A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Beer Museum

Ah yes. The day that we went to the Sapporo Beer Museum. This day will live in my memory for all the wrong reasons.

After our Japanese language classes had ended for the week, my wife and I had decided to hit up the Sapporo Beer Museum. This is the beer that bears the city’s name after all. Two of my wife’s classmates had decided to join us for our little outing too.

The museum is about a 25 minute walk from our school, but we didn’t feel like walking under the scorching midday summer sun. So we decided to take the bus. We checked in at an info desk in the Tokyu department store. The lady working there told us to take the #88 bus from bus stop #3 just outside the south entrance of the department store. Sounds easy enough.

Oh oh. This isn’t the way to the beer museum, is it?

Just as we exited Tokyu department store, I saw a bus with the number 88 on the back. There’s the bus, I thought. We ran onto the bus and sat down. I was thinking of confirming with the driver that this was the right bus, but I ended up not doing that.

The bus started moving and made a right turn at the first intersection. Oh oh. The beer museum is due east out of downtown. I said to my wife that the bus is going away from the beer museum. She said that should be okay. From what we knew, the bus to the museum is on a circular, or loop, route. In other words, the bus should still take us to the museum. We just might be going in the other direction.

Okay. So we stayed put on the bus. The bus went south past Susukino and out of downtown. I’d never been in this part of Sapporo so I wasn’t too sure where we were.  I only knew we were heading south. A couple of times, we passed by some subway stations. However, once we passed the Sapporo Dome (which is at the end of one of the subway lines) and the bus kept going south, I knew this bus was not going to be circling back.

We decided to ride out the bus to the end. The last stop was near the Mitsui Outlet Park at the far edge of Sapporo’s southern limits. At the last stop, we told the driver what we had done. He told us that this was the 88 bus, but what we should have taken was the “Kan 88” bus that has an extra kanji for “kan” in front of it. Doh! He told us we had to take a bus back to Tokyu and then go to the beer museum from there. He was really kind and insisted that we not pay for the ride. He must have felt for us.

Well, at least now we know how to get to the Mitsui Outlet Park if we want to get a lot of shopping done, but that wasn’t going to happen that day. Now that I look on a map at how far off we really were, it’s really crazy. We had gone 15 km in the wrong direction for about an hour on that bus.

tokyu to mitsui outlet park

I felt really awful having dragged my wife and her classmates into this predicament. Thankfully they were very kind about it. We ended up going to the other side of the street and grabbing a bus that headed back into town. Luckily, there was a vending machine near the bus stop and we could down some liquids. It was getting really hot.  Thank God for Japan and their vending machines.

We hopped on a bus that came 15 minutes later. For the sake of getting to the beer museum in a decent time, we decided to take the bus to the subway and then take the train to the closest subway station to the beer museum. From that subway station, we still had to walk another 10 minutes to the museum. We were already pretty tired from going the wrong way all day, but we had set out to visit the Sapporo Beer Museum. And gosh darn it, we were going to get there today.

And just in case you were wondering how close the beer museum was to where we started. It was only 1.8 km due east from Tokyu department store. Oh dear. I really messed up this time.

tokyu to sapporo beer museum

Next post: We finally arrive at the Sapporo Beer Museum.

P.S. Thank you to Lily and Sophie for their patience and understanding for my HUGE mistake.


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