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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hokkaido Winter 2013 北海道冬季之旅 - Hitsujigaoka Observatory Hill 羊ヶ丘展望台

Visited 10.02.2013


Background: Before WW2, the original site was a wool research facility set up by the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. At one point in time, about 2000 sheeps were reared on this vast pasture and many visitors were attracted to this place after the war. However, the increasing number of visitors to the site affected research activities. Sapporo Tourism Association eventually took over the management and operation of Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill in 1959 as they saw tourism opportunities in this area.

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Highlights: 

(1) Statue of Dr William Clark: A bronze statue of Dr William Clark, the founder of Sapporo Agricultural College (the predecessor of Hokkaido University) was erected here in 1976, to mark the 100th anniversary of his visit to Hokkaido and 200th anniversary of American independence. Behind the statue is Ishikari Plain, and a panoramic view of Sapporo city center can be seen in the far background. The best time to visit is in summer when visitors get to see sheep gazing this vast pasture. In winter, the sheep are all reared in a hut just behind Sapporo Snow Festival Museum. Dr Clark's parting words for his students "Boys, be Ambitious!" has since become a well-known quote and motto of Hokkaido University.

Left: Bought this cute postcard depicting Dr Clark; Right: Bronze statue of Dr Clark
One interesting activity that I found out later was that you can make a "vow of ambition" here. First buy a form from the administrative office located in Austrian Pavilion. Write down your wish/dream on the form. Ring the "Bell of Ambition" and make a wish. Lastly, drop your form into the slot on the stand supporting the Statue of Dr William Clark. When you visit the same place many years later, you can retrieve this form from the staff to remind yourself what was the vow you have made then.

Right: Bell of Ambition
(2) Hitsujigaoka Rest House: One of the item on our "must do" list was to savour Hokkaido's signature Genghis Khan BBQ again! Have read that this restaurant here served pretty good Genghis Khan BBQ,  therefore decided to settle our lunch here. Cooked the lamb meat, together with cabbages, beansprouts, onions and pumpkin on the oiled hot plate. Meat was as usual tender, but with a subtle mutton smell. Still preferred the lamb we had in Sapporo Beer Garden during our first trip.

Genghis Khan BBQ in Hitsujigaoka Rest House
(3) Sapporo Snow Festival Museum: A two storey building which contains all the past photos, posters, souvenirs of Sapporo Snow Festival. Miniatures of snow sculptures, which were created using clay/plasticine during the design stage, were also on display here.

Sapporo Snow Festival Museum
(4) Others: You can find their commemorative ink stamps on first floor of Austrian Pavilion, located near the entrance. Souvenir shop is on the second floor of the same building. Clark's Chapel, located beside Sapporo Snow Festival Museum, is a restoration of the former Sapporo Kita-ichijio Church. There is another bigger chapel named Sapporo Blanc Birch Chapel, located beside Austrian Pavilion, which is used to hold wedding ceremonies - happen to see one taking place during our day of visit!

Left: Clark's Chapel; Right: Sapporo Blanc Birch Chapel
Conclusion: Beautiful scenery of Sapporo and Ishikari Plain can be viewed from here. Will love to visit this place again during summer. Was slightly disappointed with the Genghis Khan BBQ as it did not duplicate/exceed the good impression we had during our first visit to Hokkaido.

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Hitsujigaoka Observatory Hill 羊ヶ丘展望台
Opening hours:
0830 - 1800 hrs (May - June)
0800 - 1900 hrs (Jul - Sep)
0900 - 1700 hrs (Oct - Apr)
Admission fee = 450 yen (50 yen off with discount voucher)
Discount voucher can be retrieved from Tourist Information Centre in Sapporo JR Station.
http://www.hitsujigaoka.jp/en/

大きな地図で見る

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How to get there?

(1) By subway > bus.
- Take Toho line (blue line) to Fukuzumi Station (H14).
- Proceed to the bus terminal and take Bus 84.

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Commemorative stamp:

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