Hokkaido Winter Market & Street Food Experience ★ ONLY in JAPAN
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Hokkaido Winter Market & Street Food Experience ★ ONLY in JAPAN


ONLY in JAPAN Welcome to Abashiri in north Hokkaido,where the temperatures can dip to -10° Celsius. it’s cold! And believe it or not February is the high season It snows a lot in North Hokkaido. the city lies along the Sea of Okhotsk which gets quite icy in February. In fact the sea freezes over And from the city visitors can hop on a ship for a drift ice tour of the sea near Abashiri, it’s quite an Adventure! it’s one of the most popular attractions in the city, and lasts about an hour depending on conditions. The drift ice tours typically start in mid January and go on to late March. The old Abashiri prison, the Alcatraz of Japan is the number one site here. Check out my episode on Japanese prison food made right here. behind me is a Hokkaido Street food market, it’s a festival of food! Despite the cold and ice, the event is held every February. with yatai and street food stands, and it features seafood from the Sea of Okhotsk. a real treat! Things really get started after 7PM. But that shouldn’t stop you from grabbing a bowl of ramen or curry udon to make the freezing temperatures feel just a little bit better. As the sun sets, more and more people get off work and make their way towards the winter market. where barbecue grills are hot and waiting! You can buy meat and vegetables at local stalls, or even bring your own! When I started to feel the cold I knew it was time to warm up. I spy’d my first treat at this stand. Locally made amazake for 100¥ or about a dollar Amazake is sort of like Japanese sake before the alcohol process begins. It’s quite healthy, when they use less sugar in it. It’s a favorite in Japan during the winter months at festivals. Nothing, warms you up like a cup of Amazake, and I asked him what makes it so good. and he said that he makes everything! This Amazake is all homemade and it’s really, chunky it’s like a soup! The warmth will radiate from the inside out for a while, with just one cup but don’t fill up on it! We’re just getting started. I said they had a lot of local seafood and here’s the first. Oysters and scallops from the Sea of Okhotsk. The scallops in Hokkaido can get pretty big, and cooked with a little dashi or soy sauce, quite flavorful. Hokkaido crab, the king crab legs are much cheaper here in Hokkaido. You can buy them from local vendors at the market, and put them right on the barbecue. We’re starting to put together quite a meal! I made a lot of friends, including here at the okonomiyaki stand. Okonomiyaki isn’t exactly local fare, but it’s good and hot. We’ll come back here a little later to see how they’re doing. The ice bar in the center of the market, is not a bad place to hang out This is really cool this entire bar, made by hand, all made out of ice. beer on an ice bar! That really is cool! The thick blocks of ice never melt up here in Abashiri. It’s a nice touch to emphasise the everyday life here. Surrounded by ice in the winter, and yeah the brews are super cold here. If you want something hot, they have atsukan hot Saké. Kampai! (cheers) Abashiri is one of the friendliest towns I visited in Hokkaido. People come out to socialise in the freezing cold. Warmed by food and booze and friendly company. Sit anywhere you like, there’s a lot of grilling all around you. The sound and smell of sizzling food makes you hungry instantly! The event is staffed by university students who keep the grills going late. This may be the warmest place in the market. The grills are free to use just find an open one, and game on for some BBQ. Like all Japanese festivals it’s super clean and organised. there are six bins to recycle your garbage. pet bottles, glass bottles, cans ,raw garbage, landfill garbage and plastic trays. The more I walked around the more friends I made with stand owners who treated me to samples. This steamed potato and butter looked so good! Abashiri is also known for drinking a little more than other places, and things get a little… silly. The Stand owner also gave me some of these locally caught shrimp, lightly battered and deep-fried. Crispy, it’s not usual to eat the whole shrimp, is it? it got my sign of approval! It was getting late, I had more than I thought I would drink and my flight back to Tokyo, was just 90 minutes away. Since you don’t have to check in until 45 minutes before departure at domestic flights. I thought I’d have one more go around the market. My friends at the okonomiyaki stand were doing great! the fire ramen stand was also tempting. the colder it got the more I wanted a bowl of ramen. but I was invited to sit down with some abashiri residents and share their local seafood. I had just enough time to try some new things with them. The locally caught fish was excellent, with a little salt and another cup of hot sake magically appeared! You gotta love that Abashiri hospitality. it’s hard not to fall in love with regional markets, in Hokkaido and all around Japan. This was an experience I’ll never forget! So that’s the Abashiri Street food festival scene! you’re gonna eat a lot you’re gonna drink a lot you get a meet a lot of great people and… Might get a little bit tipsy but it’s all out of fun! If you liked it hit that subscribe button and check out another one of our shows! don’t miss my second live streaming channel ONLY in JAPAN *GO And check out location photos on Instagram http://instagram.com/onlyinjapantv mata ne~ (see ya!)

About Ralph Robinson

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100 thoughts on “Hokkaido Winter Market & Street Food Experience ★ ONLY in JAPAN

  1. John, what a great "Slice of Life™" video. You really capture not just the food, but people and culture that it represents. I haven't made it to Hokkaido (yet), but I love cold weather and this makes me want to go even more! Thanks for another amazing production. When a shrimp is fried, I have never had an issue eating the whole thing. P.S. I'm also loving the more consistent release schedule.

  2. Dude I love your videos thanx you fkr showing us a lot of cool stuff from Japan btw we at Puerto Rico peel the shrimps too ki da weird that they eat it whole with the peel and all but makes me kinda curious to try it haha

  3. I'm Japanese and glad to watch this nice video!
    If you here is planning to go to Hokkaido, I want you try the legendary salmon named 時鮭(Tokishirazu ).
    When I ate it for the first time, I got goosebump coz too delicious!lol
    sorry my poor English!

  4. You really liked that with shell or where you just polite? I wouldnt eat it like that, but im not a big shrimp fan either xD

  5. Thanks for this episode John !Abashiri looks like a fun place to get drunk 🥴!The food look delicious,but I love that the grills are for free and is mostly likely done to create a community space where people can eat, Drink and Socialize !

  6. I subscribed for a while now, I have dinged the bell, I never see a video from you. But then Youtube has "un-dinged many bells for me" past 2 months, and I think they unsubscribed me to your channel? *sigh*

  7. 7:12 – What's the name of the song? This was used in RuneScape Gods Exposed – Episode 8, released in Spring 2010, I think.

  8. "Winter Market Festival"
    hahahahahahahahaha laugh with envious from ppl who live in dead center of equator

  9. Cool adventure. Your channel has helped me develop more understanding and appreciation for the Japanese culture and people. Thank you.

  10. I would eat the whole shell if it was deep fried or tempura like that, but not if it's steamed and absolutely not if it wasn't as fresh as the ones you had there. The shells can trap things that bacteria can grow on, and I've worked for restaurants that had seafood and I know that the shrimp that are frozen and shipped (and don't always STAY frozen) can deteriorate beyond the level of freshness that you would want. (Being shelled, rinsed, and then put into a teriyaki sauce to wait to be cooked same-day, that will keep things from growing on them.)

  11. his voice is clear, understandable, and you can tell that he's really interested in what he's talking about. he's a little bit of a silly dork but thats not a bad thing. always family friendly, solid content. sometimes i wish it would have more interactions and a little less tv style editing so this episode was great.

  12. Hokkaido is so cool! I’ve only been to Sapporo tho 😅 … it’s my fave city in Japan so far!

  13. @ 8:22 When that tune started playing I totally thought the guy from infinite elgintensity was about to pop out!

  14. As a Malay/Australian when I first met my wife she had never seen anyone eat the very end of a chicken wing, now she loves them! Then I showed her that eating a prawn with the shell, that’s where she drew the line lol

  15. Eat them whole of course. My favorite snacks are Tom say la chanh. Super delicious full shrimp fried and dried. I can finish a full jar in one sitting. Shells, legs and all. Fresh looks so much better though.

  16. In the opening sequence I could locate my brother-in-law's house about 4-5 blocks from the docks of the bay. Great seafood of course. Done it many times at the sit-down stalls with your back covered with wind-blown snow & frozen and your front half broiling from the charcoal & heaters, grinning a little too widely from the sake & beer and eating Jingis Kan, tskune, ika, kani, hotate, samma etc etc. The okonomiyaki, though, must be the festival's version of Hokkaido's version of the Osaka version.

  17. just love how to you capture not just the tradition/events but the people that have a hand in the traditions. You gotta love when everyone can be hospitable

  18. Hokkaido is basically the Alaska of Japan so we basically understand that yeah it’s blistering cold and things will freeze their

  19. Damn is that bacon? Thats already a yes from me. Also a literal ice bar. That stuff is super cool. Also raw garbage has to be food waste but landfill garbage? Figured one of the other categories should cover that?

    So did you ever get the pancake lol

  20. Pause at 0:59 he has 2019 iPhone in his hand when the apple is not even started to leak it.
    Time traveling

  21. Eating a whole shrimp with shell, doesn't that risky hurting the mouth?

  22. I love your show john.. i am going to japan next year and will be going to many of the places you have shown- onsens food festivals capsule hotel.. thanks so much. I love how well you speak Japanese also. The people really appreciate it.

  23. There are a lot of places in America where people eat the whole shrimp. Typically just heavier battered.

  24. U are Obviously acting do standard I see it back clearly in All of ur footage. Everything is just so staged that its just a lil awkward like u are not enjoying anything as Much. Just stay ur natural self

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