Never travel to JAPAN if……


Psst…. Allow me to complete the headline, never travel to Japan should you lack the strength to survive in extreme cold weather. Oh sorry, I did that on purpose. Anyway, I can assure you this is not a paid article! 🙂

Across the continent in Southeast Asia, there lives a young man who seems to show interest in visiting the country where many know it as “The land of the Rising Sun”. This time around, the guy, identified himself as “Aqashah” (me, obviously) took yet another adventure to the northern island of Japan. Yes, we know it, Hokkaido.

But first things first, the trip was honestly a gift I treated myself because I wanted to celebrate my birthday there. *tuning in 22 by Taylor Swift*. Initially, I received so many inquiries regarding the trip to the region I went. Why Japan? Japan again? You’ve been to Japan, haven’t you?, are among the questions thrown. By the way, I’m not 22.

True, the trip to Hokkaido is my third visit I made in Japan. Nevertheless, let’s zoom into the headline. Why did I say so? Unlike the other popular prefectures in Japan like Tokyo and Osaka, Sapporo is still freezing cold in March. In fact, March is the end of winter in Japan which is why the temperature may plunge to below freezing point. Yes, I experienced -3 Degree Celsius and the snow was still in sight. Being Asian, and tanned, my skin is not used to the cold atmosphere. What’s more to say my country is positioned geographically near the equator of the Earth. So it’s either sunny or rainy all year round.

On top of that, the temperature during summer in Hokkaido may only range in between 20 to 26 Degree Celsius. Comparatively, my country records an average temperature of above 30 Degree Celsius all year round (pretty hot huh?).

Now you may ask what are the things to enjoy in March, as winter hasn’t left yet. This might sound cliche to everyone of us, but touching the snow and playing with it is what travelers from *Southeast Asia* will do most of the time. Yes, I bet that. Having said this, many of us visit Hokkaido for skiing in the mountains as the region takes pride in its mountainous areas. Even the locals enjoy doing so. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ski. Have I said I had a severe cold for the first two days when I arrived? I was shivering too. No kidding. Anyway, head over to Niseko to get the best view of snowy mountains!

The food. Raise up both of your hands if you travel to taste the multitude of food a country has to offer. Being a Muslim, searching for halal food or simply a Muslim-friendly food could be quite a tough homework to do. We need to ensure the ingredients used do not include what is forbidden in our faith. Anyway, Muslim-friendly eateries are abundant in Japan given the fact that they are now more aware of the arrival of Muslim tourists.

Now, what’s nice to eat in Hokkaido? I remember eating out at Donburi Chaya, Otaru where they serve a list of seafood we can eat till drop. There’s also another branch in Sapporo if you happen to miss it in Otaru. The price may begin for as low as 1,000 yen (to be safe) but please expect that you may need to fork out extra cash as the food can be too charming to lure you. Well what did I eat? Squid and Salmon!

But that’s not all, of course. Japan is famously known for their Ramen regardless of its wide-ranging flavour. Perfect during the freezing temperature, Ramen can save a ‘hot spot’ in your body to at least provide you the heat so you won’t go about and run in cold. I’m not really sure about people’s expectations out of it but Ramen tends to make me feel a tad bit warm. In Sapporo, there’s this Horyu Ramen store you can drop by when visiting the region. But keep in mind that the store is small, don’t come in a group of 20, the store cannot accommodate a horde of human.

Now… what’s the popular TV Series more than a decade ago we used to watch from South Korea? Remember? There’s an island featured in the series. If your thought says Nami Island, yes that’s it. I’ve been to that overrated tourist destination and I somehow can equate it “a bit” with Maruyama Park, where the Hokkaido Shrine lies. Upon arrival, there are a lot of trees resembling those in Nami Island (sorry for the free marketing) and even the atmosphere around it made me feel as if I was on the site. For photos worthy of uploading on your feed, I suggest you to have the location listed in your itinerary.

Walk like a student in Sapporo. I said what I said! The trip to Sapporo is totally incomplete if you don’t make your way to Hokkaido University. The compound is not usually packed during off-peak season so tourists are allowed to get in, except that no private vehicles should be brought to drive in. There’s a straight path leading you to another exit. While walking, it’s a perfect time for a (photoshoot session). Hokkaido University is located in the city so it is convenient to go there on-foot. Be sure to drop yourself at Sapporo Station.

But of course, never spend too much time taking photos as you might be interested to explore the museum in the compound itself. The best part is, it’s FOC! No cents needed for entry but you can be kind enough to donate if you feel like doing charity. Why not?

Perhaps I could share another experience that is far beyond the list of where people can go. I had a chance to drop myself in Yoichi to see what’s nice there. I visited Yoichi Distillery to get a glimpse of how whisky is made. I don’t drink, no worries. I was there to equip myself with some knowledge I never knew. Again, no entrance fee is imposed for visitors.

Also, Yoichi is famous for its bridge which can be reached by walking for 5 to 10 minutes. Bridge? Am I kidding? NO. If you feel like being pushed by strong winds, I highly suggest you come to this location. There are two bridges nearby for you to go and catch the view of the sea. Strong winds? Yes, there’s another walkway next to the bridge leading you to Old Shimoyoichi Unjo. I’d say… the walkway is really next to the sea so you can expect how strong the wind can be. But hey, just enjoy the moment! Attractions in Yoichi may require a private vehicle to roam around so don’t just walk until further up to nowhere. Buses are limited there hence the quick trip. If you have a plan to visit Yoichi, please ensure that a proper planning is initially in place.

So…. you might be asking how did I commute from one place to another. Believe me, my trip was really impromptu so being dependent on public transportation is mandatory, provided that Internet connection exists. Anyway, don’t be like me. Hehhhh.

Till then!


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