Top 10 Must-Eat Hokkaido Foods of 2016

You know Hokkaido is famous for agriculture, seafood, and ramen, but is that all there is? And where is a good place to eat these dishes anyways? I’ve had many people ask me where I recommend to go to eat when they visit Hokkaido and Sapporo. So I just had to make a list out of it. I’m sure this will change every year, because whatever is popular keeps changing, so I hope I can make this a yearly thing, but I can’t promise anything!


Where to eat out in Sapporo, Hokkaido? What must-try foods are there in Hokkaido? What good restaurants are there in Sapporo? Is there something besides seafood I can eat in Sapporo? This list should answer all those questions!! But this is just my personal restaurant collection… and I’m not a big spender. If anything, these are just my list of favorite Hokkaido food that I’ve encountered in the past few years.


*The list is in the order of “1 Super Recommend Must-Eat” to “10 Really Recommend This; it’s Good”! リストの順番は、「絶対におすすめで食べないと!」から「本当におすすめする、美味しいよ」w
**By the way, seafood is not my forte. ちなみに、魚介類をあまり食べない人です!

  1. Soup Curry スープカレー
  2. Buta-Don 豚丼
  3. Soft Cream ソフトクリーム
  4. Local Potato Chips 地域ポテチ
  5. Ishikari Nabe 石狩鍋
  6. Royce Chocolate ロイズチョコレート
  7. Ramen らーめん
  8. Kaisen-Don Seafood Bowl 海鮮丼
  9. Genghis Khan ジンギスカン
  10. Ika-Meshi イカめし


  1.   Soup Curry スープカレー
    Where I like to eat in Sapporo: Samurai
    Famous in Sapporo: Garaku / suage
    Comments: I could eat this every day. Full of Hokkaido’s vegetables, a crispy chicken leg and some spice to liven it all up. Love it!! It’s different from Japanese curry or Indian curry, it’s a soup, and you dip your rice into it. Just try it..!!!
  2.     Buta-Don 豚丼
    Where I like to eat in Hokkaido: Kono Buta Don (Moonlight, Koitoi-Kan, Shiranuka Town)
    Where I like to eat in Sapporo: Ajidokoro Azuma (Sapporo Station), or Tokachi Ippin (Sapporo Station)
    Famous in Hokkaido: Tokachi area (I liked Black Buta-Don: Tsuruhashi)
    Comments: Buta-Don is a local dish originating in the Tokachi area. It literally is just a bowl of pork on rice. Dream come true, right? It’s charcoal grilled and smothered with a sweet and sour sauce unique to each restaurant. There are hundreds of shops around the island, I’m sure you’ll find one you like the most. Must-try for meat lovers!
  3.       Soft Cream ソフトクリーム
    Where I like to eat in Sapporo: Bisse 1F (many shops like Kinotoya or Bocca, etc.)
    Famous in Sapporo: Yuki-Jirushi / Shiroikoibito ISHIYA Cafe
    Comments: Hokkaido is extremely famous for it’s milk products. Soft cream is made for all dessert lovers, it is super rich and creamy, and always blows your mind with how delicious it is……… I super recommend it if you haven’t tried it yet!!!
  4.   Local Potato Chips 地域ポテチ
    Where I like to get my fix: Makkari Town Road Stop for “Goto’s House Potato Chips” or Tokachi JR Station 2F for “Donguri no Mura Potato Chips” or Shihoro Town Road Stop for “Shihoro Chips
    Where to buy in Sapporo: Sapporo Station “Dosanko Plaza” or Odori “Kita-Kitchen“.
    Comments: Keep an eye out for any locally made potato chips, they are TOO GOOD to be true!!! Calbee brand chips are also made here in Hokkaido, so they are good too, but the local potato chips that farmers make, WOW! Find them at some “Michi no Eki” (Road Stops around Hokkaido island).
  5.     Ishikari Nabe 石狩鍋
    Where I like to eat in Hokkaido: Kindaitei (Ishikari City, close to Sapporo)
    Famous in Hokkaido: Ishikari Area
    Comments: Wow, seriously, this has been rated one of the top 3 foods of Hokkaido, and I just tried it in 2015… it’s AMAZING! It’s a hot pot with salmon as its main ingredient (Sept-Oct is the best season), in a miso-based soup with many vegetables. Kindaitei restaurant was the best I’ve ever had! Highly recommend this, it’s totally worth the drive and reservation!!!!
  6.   Royce Chocolate ロイズチョコレート
    Where I like to get my fix: Usually any department store basement has a shop selling Royce chocolates (for example, Daimaru, Maruimai, Mitsukoshi)
    Recommended Location: ROYCE CHOCOLATE WORLD in New Chitose Airport (Factory, Museum & Bakery!)
    Official Shop Locater:
    Comments: Famous for its raw chocolate and chocolate covered potato chips, but I love the plain Royce chocolate bars… especially the almond one!! I also love the coconut chocolate cookies, and the nutty chocolate bars. MMM!!! I actually got tired of eating a lot of chocolate, but Royce, I can eat it any time 😉
  7.     Ramen らーめん
    Where I like to eat in Sapporo: I’m still trying to find my favorite!!
    Famous in Sapporo: Here’s a great Ramen list I mostly agree with, check it out!
    Comments: Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup that is extremely popular in Hokkaido, because of delicious noodles (Hokkaido produces a lot of wheat), and even because of the weather (a hot bowl of ramen on a cold winter day tastes 1000000x better)! It is usually topped with a grilled slice of pork, some green onions, seaweed, and half of a boiled egg. Depending on the region of Hokkaido, the soup base is different (Sapporo = Miso, Asahikawa = Soy, Hakodate = Salt). The Ramen alleys in Sapporo are not bad to visit, but if you want a good local taste, check out that list above, and tell me where you think I should try! I want to find my favorite shop… There are hundreds in Sapporo alone, to cater to everyone’s different taste preference! Have fun~
  8.     Kaisen-Don Seafood Bowl 海鮮丼
    Where I like to eat in Sapporo: Daiichi Kaisen Maru
    Where I like to eat in Hokkaido: Minato Sushi in Furubira Town (on the way to Shakotan, a beautiful place famous for sea urchin).
    Famous in Sapporo: Seafood Kitchen in Nijo Market, Kita no Gurume Market
    If you like crab: You need to try kani-meshi!!! My favorite crab on rice dish.
    Comments: Well, I don’t like seafood very much, but Minato Sushi blew my mind with fresh shrimp and amazing fresh seafood…….. it must have been the cool veteran sushi master. Since then I love crab bowls and salmon, simple ingredients. But even if you don’t like seafood, markets are really fun places to go to and experience. Just try it at least once? 😉
  9.   Genghis Khan ジンギスカン
    Where I like to eat in Hokkaido: Matsuo Genghis Khan “Matsujin” available in Sapporo, too!
    Famous in Hokkaido: Takikawa Town, Naganuma Town, Sapporo (not particularly famous but the most restaurants for this are in Sapporo City)
    Famous Restaurants in Sapporo:
    Sapporo Beer Hall, Tsukisappu Genghis Khan, Hitsujigaoka Resthouse
    Comments: Lamb BBQ with sauce or without, grilled on a special hot plate with a unique protruding shape to let the oil spill to the sides, usually cooked with vegetables like cabbage, onion, bean sprouts, and carrots. It is such a famous dish, that at the Sapporo Beer Hall,  they have around 1000 customers in just one day! Unfortunately since it is too popular, most restaurants import lamb from outside of Japan. For real Hokkaido lamb, you need to research; here’s one with a great night view of Susukino: Yozojin.
  10.   Ika-Meshi イカめし
    Where I like to eat in Hokkaido: Mori Machi Abe Shouten (Eki-ben)
    Make it Yourself: in Hakodate at Ikabei Cooking Studio.
    Where to buy in Sapporo: Sapporo Station “Dosanko Plaza” or Odori “Kita-Kitchen” and even sold in some supermarkets!
    Comments: A squid stuffed with mochi (sticky) rice and boiled in a sweet sauce. The texture is something I had to get used to, but the flavor is really good! I recommend this as a Hokkaido specialty to try for sure. You can even just order it on the JR train if you plan on traveling from Hakodate to Sapporo or vice versa. Enjoy!!

That’s all for now! Please tell me your favorites of 2016! とりあえずこんな感じかな?みんなの最近好きな物やレストランなどをコメントで教えてね!

Love, Isis

29 – 肉

そう言えば今日はお肉の日だったね!Today is apparently “Meat” day, because you can pronounce the number 29 in Japanese as “Niku” which translates to “meat”! Ha! An excuse to eat meat?? I’m all for it! 

This is a new western style meatball restaurant in Sapporo city, Hokkaido. It’s nice and fancy, and most important of all, delicious! The meatballs have that nice tough texture to it, unlike the usual soft minced meat dishes in Japan. 



 They offer chicken, pork, and beef meatballs. It’s like a dream come true! It’s right near Odori station, so it’s central Sapporo and easy to access.

 I also just turned 29 in December… Does that mean I can eat a lot of meat this whole year?! MMM…

Lily Bulb Rice from Hokkaido Makkari Village


“Yurine” Lily Bulb
Have you ever seen a Lily Bulb? Did you know you could eat them? They’re famous to eat in the village of Makkari in Hokkaido, Japan. I went there filming Love Hokkaido with HTB. The episode we introduced the Lily Bulb will be broadcast in Japan this Sunday, Dec 13! See more information here. You can watch it online in China, here.



The Lily Bulb is so famous in this village that they even have an adorable character “Yurineh-San”, a name that plays on the Japanese for Lily Bulb (Yurine, pronounced Yuri-neh) and a friendly way to call young women (Neh-San). Isn’t she cute??




Chawan-Mushi Dish

You often find Yurine in a famous Japanese dish called “Chawan-Mushi”. After coming to Japan, I found out you could eat Lily Bulb, but I actually never saw a full Lily Bulb before being peeled into small pieces. So I was quite surprised to see them sold in large boxes at Michi no Eki  Makkari Flower Center (Road Station). 


Since it was my first time, I was so curious as to how to cook it! When I asked, they smiled knowingly. Just for newbies like me, they had simple recipes available for anyone new to cooking with Lily Bulbs.



So I bought two, and tried their recommended menu, “Yurine Rice.” It was super easy! 
Ingredients: 3 cups of rice, 1 Lily bulb, 1 strip of kelp (or “Dashi”), two large spoons of sake,  one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of soy sauce.

IMG_70831. To get the stock of the kelp, put it into some water (about 700cc) for 3 hours.

2. Wash the yurine, cut off the brown bits, then peel it into slices.

3. Polish the rice (rinse it), add the kelp stock water to your rice cooker, the same amount you would normally use. Add the rest of the ingredients, top it off with the yurine, and turn your cooker on!

4. Eat up!! 😉

Point: lessen the salt added and top the rice with a pickled plum for added deliciousness!

The lovely people of Makkari told me Yurine is very good for skin, and even for pregnant mums!

You can even buy Yurine Croquette at Makkari. The soft texture was like potato, but softer! It was nice~

I had such a great time learning about this healthy and yummy food. It’s wonderfully soft like mashed potatoes! And has a subtle, almost creamy, nutty flavor to it. I hope you can visit Makkari to get Yurine and try cooking it yourself! There are many recipes online. I want to try Yurine Ankake next! 😉

Love, Isis
Love Hokkaido” MC

What do you wish for? 何を望みますか?

I’ve been asking everyone! What’s on your wish list this year?? みんなに聞いてる!今年、何が欲しいの? 


It’s almost Christmas! And my birthday on Dec 18! So I asked myself about one month ago, “What do I wish for?” I thought, “I don’t want anything” at first, but then I started to write down small things as I remember something I wanted. I was writing it for my husband. I prefer doing it this way, it’s okay it’s not a surprise. I know my husband loves me, and he would do all he can to give me a gift I like, so it works well! I was so excited writing down all the gifts I’ve always wanted! 


For example, my list so far this year is…(please don’t judge me! Haha) 例えば、今年のギフトリストは…バカにしないでね!w

  • Popcorn 
  • Stickers
  • Tea cup from ROURAN restaurant
  • Starbucks or H&M card
  • Lush soap (no bath salts please)
  • Divergent Blu-Ray
  • Justin Bieber Purpose Album
  • Pouch for my color pens
  • Selfie stick
  • Gackt concert tickets
  • Home bakery
  • Keyboard 
  • GoPro
  • Tickets to Canada & Germany & Poland 😀

Notice the gifts keep getting more expensive?? Haha that’s just the way it goes I guess… だんだん物が高くなってきてる気がして…

Then I realized after a couple of weeks thinking about these wishes, “God loves me too, and he wants to give me gifts too. Why haven’t I been writing a wish list to him??”


God is the creator of all things! And he loves me! Not because I’m kind or a “good girl”, but because he says I’m his daughter, and that he loves me. Even when I make mistakes, he still loves me.



📖 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (‭Galatians‬ ‭3‬:‭26‬ NLT) 私たちはみな、すでに、イエス・キリストを信じる信仰によって、神様の子供となったからです。 (‭ガラテヤ人への手紙‬ ‭3‬:‭26‬ JLB)

📖 See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! … (‭1 John‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬ NLT) わたしたちが神の子と呼ばれるためには、どんなに大きな愛を父から賜わったことか、よく考えてみなさい。わたしたちは、すでに神の子なのである。… (‭ヨハネの第一の手紙‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬ JA1955)

See also (‭1 Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭15-16‬ NLT)  (‭テモテヘの第一の手紙‬ ‭1‬:‭15-16‬ JA1955) もおすすめの聖書箇所!


I don’t need to beg, I don’t even need to try hard to get such gifts, all I need to do is ask.


📖 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭6‬ NLT) 何事も思い煩ってはならない。ただ、事ごとに、感謝をもって祈と願いとをささげ、あなたがたの求めるところを神に申し上げるがよい。 (‭ピリピ人への手紙‬ ‭4‬:‭6‬ JA1955)

📖 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (‭Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭7‬ NLT) 求めよ、そうすれば、与えられるであろう。捜せ、そうすれば、見いだすであろう。門をたたけ、そうすれば、あけてもらえるであろう。 (‭マタイによる福音書‬ ‭7‬:‭7 JA1955)

A new bilingual bible my friend just got! It’s wonderful!

 I love journaling, which is reading the bible each day (encouraged by Lifehouse church), but recently I’ve been writing a question or a request before journaling. And when I read the bible, I’m always surprised at how much God often quickly answers me. All I needed to do was be specific and ask! 



So, instead of writing a letter to Santa, why not try writing a letter to God this year?? 🙂


What would you ask for, if you knew God, the creator of all things, the healer of all things, wants to bless you and give you all the gifts you seek? 🙂 My list completely changed…

xmas cards of Sapporo City

If you want to find out more about how much God loves you and wants to be your father & friend, come to Lifehouse Church! Everyone is welcome, new people come every week, so feel free to stop by and make some new friends. For more info:

この愛してくれる神様のことをもっと知りたかったら、ぜひライフハウスインターナショナル教会に来てみてください!天のパパ、永遠の友だちが、待ってるよ!(*´∇`*) 毎週新しい人来るから、気軽にどうぞ!詳しくは、

Hokkaido’s Tallest, Asahidake 北海道天辺、旭岳

It was a hot, sunny summer Saturday. My friends wanted to go climbing, so I asked my husband, and we decided to rent a car and visit Asahidake. It’s one of my most favorite mountains in Hokkaido! It’s the tallest on the island at a height of 2,291m. There you can ride a cable car up to 1,600m, where you can see crater ponds, natural hot springs, active volcano vapors, alpine flowers, and even snow during 20+℃ mid-summer weather!!


Asahidake, July 11th 2015

IMG_4933I fall in love with it each time I visit, because it makes me feel like I’m taking a stroll through heaven, looking down onto the vast plains surrounding the mountain range.


I have yet to climb to the very top of the mountain, but I am always satisfied even just walking about 1 hour around the 1,600m area paths.


a2You can truly feel the mountain’s breath through the steam rising up from the vapor holes, and the strength of it’s mighty blow if it were ever to erupt again… I felt the mountain alive, and it made me feel more alive!


And what beauty… I had no idea that alpine flowers would be this beautiful! Tiny yet precious… I have never had interest in them before, but finding them gave me so much joy.  I feel like even in such high cold or harsh conditions, colorful beauty can be found here and there. It somehow made me feel like I need to appreciate the things I would normally overlook in life. Because when I take the time to look closely, they are so precious!! Each time I visit I see different flowers, they change depending on the season.


IMG_4946Can you believe it? I was wearing a tank top, sweating in the summer heat, yet we were walking on snow in some areas of the mountain path at 1,600m above sea level! That was a bonus, for sure! It was gorgeous to see the frozen lakes. The snow was melting onto the rocky path.


IMG_4941I reached down to see if the water right under my feet was hot or cold, because the volcanic mountain was vigorously shooting up vapor from its own heat, and yet snow was obviously covering the land there for quite some time (some areas still had over 1m of snow left! You can go skiing or snowboarding here during the winter season). The water temperature? Well, I would love for you to go and see for yourself! Please don’t touch any water near the vapors, though..! The wind flowing from the direction of the snow was also nice and cool, it was overall very refreshing. The wind from the vapors? A nice strong smell of some eggs for breakfast, maybe? 😉 It was still super cool to see though.

ひざまずいて、見えている水が熱いか冷たいか確認してみた。火山だし、暑くて蒸気もガンガン出てきたのに、まだ雪でいっぱいなところもあった(1m以上の雪があったよ!ちなみに冬にここでスキーとかスノボもできるよ~)水を触ったら熱かったか冷たかったか?ぜひ自分で行ってみて触ってみてください!でも絶対に蒸気の近くにある水を触らないでね・・・!雪のところから風がくると、冷たくて気持ちよかった。全体的に、旭岳でリフレッシュができて、とてもよかった。蒸気からの風は?ん=朝ご飯のたまごに近いかな?^^ 蒸気が迫力的でよかったから、いい!

a10I have been to Asahidake twice before. Once with the HTB TV show Love Hokkaido, and once with Johannes in winter. The winter view with snow covering absolutely everything you could possible see, was spectacular. I’ll never forget how delicate it looked!

この夏の前にも、2回旭岳に行ってきた。一回目はHTB番組「Love Hokkaido」の取材で、2回目は夫ヨハネスと冬で遊びに。冬見るものすべてが雪に抱かれて、冬の壮大な景色だった。あの繊細な雪景色は絶対に忘れません。

The Love Hokkaido filming made me feel like, walking around with a guide is SO much better than exploring the mountain by yourself. The guide told us (MC Li Qiang and I), where to look, what to notice, what was rare, why things were here and there, it was much more enjoyable knowing exactly what you were looking at. I highly recommend hiring a guide!!! (we got our lovely guide from here, thank you Mr. Sakuma!!!!!!!!!!) 佐久間さん、ありがとうございます!!!!!

テレビ番組「Love Hokkaido」では、ガイド付きで山を散策したほうがずっといい!もうガイドなしで行きたくないぐらい!ガイドさんに、どこを見ればいい、何を気づくといい、何が珍しい、あっちこっちに、何を見ているかすべて理解した上で楽しめる。本当にガイドと一緒に旭岳を登るといいよ、皆さん!! (李強と私は番組でお世話になったガイドさんがこちらのサイトから!佐久間さん、ありがとうございます!!!!!)

a8The other thing I remember from filming clearly was, when hiking and climbing mountains, it’s common to eat onigiri (rice balls) at the top, or even just somewhere along the way. It is pretty much just eating your lunch while you’re on your adventure, but when in Japan? Japanese style onigiri is the way to go! Last year, during filming for Love Hokkaido, we went to a very healthy and very at-home onigiri shop called Chamise. I really wish everyone who is planning on going to Asahidake can stop by here and get their lunch for the top of the mountain! It’s on the way to Asahidake rope way, so you have no excuse not to stop by! 😉 Google Map here!

他に取材していてわかったのは、ハイキングや山登りすると、おにぎりを食べることが週間。頂上とかでか、どこか休んだところで。つまり、アドベンチャーしている最中に用意してきた昼ご飯をどこかで食べるけど、日本では?日本のよくある散歩ランチというと、おにぎりなんだ!去年番組の取材で、とてもヘルシーでアットホームなおむすびやさんに行ってみた、ちゃみせ。旭岳に行くつもりのみなさん、ぜひこちらのお店によってから行ってほしい、そうすると、山のてっぺんで美味しいもの食べれる。達成した自分にご褒美としていただける!旭岳に行く途中の道にあるから、よらないで通り過ぎる言い訳はなしね!w グーグルマップはこちら!

a3The reason why the onigiri here is so good, is because they use the delicious Higashikawa Town water that flows naturally underground from Asahidake itself. This water is so natural, that the houses here do not need to have a sewage system, they can just have their very own wells. Wow! (I have yet to see it though, anyone from Higashikawa Town, that is true, right?) The shop also makes sure to have the healthiest ingredients in their rice balls!


千葉さん、美味しいおむすびを、どうもありがとうございました! Chiba-san, thank you for such delicious Omusubi!!

a1The other thing I learned was the Japanese word “Omusubi”. I thought the word for “rice balls” was just “onigiri” in Japanese, but actually, they call it “omusubi” too. I would explain why that is, but after researching, it was just way too complicated (you can find out more on onigiri here)… To be honest I thought it just derived from the Japanese word “musubu”, which means “tie in”, “join”, “unite”. So I thought the rice ball maker would “join” her delicious food with the rice, and also make sure to “tie in” her heart for her customer so when they eat it they feel that it was made with love… Haha! I guess I was wrong, but I still like my way of thinking of it… That just shows you how much I still need to study the Japanese language!! Anyway, you can really feel the heart the owner has when making each of these delicious “omusubi”. It was really good!!! In Higashikawa Town, Hokkaido: Go to this shop, Chamise!

そうそう、「おむすび」っという単語も、習った!英語で「rice ball」の単語は、日本語で「おにぎり」しかないと思ったら、「おむすび」という呼び方もあるんだと、わかった!違う呼び方の理由を説明しようと思ったけど、調べたらあまりにも複雑で、(もっと詳しくはこちらでも)・・・正直、日本語の「むすぶ」という単語から「おむすび」が来ていると思ってた!おむすびを作った方が、お米と具を「むすぶ」、そして食べてくれる方に対する思い、愛を、そのおむすびにも「むすぶ」。w 間違ったみたいだけど、この由来もいいなと思ってたけど!まだまだ日本語の勉強ができるってことだね!とにかく、本当におむすびを作ってくれた方の心を一個ずつに入っていることが明らか。本当に美味しかった!!千葉さん、ありがとうございました!北海道東川町にて、ちゃみせへGO! 

IMG_4942I actually felt lonely looking back at Asahidake behind me, when walking towards to cable car to head back down the mountain. But I knew I’d be back, next time to reach the top! 🙂


Big thank you to Betty and Jason for wanting to go hiking!! What an adventure, we loved it! And, everyone but the driver fell asleep on the way back to Sapporo in the car… Thank you driver Mr. Berns! 😉



Herbs & Croissants at the Hokkaido Jingu Farmers’ Market (Maruyama, Sapporo)

Summer time and autumn bring delicious fresh harvests here in Hokkaido. A great way to enjoy this season to the fullest is by eating the great veggies or putting some colorful flowers on your kitchen table. But where to get these wonderful delights? How about the Hokkaido Jingu Market at Maruyama Park in Sapporo City?

DSC_0440One of my friends grows flowers and herbs, and invited me to visit her shop at the Jingu Market. I have never been, because it starts 6:30am and finishes at 9:30am, on Sunday mornings! But I’ve always wanted an excuse to go… and I am VERY glad I did! Waking up early feels amazing, and walking through Maruyama Park at such an early time to get to the market was incredibly refreshing. Many beautiful flowers welcomed me along the way, and fresh morning air just filled my lungs. It felt like a great start to the day!

The market takes place in the Hokkaido Shrine at Maruyama Park, and it was really cool to see the big shrine gates right beside the market stalls! It was a bit rainy on the day I went, so I thought there wouldn’t be too many people, but I was wrong! It was full of life, smiles, and exchange. How to get there (2015 Japanese map).
マーケットは円山公園のすぐそばにある北海道神宮でやってる。マーケットに着いたら、大きな門が迎えてくれて、かっこよかった!行った日は雨が降っていて、もしかして人が行かないのかな~と思ったら、人沢山いてびっくりした!賑やかで、笑顔がいっぱいで、いろんな人の交流があった。(行き方・2015年の地図)DSC_0431As soon as I walked into the market, someone shouted out “Isis”! I turned towards the voice and saw a thrilled lady run up to me. It was Mrs. Aketa from Tender Heart Croissant Bakery! I was so happy to see her, because she sells the most amazing croissants here in Sapporo City! I know of the shop because I went filming there with the HTB show Love Hokkaido last year, and Last Import - 163since then I have visited often! After a hug and our excitement settled of this chance meeting, I looked to see what croissants she had selling, and I saw a hand-written “SOLD OUT” paper in the baskets on display (I was there at around 745am).
マーケットに近づいた瞬間、いきなり誰かが「アイシス!」と叫んでた。その声に振り向くと、満面な笑顔でいる素敵な女性が私のところに走ってきた。「テンダーハート」というくろわっさん専門店の店長、明田さんだった!ここ札幌市で本当に美味しいクロワッサンを沢山売っているから、マーケットで会えてすごくうれしかった!去年HTB番組「Love Hokkaido」で取材しにお店にお邪魔して、それから何回も行っている!ハグしてばったり会ったおかげのびっくりがちょっと落ち着いたら、どのくろわっさんが売っているか見てみた。でも、置いてあったバスケットに手書きで「売れ切れ」と書かれた。(朝7時45分ごろだったかな?)
jin3“Wow, everything is already sold out?”
“Yes, in the first hour!”
“No way!! I wanted to eat one…”
Seriously, her croissants are INCREDIBLE!

IMG_0632She offers over 20 kinds of croissants and similar baked goods at her shop in central Sapporo; it literally is a bakery that specializes in croissants! The shop “Tender Heart” (you can take the tram from Susukino to Gyoukei Dori stop to get there) is open from 7:30am until all croissants are sold out. I highly recommend the Hokkaido Butter Croissant! It is one of the best I’ve had in my life!!! A delicious crispy crust but soft and fluffy on the inside, and most of all the butter flavor is incredible!!! I could lick my fingers, haha! I am proud to say I’m a regular customer of her shop! ^^
What a lucky chance to see the shop owner of Tender Heart Mrs. Aketa at the Jingu Market.

Tender Croissant, Hokkaido Butter
Tender Croissant, Hokkaido Butter

札幌中央区にあるお店では、くろわっさんや似ている焼き菓子を20種類以上が置いてある。そのまま、くろわっさんの専門店だよ!こんなに見たことがなかった!「テンダーハート」は(市電をすすきのから乗って、行啓通で降りたらすぐ行ける)、朝7時半からオープン、くろわっさん売れ切れるとクローズ。本当におすすめしたいのは、北海道バターくろわっさん!人生で一番美味しい最高のくろわっさんの一つ(フランスでも食べてるよ!)!!外皮はサクサク、でも中がふわふわ、何よりバターの味がすごい!!!手で食べて指に付いたバターをなめたいぐらい!w 私はお店の常連客と言っていいかな?誇りの立ち寄り店だよ!^^

DSC_0432There are many unique shops set up in the Farmers’ Market. Seasonal organic vegetables, flowers, handmade goods (bags, jewelry), and even food and drinks for people visiting to enjoy as well. It’s almost like a healthy matsuri (festival)!

DSC_0436I found my friend busy selling herbs, I felt almost bad trying to talk to her because so many customers kept coming to buy things! That was a great thing to see though, I was very happy that they were selling well. I loved the handmade tags they marked their herbs with. The smell in the air from the herbs was blissful and inviting. I bought some oregano!

What a refreshing shopping time! I felt so accomplished and so blessed to see many smiles and friends first thing on a Sunday morning!

The Jingu Farmers’ Market takes place once or twice a month on a Sunday from June to September. Since loved by both farmers and shoppers alike, they have continued to do this market yearly. Be sure to go early to get all of the best goodies! You can find more information on the market on their official website:
神宮マーケットは大体6月から9月まで月に1~2回、日曜日で開催している。ファーマーたちも、立ち寄りお客さんにも大人気で、毎年やっている。特に欲しいものがあれば、早めに行ってね、売れ切れるから!詳しくは、 まで

Love Hokkaido (HTB) Fans in Hawaii

Since October 2014, HTB travel-information Show “Love Hokkaido” has been broadcast weekly in Hawaii, on channel “KFVE, The Home Team“. Thanks to the kindest TV host I have ever met, who also happens to be an incredible musician: Pali Ka’aihue of DokoGa TV, HTB was given this miraculous opportunity for this broadcast in Hawaii. In May 2015, the show was moved to Sunday Primetime thanks to viewer popularity. It is now broadcast every week Sundays on KFVE from 7:30pm.
2014年10月から、HTB観光情報番組「LOVE HOKKAIDO」が毎週ハワイの「KFVE」というチャンネルで放送されている。すごく親切で音楽も信じられないぐらい上手、「DokoGa TV」の司会者パリさんのおかげで、この軌跡的なハワイ放送が可能になった。感謝でいっぱいです!2015月5月から、番組のファンが増えて、日曜日のプライムタイムに移り、現在も毎週日曜日ハワイチャンネル「KFVE」午後19時半に放送されている(2015年7月末の原稿だけど、これからも続く予定!)。

(right to left: DokoGa TV Host Pali Ka'aihue, HTB mascot on-chan, Love Hokkaido MC Isis)
(right to left: DokoGa TV Host Pali Ka’aihue, HTB mascot on-chan, Love Hokkaido MC Isis at KFVE The Home Team Studio of the HAWAII NOW News Desk)

To celebrate the new time, we (“Love Hokkaido” team) were thrilled when Pali invited us to Pan Pacific Festival in Honolulu, that took place June 2015. We decided to visit with our loveable mascot of HTB, “on-chan“.
「Love Hokkaido」チームで新しい時間となったことをハワイの皆さんに伝えるため、パリさんの招待でホノルルの「まつり・イン・ハワイ」に参加することになった(2015年6月)。HTB放送局のマスコットキャラクターonちゃんと一緒に行くことにした!

Filming (more like chillin') at The Willows Restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii with Love Hokkaido MC Isis and HTB mascot on-chan.
Filming (more like chillin’) at The Willows Restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii with Love Hokkaido MC Isis and HTB mascot on-chan.

Since it’s rare for on-chan to go abroad, he was super excited to live it up in Hawaii, haha! I had a blast spending time with him, too. We went to the amazing Willows Restaurant for filming some commercial shots to promote the show in Hawaii. on-chan was loving it!! Thank you Willows, always a good time!!!
onちゃんが海外出張に行くなんて珍しいから、ハワイでたっぷり満喫してきたよ!w 私も一緒に遊べて、うれしかった。ウィローズと発音する「Willows」レストランに行って、CMやPR用のビデオや写真を撮って、onちゃんは王様気分に!Willowsの皆さん、本当にありがとうね!

IMG_6185Isis and on-chan (HTB)We handed out thousands of Love Hokkaido TV show “Uchiwa” (plastic fans) to people that visited our booth during the Pan Pacific Festival on Friday night (festival lasts the whole weekend).
「まつり・イン・ハワイ」の金曜日祭りでは、ブースに遊びに来てくれた方に何千枚の「Love Hokkaido」番組うちわを配った(まつりが日曜日までの3日間)。

We were so humbled to meet many fans, and hear many shouts of joy of both children and adults alike when our team joined the Festival Parade (Sunday). Thank you to everyone that waved, cheered, and smiled!! We felt so grateful each second……. I seriously can’t say thank you enough. It was one of the best experiences in my career.

Pan Pacific Festival ParadeAll the children that couldn’t help but run up to hug on-chan was the cutest… It actually wasn’t allowed because it is an official parade where people are expected to just watch from the sides………. but we couldn’t say no to the children, they were just tooooooo cute! (I’m sorry Pan Pacific Festival staff for the trouble we caused..!)

MC IsisI was very shy to hear someone shout out to their child running up to us, “stand beside the princess!”… I didn’t realize they were talking about me..!! I did wear a headband of leaves and lots of jewelry, I was inspired by the Hawaiian Parade the day before on Kamehameha Day (many elite were riding horses with beautiful flowers and wreaths in their hair – I wish I had a horse! Actually, on-chan wished he had a horse, too!). It was really fun to have the excuse to dress up a bit… I keep thanking God for the opportunity of a lifetime like this! 🙂

IMG_4453I also want to say a big THANK YOU to the staff that bared the heat with us and walked the full parade carrying our heavy banner… and our HTB staff “Young Star” who made the banner! As well as the production team that subtitles the show into English, those that helped translate, edit, film, promote in Hawaii (KFVE, Aloha Street, KZOO, Yumi-san!!! + many more), and especially those watching… THANK YOU ALL!! You made this miracle happen!
最後に、一緒に暑さを我慢してパレードで歩いてくれて、番組のバナーをずっと持ってくれたスタッフに感謝しています。そしてHTB社員「ヤング・スター」も、バナーのデザインをしてくれて、ビッグサンキュー!ハワイで放送できるように、この番組に英語字幕を翻訳・編集・撮影・宣伝してくれた皆さん(KFVE, Aloha Street, KZOO, ゆみsan!!! &many more)、特に見てくれている皆さん、ありがとうございます!!!この最高の出会いと奇跡のような経験ができたのは、皆さんのおかげです。感謝しています。

Isis in Hokkaido

Beach Day in Hokkaido, Shakotan Blue 積丹ブルー

There are many famous sights in Hokkaido for flowers, fields, snow and mountains. But Hokkaido is also surrounded by three oceans, and is blessed with such gorgeous sights along the edges of its coast. Please be sure to visit one of these ocean views during your stay!


カムイ岬、積丹北海道 Kamui Misaki, Shakotan, Hokkaido

I used to think Hokkaido didn’t have any beaches to enjoy, but recently I’ve been finding quite a few along the west coast of the island. One beach area that I’ve visited for the past couple of years is about a 2 hour drive from Sapporo City, called Shakotan. It is well-known for sea-urchins, rocky capes, and most of all, its beautiful blue color. I have taken some friends visiting from abroad there, and nobody was ever disappointed. In fact, one of my friends said, “this is probably the most beautiful view I have ever seen in Japan.” Wow! That is worth the 2 hour drive for sure!


shako5There is a national holiday called “Marine Day” or “Umi no Hi” in Japan. A lot of people are determined to go to the beach on this day because, well, what else do you do on this day?? Haha! So a bunch of friends from Lifehouse Sapporo church and I rented a car and hit the road. We were stuck in traffic most of the way there, it was crazy!! But the view of the drive was fantastic. Driving along the ocean, there were people stopped along the side of the road wherever there was enough space enough to swim. It was awesome! 日本では「海の日」という祝日がある。当然だけど、この日に、みんな海に行きたくなるよね!それでいつも行っている教会Lifehouse Sapporoの友達と何人かと車をレンタルして積丹の海まで出発!しかし、渋滞が大変だった!それでも、景色が最高だったね。海のそば走ると、いろんなところで車が止まっていて海で泳いでいる人が大勢いた。素敵だね!


The “KAMUI MISAKI” cape is one of the most precious sights I’ve ever seen… it takes about 1 hour to walk to the tip of the edge and back, with a fun narrow path to get there. I hear the sunset is also a gem, though I have yet to see it myself. 「神威岬」が特に美しい景色を見せてくれている。駐車場から岬まで往復で1時間ぐらいかかるけど、路が狭かったりあっちこっち曲がったり、歩くのも楽しい。夕日も宝物ぐらい美しいと聞いたけど、まだ見たことがない、みたいね!

DSC_0528Li Qiang and I went filming there with Love Hokkaido. 去年、MC李強と一緒にこの神威岬をHTB番組「Love Hokkaido」で取材をしてきた。

shako2Chilling at the beach was great. We brought some picnic sheets and towels to sit, chat, and eat on the sand. The water was chilly but beautifully transparent with no seaweed. To put it simply, it was fun, relaxing, and the view: inspiring. ビーチでのんびりしてて、気持ちよかった!ピクニックシーツを引いて砂で座って食べたりしゃべったりして。海はちょっと冷たい水だったけど、海藻とかがなくて、透明感があってとにかく綺麗。シンプルに言うと、楽しかった、リラックスできた、景色にインスパイヤーされた。

Hope you can visit Shakotan too!! みんなも積丹に遊びに行ってね!


Can you eat Octopus? Hokkaido Gourmet

ストーリータイム!Story time!

"Tako" Specialty Shop
“Tako” Specialty Shop

It’s such an honor to film with “Love Hokkaido“, travel this northern island seafood paradise, and taste the different delicacies of each town we visit… but growing up in Toronto, Ontario, I honestly did not get the chance to eat much seafood, and when I did try it, it was nowhere near as fresh as the still-alive on your plate options that Hokkaido so often provides. If you are like me and don’t like seafood, definitely give Hokkaido the chance to change your mind! Of course it’s fresh, and that in itself gives you a good reason to try it. But there are just some things that really LOOK unappetizing… that I really wonder “how did someone even find out this was edible in the first place?” For example, I did not grow up seeing live squid or octopus, so honestly the first time I saw them I thought, “what?! This is it? The color, the shape, the size… the texture..! It’s all different from what I imagined!” Especially squid, I only ever saw it frozen and sliced! Octopus? I only ever saw it in movies as a monster of the sea attacking helpless ships (I was going to attach an image but it scared me too much to attach here…).

「ラブ・北海道 Love Hokkaido」のテレビ番組と一緒にこの北国・海鮮天国の島を回って撮影することが本当に光栄で、さらに町ごとの美味しいものを食べれる機会なんて、最高だね!でも、カナダのオンタリオ・トロント出身、都会子として育ってきた私には、正直魚介類を食べる機会があまり無くて、食べたとしても、北海道みたいなさっきまで生きていた新鮮の物に比べられないね。あなたも私みたいにあまりシーフードが好きじゃない方だとしても、ぜひ北海道の海鮮にチャレンジしてください。なぜかというと、もちろん新鮮ではあります、それがもう十分試してほしい理由の一つですが、たまに「これも食べるの?!」という見た目でびっくりする物もある。初めて見るものでも、「一番最初にこれを見つけた人、よく食べようと思いましたね!」と何度も思ったことがあります。結構周りにいる欧米人の友達も同感します。例えば、日本に来る前までに、生きているタコとイカなんて見たことがない!だから北海道で実際に見たときに、「え?!これがタコ?色、形、大きさ、食感!想像と全然違う!」特にイカなんか、もう切ってある冷凍ものばかりしか見ていなかった(イカリングしかわからなかった)!タコ?タコは映画でしか見たことがない!船を壊そうとしているタコの怖いやつね(ネットで調べて写真を載せようと思ったけど、あまりにも怖くてやめた、w)。

「一杯たこ」 Whole Octopus

BUT! I really want to encourage you, try it not just for the taste, not just for the thrill of saying “hey guys, I ate an octopus head, hahaha”)… But please try to find out for yourself, why the people of Hokkaido go so far out of their way to enjoy it. They love it SO much. The only way to find out is to taste it, talk to the people who make it, and see for yourself how much effort they put into catching it and making it into what it is. It’s pretty impressive, and you appreciate the dish much more. What’s on the inside is not all about the looks, right?!


MC Li Qiang in front of the “Tako” shop.

A few days ago, our HTB “Love Hokkaido” filming crew went to Obira Town in the Rumoi region of Hokkaido (western side facing the Japan Sea). Driving along the ocean, such a beautiful sight with the waves glimmering right beside us, we suddenly spotted a large cartoon octopus drawing on the wall of a building along the main road. We stop the car to film, and find out it’s an OCTOPUS SPECIALTY SHOP (“Fujita no Tako-Kun” Fuji Suisan). As soon as you walk in, a kind older lady welcomes you with a big smile. Octopus, anyone? In the back you could see many more ladies concentrated in packing more octopus products. Processed octopus goods fill two big cases in the shop, with freezers packed and extra baskets filled with smaller sized souvenirs. On the wall they proudly hang a beautiful calligraphy of “Octopus Specialty Shop” written in kanji. I never knew there was a kanji for Octopus, I always thought it was a Katakana word… たこ・タコ・蛸.

数日前に、HTB「Love Hokkaido」の撮影クルーと一緒に北海道留萌小平町に行ってきた(北海道の西側、日本海に面している)。海沿いを車で走り、波を見ながら輝きが綺麗と思いながら、いきなり大きな可愛いタコの絵が道のそばにある建物に描いてあった。撮影クルーと見に行ったら、「蛸専門店」だとわかった(ふじたのたこくん、藤田水産)。お店に入ったら、優しいお母さんが笑顔で迎えてくれた。「タコいっぱいですよ~」奥に他何人かのお母さんたちが集中してタコ商品をパックに詰めていた。タコ加工品があっちこっち並んでいて、大きな冷凍庫もあり、バスケットに可愛いお土産用パックもいっぱい、もうとにかくいっぱいのタコ商品がずらりと。自慢のように、お店にふさわしい「蛸専門店」が綺麗な字で壁にかかってあった。実は「タコ」って漢字があったの知らなかった!いつもひらがなかカタカナだと思っていた・・・。(知らないのがまだ沢山ありますね!)

IMG_4787There was no raw octopi, the shop specializes in processed goods. We asked the kind staff what her recommendation was, what the best seller is, and she offered the smoked “Ippai Tako” which means “the whole octopus”. They smoked it so the original octopus size was shrunk, and price depended on the size/weight. She let us try it right then and there. Since it’s smoked, it was a bit tough like jerky, so she ripped a leg off (at the same time mentioning that using scissors to cut is best), and passed a red leg to me to try. I almost flipped out!! But, it was natural for her. She was just so proud of her product and so excited to see what I thought of the taste, that I just bit right into the leg. It really was hard to bite though, definitely like jerky! Though similar to jerky, it was a bit softer to chew. I didn’t have to worry about the raw chewiness that sashimi has. And what a great smokey aroma! After chewing a few times, you get a nice octopus flavor (I can’t really describe it as I still don’t know exactly what it’s like… but it has a nice salty yet sweet aftertaste). I actually really enjoyed it!!

MC Li Qiang holding the shop’s #1 seller, “Whole Octopus”. The Japanese characters in written on the wall reads “Octopus Specialty Shop”.


I liked it so much, that I decided to buy a few legs to bring home to share with friends. I had to get the “Ippai-Tako” for visual impact, too. You don’t often get the chance to bring an octopus home as a gift from your business trip! There are many different flavors, cuts, slices, a variety of options to choose from, so even if you don’t like octopus, there is something you can definitely find that’s easy to bite into, and even convenient to take home with you. You can also shop online from within Japan!


I brought the “Ippai-Tako” home to Sapporo to share with my Canadian friend…
“I have a gift for you! I hope you freak out!” I laughed.
She was excited, so she closed her eyes and held out her hands.
I was thrilled to see her reaction, and put the plastic-wrapped “Whole Tako” in her hands.
She opened her eyes wide,  “…” no comment!!
I guess it really was a shock for her to see the whole body of an octopus in her very own hands.
She didn’t even try it……………………..


IMG_4791But please, please try it if you get the chance!
If you can’t bring yourself to do it, I recommend the small strips of octopus pre-cut and processed, because the texture is just a hard chewiness like jerky, not soft or sticky like how you would imagine it is… and I loved the smokey octopus taste!
A lot of people eat Takoyaki as their first octopus encounter as well; it still has a chewy texture, but it is very loved by all Japanese people!


I also ate Shrimp-Octopus Gyoza (dumplings) in the nearby town of Haboro, and that was quite good! You can’t even tell you are eating octopus because it’s grind into a fine filling. I almost enjoy it more than the pork filling, because it doesn’t feel too heavy or greasy at all. There’s Tako Japanese Curry (from Hokkaido’s Rumoi, Wakkanai, Shiranuka), even Shiranuka Town’s Kitakaro Tako-flavored Rice Crackers… Many options to choose from!


IMG_4785Some flavors and textures just need getting used to. But, after seeing how much the people of Hokkaido really love octopus, I am finally, after almost 7 full few years of living in Hokkaido, starting to love it too. The adorable characters promoting it help, too! 😉


Thank you Obira Town, and Fujita no Tako-kun! 🙂


MC Isis

Filming in Haboro Town, Hokkaido

Filming with the “Love Hokkaido” TV show crew!

We (HTB TV Show “Love Hokkaido” Crew) filmed along the “Ororon Line”, which is a route named after the cry of the Common Murre, found breeding on the rocky island of Teuri in the Japan Sea just west of Hokkaido’s Haboro Town. We filmed a full two episodes of what to do in the surrounding area, there are too many great sights to see, but I wanted to share a bit of Haboro Town here on this blog too. 北海道羽幌町で撮影★

Haboro Town Deep-Water Shrimp on rice (甘エビ / Ama-Ebi)
Haboro Town Deep-Water Shrimp on rice (甘エビ / Ama-Ebi)

EAT: Haboro Town Shrimp 羽幌町甘エビ
Haboro is famous for its Northern Deep-Water Shrimp! The town is proud to say they have the biggest catch of these delicious shrimp in all of Japan. They are not farmed, but naturally caught by fishermen throughout the year (except February). The freshly caught shrimp are very soft, almost creamy! We had a great BBQ right by the port at “Kitaru” Direct Sales shop (fresh catch available for purchase, and you can even have a BBQ right outside the shop)! You can also enjoy the raw shrimp on rice with a little soy sauce, or in the town’s local dishes with the shrimp as a glamorous topping on “Ebi Shio Ramen” (Shrimp Soup Noodles), and “Ebi-Tako Gyoza” (minced shrimp and octopus dumplings); both delicious! I couldn’t stop eating the gyoza, I think I even like it better than other meat-stuffed gyoza… am I finally getting over my seafood fears?! Wow! We had the latter two local dishes at Haboro Onsen Sunset Plaza:

Haboro Town Rose Garden, 300 varieties of roses in 2000 bushes!
Haboro Town Rose Garden, 300 varieties of roses in 2000 bushes!
Haboro Town Rose Garden, 300 varieties of roses in 2000 bushes!
Haboro Town Rose Garden, 300 varieties of roses in 2000 bushes!

SEE: Haboro Town Rose Garden 羽幌町バラ園
Wow! Just wow! Just… gorgeous! I never saw most of these gorgeous roses in my life! Beautiful… Flower lovers just have to go there!! They even have weddings held there! About 300 varieties of roses, in over 2000 bushes (incredible!). I wanted to take them home (but please don’t pick them! haha). Blooming season is late June to September (different varieties bloom at different times; full bloom is perhaps around early July?).

Hokkaido Seabird Center 北海道海鳥センター

LEARN: Hokkaido Seabird Center  北海道海鳥センター
Thousands of the adorable Common Murre used to live on Teuri island, but due to many environmental changes (unsure exactly what the main cause is), they are down to only 30 birds (as of July 2015)!!! Haboro Town is doing its best to educate the people of the town of the many things we can do to support the birds breeding there, as it is said to be the only island they visit in Japan. Come to this center to learn all about the “Ororon” Common Murre sea birds, and many of their other sea bird friends, it was nice! Kids would have a great time, too. For more: official site. Info in English: read here.

EAT: Ponta Izakaya (Night Bar-Restaurant)  ぽん太の店
Always fun to figure out where to eat at night… this was a great Izakaya with such a charming owner! She said she watches our show, too!! What an honor… It was really fun! ^^ Thank you!!! Go there:

STAY: Japanese Inn, Fujiya Ryokan  冨士屋旅館
It was gorgeous! I felt like royalty (haha!)… the rooms and meals were wonderfully Japanese! A nice quiet location. It felt like I was staying over at someone’s large mansion, because there was one shower room to share with everyone… it actually felt very at-home, but in a very high class level! I absolutely loved the breakfast. Definitely recommend it if you want the Japanese experience!

Breakfast :)
Breakfast at Fujiya Ryokan 🙂

For more on Haboro Town, visit their website! 🙂

For more on the TV show Love Hokkaido: click here!

With Li Qiang (HTB Love Hokkaido MC) and Haboro Town's adorable character,
With Li Qiang (HTB Love Hokkaido MC) and Haboro Town’s adorable character, オロ坊 “OroBo” (a Common Murre with a cute Shrimp hat).

Media Personality / Sapporo, Hokkaido Japan