We arrived the first week of March into the New Chitose Airport (by way of Narita, Tokyo) to spend a week of skiing in beautiful Hokkaido, Japan. As our flight arrived early in the afternoon, we booked one night at a nearby hotel so we could start the next morning off fresh, touring the city of Sapporo.
As we collected our luggage and walked through the concourse it was hard not to be enticed by all the wonderful shops and restaurants. Hokkaido’s recently remodeled airport reminds me more so of a fully functioning shopping mall than an actual airport!
EXPLORING HOKKAIDO CHITOSE AIRPORT
There are so many interesting attractions to see and do with kids to fill up an entire day in your itinerary. We recommend getting a map and planning ahead to give yourself some time to check out at least a few of them.
The kids were hungry so decided to check out The Ramen Dojo which houses 10 of the best ramen establishments from all over Hokkaido, each with their own signature Japanese-style ramen. We ordered Shio Butter with Corn which is popular in Hakodate, a southern city in the Hokkaido prefecture. The richness and sweetness of the corn and butter was a wonderful combination. If you’re into ramen, you really can’t go wrong with any of the shops in the Ramen Dojo. The real challenge is deciding what to eat, because they all look absolutely delicious.
With our bellies satisfied, we went up to the 3rd floor to check out “Smile Road” where the Doraemon Waku Waku Sky Park was located.
Let me say this, it’s a dream come true for any Doraemon fan! The park has a wonderful cafe with themed dishes, a play area and craft workshop for kids, a library, and a gaming area. Unfortunately, it was closing by the time we arrived so we headed to Royce Chocolate World, famous for its dark chocolate covered potato chips, and indulged ourselves in some dessert. The children enjoyed walking through their mini-museum and factory, learning where and how one of their favorite foods is made (if you consider chocolate a food group).
We then headed up stairs to an exhibition called “Snow Miku Sky Town”, dedicated to Hatsune Miku fans. We watched a movie about the history of Snow Miku in an awesome 360° theatre. The theater had allowed us to experience the beautiful landscape of Hokkaido right there in the airport.
Finally, we headed over to the airport’s indoor and outdoor onsen (hot spring bath) which also had a full range of spa treatments, including a nap room to relax in after enjoying the nice warm soak.
If you are traveling with small children, the airport offers strollers free of charge. There’s a luggage storage throughout the airport, which we utilized to store our 2 large bags for the afternoon ($12 for the day). There’s also a movie theatre and comfortable loungers with individual TVs and a limited number of private rooms if looking for a deep sleep. Hours: Open 23 hours – closed between 9:00AM -10:00AM.
Like I said earlier, the Hokkaido Chitose Airport is more like a shopping mall than airport. There are so many things to do (and shop for) at the New Chitose Airport to fill up your entire day. We recommend planning ahead to give yourself time to check out at least a few of them.