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On a late March afternoon in central Sapporo’s “raccoon trail,” a covered shopping arcade, business is particularly brisk. While Honshu’s main cities celebrate under the cherry blossoms, several meters of snow remain piled up beside icy sidewalks — with more expected.

That’s good news, though, for arcade shops specializing in Hokkaido-grown agricultural products, including fruits, vegetables, dairy products and seasonal fish such as cherry trout. Visitors can also head to a nearby underground arcade, where packaged gourmet items such as smoked tofu from Yoichi, smoked scallops from Otaru and cream cookies made with eastern Hokkaido-grown peppermint are sold.

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