There is not a lot to see in Sapporo beyond the snow festival—if you don’t have kids or are into the great outdoors. It’s beautiful here. If you like that sort of thing. The Professor and I are more urban dwellers and have gotten to the point where we like cement under our feet and a cocktail at the end of our day. Also, he’s got a book to write and I have a blog post. And I’m going to keep it short ‘cause I’m on vacation. LOL.
Anyway, Monday found us on our way to the local zoo called the Maruyama Zoo. I had planned on spending the day going to another city, but we got lazy and it was far. Besides, the brochure at the hotel desk got me wanting to see Lila, the polar bear “who has just tuned [sic] one”. I was intrigued. The pics were too cute to ignore so we decided to spend our afternoon here—much to The Professor’s chagrin (he hates zoos). I have to say that many—this one included—are pretty depressing. But we wouldn’t find that out absolutely until we visited it.
Taking the subway to the Odori Station, we switched to the Tozai Line and arrived at the zoo three stops later. It was a 15-minute walk or so from the station to the zoo. It was not well marked on how to get there and it was slippery going. There is a bus option from the Sapporo station that drops off at the gate supposedly (though I did not see a bus during our walks up or back).
The zoo has a few redeeming qualities: you get really close to the animals in certain places. Check out the red panda above my head—I saw water spots on the ground before I ever saw the panda. Then I was pretty sure it wasn’t water.
Check out the brown bear. He would run up into this corner whenever the little kids would run in. And he would stand there salivating until they left. I hope never to get this close to this big a bear without the heavy-duty barrier between.
And the tiger.
And here’s Lila.
We soon left the zoo and stopped along the way to see a beautiful shrine area.
Then we headed back to the Susukino Station and up onto the street to see their Ice World Festival of beautiful ice sculptures and to enjoy cement under our feet and a cocktail at an ice bar, then dinner nearby before heading back to the warm hotel.
We really liked the Ice World Festival. It was a nice surprise. kompai!