and had to run back up to my room again to deposit it before coming down to regroup. Arigatou gozaimasu to him. The Potato Farm snack is a must get item even more so than the Shiroi Koibito mainly because stocks were always limited and some outlets restrict the number of boxes a customer can purchase.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0113-PotatoFarm.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0114-PotatoFarm.jpg

And oh, this is My Room with two beds although I only utilised one. This was by far the biggest of the five hotel rooms I stayed in for the trip.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0115-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0116-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 11 November 2013 - 01:30 PM

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#31 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 10:20 PM

Passed by the Police Station on our way to the Susukino Entertainment District, and learns that each building had its own unique design and no two police stations look alike.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0117-PoliceStation.jpg

Susukino Entertainment District is one of the major red-light districts in Japan with many restaurants, bars, hotels, and adult-entertainment establishments.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0118-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg

Spotted this Giant Crab above the entrance to a restaurant and one on top of the building. No prizes for guessing what they sell.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0119-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0120-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg
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#32 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 10:35 PM

It's easily accessible via the Susukino Station which is one stop from Odori Station and two stops from Sapporo Station on the Nanboku Subway Line.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0122-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg

Susukino is also one of the three locations for the Sapporo Snow Festival. The other two being Odori Park and the grounds at Community Dome Tsudome. Unlike the shopping centres and supermarkets which usually close at 7.30pm, the businesses here operate till late night or even early morning.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0121-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg

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http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0124-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg
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#33 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 11:30 PM

Frankie had asked if any of us wanted to go to a Izakaya (居酒屋) for some food but we were still feeling full from the dinner earlier. We also never actually explored the red light district as Frankie merely pointed out a building which looks like an ordinary office block from afar. Lastly, some members of our group decided to venture off and explore the district themselves.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0125-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0126-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg

After the rest split off, we proceeded to the Ramen Yokocho (Ramen Alley), the birthplace of miso ramen. A collection of more than 15 ramen shops lined both sides of this narrow passageway. Since none of us were hungry enough to go try the ramen as we just had dinner about 2 hours ago, we made it a brief affair walking through it. Coming out from the other end of the alley, we decided to head back to the hotel since it was already past 10pm already.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0127-RamenYokocho.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0128-RamenYokocho.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 11 November 2013 - 01:52 PM

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#34 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:51 AM

Chanced upon this GINDACO outlet selling various flavours of takoyaki with a selection of different toppings and Uoon, our tour leader decide to gives it a try. Business seems to be brisk with the many helpers in the open concept kitchen and batches takoyaki in various stages of cooking. They also have quite a few branches over here in Singapore.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0129-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0130-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg

I picked the Cod Fish Roe Takoyaki (Mentaiko) which seems like a good choice. From the menu, you can see that they do not add bonito flake which is the norm over here. What they have was mayonnaise with julienned cabbage and/or spring onions plus the special or seasonal toppings.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0131-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg

Right beside the joint is a small bar selling liqueurs, which GINDACO paired up with Highball Sakaba, a whisky brand. Feel free to go in if you need a drink with the takoyaki though most just do takeaways.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0132-SusukinoEntertainmentDistrict.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 01 July 2013 - 08:14 PM

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#35 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:30 PM

Day 3: Sapporo > Otaru > Asahikawa

A View from my Room’s Window which was partially blocked by the opposite building. The sun raises at around 4am in the morning though the streets where still devoid of any human or traffic as at 6.24am.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0133-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

A few more Snapshots from the Corridor’s Windows of the surrounding buildings, plants and distant snow-capped mountains.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0134-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0135-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0136-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 01 November 2013 - 03:02 PM

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#36 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:30 PM

Breakfast was to be served from 6.30am and we had to bring the meal coupon along. Following the signage on along the way was pretty straight forward.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0137-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

A view of the Lobby from the 2nd floor and an Art Piece along the way.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0138-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

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#37 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:50 PM

Here we are, The Californian Restaurant up a flight of stairs. Two of my tour mates were already in front of me as I joined up with them, handling over my breakfast coupon to the wait staff.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0141-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0142-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg

Wow, there were already people having breakfast and I was only 5 minutes late. They have a few kinds of fruit/vegetable juices and really fresh milk beside the bread and pastry section. In the right corner are rice and porridge with various toppings or sides. The floor to ceiling glass panels on one side of the Dining Area let in plenty of sunlight while offering views of the garden outside.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0143-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0144-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 11 November 2013 - 02:20 PM

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#38 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:12 PM

A partial view of the Cold Dish Section offers a spread of dishes from natto (fermented soya beans), various fresh, pickled or preserved vegetables/fruits, tamago to the standard salad. The white packages with blue square logo at the lower right hand corner are crispy seaweed.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0145-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg

Live Omelette Station – Beside the standard Plain and Sweet Omelettes presented on the counter, the chef can also prepare for you seafood, crab or ham & tomato omelette à la minute.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0146-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0147-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0148-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 11 November 2013 - 02:28 PM

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#39 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:45 PM

For the Hot Food Section, they have sausage, chicken, potato croquette, siew mai, salmon and trout (I think) as the display tags were in Japanese. If my memory served me right, there should also be a steam bun which I did not take.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0149-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg

The Crab Omelette was perfectly done, I just cannot resist the moist almost runny centre plus the fresh ingredients help too. This is how an omelette should be done, not overcooked ones we have back here. Another one of this omelette, please.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0150-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg

Some of the Cold Dishes starting clockwise from top are seaweed, cherry tomato (very sweet), yellow & purple potato, some root tuber, green bean, cod fish roe, pickled veggies and tamago. Though I found the tamago to be compacted too much and as a result quite hard.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0151-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg

Strawberries and Pastry Bun – The berries were pretty small but they what they lack in size, they made up with their sweetness.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0152-CalifornianRestaurant.jpg
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#40 User is offline   Kingfisher 

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 06:55 AM

There was still time after breakfast so I braved the cold wind to take some shots of the exterior of the Sapporo Renaissance Hotel and the Toyohira River. This river is where the salmons will swim up when they are ready to spawn in autumn. The sky was rather cloudy that day and I was worried that it might rain.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0153-RenaissanceSapporoHotel.jpg

But there was a time when the salmons stopped coming back to the Toyohira River. After the war, the population exploded causing the water quality of the river to deteriorate and the salmon runs stopped returning. It’s only when the city's waste water management system improved and the river began to revive that in mid 1970's that the "Come Back Salmon Program" was initiated. By the spring of 1979 the first salmon fry were released into the Toyohira and thereafter those same fry started coming back every fall. Not long afterwards the people of Sapporo realized the importance of Salmon Enhancement and Salmon Studies. As a result in October 1984 the Sapporo Salmon Museum was opened.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0154-ToyohiraRiver.jpg

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http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0156-ToyohiraRiver.jpg
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