Sapporo is the largest city in Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido. It is the city everyone is usually thinking of when saying ‘Hokkaido’, and also the most popular tourist destination in the area. Now, when visiting Hokkaido, it’s important to know what to expect. The island has not been a part of mainland Japan for quite as long as most of the other territories you might be visiting, so both the cityscape and the atmosphere might be slightly different from that of Tokyo and Osaka. However, Sapporo is famous nationwide for several things, including food, beer, and the Snow Festival. Today, we’ll introduce you to eight Sapporo tourist attractions and spot you don’t want to miss.
1. The Snow Festival
Held every winter across multiple sites, including Odori Park, Susukino, and Tsu Dome, the Snow Festival lasts one whole week and is the most famous event held in Sapporo. The festival is best known for the huge and intricate snow and ice sculptures, as well as the lovely illumination. If you’re still looking for a winter fairytale after the winter holidays are gone, you shouldn’t miss Sapporo’s Snow Festival!
Name: Sapporo Snow Festival
Phone number: +81 11-748-1876
Official website: http://www.snowfes.com/english/
2. Sapporo Beer Factory
The Sapporo Beer Factory (and Beer Museum) is another Sapporo landmark you should not miss when visiting the city. The museum offers guided tours of the factory and the brewing process, as well as a 30-minute beer drinking session where you can try out as many types of beer as you can! The factory also sports a couple of restaurants you can enjoy after your visit, all of which specialize in a regional mutton dish known as Genghis Khan.
Name: Sapporo Beer Factory
Address: 9 Chome-1-1 Kita 7 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 065-8633, Japan
Business hour: Tue-Sun 11:30-08:00, Mondays closed
Phone number: +81 11-748-1876
Official website: http://www.sapporoholdings.jp/english/guide/sapporo/
3. Shiroi Koibito Park
Don’t like beer, and would prefer something sweeter? No problem, because Sapporo also has its own chocolate factory and museum you can visit and enjoy. Named ‘Shiroi Koibito’ after a very popular Hokkaido souvenir (langue de chat biscuits filled with white chocolate), the park lets you witness the manufacturing and wrapping process. There’s also a workshop in which you can make your own cookies. Of course, you can also buy the cookies as souvenirs, and eat as much chocolate as you want during your stay!
Name: Shiroi Koibito Park
Address: 2 Chome-13-30 Miyanosawa 2 Jo, Nishi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 063-0052, Japan
Business hour: Every day, 09:00-18:00
Phone number: +81 11-666-1481
Official website: http://www.shiroikoibitopark.jp/english/
Susukino is Sapporo’s version of Kabukicho or Dotonbori. In other words, it’s the nightlife district of the city, where you can find hundreds of nightclubs, bars, restaurants, host clubs, and other more or less suspicious businesses. It’s also one of the three main sites of the Snow Festival, so you’ll surely want to visit it if you’re in time for the festival. If you’re craving to experience some of that neon-illuminated Japanese nightlife, Susukino is a must when visiting Sapporo.
5. Jogai Ichiba (Curb Market)
Much like the Tsukiji Fish market in Tokyo, Sapporo takes pride in its biggest fresh produce market, which is known as Curb Market, or Jogai Ichiba. However, Jogai Ichiba is not only famous for its fresh seafood but also their meat and dairy products (which are known to be the best in all of Japan), as well as locally grown fruits and vegetables. Not only can you buy the freshest produce in Sapporo, but you can also sample local cuisine at one of the restaurants located next to the market – whose ingredients come exclusively from the Curb Market!
Name: Jogai Ichiba
Address: Eighth Wholesale Market 2F, 21-2-3, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0011, Japan
Business hour: Mon-Sat, 08:00-15:00, Sundays closed
Phone number: +81 11-621-7044
Official website: http://www.jyogaiichiba.com/sapporo-central-wholesale-market-crab-market
6. Maruyama Zoo
The Maruyama Zoo is the oldest zoo in northern Japan, and it’s a fun spot to hang out for the whole family. Red pandas, wolves, snow leopards, snow owls, and even a polar bear cub – the zoo has a wide variety of animals you’ve probably never seen before. It’s also within the premises of the city, so you won’t have to go too far off the beaten path to enjoy it.
Name: Maruyama Zoo
Address: 3-1, Miyagaoka, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, 064-0959
Business hour: Every day, 09:30-16:00
Phone number: +81 11-621-1426
Official website: http://www.city.sapporo.jp/zoo/info/english1.html
7. Mt Moiwa
If you’re going to Sapporo during winter, chances are that you’re looking to hit the ski slopes for a day or two as well. And there’s no better place for skiing in Sapporo than Mt Moiwa. You can reach the top of the mountain using a cable car that you can take from the Ropeway Iriguchi Station. Mt Moiwa is also worth visiting outside of the skiing season, as the uppermost cable car station offers a magnificent panorama of the city.
Name: Mt Moiwa
Address: Mt. Moiwa, Moiwayama, Minami Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 005-0041, Japan
Official website: http://moiwa.sapporo-dc.co.jp/
8. Sapporo TV Tower
If you don’t have the time to go all the way up Mt Moiwa to take in a beautiful view of Sapporo, try the Sapporo TV Tower instead. Much like Tokyo Tower, the Sapporo TV Tower has an observation deck at 90m above the ground, which offers a great view over the Odori Park and its surroundings. If you’re visiting the TV Tower, might be a good moment to take in the Odori Park as well – especially if you’re in time for the Snow Festival. During the evening, the tower is also illuminated, making the landmark even more romantic.
Name: Sapporo TV Tower
Address: 1 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042, Japan
Business hour: Every day, 08:30-10:30
Phone number: +81 11-241-1131
Official website: https://www.tv-tower.co.jp/en/
In conclusion to all above said, Sapporo definitely has a lot to offer – from ski slopes to nightlife, and from great food to all sorts of theme parks to enjoy with the whole family. These eight attractions are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sapporo, but don’t let this list limit you in your discoveries – you never know what hidden treasures you can come across!
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