Before I had ramen in Japan, I thought ramen only came in the form of “almost tasteless instant ramen” that costs like 30 cents for a single bag. I had no idea how many different kinds of ramen there are(Sapporo and Fukuoka quickly come to mind as two of the most famous kinds) or exactly how delicious ramen can be. If you go almost anywhere in Japan, you will find tons of ramen ( ラーメン ) shops and probably will get something decent at most places. That being said, I have decided to share with you an excellent place in Ikebukro, Tokyo, Nakamoto with their spicy ramen, or I think they call it “tantan-men.”
Sapporo, located in Japan’s most northern and largest island, Hokkaido, is Japan’s 5th largest city and is a really great place to visit. There is good food, nightlife, modern buildings, old buildings and easy to get around. Sapporo is perhaps most famous for it’s annual snow festival held in February, it’s beer, Sapporo Beer, and it’s ramen (miso butter corn ramen is a MUST try if you go there). Sapporo has everything from a chocolate factory to modern art museums to a thriving nightlife in Susukino. Also Olympic and winter games have been held there. Below on the left is Odori Koen and on the right the Washington Hotel.
If you can handle the cold, or like winter sports, going to Sapporo during the snow festival is a great time to go. The snow festival has amazing sculptures made of, you guessed, snow and ice. If you are more into not freezing, then in the summer months the weather in Sapporo is pretty mild and not as humid as the rest of Japan. Below is the Sapporo Beer Factory and Sapporo TV Tower.
Sapporo is about a 40 minute train ride from Chitose Airport, 3 hours from Hakodate and about 2 from Furano and Biei.
If you are going to Hokkaido and plan to travel I recommend thinking about getting one of the Hokkaido free rail passes (they have different ones for foreign tourists–3 and 5 days–and one that anyone cane use–7 days).
If you plan on only staying in Sapporo, you do not need a car, but if you plan on going to other areas of Hokkaido, it would not be a bad idea to consider renting a car as a lot of places in Hokkaido are best accessed by car.