Sapporo and it's surrounding areas were technically the second place we visited in Japan after a brief stay just outside Tokyo to enable to us take a short internal flight the next morning up to Sapporo itself. Once we arrived at the airport and made the short train journey down to the city itself we dropped our bags off at the hotel and went exploring.
Sapporo itself is a giant city and was at one point (a long time ago) the capital of the country. Although we were too early for the Snow Festival, the weather was delightful, a crisp 16-ish degrees and sunlight raining down on everything. We walked the very american style block streets until we came to the main park, Odori Park, which runs east to west and at it's center contains Sapporo tower which we couldn't resist having a look around.
The tower itself has two observation decks, one about a third of the way up and the other four fifths of the way up. The first observation deck is free to enter and contains a restaurant and gift shop which the second acts as a viewing platform of the whole valley and houses the giant digital watch that sits on the front.
Next up came a visit to Mount Moirai, which involved trekking across town via subway and tram before reaching the base of the mountain and riding a ropeway and cable car to the peak. From there we got some amazing views of the city during sunset and at night before heading back to downtown Sapporo.
The next day after that called for a trip a bit further out to an area called Otaru and Yoichi where we first stopped off at Otaru for an hour or so while we switched trains and explored the seaside before heading on to Yoichi to visit the Nikka Whisky distillery where we got to explore the Whiskey making process and drink too many of the free samples, the tour itself was free too.
After a few hours there we rushed back to Otaru to visit the peak of Mount Tegu, the home of the red goblin who is said to bring good luck if you touch his nose in the right way. A bus journey and a quick ropecar ride later and we were there, although it was already dark. The view was of the port city of Otaru and the forest behind which was beautiful and further accentuated by the strange melody playing everywhere. I also got to try my first hot food vending machine which was pretty good, even if it was just chicken and chips.
The trip back to Sapporo was pretty uneventful but once there we hit up ramen alley for an evening meal before heading back to the hotel.