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Hokkaido Seafood Paradise

Hokkaido is almost synonymous with the image of seafood - snow crabs, scallops, oysters, salmon and all sorts of treasures from the sea. 

Seafood Paradise
Wintertime is the best season to enjoy seafood, when the fish in the cold waters surrounding Hokkaido store the most fat and various crabs are in season. 

Here you will find various species of crabs, and if you head to the crab market in Sapporo, walkable from the Sapporo station, you will be allowed to taste various crabs before buying. The Nijo Market is another place to head to for fresh seafood, and there is a shuttle bus that will take you there from the Sapporo station.
Image source: photozou.jp
At these fish markets, you can buy fresh seafood and eat them on the spot. Some shops have eat-in corners where you can grill the crabs or shellfish, as well as order seafood rice bowls. Hakodate to the south of Hokkaido is said to have started the “three color” rice bowl - the classic one of which is hotate, ikura and uni - or scallop, salmon roe and sea urchin.
Image source: www.flickr.com
Hokkaido is famous throughout Japan for its  uni, especially from Rishiri island, which is sweet and creamy from having lots of plankton to feed on. 

But there is more to Hokkaido than just seafood. It is the prefecture with the most cows in Japan and has a booming dairy and farm scene. The milk products here are most famous throughout in Japan, such as its creamy fermented butter, fresh cream, ice cream, cakes and confectionaries. 

Dairy & Farm Products
Hokkaido is particularly famous for its cheesecakes, and many famous confectionary brands in Japan hark from Hokkaido, and places such as Otaru and Tokachi cities in particular.
Image source: pixabay.com
Meat products like ham and sausages are produced on local farms as well as made by major manufacturers based in Hokkaido and sold throughout Japan. 

There is also a culture of eating lamb, unlike the rest of the country. Genghis Khan - or lamb barbecue hotplate - originated from Hokkaido, and is eaten all year round. Marinated lamb slices are grilled on a hotplate that is said to look like Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan’s helmet. Vegetables such as onions or green peppers are grilled together with the meat.
Image source: www.flickr.com
Hokkaido also produces plenty of other farm produce, from potatoes, pumpkins and onions to the famous Yubari melon. Autumn is when most of these produce come into season and when you can come and try some fruit picking at various farms. 

Local Brew
The locals like to have their barbecue accompanied by an icy cold glass of Sapporo beer, made in a local brewer, of course. Sapporo beer is also famous throughout the country. Recently, whisky made in Hokkaido under the Nikka label, has also become very popular.
Image source: photozou.jp
Miso Ramen 
Due to the cold weather, ramen is also a popular dish here, and sapporo ramen is known for being extra hearty with a miso base. A local version of ramen involves a topping of butter and corn, which is abundantly produced in Hokkaido.
Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

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