Mount Moiwa and Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art

Mount Moiwas is 532m above sea level. My walk to the top started from the same location as the Maruyama walk a couple of days ago. This was twice the height. There were more people on the walk but it wasn’t that busy. Hikers are very friendly: everyone says hello to you (“konichiwa”).

There were lots of shrines on the way up, some of them decorated.

The top came sooner than expected after a final steep bit. I was surprised to see a building at the top, which had a restaurant and souvenir shop.

Walking was not the only way to the top. There was a cable car and funicular. You could take one or both. The cable car got you halfway up and the funicular went up the final steep bit.

I wanted to go to the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art before it closed and wouldn’t have made it if I’d walked down. So, I got the funicular and cable car to return to the station. The tram to the museum was a short walk away.

I reached the mostly empty museum an hour before closing time, which was just about enough time to see the exhibits.

On my way back to the hostel, I popped into Sapporo Station to enquire about tickets for a few upcoming trips and to buy a JR Rail Pass.

The person who initially saw me was incredibly helpful. She then took me to another information desk where I could buy tickets. At one point she and two other people were all helping me! They were so patient and conscientious. They wanted me to reduce my costs and looked at lots of options for me. This went on for about 45 minutes! I was sorry to have to actually buy some tickets and leave them!

East Asia has the largest number of shopping districts I’ve seen that are below ground level, usually connected to one or more subways. On the way back to the hostel, I saw a sign for Pole Town. This was in my guide but I kept missing it. This time I went in. It’s an example of an underground shopping mall. It’s roughly beneath Odori Park. The mall has over eighty shops and restaurants, including clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, bakeries, and cafes. Pole Town is, understandably, especially busy during the winter months.

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