Only Available This Summer! Enjoy Limited Edition Hokkaido Beer When You Travel to Hokkaido!


What comes to mind when we talk about Hokkaido beer?
I am sure many would answer “Sapporo Beer,” and would know that its classic Black Label can be consumed all over Japan.

As such, we would like to introduce you to Limited Edition Hokkaido Beer that can only be consumed in Hokkaido this season.

Summer limited edition beer will be released this season on top of the standard Sapporo Classic that is only available in Hokkaido, so make sure you try out the Hokkaido limited edition canned beer when you visit this summer.

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Downtown Retro – Gourmet Stroll Best 8: Sapporo Tanukikoji District


Located in central Sapporo near Odori Park, the “Tanukikoji” district is famously known for its many new fashion buildings. In actuality, it is a location with many retro-style buildings remaining from the Showa period, which makes it the perfect area for this “stroll around town”.
On this occasion, we shine a spotlight on the Tanukikoji district ―particularly the West 2nd block to the West 8th block― as we take breaks, eat loads of food, and close it with tasty Yakitori (grilled chicken). We selected the best 8 discoveries that only a local writer could recommend.
Look forward to it!

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Now only! Exclusive to Mukawa! I ventured out to try the must-eat shishamo sushi!


Fall, the best season for satisfying your appetite.
Countless food festivals are held around Hokkaido during this time when a variety of food sources are harvested and caught.
Amid this festive season, those in the know flock to Mukawa, forming endless lines in pursuit of Mukawa shishamo.

I ventured out of Sapporo in order to get a taste of the most exquisite shishamo and the sushi made with it, both of which can only be found in Mukawa at the outset of the fishing season.

1.On Mukawa
2.The shishamo you’ve been eating isn’t actually shishamo!? Shishamo vs. Capelin
3.Open fishing season at last! I went to eat shishamo as the season began!
3-1.The quintessential shishamo sudare that can be found nowhere else
3-2.Shishamo sushi that can only be found here and now


1.On Mukawa

Bordering the Pacific Ocean on the southern edge of Central Hokkaido is the town of Mukawa with its 8,700 residents.
Formerly written as “鵡川” (Mukawa in kanji), the town was renamed as “むかわ町” (Mukawa in hiragana) after absorbing the town of Hobetsu in 2006.

It is the birthplace of Akira Suzuki, an honorary professor at Hokkaido University, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009.

In recent years the town has garnered much attention due to the widespread fascination for dinosaurs.
Mukawa gained fame as a dinosaur town after a fossilized bone found there was identified as a dinosaur tail.

A diverse array of dinosaur fossils are displayed at Mukawa Hobetsu Museum, where visitors can learn more about the forefront of dinosaur research.
Along with its shishamo, Mukawa is known for the Hobetsu Melon and Mukawa Wagyu.


2.The shishamo you’ve been eating isn’t actually shishamo!? Shishamo vs. Capelin

Commonly found at supermarkets, “shishamo” may be enjoyed by many as a cheap and delicious fish.
However, the truth is that the “shishamo” you usually eat may not actually be shishamo…

What is usually found at supermarkets is capelin, also known as karafuto shishamo, meaning Sakhalin smelt.

Although shishamo and capelin are similar in appearance and texture, you may be surprised by the substantial difference after tasting real shishamo.
Shishamo is an endemic species that exclusively inhabits the Pacific Coast of Southern Hokkaido.

Shishamo is an incredibly rare fish, which can only be caught in said area.
Over ninety percent of the komochi shishamo (shishamo carrying eggs) that circulate the markets are capelin. What a shock…

Shishamo was chosen as Mukawa’s town fish in July of 1995.
The town of Mukawa is undoubtedly the town of shishamo.


3.Open fishing season at last! I went to eat shishamo as the season began!


After shishamo fishing season opened on October first (the fishing season changes each year), I made my way over to Mukawa to indulge in this exquisite fish.

Mukawa is an hour and 20 minutes by car from Sapporo and 40 minutes from New Chitose Airport.
For transportation, JR lines and express buses for Mukawa leave from Sapporo, New Chitose Airport, and Tomakomai.

むかわ町 カネダイ大野商店

This time, I headed to Kanedai Ohno Store.
Established in 1923, the store handles only shishamo and offers a medley of shishamo products.

3-1.The quintessential shishamo sudare that can be found nowhere else

むかわ町 ししゃもすだれ

An exquisite sight that can only be seen at the peak of shishamo season—that is the shishamo sudare, or half-dried shishamo.

むかわ町 カネダイ大野商店 店内

Half-dried shishamo can be bought and taken home, or cooked right in the shop using hotplates that are ready and available for use.

むかわ町 カネダイ大野商店店内説明

There is an instructional sheet as well as friendly employees to aid customers with the cooking process, so even those without any experience can cook and eat their fill.

むかわ町 カネダイ大野商店 ししゃも

After cooking for some time, a delicious aroma and sizzling disseminates throughout the air.

The fish may come apart if they are flipped too much, so be patient and flip sparingly.
Dig into the finished shishamo.

むかわ町 カネダイ大野商店ししゃも

Topped with fat, the skin is crisp and the meat succulent.

The flavors vary between male and female shishamo. There tend to be strong preferences toward one or the other for each person, so it is advised that you ask the store employees for more details before purchasing.

What it lacks in its inability to carry eggs, the male shishamo makes up for with more fat.
On the other hand, the texture of the female’s eggs is irresistible… The chewy meat is full and rich in flavor.

As made obvious in my writing, my favorite is the female shishamo.

There are varying sizes for both female and male shishamo.

Frying up one fish then going back to purchase an even fattier one is another way of enjoying shishamo.

3-2.Shishamo sushi that can only be found here and now

むかわ町 ししゃも寿司

The one dish that visitors in Mukawa during the shishamo fishing season must try is the shishamo sushi.

To start, have you ever seen shishamo sushi or sashimi at any sushi restaurant?
There probably are not many who have.

The reason being, raw shishamo spoils quickly, making it unsuitable for distribution, which in turn means it never leaves the vicinity of Mukawa.
Further, it cannot be eaten at just any time in Mukawa; it is only available during the fishing season, which takes place from October to November.

むかわ町 ししゃも寿司

Masses congregate in Mukawa to get their hands on this time and region exclusive shishamo sushi.
Male shishamo are used in shishamo sashimi and sushi. They are light and have a sophisticated sweetness.

The sushi can be enjoyed dipped in soy sauce or topped with sansho (Japanese pepper), both of which brings out the sweetness of the shishamo.

むかわ町 看板イメージ

Along with the shishamo sushi, there is an abundance of other shishamo dishes.

However, products and dishes may sell out depending on how far you are into the fishing season.

If there is a dish that you absolutely want to try, it is highly encouraged that you make your way to Mukawa as early in the season as possible.


Did you enjoy the Mukawa shishamo?

It may have come as a complete shock that the “shishamo” that you usually have is not true shishamo; however, once you take your first bite of real shishamo, you may never be able to eat the imitation “shishamo” again.

Shishamo Specialty Store - Kanedai Ohno Store
Address 2 Chome-42 Miyuki, Mukawa-chō, Yūfutsu-gun, Hokkaidō 054-0042
Opening hours 9:00 – 17:00
Dayoffs Every Sunday from January to April


How did I not know about this convenient bus? The Higashi-Hokkaido Tour Bus, explained!

Hokkaido is now receiving much attention as one of Asia’s prime tourist destinations. Eastern Hokkaido (or Higashi Hokkaido) in particular is known to be popular among tourists who appreciate nature.

It is, however, an expansive natural region, and most people have a strong impression that it cannot be traveled effectively without a rental car. That is why not all too many people have taken the plunge and made their way to Higashi Hokkaido.

Last year (2016) however, a limited-time tourist bus began making trips starting in Sapporo and looping around Eastern Hokkaido. The name of that bus? The Higashi-Hokkaido Tour Bus! Now receiving attention for its route which runs from Sapporo to Shiretoko (Hokkaido’s easternmost point) over four days, this bus offers plenty of opportunities for sightseeing along the way.
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Tea time in Sapporo! A selection of 5 cafes run by famous sweets shops

Hokkaido sweets shops

When walking around a lot between sights here and there, aren’t there times when you’d like to a break at a nice cafe for a bit? Sapporo in particular is a city with an abundance of cafes. The number of cafes listed on the iTown Pages alone amount to about 700 establishments. Among them are many famous cafes, and the competition between them is fierce. When visiting Sapporo with a limited amount of time on your hands, you may easily be overwhelmed by the number of choices available.

Here we will narrow down this scope to famous sweets shops that sell their creations directly through their cafes. After all, you can hardly go wrong with Hokkaido’s most famous sweets freshly made at their place of origin!

It is with this in mind that I present to you a selection of 5 cafes run by famous Sapporo sweets shops.
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First time sightseeing in Hokkaido? Here are the 10 must-see destinations!

Beautiful Hokkaido

There are many places in this world that may strike one as beautiful simply from looking at pictures taken there. In Japan alone, there are more worthy destinations than visitable in a single lifetime.

Hokkaido is one such wonderful region, which is dotted with spots that leave lasting impressions on the hearts and minds of those that visit them.

It brims with with all the ingredients that can make a vacation in Japan everything you hoped for; such as nature, delicious food, and onsen. However, for someone who has never been to Hokkaido the island has so much to offer that choosing an itinerary can easily become overwhelming and confusing.

If that’s the case, this article is for you! Here I will introduce a selection of 10 popular must-see sightseeing destinations in Hokkaido!
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20 delicious Hokkaido dishes selected by our local correspondents — from famous restaurants to hidden gems!

gastronomic imagery

Hokkaido is renowned throughout Japan for its delicious food. Here we present to you one exquisite dish each from a selection of 20 different establishments across Hokkaido’s gastronomic spectrum, each wholeheartedly vouched for by our local correspondents. Included are both famous restaurants and little known personal favorites.Read more

Hakodate shio ramen: 6 recommended restaurants!

Hakodate shio ramen

When it comes to eating ramen in Hakodate, its well-known salt-based shio ramen variety is the popular choice.

The reason why Hakodate is known for its shio ramen is thought to lie in the fact that the city used to be visited a lot by merchants from the Jiangnan region of China, who set up shop here with menus that included noodles in salt broths that were popular in the Jiangnan region.

Also, a dish called “Nanking soba” was served in 1884 in a Hakodate restaurant named Yowaken. This “Nanking soba” is said to be the origin of what later became known as ramen.

Here in Hakodate, with its historic ties to shio ramen, I will introduce a number of recommended restaurants at which to try this local specialty.
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The sights and tastes of the Asahikawa and Kamikawa area in autumn

Many-colored forest scenery in Asahikawa

In the Asahikawa and Kamikawa area, home to Hokkaido’s highest peak, Mt Asahi of the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group, the signs of autumn can be felt sooner than anywhere else in Japan.

The sight of vast forests dyed red and gold sooner than anyway else in Japan draws tourists from far and wide. Furthermore, autumn in Asahikawa and Kamikawa also has many delicacies to offer!

This time I will introduce recommended locations in the Asahikawa and Kamikawa area, and write a bit about the climate and recommended clothing. Definitely bookmark this article for future reference if you’re interested in spending time in Asahikawa and Kamikawa in autumn!
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