Sapporo is known for its snow and winter sports, it is the largest city and capital of the island of Hokkaido and the fifth largest in Japan. Famous for its winter that completely covers the entire city with snow, forming a spectacular landscape that attracts thousands of visitors.
One of the best months to travel to the city is in February, as the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri week, or Sapporo Snow Festival, is celebrated, an event that presents ice and snow sculptures that are very famous in the world. Sapporo has achieved rapid growth from a settlement to a thriving metropolis, it is not as old a city like others in Japan.
Currently, Sapporo is known in addition to its winter and festival for its famous for its ramen, beer, and North American style rectangular road system, an amazing place to spend the winter with its activities and views.
What to see and do in Sapporo?
Surrounded by beautiful gardens, art, culture, and especially major events, Sapporo is a wonderful winter destination for its famous sculpture event that attracts thousands of people. It is a place with a lot to offer and activities to do, walking through its streets means discovering the essence of Japan and enjoying incredible views.
Sapporo Snow Festival
It is the most representative and the main event of the city, it is celebrated at the beginning of February and each year it attracts more than two million visitors, both from Japan and from all over the world. Its history dates back to the year 1950 with some high school students who built six snow statues in Odori Park; Surprisingly, the creations attracted fifty thousand visitors.
Later in 1955, the Self Defense Force got together to build a massive snow sculpture. By 1959 more than 2,500 people participated in the creation of a snow sculpture, it was in that year that the festival first attracted national media attention.
However, the event was further popularized when Sapporo hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, reaching international audiences and creating fame for the popular winter festival. In it, you will see impressive snow and ice sculptures, it is usually held in three different places in and around Sapporo: Odori Park, Tsu-dome Precinct, and Susukino Precinct.
The Sapporo Snow Festival usually brings together around 400 snow and ice sculptures. The vast majority are located in Odori Park, a hundred in Susukino, and a few in Tsu-dome. There are various sculptures that are presented, with national and international artists. Combine lights, stunning works of art, and shows everywhere.
Odori Park is one of the main tourist spots in the city, located in the center of Sapporo. with beautiful flower gardens, grass meadows and trees inside that form an incredible landscape. It has a length of 1.5 kilometers occupying about 7.8 hectares, its design was made by Nagaoka Yasuhei more than a hundred years ago.
The park hosts the celebration of the lilac festival, the Yosakoi Soran Festival, and the snow festival, events with a great tradition and essence among the inhabitants of Sapporo.
Every February, the famous Sapporo Snow Festival is held. From the end of July to the middle of August, a huge beer garden appears in this park. A Bon Odori (Japanese-style dance) festival is held in mid-August, so visiting this park always means having some special activity to discover.
The park is divided into five themed zones called “Flowers”, “Meeting”, “Frontier”, “Oasis” and “Interchange”. Inside the park is the symbol of Sapporo, the 147.2-meter-high television tower, from where you can see a spectacular view of the entire city. In addition, the park also has fountains, statues, and a stage, ideal for enjoying a quiet walk.
Throughout the year, numerous plants such as cherry trees bloom, which in spring attract travelers from all regions of Japan. You can also buy typical Sapporo items and souvenirs, t-shirts, bags, cell phone covers, handicrafts, among other items.
Odori Park is located next to Odori Station on the Tohoku, Nanboku, and Toho subway lines. From JR Sapporo station you walk 15 minutes to reach the park, there is a 366-space underground car park that connects directly to the mall.
Stroll through Susukino
It is the city’s entertainment district, perfect for going out at night for dinner or a drink. It has a multitude of bars, clubs, karaoke venues, and shows that are attended by both locals and tourists to have fun at night in the city.
The Susukino area is the number one entertainment district in Hokkaido, and its streets are lined with places to enjoy culinary delights such as Sapporo ramen, Genghis Khan (grilled lamb), zangi (fried chicken), and Ramen Yokocho (street ramen) which spans one block, is a must for ramen lovers.
In this part of the country, it is very cold during most of the year, and hot dishes such as ramen, curry soup, or Genghis Khan are a must. There is an infinite variety of ramen, but the best known is miso ramen, based on this broth and with roast pork.
The best place to try any or all types of ramen is Sapporo Raumen Yokocho, just two blocks south of Susukino. It consists of a base of curry broth in a huge bowl, usually accompanied by grilled meat and vegetables.
It is an ideal place for shopping with many malls and a totally on-the-go atmosphere, in the best Japanese style. If you are one of those who love to visit shopping centers, discover gastronomy, drink, and walk through streets in constant activity, this is the perfect place.
It is located near the center of Sapporo, it is an essential place to visit on your trip. At its 531-meter summit, there is an observation deck with a panoramic view of all of Hokkaido. It attracts many people during the year, especially those who like to climb mountains and go hiking in the summer, or ski in the winter.
Its views are spectacular that leave more than one breathless and attract the attention of visitors. On the observation deck at the top of the mountain, you’ll find the popular Bell of Happiness venue along with a restaurant and planetarium.
Seeing the cityscape at night of tall buildings along with the rich nature is a sight that can only be found in Sapporo. It is advisable to go up an hour before sunset to enjoy the views day and night. Also, bring a good coat as the wind blows very strongly at the top.
Shiroi Koibito Park
It offers a fun tour, especially for children, where you learn about chocolate and can see the factory first hand. Shiroi Koibito Park is a theme park in Ishiya, its flagship product is the Shiroi Koibito cookie, which consists of two thin shortbread cookies and a layer of white chocolate in between.
The park consists of a free area with a shop, cafeteria, and restaurant and a paid area with various exhibitions related to chocolate and, most interestingly, some windows through which visitors can observe the process of producing cookies in the factory. . Another part of Shiroi Koibito Park is a soccer field that serves as a practice field for Consadole Sapporo, the local professional soccer team.
To get there, you must take the Tozai Subway Line to its western terminus, Miyanosawa Station, from where the park can be reached in ten minutes on foot.
The Sapporo TV Tower
It is located at the eastern end of Odori Park, it is a tourist attraction with a height of 147.2 meters. It features an observatory that you can climb to for panoramic views of Sapporo and the mountains in the distance.
It is 147.2 meters high, its observation deck offers guests unobstructed 360-degree views to enjoy the beauty of the city. It’s a 60-second elevator ride from the third floor to the observation deck 90.38 meters above the ground, offering a spectacular panoramic view of Sapporo. Set against a backdrop of the magnificent Ishikari countryside, the distant Sea of Japan, and Odori Park, it’s a must-see experience.
Red Brick Office
The red brick building was built in 1888, it has become an important base for Hokkaido which started in the second half of the 19th century.
Currently, it is designated as the country’s important cultural property, made of American Neo-Baroque style red brick, its height to the top of the tower is 33 meters. Inside are precious historical materials from the Hokkaido settlement.
The attractive point of this building is the beautiful atmosphere that surrounds it, not to mention the power of the historical materials on display. With over 1,000 trees planted in the front yard creating beautiful landscaping in the transition of spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Beers in Sapporo are fundamental and an important element of its culture. Since 1877, the Sapporo breweries have been producing spectacular beer. In 1987, almost a century later, the Sapporo Beer Museum opened its doors. With it, the iconic Sapporo Beer brand wanted to show visitors how it prepared its products and promote craftsmanship.
During the visit, you will be able to taste the original recipe for Fukkoku Sapporo Bakushu, which is still brewed according to the tradition created in 1881. Also, you can see the posters and advertisements of Sapporo beer throughout the years; they are a great opportunity to learn about the most characteristic fashions and designs of Japan in the different decades.
Right next door is the Sapporo Beer Garden, an Oktoberfest-worthy brewery where you can sample great beer, great food, and perfect moments. You can choose any of the specialties on the menu: spider crab, sushi, a grilled lamb dish called jingisukan, among many other options.
After tasting a beer, it is practically obligatory to eat a “Genghis Khan” (jinjisukan). This lamb dish contains seasonal greens and cabbage, each cooked on a greased conical griddle in the middle of the table. When the meat is ready, it is dipped in a sauce or in salt and pepper. All of this always goes down better accompanied by a good pitcher of beer.
It is a historic market that sells fresh seafood and has been transformed into a tourist spot to discover the local culture. In addition to more than 30 specialty shops, the market is home to some of the best restaurants and has gained fame as a gourmet market in Sapporo.
This fish market is not very big, but in almost all the stalls you can have breakfast or eat a good plate of sashimi. The market has more than a hundred years of history that began with the first merchants who established their fish shops in these streets in 1903.
Next to Nijo Market is the “new Nijo Market” where you can buy vegetables, sweets, and souvenirs.
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