Sapporo Beer Garden in Hokkaido, Japan
I just love Japan. From Universal Studios Japan and Aichi Prefecture in just the last few months, I, once again, flew back into the Land of the Rising Sun—this time to the northern end of the country, Hokkaido.
We had a long flight. The flight from Manila to Tokyo took 4.5 hours, followed by a layover in Tokyo for 2 hours. The flight from Tokyo to Sapporo took 1.5 hours. Then we took a 40-minute bus ride from the airport to our first destination for the night, Sapporo Beer Museum. The long, more-than-9 hours of cold, butt-numbing rides were followed by a Mongolian Barbecue dinner in Sapporo Beer Garden, which warmed me up for my chilly trip in.
One of Hokkaido’s signature dishes is the “Genghis Khan,” or Jingisukan, as the locals call it. The dish, which is usually served on a convex grill, consists mainly of mutton. It goes well with draught beer and tastes best on a chilly night.
It’s a good thing that we met all those conditions; it made our already-special Genghis Khan meal more special. Although slightly exhausted from the trip, I sat satisfied as I waited for our fresh batch of lamb meat and fresh seafood to be served to our table.
Sapporo Beer Garden is the go-to restaurant for this Hokkaido specialty. The red-bricked Kaitakushi-kan, the building where the restaurant stands today, was originally a sugar factory that opened in 1890. In 1963, the building was converted into a malting plant. It was three years later, in 1966 when the much-visited Sapporo Beer Garden was established.
Today, Sapporo Beer Garden’s building still appears as it did in 1890. A tall chimney, red bricks, and a cozy interior are just some of the few qualities that the building has retained through the years.
Our group dined in Kessel Hall on the second floor. The hall was hot and spacious, with a giant beer brewer cauldron, called a “Kessel,” as a colossal centerpiece. The Kessel was made in 1912, and the rest of the hall looked antique, elegant, and warm, and we happily partook of our dinner as the cold winter winds blew outside. The hall has tables for both big groups (like us) and smaller groups. Grilling is the way to eat here.
How to Cook, Eat and Enjoy Genghis Khan
We were served a big serving of lamb meat (less than a year old) and mutton (2 years and older), a dome-shaped grill. The grill was raised in the middle part so that the excess oils from the meat will flow downwards. I knew for a fact that lamb meat has lesser calories than beef or pork, so I ate guilt-free. We happily grilled our dinner and enjoyed mugs of draft beer.
Aside from the Genghis Khan lamb meat, we also grilled fresh prawns, pink salmon, squid, and some scallops. Anything went well with the beer, really. It was a perfect and warm dinner. I couldn’t have asked for a better welcoming meal in Hokkaido.
How to get to Sapporo from Manila
There’s no direct flight from Manila to Sapporo City in Hokkaido, Japan. You can fly to Tokyo via PAL, ANA, JETSTAR, and JAL. From Tokyo, You need to take another flight to Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan. Flight to Sapporo from Manila takes 4.5 hours, while Tokyo to New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido takes 1.5 hours.
Map Guide to Sapporo Beer Museum
Sapporo Beer Garden is located in 9-2-10, Kita7 Jo, Higashi-Ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 065-0007 and is open from 11:30 to 22:00. The All-You-Can-Eat and All-You-Can-Drink package costs 4,212 Yen (about 37 US$). *Prices may change without prior notice
Many thanks to Sapporo City Tourism Office for letting us experience the Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido Prefecture.