Aurora Town stretches 312m from Odori Station all the way to the TV tower in the east. The name of the mall was derived to invoke the image of a promenade filled with light and colours. Pole Town extends 400m from Odori Station south all the way to Susukino Station, linking two subway stations and creating an active and bustling town with a lively and relaxed atmosphere. Both ends of Pole Town are directly linked to department stores. One can also take the exits located along the sides of the town for various fashion boutique buildings and Tanuki-Koji, a kilometer-long shopping arcade with boutiques and stores. The Gallery Stella, decorated with stained glass works, and the Pole Plaza, located under Tanuki-Koji, are always crowded, mainly with young people who pass on the latest trends in youth culture from the town.The name of Pole Town is derived from a polestar. This should be enough to last us until lunch time. The shops there are open from 10am to 8pm. We will also visit the Mitsukoshi Sapporo departmental store, located a short walk from the Odori subway station where we are at. It sells a wide range of products such as food, clothing and gifts.
First stop would be a visit to the Susukino Ramen Alley(above). We’ve been told that you should not look for a place with that name because officially that name doesn’t exist. It’s actual name is Ramen Yokocho. It is located at intersection between South 5-jo and West 3-chome, Chuo-Ku. It is a 3 minute walk from Susukino subway station so using the subway as a point of reference would be a good start. The stalls there open from 11am to 3am daily. Ramen shops line both sides of this alley and it’s been said that every stall there has it’s own closely guarded recipe for it’s soup stock. There are 3 types of soup stocks that you can order for your Sapporo ramen (miso, soy, salt) and various toppings (scallops, corn, butter). We plan to share one bowl of ramen, miso with scallops(below) to try. By sharing this way, we can eat more of other stuff.
From Ramen Alley, we will walk over to Tanuki Koji South 3 West 2 just off east of the Susukino subway station. There is a recommended Japanese pub called Aburiya there that is said to sell real Hokkaido food, not the touristy corn and potatoes. Aburiya serves sushi, salmon, sea urchin and vegetables from around the prefecture, cooked in simple, honest Japanese style. “Aburiya” means “the grilling place,” and we read that it is a must to try the charbroiled maitake-beikon-maki, (mushrooms wrapped with bacon). For broiled fish, we will ask for the daily catch (honjitsu-no-yakizakana). The yakitori skewers of chicken (torikushi) and pork (butakushi) are said to be wonderful, and the salad plates and grilled eggplant (yakinasu) will give us a chance to dig into some healthy vegetables. Their sashimi plates (sashimi moriawase) are great, too. It’s in the Tanuki Koji shopping arcade and can be located by their green awning and the double flight of descending steps. From reviews we read, the menu there is challenging and the brisk, backslapping pace can make ordering a bit daunting, but the food and atmosphere make it worth the effort. Meals with beer is between 3,000 to 5,000 yen per person.
As we exit from Aburiya after a hearty lunch, we find ourselves within the Tanuki Koji shopping arcade where Aburiya is located. The largest shopping mall in Sapporo, it extends to about 1.5km. Tanuki Koji has a history that stretches back 123 years. There are more than 200 stores there offering a variety of goods ranging from clothes and footwear to electrical items and furniture. This mall is known for it’s offering of both traditional and modern Japanese merchandise from kimonos, tea or incense to modern stores specializing in computers and software or state-of-the-art electronics or digital cameras, clothing, accessories, cosmetics and shoes. There are also game centers, restaurants and coffee shops within. Things here are said to be much cheaper than those from other similar shopping areas. A hat can be gotten here below 100 yen, much cheaper than the 100 yen shops nearby.
We will shop till 6 plus and probably the cold and constant walking would have made us hungry for dinner. For dinner, I will be bringing Gayle for shabu shabu at Shabu-Zen, an all you can eat eatery located within the Robinson’s departmental store on the 7th floor. Shabu-shabu is the sound of thinly sliced beef and vegetables being swished through simmering water and the name for that style of cooking. We will also try lamb too.
However, we read that in spite of all these bars and nightspots, Susukino is still quite safe and well lit. Even ladies can drink here without having to worry about their safety. Apart from the usual range of karaoke and junk food outlets, there are many good restaurants & bars, as well as a large number of hotels ( We will be looking at the rent by the hour "love hotel" kind just out of curiousity). Susukino is a bustling nightlife district that gets more crowded with each passing hour of the evening. Recently, hot spring hotels with saunas have become popular there. After a whole day of walking and shopping, we will take the train from Susukino subway station back to Sapporo subway station and then walk back to our hotel for a good rest and look through our shopping conquests.