So you’ve guessed my dirty little secret from the title.
I am not a resident of Sapporo, I am sad to say. One of these days, I will move back, though. I am only living in Kitahiroshima because this is a compromise. My husband works in a town further out called Eniwa. I work in downtown Sapporo. Kitahiroshima is split between these two cities, so it’s where we have put down our roots for the last ten years… But I digress–that’s for another blogpost.
Kitahiroshima has been designated a “city,” located on the outskirts of the Sapporo. It actually used to be part of Sapporo but it branched off when it became big enough to become a town of its own. One of the good things about Kitahiroshima is that it is a stop on the JR Line that takes you to Chitose Airport. It is considered a “big” station.
In reality, though, there’s really not much to do in town. Around the station, there aren’t many major shops or places of interest. However, if you have a car, or are brave enough to manage the bus system, you can travel to areas that could possibly entertain you.
The town’s central area is built around the JR station and the immediate surrounding. On foot, you can reach the City Hall, the library, the hospital, the post office, and various other government agencies. My favorite place is probably the local gym that is so huge, it has an above ground running path. This is a lifesaver in the winter when you can’t go running outside.
There are a few good restaurants and izakayas right in the station area. Notably, these are: Kushidori for yakitori; Garyumen Makotoya, a ramen restaurant; and Tenjiku, a soup curry place. There are several cafes that I’ve only been to once or twice (so unmemorable they are). And of course, our single 7-11 convenience store is located right across the library.
That’s in the immediate area. If you you’re not intimidated by walking or if you have a car, there is a fantastic kaiten sushi restaurant called Ginjiro–me and my husband’s favorite restaurant. There is also a Hotto-Motto that serves ready-made bentos. There is a karaoke place next to a yakiniku restaurant called Ay-ya. We have a little French bistro that serves simple meals. Another favorite of ours is the soba restaurant called Soba Tengoku. And of course, a Mos Burger.
Probably the most interesting place is located twenty minutes away by car in the Omagari area. This is where the Mitsui Outlet Park Mall is located. If you don’t have a car, the next option is taking a taxi there. However, there is a bus that runs from the station but it doesn’t run as often as you’d think. Maybe once an hour.
One of the things you’ll notice is that there are a lot of farms in the area. This is really good because in the summer, you get to have fresh vegetables sold at the local farmers’ markets. Unfortunately, though, you have to deal with the smell of fertilizers. I am still unhappy about that, but you learn to deal with it.
Other than Mitsui Outlet Park, there is a hotel surrounded by woods and forests. The location is spectacular, but away from the main area in town. There are several technical colleges and a private university. There is a proper golf course, a driving range, and a park golf area. We have a very small skiing area that is not as high as other mountains, but it’s quiet, but it gets the job done.
However, what everyone is putting all their hopes on is the future ball park that will be completed in 2023. Kitahiroshima scored a coup when it won the rites to build a stadium to exclusively house the local baseball team, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. When it’s completed, they’re hoping that it won’t be just a ball park, but that several dining areas, activity spots, and even a man-made lake will make it a little city of its own. It’s quite an ambitious plan–fitting for a town nicknamed “The Ambitious City.”
Kitahiroshima is definitely a bed town. It’s a perfect place to raise a family as homes are quite cheaper than what you would get in Sapporo. Nature is pretty abundant. I love being able to take the running and bike paths when I go for a run–and there are at least three that I know of.
The longer I’ve been living here, the more I’ve come to appreciate it for the suburb that it is. I’ve gotten over my initial dislike and I now see a lot more things to love than hate.