Harmonize Nature



Hokkaido is the largest prefecture and an isolated island of Japan, and Sapporo city is its capital.
The climate is similar to Canada; it snows a lot during winter and never gets too hot.
It is the place for winter sports, outdoor activities, hot springs, and very good quality food, from dairy products to seafood. There are too many things to eat in Hokkaido.
I always get the impression in Hokkaido that people are way more friendly to each other here than in Tokyo.
This island is full of nature, and needless to say, one of the destinations you don't want to miss if you go to Japan.


June, 2012

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Wedding ceremony at the Hokkaido Shrine

Hokkaido is the land of immigrants. The indigenous people, Ainu, lived here for a long time in the harmony with nature, but Japanese started to take control over this area in 19th century.

I see a lot of similarities between Ainu and Haida people, the indigenous people in the west coast of Canada. They had thier own spiritual believes, but were deprived of them, as well as their own language, by the invadors. This Hokkaido Shrine is the sacred place for the invadors, not to the Ainus; the rituals you see here is not originally from Hokkaido, but people just brought it here.
I prefer any religious or spiritual believes born in that particular area. But most of Hokkaido people are now Japanese, and this shrine seemed as if it has already rooted and built the bond with this land.
The style of the ceremony I saw was the Shinto style, which is also becoming less common, because of the Christian style wedding imported to Japan.

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Speaking about the tradition, there are many festivals in Sapporo, like in Toronto, probably in order to reinforce people's identity.
And I saw girls wearing Yukata (the casual version of kimono people wear during hot summer, for summer festivals, or as pyjamas) in a funny way, like in the picture. This blown me away. Those girsl not only were ignorant but were disrespectful to the beauty of the Japanese tradition.

Anyway the festival, Matsuri, I happened to see was very nice.

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Botanic Garden Hokkaido University
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It is a very quiet and large (compared to other gardens in Japan) garden located at the center of the city. The crows are getting aggressive in the early summer, and a bit scary and annoying.

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There are several museums, whose buildings are the cultural assets.

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Toyohira River
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This river is in walking distance from where I stay. The board says samons come back to this river every autumn to lay eggs. Although the water is clean, the riverbed and the both banks are made of concrete and they don't look comfortable at all for samons.


Hokkaido is the place of the most delicious food in Japan: Ramen, Jingisukan (mutton barbecue), any dairy products, sushi, anything. I am eating a lot everyday.
In Sapporo, there are so many good restaurants and cafes in terms of taste of food and drinks, however the quality of service is not that great... I mean, not really sophisticated.

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Left: CAFÉ BLUE. Salt caramel waffle. Right: Kinotoya on the first floor of BISSE.
Sakura Coffee at Shimin Hall has WiFi and good coffee.

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Left: Lunch at Takeda, 1,050JPY.

For ramen, there are Ichiryuan, Ichigen, Nakajima, etc...

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Nanbuya is my favourite onigiri place.

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North Safari Sapporo / Fukuro to Kitakitsune no mori (Park of Owl and Fox)

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Fukuro to Kitakitsune no mori (Park of Owl and Fox) is not too far from the downtown of Sapporo city.
You can either drive or take Jotetsu Bus to Toyotaki Shogakkou stop. Either way it won't take more than 1 hour. Once you arrived at the parking or the bus stop, call the office and they will pick you up by their vehicle and bring you to North Safari Sapporo.

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Park of Owl and Fox is in a walking distance from the safari.

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Moiwayama Mt.
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Moiwayama Mt is 531m high, and you can enjoy 1-2 hour trecking in a virgin forest. Cable car is available, as well.
Very close to the downtown of Sapporo, and there are several courses of trecking. There are restaurant, planetarium, very clean toilet and vending machines on the top.

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