Hokkaido - Approved by locals! An insider's guide for those interested in learning about smash-hit Thai movies!
北海道 - 地元っ子も太鼓判！タイのヒット映画に学ぶちょっとディープな札幌旅
The Thai smash-hit movie, Fan Day, released to Thai audiences in September 2016, was filmed on-location in a winter time Hokkaido. Along with the usual famous landmarks, the movie also features a number of much-loved spots known only to local residents of Sapporo. So for those fans who were enraptured by the movie, or even for those who haven’t yet seen it but wish to experience some of Japan and Sapporo’s culture, let’s explore ten of those spots.
Things to Do around Sapporo & Shopping
Directly connected to Sapporo Station, the gateway to the city of Sapporo, is a large shopping area lined with department stores, fashionable boutiques, and hotels etc. The area features a huge variety of stores and is a favorite spot with locals of the city! Start your trip with a bit of shopping around the train station.
JR TOWER Observatory T’CAFE
Upon arriving at Sapporo Station, why not spend some time getting an overview of the surrounding city? Connected directly to the station you will find the JR TOWER, the tallest building in Sapporo. Featuring an observatory on the 38th floor and 160 m up from street level, this is the ideal place to come and enjoy a 360° view of the city. Be it the city's orderly grid-like pattern, the mountains stretching from the south to the west, or the view of the coastline towards the northwest, all of these spectacular vistas were used as backdrops within the film. While on the observatory, we would also recommend you try T’CAFE where you can enjoy a relaxing tea or light meal while taking in the view.
Connected to the station building is another handy little spot. Descend from JR TOWER to Stellar Place East and stroll over to Esta from any of 6F, 2F or B1 floors on the southside of the building. 1F to 4F of Esta are dedicated to the electronics retailer, Bic Camera, with 5F occupied by Uniqlo, and B2F the 100 Yen Shop, all of which will no doubt prove handy during a short trip to Japan. B1 also features a food court, allowing you to try various types of sweets and treats!
Village Vanguard Esta Store
But there is so much more to see and do than electronics and clothes. Located on 8F of Esta is "Village Vanguard, Esta Store", a place where you can come and experience some of Japan's vibrant youth culture. Look out for the capsule machines that, for a small amount of money, dispense capsules containing toys and other goods, including figures from your favorite series to those of real-life animals. In the film, you can see the main characters Ter and Mew enjoying themselves on these machines.
The Locals' Choice, Hassamu
In a motorized society like that of Sapporo, it is no surprise that one of the locals' favorite dining spots lies a little out from the center of the city. So for that hungry feeling after a fun day's shopping, why not jump on the train from JR Sapporo Station and head out to Hassamu station?
AEON Mall Sapporo Hassamu
Four stops away from JR Sapporo Station (heading to Otaru) lies Hassamu Station, home to a number of factories on the northside known as the Ironworks Complex (Tekkō Danchi). Exit the station from the South Exit and take a left on to Soen Hassamu Dōri and you will find the gigantic shopping mall "AEON Mall Sapporo Hassamu", containing a wide variety of stores stocking everything from fashion items, household goods, books & CDs to supermarkets. Be it souvenirs and gifts or everyday items, you will be sure to find what you need here.
Super Delicious Kaitenzushi Nagoyaka Tei AEON Hassamu Branch
When you think of Japan, you think of Sushi, and Sapporo is one of the best places in all Japan to experience that. For visitors to Hassamu, the number one destination is Super Delicious Kaitenzushi Nagoyaka Tei, a local-favorite for conveyor-belt sushi. Come here and you can expect to find the freshest produce taken directly from the different ports and harbors around Hokkaido, toppings so large you can't even see the rice underneath, and all at unbelievably reasonable prices! Particularly popular is the "Kobore Series" where your plate will literally be overflowing with salmon roe and sweet shrimp. The stars of the film were said to have remarked how you simply couldn't eat such good Sushi so cheaply back in Thailand.
Enjoying Odori – Susukino to the Fullest
When you ask what is the central tourist spot in Sapporo, the answer is, and always has been, Odori. The Odori area is lined with department stores and fashionable clothing outlets, ideal for a pleasant stroll. Elsewhere the Tanukikoji shopping street is packed full of unique street-level stores while the Susukino area features numerous establishments catering to those looking for restaurants and nightlife spots.
From Miyanosawa Subway Station let's head on towards Odori, Sapporo's largest shopping district. The district is home to the approximately 1.5 km long Odori Park. The park itself plays host to Sapporo's most famous tourist attraction, namely "Sapporo Snow Festival" (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri) which was used for the first overseas scene in Fan Day. However, the park is busy all-year round, with events including the Sapporo Lilac Festival, the Yosakoi Soran Festival, the summer-time Beer Garden, the Sapporo Autumn Fest, Sapporo White Illumination, and finally the German Christimas Market.
Tanukikoji Shopping Street
If you head south from Odori Park, you will reach the Tanukikoji Shopping Street, a shopping district stretching from Nishi 1-chōme to 7-chōme. With a large number of souvenir shops and amusement centers, the area is always bustling with overseas tourist groups. However, the area also features many traditional and unique street-level shops, making it the ideal place for a pleasant stroll. The movie primarily featured 5 Chōme, but this 5 Chōme also includes the Honjin-Tanuki-Daimyo Jinja, a shrine housing the guardian spirit of the district. It is said that if you stroke the tanuki statue enshrined here, you will be blessed with good fortune.
Hakuri Tabai Hanbey – Sapporo Susukino Branch
If you head further south from the Tanukikoji Shopping Street you will reach the entertainment district, Susukino. The area features all types of establishment, but one of the most popular is Hakuri Tabai Hanbey, situated approximately one minute walk from Susukino Subway Station. Here you can taste surprisingly affordable Japanese dishes, sweets, and liquor, with grilled meat/fish skewers in particular being their speciality. The yakisoba dish shown in the film can even be ordered for the entirely reasonable price of just 280 yen. Aside from the food, the establishment's retro décor is also worth checking out, having been styled in the fashion of Japan 50 to 60 years ago. The scene in which Ter and Mew dine here in front of an old movie poster is one of the film's most iconic.
VEGAGIO Tanukikoji Branch
If you head back towards the Tanukikoji Shopping Street you will find the street bustling with activity even during the evenings. Home to large numbers of amusement centers featuring the latest photo booth and claw crane games (packed with anime and character goods), the shopping arcade is extrenely popular as a place to come and unwind, not only with tourists, but also with local young people. In the film, Ter and Mew are filmed in front of "VEGAGIO Tanukikoji Branch". By all accounts, after filming had ended the cast and staff were said to have enjoyed a few rounds on the claw crane together.
Sapporo TV Tower
Head north on the main street, Ekimaedori, and you will find the "Sapporo TV Tower" soaring high above the eastern end of Odori Park. As well as appearing randomly throughout the film, the 90.38 meter high observation deck of this symbolic red colored tower was also used as the location from where the Snow Festival was viewed. The view looking down over Odori Park is especially spectacular during the evening time and is highly recommended as a place to finish a day's sightseeing. The tower is open for longer during events such as the Snow Festival and White Illuminations.
Here you have an action packed tour through the city, incorporating everything from breathtaking views, shopping, entertainment, dining, and walks through bustling streets and districts. Why not follow in the footsteps of the movie's characters and experience what today's Sapporo has to offer?