Monday, 23 October 2017

The Japanese Food Adventure Chapter 3 - Day 5. Retro Space Saka Hall

It was Day five and the first day we wouldn't have to be catching a train to another destination. With a full day in Sapporo we had formulated a plan and our first port of call was an old biscuit factory in the West of the city. We were also looking for somewhere to have some breakfast, taking in the sights on the way.

I've never tried Karaoke in Japan, it's still hugely popular though.

We wondered how workmen in the UK would feel about these safety barriers. They vary depending on the location and there are so many different ones to spot.

Sapporo TV Tower, we didn't go inside but there is an observation deck offering great views of the city.

Finding somewhere to have some breakfast was proving unsuccessful but you can always rely on a vending machine for a caffeine fix.

Today we had to admit defeat and buy some breakfast from Family Mart, Japan's second largest convenience store chain. A coffee and spaghetti roll cost Y260 (£1.75)

The spaghetti in the roll was covered in a soy sauce and topped with mustard and cheese. Not the most luxurious of breakfasts but it tasted delicious and a nearby wall was the ideal spot to sit down and enjoy it. 

We'd found what we were searching for, Retro Space Saka Hall. 

Saka biscuits are famous in Hokkaido and located next to the factory is Retro Space Saka Hall, it's free to enter and you can buy Saka biscuits here too.

Retro Space Saka Hall is a museum which houses the vast selection of things collected by the director of Saka Biscuits, Mr Kazatuka Saka.

With so many things crammed into the museum it was going to take a long time to fully explore it.

I loved this vintage biscuit tin, a real sign of the times.

The top half of a mannequin in a very fetching hat (or was it a lampshade?) looked out of the window from a vintage barbers chair.

Mr Kazatuka Saka had even collected toiletries and cleaning product bottles.

A cute clock featuring Japanese pharmacy mascots Satoko-Chan and Sato-Chan.

As we turned a corner we entered a small room containing a collection of ladies knickers  and bras.

High up on a shelf we spotted some bondage dolls.

The museum was silent but as we wandered around we could hear footsteps behind us on the creaking floorboards. Mr Kazatuka Saka and his Sister appeared and welcomed us to the museum. Mr Saka spoke and his Sister translated for us, he asked us where we from, complimented our tattoos and thanked us for coming to visit the museum.

We chatted for quite sometime and Mr Saka disappeared, a few moments later he reappeared with a gift for my wife. A very kind gesture indeed and my wife was really grateful, how it would fit into our hand luggage was a slight concern though. Mr Saka's Sister asked if it may be too big and suggested a smaller one if my wife preferred.

She was given a smaller one which would fit better in a suitcase. We were touched by the kindness of Mr Saka and his sister, a real pleasure to meet them both and visit the fascinating collections in his museum.

On the walls of the museum hung a pair of paintings of Mr Saka.

He was clearly very proud of his biscuit empire and vast collections. If you're in Sapporo then be sure to check out Retro Space Saka Hall, there's a good blog post with more information including the address and opening times here.

Before leaving we decided to buy some Saka biscuits, it was difficult deciding which ones to buy.

In the end we opted for these, a bit like custard creams but far less sickly.

We spent the next hour or so searching for a vegan restaurant, we got completely lost and the heavens opened again. When we finally found the restaurant it was closed so we went in search of Space 1-15, an apartment block full of cafes and shops. We couldn't find a way into the apartment block despite pressing a few buttons on the intercom. It turned out it's only open at the weekend, so with raincoats on and brollies in hand we made a dash to the nearest metro station to escape the heavy downpour.

The underground shopping malls near Sapporo station were the perfect place to shelter from the heavy rain. When the rain finally stopped we headed up to ground level again to find somewhere to have some lunch.

This place was open so we went inside to look at the menu.

They served a set lunch menu at a reasonable price and there was a good view so we decided to eat here.

They served Sapporo Classic too which was an added bonus. 

The man serving us spoke good English so my wife was able to ensure she got a vegan meal. I ordered the daily lunch plate which changes daily so I had no idea what meat was going to arrive. It turned out to be a slightly spicy stir fried chicken served with rice, salad and miso soup. All incredibly delicious and a bargain at just ¥800 (£5.30), the Sapporo was also reasonably priced at ¥500 (£3.30)

Once again the heavens opened so we headed inside one of the large malls. Very cheerful music is often played in the malls and they tend to have a very 1990's feel to them.

Near our hotel was Nakajima Park with a Japanese garden inside. We tried to enjoy the beautiful garden but a pneumatic drill being used beside the park kind of killed the relaxing vibe.

Nakajima Park is also home to Hōheikan, a former hotel opened in 1881. It's now used to host various events including weddings. 

We went in search of a department store as we knew in the basement we'd find a food hall. If you're looking for bento boxes then these are an excellent place to look as the choices are varied and the selection is huge.

As it was early evening everything was being reduced, it was just a case of deciding what to choose. Bento boxes always have the calorie content listed and heating instructions should you want to eat them hot.

This was an excellent choice and at just ¥320 (£2.10) it was a real bargain too. It contained salmon, battered squid, pork ball in a sweet sauce, chicken, egg, prawn dumpling, rice, ginger and pickles.

These cylindrical corn snacks cost just ¥10 (6p) each and come in a variety of flavours.

They're like a giant wotsit with a hole running through the centre.

This was the first of many cans of Strong that I was going to drink over the coming weeks. They come in a selection of flavours (Grape was my favourite) and they were an impressive 9% alcohol so you certainly felt the effect.

Click here for Day 6
Destination Sendai

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