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The 10 Best Things To Do In Sapporo

Explore Sapporo, home to the biggest snow festival, a chocolate theme park, world class hot springs and fabulous seafood.

By 5 min read

Sapporo is a snowy town in Hokkaido that brings to mind beer, the 1972 Winter Olympics and beautiful winter destinations. However, other treasures await exploration in Japan’s fifth-largest city. Why not dive into the city’s history, savor the north’s culinary pleasures and stroll through beautiful parks? Whatever your travel needs, read on for more of the best places Sapporo offers!

1. Sapporo Clock Tower

One of just a few historical Western-styled buildings in Sapporo.

Built in 1878 and designated an Important Cultural Property in 1970, the Sapporo Clock Tower is one of Sapporo’s few remaining historical Western-styled buildings. It continues to be a prominent landmark of the city. The Clock Tower was developed with American assistance. Its design is based on architecture typically found in wooden houses of the US Midwest. It was originally used as a military drill hall for Sapporo Agricultural College or modern-day Hokkaido University. It now serves as a museum, explaining the history and development of Sapporo.

North 1, West 2, Chuo-ku, Sapporo - Map
Fees: Adult: ¥200, high school students and younger: free
Hours: 8:45 a.m. – 5:10 p.m. 
Nearest stations: JR Sapporo or Odori (Sapporo Municipal Subway)

2. Odori Park

The park also plays a vital role as the site for yearly festivals.

Odori Park, extending over 1.5 km through the center of Sapporo, provides a lovely respite. Completed in 1871, the park was originally built as a firebreak between the northern and southern parts of the city. The park features large and ornate fountains. Seasonally arranged garden displays and flowering trees show off lilacs, the official tree of Sapporo. The park also plays a vital role in yearly festivals, such as the summer Beer Garden and the February Snow Festival. The latter welcomes over 2 million visitors yearly to marvel at ornate ice sculptures and snow statues.

2 Odorinishi, Chuo, Sapporo - Map
Fees: Free, but attractions and events may require an admission fee 
Hours: The park is always open, but attractions have differing hours of operation
Nearest station: Odori (Sapporo Municipal Subway)

3. Nijo Market

Don’t miss the exquisite sushi, grilled fish and seafood rice bowls.

Nijo Market, at the heart of Sapporo, is a favorite for its tasty seafood and lively vibe. Established in the Meiji period, it originated when Ishikari Beach fishermen brought their catch to sell in the city. Now spanning a whole city block, it boasts around 15 fisheries offering fresh delights like crabs, scallops and Hokkaido souvenirs such as dried fish and seaweed. You’ll find shops selling local vegetables and fruits, including the renowned musk melon. Don’t overlook the fantastic sushi, grilled fish, and seafood rice bowls served in eateries along the narrow Noren Yokocho corridor.

1-2 Minami, 3 Jo-higashi, Chuo, Sapporo - Map
Fees: Free
Hours: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. (individual shops may have differing opening and closing hours)
Nearest station: Odori (Sapporo Municipal Subway)  

4. Jozankei Onsen

A popular hot spring resort that is just outside central Sapporo.

Jozankei Onsen is a popular hot spring resort, just a short day trip outside central Sapporo. The onsen (hot spring) is located in a valley in Shikotsu-Toya National Park, offering scenic vistas throughout the year and exciting outdoor activities for every season, like snowshoeing, fruit picking, hiking and glamping. The hot springs were discovered in 1866. Since then, several ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) have been established in the area, offering access to their onsen for visitors to the resort. You can also experience the hot springs for free by trying the many hand and foot baths around the park.

Higashi 3, Minami, Sapporo  - Map
Fees: Depends on the establishment. Prices typically range from ¥500 to ¥2000 for day-use access. 
Hours: Depends on the establishment. 
Nearest station: No nearby station. Access via local Jotetsu buses from Sapporo Station Bus Terminal 

5. Susukino Area/Ramen Yokocho Street

Try miso ramen in its homeland.

Susukino is Hokkaido’s biggest entertainment district, with many nighttime establishments, from karaoke and izakaya (Japanese pubs) to bars and LGBT clubs. Many stores and restaurants are packed into this bustling area that you can access during the day. One of the most famous stretches is Ganso Ramen Yokocho street, where 17 restaurants serving unique versions of Sapporo’s famous miso ramen line the narrow alley. Open late into the night (some until 5 a.m.), these ramen shops are popular with tourists looking to try miso ramen in its homeland and locals partying in Susukino.

3 Minami 4 Jonishi, Chuo, Sapporo - Map
Hours: The area is always open, but business hours differ depending on the establishment
Nearest stations: Susukino and Hosui-Susukino, Sapporo Municipal Subway

6. Sapporo Factory

Sit back and relax around the atrium.

Built on the previous Kaitakushi Beer Brewery (the predecessor of Sapporo Beer), Sapporo Factory opened in 1993 as a shopping and entertainment site in the city’s center. Sapporo Factory comprises seven interconnected buildings, including a movie theater, a supermarket, clothing stores, lifestyle goods and more. The Atrium building is a great place to relax after a few hours of shopping, with many restaurants and cafes in its glassed-in garden! The Renga-Kan (Red Brick Building) and Observation Hall also have a beer hall, beer tastings and a small museum showcasing Kaitakushi’s history.

4-1-2 Kita 2 Johigashi, Chuo, Sapporo - Map
Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (shopping) / 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (restaurants)
Nearest station: Bus Center Mae (Sapporo Municipal Subway) 

7. Sapporo Beer Garden

Relive history while indulging in the same delicious beer and food as when it opened.

The symbol of the Sapporo Beer Garden is the Kaitakushi-kan (Red Brick Building), consisting of two large restaurant halls with their original red-brick architecture intact. The building was constructed in 1890 as a sugar factory and later used as a malting factory until 1963. The Beer Garden opened in 1966 and serves freshly brewed beer from the Sapporo Factory next door and all-you-can-eat Genghis Khan lamb BBQ, a Hokkaido specialty. Nowadays, you can relive history while eating and drinking the same delicious beer and food as when it opened.

9-2-10 Kita 7 Johigashi, Higashi, Sapporo - Map
Fees: Free to visit. All-you-can-eat Genghis Khan buffet: Adults (over 13 years old): ¥3, 600, Elementary students: ¥1, 800. All-you-can-drink options are also available at additional costs. 
Hours: Open 11: 30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Closed Mondays and New Year holidays)
Nearest station: Higashikuyakusho Mae (Sapporo Municipal Subway)

8. Shiroi Koibito Park

Join sweets-making classes and tour the production lines of Ishiya’s treats.

Shiroi Koibito Park is a theme park run by the Hokkaido chocolatier Ishiya that will satisfy your sweet cravings in a whimsical Japanese and British cultural melange. Ishiya is well-known for making one of Sapporo’s premier souvenir treats, the Shiroi Koibito, two crispy flat cookies with white chocolate sandwiched between them. Join sweets-making classes, tour the production lines of Ishiya’s treats, learn how chocolate is made at the Study Base Cacao Pod and eat exclusive products, like the Sweets Enjoy Set at the Chocolate Lounge Oxford.

2-11-36 Miyanosawa 2 Jo, Nishi, Sapporo - Map
Fees: Adult (over 15 years): ¥800, Children (4-15 years): ¥800, Preschoolers (0-3 years): free
Hours: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Nearest station: Miyanosawa, Sapporo Municipal Subway 

9. Moerenuma Park

Bike around one of Sapporo’s best parks.

This park was conceptualized by the famous sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who began working on it in 1982 as part of Sapporo’s larger Circular Greenbelt, which connects the city’s green areas. In 2005, the park held its grand opening as a place where art and nature intermingled. There are many intriguing design elements in Moerenuma Park, such as a man-made mountain and a glass pyramid building that uses Sapporo’s snow to power an air-conditioner. It also has charming seasonal elements, including cherry blossoms in spring, a summer wading pool, fall foliage and cross-country skiing for winter.

1-1 Moerenumakoen, Higashi, Sapporo - Map
Fees: Free
Hours: Always open 
Nearest station: Kanji-Dori-Higashi, Sapporo Municipal Subway

10. Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort

Hit the snow in Sapporo.

Experience the joy of skiing in Japan at the Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort, nestled in the stunning Shikotsu-Toya National Park. It features five lifts and seven courses. The courses cater to all skill levels, including a challenging black run from beginners to advanced. Despite its smaller scale, the Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort is a favorite among enthusiasts due to heavy snowfall. ensuring exceptionally fluffy powder and excellent skiing conditions.

937 Jozankei, Minami, Sapporo - Map
Fees: One day pass: Adults: ¥5,000, Seniors (65 years and older) ¥3,700, Junior high and high school students: ¥3,000, Elementary students: ¥1,800, preschoolers and younger: free. Rentals, lessons and lift tickets require additional payments. 
Hours: Regular season (Dec. 1 March 31): 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays 
Nearest station: No station nearby. Access via direct bus route from JR Sapporo station.
Have you been to this snowy Japanese city? Where are your favorite places to go? Let us know below!

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