The year of COVID.
Ahh this was the trip to Japan right when COVID became a thing. Back then, it was still a mystery and when I came back, work forced me to quarantine for 2 weeks at home — that was when I became obsessed with doing home workouts every single day (shout out to Chloe Ting and Emi Wong, IYKYK).
I had put this blog on pause for these few years because 1) I was lazy and 2) it didn’t feel right posting about traveling during a time when people were dying and everything had closed down. I reflected a lot on why I even do this blog, and I came to the realization that I really loved documenting my travels, even if nobody read it. I love being able to give recommendations and tips when my coworkers ask me specific questions about places I’ve been to, and I could just link them here instead of recounting from my fading memory.
Anyhoo, back to Japan.
My friend was supposed to run the Tokyo Marathon that year, and it was cancelled for regular runners (only elite runners were able to run). We decided to make a trip out of it anyway, not knowing that the whole world was about to get shut down.
This was my second time in Japan, and we decided to explore Hokkaido & Hakone in addition to Tokyo.
Even though Tanukikoji Shopping Street was touristy, I actually liked it! There were lots of little food stalls and gift shops. Walked into a random restaurant and it was a great start to Hokkaido. I was looking forward to uni and seafood!
What is a trip to Japan without stopping by 7-11 and Family Mart everyday?
Hokkaido is known for their ice cream and melon-flavored things, so of course I had to grab these.
Went to BaristART Coffee for a pick-me-up.
We walked around the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market — there were lots of restaurants and fresh seafood.
Sat down for lunch at Kitanogurume (inside the market).
More random Hokkaido foods (from random places):
I love the coffee culture in Japan — they’re so passionate about it!
You can find all of these at the Odori Station.
Since we’re in Sapporo, why not stop by the Sapporo Beer Museum?
I wanted to do the tour with tasting, but unfortunately that day the museum started shutting down tasting tours — we were allowed to go inside and do the self-guided tour though, so we just walked around for a bit.
Went to the Shiroi Koibito Park – sort of like a theme park for the chocolate brand. Lots of cookies and chocolate for you to buy as souvenirs!
Lined up at Shingen Ramen: (WORTH THE WAIT)
Sapporo style ramen is miso-based — so much depth in flavors!
I also loved their AMAZING gyozas:
Went to Ohiso for more uni.
I’m really glad you unpaused. Japan looks cool even during [beginning of] COVID!