Ooooh Sapporo wow what a city. I lived in Sapporo for a year, actually my first year in Japan. I must say it was one of the most comfortable city were i lived in Japan. People from Sapporo are extremely nice and welcoming. There is a really small population of gaijin living in Sapporo which I must say makes living there a little bit more special. The city is kind of small if you compare it to some other major cities in Japan. It size make’s it warmer and comforting, you don’t get the vibe of a big city. Living in Sapporo makes all the life easier everything you want and you need within 10min of walk or metro. Like the roads too! In the urban district the roads are laid to make grid. If you like to go out for a drink or more , you don’t have to worry about the metro closing at 12am and all that in Sapporo, because taking a taxi to the hotel or home will be relatively cheap. Of course the city has some down sides. The island and prefecture of Hokkaido where Sapporo is situated does not have a major history in japan apart from being small agricultural settlement. Which mean there is not a lot of old temple, most of them are new. There is no castle in Hokkaido. The Sapporo city surrounding area are full of nature and beautiful scenery. It is near the Toyohira River, on the western and southern part of Sapporo you can see many mountains including Mount Teine, Maruyama, and Mount Moiwa, as well as a lot of rivers including the Ishikari River, Toyohira River, and Sousei River.
If you are traveling to Sapporo there are many places you should check out!
The Sapporo beer factory
It a really important and historical building in Sapporo. It is a bit out side of the city itself but easily accessible by public transports. At the factory there is a museum you can visit about he Sapporo beer brand and the process of making beer. The museum is relatively cheap around 10$ per adult.
The Sapporo Factory
The Sapporo Factory is the old beer factory that was transformed into a shopping mall. It’s a really nice shopping center 1/2 modern and te other 1/2 in the old factory. On the in side there is an impressive glass dome which is fully illuminated and decorated for the winter holidays. It is near odori station and accessible in metro or buses.
Susukino and Tanokikoji
Susukino is where the night life happens, there is a multitude of nightclubs, bars, dance clubs, restaurant, lat night shopping and adult entertainment. But when I say adult entertainment it’s mostly for Japanese only, maybe if you speak really good Japanese. Susukino is also where you can find the famous Sapporo Ramen Yokocho which is the ramen alley. Over there you will find a multitude of incredibly delicious ramen shops. Be sure to try the miso ramen because it’s birthplace was Sapporo. Betwin Susukino and Odori park you can find Tanokikoji The oldest Shopping center if I can say in Sapporo.The Tanokikoji is a street which is covered, the circulation is closed on that street. really near tanokikoji 6 you can find the Norubesa a building with a ferris wheel on its roof and the famous Gaijin bar where my name is probably somewhere on the wall of the second floor if they did not repaint.
The Sapporo Jr tower
If you visit Sapporo you will pass by the Jr tower. It is the main train station in Sapporo. The Jr building is the highest in Sapporo. There is an observatory on the last floor where you can admirer a splendid view of the city. You will also find a shopping center in the tower and a hotel. If you are adventurous you can go in the 2 basement floors where you will find more shops in different underground passage and metro passage. If it cold outside or snowy you can always walk from the Jr station to Odori park and Susukino because those 3 area of the city are connected with an intricate underground system.
Odori park and the T.V. tower
In the middle of Sapporo you can fine an impressively big park. It’s called Odori park. In Summer the park is full of flower and is a really nice place to picnic or to sit down and relax. In winter the park is not so attractive but during Christmas time you can witness the Odori park illumination. All the trees and the T.V. tower are illuminated and it makes for a really pleasant holiday feeling. During February the Odori park transform into the annual snow-festival also known as the yukimatsuri. It you walk to Odori park 1 you will be confronted to the Sapporo T.V. Tower. The tower is a nice vantage point to admire Odori park and downtown Sapporo. The tower is not as high and massive has Tokyo tower but it’s a fun activity. Of course Odori park is not a place that you will spend an awful amount of time but its a really nice stop to put on your list wile visiting Sapporo.
The Sapporo sweet’s factory
This is a special place in Sapporo. It is kind of far from downtown but I think that if you are in the Sapporo Area for a week or more you should plan a trip the sweet’s factory. First time I went there I was impressed. You know the Willy Wonka factory!? This is it!! The Shiroikoibito is the Willy Wonka factory. The building look like a big Swiss inspired castle. Just having that view makes you get in a childish mood. If you are visiting during the summer you will be able to see beautifully maintain gardens. Making your way inside will revive your inside child. You will be treated with a wonderful architecture and an old European style. The Factory museum is the host of a major tea-cup and accessories collection, an old toy and memorabilia collection and sweet confection activities. If you want to have a great time I would plan 3 or 4 hour to visit the factory. The sweets made at this factory are famous all around Japan and the factory is a major attraction for Japanese tourist in the Sapporo region.
I’m sure I could write even more about things to see or to do in Sapporo. It’s a great city and region in Japan. lots of things to do, lots of nature, incredibly good food especially sushi and wonderful people. I would now like to finish this post with 2 events in Hokkaido that are 2 must see in a life time.
Sounkyo ice fall festival
The little village of Sounkyo, is situated at the foot of mont Kurodake (1984meters) in Japan’s largest national park, Daisetsuzan. The city of Sounkyo is mostly an Onsen (hot spring) village, with a population of about 300. It takes about 2 hours to get to the village from Sapporo. The multitude of Onsen resorts gives you the possibility to enjoy a traditional Japanese activity. During your stay there you will be able to relax in a hot bath filed with natural mineral water and relax in a traditional Japanese hotel room. From january 23th to March 28th the city of Sounkyo holds its anual Ice fall festival. The festival is really a magical place. They transform the ice falls in big sculptures, slides and even a shrine. At night you can enjoy a wonderful view of the festival and some fireworks. Every time im in Hokkaido i take the time to stop there for a week-end. There is also a lot of travel agencies in Sapporo that offerweekend trips, a popular one is Asaikawa zoo, Sounkyo and Mombetsu.
The Sapporo snow festival
Sapporo Yuki Matsuri さっぽろ雪まつり
Every year in the 2 first weeks of February, the city of Sapporo hold’s its annual snow festival.The first festival began in 1950, at that time six local high school students built snow statues in Odori Park. In 1955, the Japan Self-Defense Forces from the nearby base joined in and built the first massive snow sculptures, for which the Snow Festival has now become famous. The festival is one of Japan’s largest winter festival. International Snow Sculpture Contest has been held at the Odori Park site since 1974.Every year the number of statues displayed is around 400 in total. In 2007, there were 307 statues created in the Odori Park site, 32 in the Satoland site and 100 in the Susukino site. One of the best place to view the creations is from the TV Tower. Most of the statues are illuminated in the evening. In the susukino district, on the main strip you can see some 100’s of ice statues and even an ice bar. I’m from Canada so obviously I don’t mind the cold, if you’re like me and not afraid of the cold and you love winter the Snow festival is the place for you. During the festival brings many Gaijin to Sapporo which makes the nigh life even more interesting.
Here is some useful links about Sapporo check them out!
The Sapporo tourist assosiation.
City of Sapporo