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Even in a country of unabashedly passionate foodies, Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s major islands, holds a special place in diners’ hearts and appetites. No trip to Hokkaido is complete without sampling some of its famous seafood, but most travelers arrive by plane. That means having to get to the airport ahead of time for your flight home, and between that and taking care of any last-minute souvenir shopping, sometimes you have to make the heart-wrenching decision to give up on one last Hokkaido sushi meal.

Unless, of course, you hit this amazing sushi restaurant that’s not only inside Hokkaido’s principal airport, but also inside a souvenir shop!

New Chitose Airport, also known as Shin Chitose Airport, is Hokkaido’s main air hub, serving as the most common entry point to the island and Sapporo, its biggest city. A few years ago, New Chitose went through a renovation, adding such unique ways to kill time while waiting for your flight as a movie theater and a public bath.

The airport also has a restaurant section, but you won’t find Sapporo Seafoods there. That’s because even though it serves up fresh sushi, Sapporo Seafoods is originally a marine products wholesaler, and half of its floor space is devoted to packs of salmon roe, pickles, and the like which tourists bring back with them as gifts for their friends, families, and coworkers.

On the left edge of the shop, though, you’ll spot the unmistakable sight of a sushi counter and display case.

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Sapporo Seafoods sushi corner doesn’t have any seats, but it does have a friendly and knowledgeable sushi chef serving up a variety of tempting morsels who’s happy to give recommendations or fill customers in on what’s in season in Hokkaido. To help make the ordering process easier for Sapporo Seafoods’ growing number of foreign customers, you order by selecting the kind of sushi you want from a multilingual touch-screen tablet.

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Since Hokkaido is especially famous for its ikura (salmon roe), it was one of the first things we ordered.

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Scallops are also a Hokkaido specialty, and ours was accompanied by hoki and samegarei (roughscale sole).

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Sapporo Seafoods’ fish is delivered fresh daily from the Sapporo central fish market, and the restaurant eschews electric rice cookers, making its rice the old fashioned way in a pot.

▼ Seared kinmedai (seared red bream)

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▼ Squid, with a pat of yama wasabi

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▼ A gorgeous little cut of mackerel

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As we said, the chef is happy to give recommendations, so we took his advice and ordered this combo of tsubugai (whelk) and sea bream.

▼ And after tasting them, we were glad we did.

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And finally, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a piece of raw herring, which is difficult to find in sushi restaurants outside Hokkaido.

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Thanks to Sapporo Seafoods, our last meal on Hokkaido was reasonably priced and delicious, plus let us do a little shopping and get to our gate with time to spare.

Restaurant information
Sapporo Seafoods / 札幌シーフーズ
Address: Hokkaido, Chitose-shi, Bibi 987, Shin Chitose Airport Terminal Building 2nd floor
北海道千歳市美々987 新千歳空港ターミナルビル 2F
Open 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Photos: ©RocketNews24
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