Japanese souvenir emporiums rock, but even by their high standards, the 2F Food Floor at New Chitose Airport, Sapporo is in a different league.
In early January, my travel companion and I landed at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido and instead of jumping straight on the train into central Sapporo, about 40 minutes away, we headed to the third floor of the terminal, and the airport's Food Floor. We'd been told it was good, but boy were we in for a surprise. It isn't just good. It is awesome!
The layout is simple, the dozens of shops essentially split into two areas, the 'Sweets Avenue' zone and the Dosanko Market zone. The former focusses on all things chocolate and sugary, the latter on the island's famed seafood, dairy produce, ramen and.. fresh sushi.
The Ramen Dojo Complex at Sapporo's New Chitose Airport
The best thing about their massive food courts is, besides the superb products on offer, is the fact that you are positively encouraged to try their free samples (in Japanese, this is called shishoku).
Food Food For Thought at Sapporo's Chitose Airport, Hokkaido
It's impossible to detail every morsel on offer, but you might like to hop around the website here, which will give you some feeling of what's available. Royce Chocolates and Kinotoya's cheese tarts were especially selling like, er, hot cakes, but we stuffed our shopping baskets with Konosha's brilliant cheese products, rare Class A konbu kelp from Rebun Island at Shima no Hito, fabulous Shiraoi Kojohama cod-roe flavored rice crackers by Hokkaido Kaitaku and, you guessed it, fresh Hokkaido crab.
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If you don't get full with all those generous free tastings, do what we did, and head over to the great standing sushi bar run by Gojunanaban Sushi (their crab miso soup, pictured at the top of this article, is amazing!), or have a tipple at World Wine Bar by Pieroth.
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