Hello everyone ! Before we get any further, I wish you all a very happy new year, and hoping this one will be much better than 2020.
Welcome back on my trip I did in Japan, precisely one year ago, just before the Covid-19 pandemic, on the lands of the legendary Yuki Onna (the Japanese's snow's spirit). And today, our journey's next stop in Hokkaido is no other than Sapporo New Chitose airport (CTS), from Ozora Memanbetsu's airport (MMB) aboard Japan Airlines's regional carrier, J-Air. An airline that doesn't have any review registered on the site.
You can also see a generous touristical bonus of Hokkaido during winter at the end of this review.
Well then, without further ado, let's go !
If you need a reminder of the route :
After 5 days wandering from Kushiro to Abashiri, the time has come to leave the hotel to our departure airport. A few pitures from outside our hotel, all covered in snow and ice.
A few pictures while we're on the way.
Welcome to Ozora-Memanbetsu Airport (MMB) at 8.02 A.M and a temperature of - 8,5°C.
The ANA check-in desks are still closed because their next flight doesn't leave MMB before 11.00 A.M.
JAL's check-in desks are a bit further.
My suitcase shall pass the X-ray control before going to the check-in desk. The security questionnaire is told twice, first by the security agent followed by the check-in agent.
The check-in was quickly done by a very kind agent. For this flight, my seat is the 5K, a window seat. And that is just perfect !
Departures and the security are located at the upper floor.
The FIDS. Tokyo (Haneda) and Sapporo (New Chitose) are the airport's main destinations. But seasonnally, the aiport can offer flights to Osaka Itami (ITM) and Osaka Kansai (KIX) airports as well for Nagoya airport (NGO).
The security access. Despite the crowd and a waiting time to pass the security estimated to 10 minutes, controls were smooth enough to catch our aircraft.
You can find a few shops in front of the landside/airside border.
The airside is just empty. The airport doesn't have any any lounge, so a business area has been set in public.
Only one aircraft for the entire airport, which is ours. Today's aircraft's name is JA-227J.
Boarding via a window jetbridge.
The door moment.
Oneworld and Japan's flags are present.
Our seat's legroom is comfortable that it's almost royal for a 40 minutes flight. My neighbor is no other than our circuit's guide.
The safety card
The activity on the tarmac when we were about to push. So empty…
Time to go ! The ground agents are ensuring our safety as our aircraft is pushed back.
A Japan Airlines's 737-800 coming from HND in the final.
All right, we're lining up. And the 737 cleared the runway.
A view of the airport from the runway taking a break…
… until the 737 we saw earlier arrives.
Rotate… Before we're doing a right turn during our ascent. One we can easily find at Nice airport. (NCE)
It's kawa time ! The inflight service on this flight is limited to a coffee for everyone.
If you want, you can add a sugar and a milk cloud.
A towel is also given along the Kōhī (コーヒー). (coffee in japanese.)
The seatbelt's signal went on for a few zones of turbulences. It shook a bit but it was acceptable. A few pictures from the air.
Last moments inflight before landing in CTS.
777-300ER ANA. An JL A350 is parked next to it. And not just any A350…
Indeed, because it is JA-01XJ. Japan Airlines's first A350, we can easily see it thanks to the red inscripiton.
Fun fact: The next day, the group and I must go back to Tokyo, we will fly aboard JA-03XJ (JAL's 3rd A350). But the day after, it was once again JA-01XJ ensuring CTS-HND flight.
We're parking next to another J-Air's Embraer 170.
Everyone is up when the seatbelt fasten's signal is out. A picture we might not see before a very long time.
Just after I took this picture, the flight attendant called for me and informed me that the guide forgot its photo support. I thanked her and took the forgotten item to give it back to its owner.
Last view of our beautiful little mechanic bird.
With an Air (Hokkai) Do 767, wearing Hokkaido island's special livery.
Once I reached the baggage claim, I immediately called our guide, who was already discussing with the baggage service staff about his "lost" item.
The baggage delivery was extremely fast since our aircraft got a total of 15 baggage, including the group's ones.
CTS landside. Next stop, Sapporo's train station. And in order to do so, we shall take the Rapid Airport.
And thus, this review has come to an end. I hope you enjoyed it. Don't forget to like and subscribe, I'll be very happy.
Normally, the next flight is Sapporo-Tokyo Haneda aboard Japan Airlines's Aribus A350 but since this review has already been released, you can find the link on the "route chapter" if you're interested.
As for my part, I wish you all health and safe flights in these hard times and see you again for the return flight aboard Air France from Osaka Kansai airport (KIX) to Paris Roissy-Charles-De-Gaulle airport (CDG), France, aboard the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Though most of the picutres incoming were taken by smartphone, some of them come from my travel companions with much better cameras and to whom we traded some photos.
From Tsurui to Sapporo via Abashiri and its famous jail nowadays a museum, if you are a lover of nature, then Hokkaido in winter is a place you must go.
First, at Tsurui, the village of red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis) where you can see them living in complete liberty. A very seasonal place since many photographs, as much amateur as professional are coming to take pictures of this bird threathended of extinction.
The Mashu lake.
Kusharo lake, the most of it was already frozen.
During your exploration in this icy and cold road…
You may find red foxes…
… Sika deers living on Notsuke's peninsula… (oh deer ! They living the good life^^)
… or even attend to the Steller's sea eagle's fishing in Rausu's village. The expedition starts around 5.00 A.M. though.
- Watch it ! I'm not in the mood to do the clown just to satisfy tourists's whims !
- How many times do I have to say it ?! Just stop it already or I'm sending my gang after you !!
- And you know what ? I am out of here !!!
If you go in Hokkaido in winter, it is recommended to go to Sapporo in february because of 2 unmissable points :
The first is the Sapporo Ganso Ramen Yokocho (元祖ラーメン横丁) or Ramen Alley. Created in the 50's, there are nothing less than 17 ramen restaurants in this alley located one next to the others. The restaurants are very small though. So don't be surprised if you see waiting lines on the side and could go to the other side of the alley !
A few of them hosted big celebrities like, like this American chef, that passed away a few years ago.
Although ramen originally comes from China, some cities self-proclaimed as the ramen's capital city, like Sapporo. And truth is, what's more than a good hot bowl of ramen in a cold and harsh winter ? With one of the oldest and local beer Sapporo, ONEGAI SHIMASU !!!
Before you start, don't forget to say : Itadakimasu (頂きます).
When you're done, don't forget to join your palms and say: Goshisou sama deshita (御馳走様でした). It's very important because it's a sign to say to the chef you appreciated it. As much as you must slurp during the meal. (But not too loud either!)
Speaking of cooking, a trip in Japan is obviously passing through its cooking. And everybody knows that Japanese cooking is one of the most famous in the world alongside, France, Italy or even India.
The other point is obviously the festival that made the city famous around the world, the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri. (さっぽろ雪祭り)
Back in the 50's, right after the war, high-schoolers were missioned by local authorities to make ice sculptures. The phenomenom become quickly popular through the nation until 1972, when Hokkaido's capital city become the center of the world, by hosting the XIth Olympic Winter Games.
Since that date, the festival attracts around 2 million people every year, whether Japanese or foreigners…
… or aliens LMAO. :b
Every year, the festival put a foreign country in the spotlight with a monument completely made of ice.
For the 2020 edition, the chosen country was Poland with the Łazienki palace and a statue of Frédéric Chopin (French-Polish composer), in order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of bilateral relationships between Japan and Poland (1919-2019).
Speaking of which, the JSDF (Japanese Self-Defense Forces), is present, since they bring the snow every year on the festivities's place. They're also tasked to make sculptures alongside amateurs and professionnals.
It's thanks to them that the japanese can celebrate one of Japan's most important festivals. A tradition that started in 1955 and still perpetrated since.
By the way, according to rumors, 3 600 JSDF members were required to build the ice palace I mentioned earlier.
The festival has many activities to offer like concerts or acrobatics. You can even assist to a light show once the night has fallen.
Sapporo under the snow by night.
Since we've no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…
If some of you like to drink, take a Sapporo beer in this ice bar.
And to end this bonus on a local note.
A flight that do the job from one point to another, I had a comfortable window seat, what more to ask for a short flight as this one ? The drink served inflight is appreciated though it's too bad there was only coffee and not juice or tea. Finally, a very honorable mention for the flight attendants as to remind me who forgot the photo support when we deboarded, which could have waste a good time for our stay in Sapporo.
MMB: a very basic and simple airport that give a very comfortable transit.
CTS: arrival in the vicinity of the train station, which allows efficient connections between the airport and the city.