Hokkaido #4: Corn (とうきび)

Hokkaido’s 4th postcard features corn, one of the leading exports of Hokkaido. Corn is called “toukibi” in local Hokkaido dialect, but in the rest of Japan is known as “tomorokoshi” which is quite the mouthful to say! On my trip to Hokkaido I didn’t have the chance to try any (harvest is usually late August), but I’ve eaten Hokkaido corn bought from my local grocery store multiple times. A specific variety is white-kerneled and extremely sweet, but even the usual yellow variety is really good!

A cute hand-made sign proclaiming corn is for sale at this small shop near Lake Toya

I’m definitely looking forward to grilled corn this summer, how about you?

Hokkaido #1: The Sapporo Clock Tower (時計台)

Hokkaido is the northern-most prefecture in Japan, and collectively agreed upon as being “cold as balls”. Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido, and the symbol of Sapporo is the subject of Hokkaido’s first postcard, the Clock Tower. I swung by Sapporo on the We Love Japan Tour 2015, although I didn’t post anything about it in the blog. I got the chance to see this clock tower as well as the museum inside.

The tower was constructed in 1878, and was one of the earliest buildings in the city. It was built with American assistance in a western style, and the clock itself was bought from Boston and installed in 1881. It still works and keeps time, and when you visit you can hear its chimes on the hour. Once a building part of the Sapporo Agricultural College, now the building hosts a museum introducing the college, as well as the history of Sapporo. You can read about the tower, as well as details about visiting, here at Japan Guide.

The tower can be visited year-round, and is picturesque whether surrounded by snow, or framed by lilacs. If you visit Hokkaido, make your first stop this historical building, and listen to the chime of the clock as it keeps time. Maybe I’ll see you there!

The famous clock tower of Sapporo

It was imposing once, but now is dwarfed a bit by the buildings around it

Inside the museum