Our flight to Hokkaido had a short layover, where we were made to get off the plane with our carry-on bags and go through a security checkpoint again, only to get back on the same plane. Ibaraki Airport, outside of Tokyo was very small and crowded, so our flight left late because not everyone could get through security quick enough since it was already backed up when we got there. When we later arrived in Hokkaido we hopped on a crowded train to Sapporo station and transferred to a subway. Our first real step into the Hokkaido climate finally came as we exited the subway station near our hotel.
The moment we surfaced we simultaneously blurted, “Holy crap. It’s winter!” The ice encrusted sidewalks, towering snow banks and biting wind chill were much more what we had all been accustomed to growing up in the Midwest.
We checked in to our hotel, but being a bit tired from our travels we all seemed to be operating on separate wave lengths. This ended up causing some confusion at the check-in counter and we ended up paying the price of three rooms, not two. We realized this after we set out for the rest of the day, but the staff corrected the mistake when we explained the mess we had created.
Don't forget, more photos over here: https://picasaweb.google.com/utter.chaos13