Saturday, January 26, 2008

Shopping at Hokkaido

Updated 10 Aug 2009: Link to Hokkaido accommodation in-case if DIY

I will just dedicate one post on shopping at Hokkaido during my Hokkaido 8day tour. :D

My impression of Hokkaido shopping is food, food and more food. Basically, every place of interest that you go to, like Noboribetsu and Bear Ranch, there would be specially created chocolates or snacks that is specific to the area you're in (e.g. Bear shape snacks in Bear Ranch). However, there is one place in Hokkaido that I went that you can get relatively cheap normal shopping stuff. By that I mean bags, clothings, Yukata, etc. That is at a place called Li Xiao Lu.

There are 8 streets altogether. The picture above shows the 2nd street. They are all linked by covered walkways. Basically, the more interesting streets are the 3rd street and 4th street. The things here are quite cheap. I know someone in my tour group who bought shoes in a place called ABC Mart. You can check it out there. There's also a Daiso near the area where I took the above picture. If I remember correctly, there are 7 floors. The Daiso there is also known as the 100 yen shop. However, take note if there is any price tag. Not everything in Daiso is 100 yen.

There are 2 things that you must get in Hokkaido. That is the Squid Rice and Yubari Melon, which is unique to Hokkaido.

Squid Rice

According to the instructions, you just need to put in boiling water for 15mins, and its ready to eat. There is rice inside the squid. So far, I've not tasted it yet but I heard that its quite good. Another way to cook this is to microwave it, according to the tour guide. However, note that if you have stopped at any pitstop, the squid rice sold there is relatively cheaper by about a 100 yen.

Yubari Melon Chocolate

Hokkaido is suppose to be famous for its Yubari Melon. This particular chocolate is a Yubari Melon white chocolate. Everyone, including me, agree that its very good.

One thing about Japan is that the prices are relatively similar in any place you go to. At most the price differ by about 100-200 yen, but so far, most of the prices are the same for the same product, regardless of whether its a shophouse at the back, or a shop facing the main road.

Hokkaido is also a place where the White Lover Chocolate is made. The place is called Ishiya, also known as the White Lover Chocolate Museum. They produce the chocolates here.

The whole place looks like a castle. If I'm not wrong, there is a shop at the bottom left hand side of the picture that sells the chocolate.I did not go there because I was too busy taking pictures of the area. However, according to the tour guide, only 900 boxes of chocolates are sold there every day.

There are actually many side attractions surrounding this place. The tour group is suppose to go in but when we arrive there, the factory has been shut down because they sold chocolates that were expired. It was due open after we left Hokkaido. Oh well...

We have also been to a place called Otaru that sells very nice music boxes.

The above is the picture of the place that sells all kinds of music boxes. You can even make your own music box, with your choice of the music. The music includes songs by many popular Japanese singers (e.g. SMAP) Very cute place.

The picture above is one of the unique music boxes you can see in the shop. The color changes every minute I think. So far, I've not seen such music boxes anywhere before. Quite unique. The ice-cream at Otaru is not bad too. 5 tier ice-cream. :D Now I know why people eat ice-cream in winter. Shiokkk...

Hokkaido is also famous for its seafood. You can actually order crabs and bring it back to Singapore. I know because some people in the tour group actually brought back crab pincers to Singapore. Here's a picture of the seafood market we went to.

This seafood market is just below the restaurant. Basically we can order the sashimi, crabs, lobsters and oysters and they will cook it at the restaurant for you to eat.

All in all, shopping in Hokkaido is mainly fooooooooood!! :D Alot of crabs and scallops in our meals for the tour. You can refer to my previous post about food here. If you really want to try, you can try the Alaska crab, and Abalone in Hokkaido (pay yourself). They are suppose to be very good, and big. :D

Hokkaido is quite a fun place to go to, and I do not mind going there again on a more flexible schedule that is. Have been keeping an eye out for DIY hotels booking and I came across this Hokkaido Accommodation website that is quite user friendly, and comes with user reviews too. You can find out more information there.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, I enjoyed reading your post! I'm planning to go Hokkaido and chanced upon your blog while googling for shopping tips. & What a coincidence, I'm from Singapore too! :)

chantc said...

Hope you have fun there!

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