The Highlights of Sapporo, Japan
The highlights of Sapporo, Japan
Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido, the Northern Japanese island famed for its skiing, beer, and an annual snow festival where you can see enormous ice sculptures.
It’s perhaps one of the lesser-known destinations when you first think of Japan, but it offers many travel highlights and is well worth a trip.
Just to name a few of the best…
1) The Sapporo Snow Festival
Taking place annually in February, this is a festival like no other.
It began in the 50s when several students from a local high school started building statues made of snow in Odori Park (which remains the main festival site). It’s since turned into one of the largest commercialised events in the country, drawing in a huge two million visitors worldwide. There are many incredible sculptures to see, many of which are above 25m high, and 15m wide. As a winter getaway, it’s a must-see.
One of the best ways to see this phenomenon is with a specialised tour, as they can often include options to tie this in with seeing the renowned Snow Monkeys, as well as Tokyo and the ancient city of Kyoto.
2) Sapporo Beer Museum
Sapporo is famous for its beer, so – naturally – it has a beer museum. Located in the original beer brewery, which was founded back in 1876, it’s a lot more picturesque than your average museum.
There are plenty of English translations throughout, so you don’t need to sign up for a tour to enjoy it fully, and even better – there’s a tasting session when you get to the end. The most you can expect to pay is around ¥300 (£2 or $2.70), so it’s extremely cheap, and you can compare signature beers, too – some of which are only found in Sapporo.
3) Historic village of Hokkaido
Keeping in with the tradition of museums, the Historic Village of Hokkaido is an open-air museum in the suburbs of Sapporo, exhibiting approximately 60 buildings from all over the island – dating from historical periods at the back end of the 1800s, to the early 1900s.
About 10 minutes’ walk away, you’ll also find the Hokkaido Museum (where all the history of the island is documented, including Ainu culture, wildlife, and history).
4) Teine Ski Resort
The weather here is perfect for skiing during the winter months, so many will flock to this popular resort. Nestled on the outskirts of the city, there’s a variety of ski trails to choose from, some of which were also used in the Sapporo 1972 Winter Olympics (impressive, right?). It’s open from November until May, so you have a wide window to get there, and you’ll even get to see the Olympic Torch as a monument above the slopes, impressively overlooking the city.
There are also hot springs resorts, popular green parks where you can savour some fresh air, as well as food markets and many amazing bars and restaurants.