Sapporo, the capital of Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, is a vibrant city filled with culture, history, and endless opportunities for exploration. Here are ten exciting things to do during your visit to this bustling metropolis.
Explore the Historic Odori Park
Odori Park is one of the most popular destinations in Sapporo, and it’s easy to see why. Spanning over a kilometer in length, the park provides a peaceful contrast to the surrounding cityscape, and is an excellent spot for a relaxing afternoon stroll or picnic. The park is also host to various seasonal events and festivals which are sure to delight any visitor.
As you wander through the park, take note of the various sculptures and monuments scattered throughout. One such landmark is the Eternal Flame, a tribute to the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. The flame has been burning since 1970 and serves as a reminder of the importance of peace and unity.
Admire the Sapporo TV Tower
Located in the Odori Park, the Sapporo TV Tower stands tall as a symbol of the city. Visitors can take a trip to the top of the tower for stunning panoramic views of the cityscape and beyond.
But the tower isn’t just a sight to see from afar. Inside, you’ll find a charming gift shop filled with souvenirs and local treats. And if you’re feeling hungry, head up to the tower’s restaurant for a meal with a view.
Attend the Sapporo Snow Festival
Each year, the Sapporo Snow Festival attracts millions of visitors from across the globe. During this incredible event, the streets of Sapporo are transformed into winter wonderlands, with larger-than-life ice sculptures lining the city center. It’s a stunning sight and an unforgettable experience.
But the festival isn’t just about admiring the sculptures. You can also take part in various activities such as snowboarding, ice skating, and even snow rafting. And don’t forget to sample some of the local delicacies, such as hot soup curry and grilled lamb, to warm you up on a chilly winter day.
Relax in the Rose Garden
Located in the center of the city, the Sapporo Rose Garden is a peaceful oasis filled with over two hundred varieties of gorgeous roses. With tranquil walking paths weaving through fragrant blooms, the garden is an idyllic location to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature.
But the garden isn’t just a feast for the eyes and nose. It’s also a popular spot for outdoor concerts and events, with musicians and performers taking the stage amidst the flowers. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the garden’s resident rabbits, who love to hop around and play in the grass.
Discover the Sapporo Beer Museum
Sapporo Beer is one of the most beloved brands of beer in Japan. Visitors to the Sapporo Beer Museum can learn about the history and production of this famous brew, and even sample some of the different varieties of Sapporo beer on offer.
Learn the History of Sapporo Beer
The museum provides a captivating glance into the history of Sapporo Beer, which dates back to the late 1800s. The story of Sapporo Beer began with the arrival of German brewer Seibei Nakagawa, who was invited by the Japanese government to help establish a brewery in Hokkaido. Guests can learn about the creation of this iconic brand and how it grew to become one of the most recognizable beers in the world. The museum showcases the evolution of Sapporo Beer, from its humble beginnings to the present day.
Taste the Different Beer Varieties
Sapporo Beer Museum allows its guests to taste several types of beer varieties that have been produced by the brewery. Its tasting room showcases a variety of flavors that guests can sip and take in while learning about the beer-making process. From the classic Sapporo Lager to the seasonal brews, visitors can experience the unique taste of each beer variety. The knowledgeable staff is always on hand to guide visitors through the tasting process and answer any questions they may have.
Visit the Sapporo Beer Garden
After learning about the history and production of Sapporo Beer, visitors can head to the Sapporo Beer Garden for some delicious food and a lively atmosphere. The garden is an excellent place to meet new people, enjoy Japanese cuisine, and most importantly, taste the local beer. The garden features a large outdoor seating area, where visitors can enjoy their food and drinks while taking in the beautiful scenery. The menu offers a wide variety of dishes, from traditional Japanese cuisine to international favorites. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the beer garden and learn about the history of the facility, which was once the site of the original Sapporo Brewery.
Overall, the Sapporo Beer Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves beer or is interested in the history of one of Japan’s most iconic brands. With its fascinating exhibits, delicious beer, and lively atmosphere, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening with friends and family.
Visit the Hokkaido Shrine
The Hokkaido Shrine is one of the most famous and revered Shinto shrines in Japan. Located in the heart of Sapporo, the shrine is dedicated to the growth and prosperity of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido. It is the perfect place to learn more about Japanese culture and spirituality.
Experience Traditional Japanese Culture
Outside of its spiritual significance, visiting the Hokkaido Shrine provides an opportunity to experience traditional Japanese culture firsthand. Visitors can witness the time-honored tradition of cleansing oneself with water before entering the main shrine, and can also observe a variety of Shinto customs and rituals.
One of the most interesting customs you may witness is the act of making an offering at the shrine. Visitors can purchase a small wooden plaque called an ema, on which they can write a wish or prayer. The ema is then hung on a designated board within the shrine grounds, where it is believed that the gods will receive the message and grant the wish.
Another fascinating aspect of Japanese culture that can be observed at the Hokkaido Shrine is the art of origami. Visitors can learn how to fold paper into various shapes, such as cranes, flowers, and animals, from skilled origami artists.
Attend the Annual Sapporo Festival
During the summer months, the Hokkaido Shrine hosts the annual Sapporo Festival – a lively and colorful event that celebrates Japanese culture and traditions. Attendees can enjoy taiko drumming, traditional dances, and various street performers, among other fun activities.
One of the highlights of the festival is the food. Visitors can sample a variety of traditional Japanese dishes, such as sushi, tempura, and ramen, as well as local Hokkaido specialties like seafood and dairy products.
The festival also features a variety of games and activities for children, such as yoyo fishing and goldfish scooping. These games are based on traditional Japanese pastimes and provide a fun and educational experience for kids.
Explore the Surrounding Maruyama Park
Maruyama Park is located just a short walk from the Hokkaido Shrine and is an excellent spot to experience the natural beauty of Hokkaido. With a picturesque mountain backdrop, the park is perfect for hiking, exploring, or simply relaxing with a picnic in the sunshine.
The park is home to several species of native Hokkaido wildlife, such as the Hokkaido red fox and the Hokkaido squirrel. Visitors can also enjoy a scenic walk through the park’s beautiful cherry blossom forest, which is particularly stunning in the springtime.
In addition to its natural beauty, Maruyama Park also offers several cultural attractions, such as the Maruyama Zoo and the Hokkaido Shrine Museum. The zoo is home to over 180 species of animals, including polar bears, penguins, and tigers, while the museum offers a fascinating insight into the history and traditions of the Hokkaido Shrine.
Whether you’re interested in Japanese culture, spirituality, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, a visit to the Hokkaido Shrine and Maruyama Park is an experience not to be missed.
Shop at Tanukikoji Shopping Street
Tanukikoji Shopping Street is the perfect destination for anyone who loves shopping. Home to a vast array of stores and vendors, visitors can find everything from traditional Japanese goods to the latest fashion trends.
Browse the Unique Local Shops
Tanukikoji Shopping Street is filled with unique and fascinating stores, many of which offer locally-made goods and specialty products. Spend an afternoon browsing the shops and choose a few souvenirs to take home with you. One of the most popular shops on the street is the famous Tanuki statue shop, where you can find various souvenirs featuring the mischievous raccoon dog. Another must-visit shop is the Hokkaido souvenir shop, where you can find a wide range of traditional Hokkaido products such as Ainu crafts, sweets, and snacks.
Enjoy the Street Food Options
The street is also filled with delicious street food options, making it a perfect destination for foodies. Visitors can enjoy everything from savory noodle dishes to sweet Japanese snacks and desserts. One of the most popular food items on the street is the Sapporo-style ramen, which is known for its rich and flavorful miso-based broth. Another must-try food is the jingisukan, a Hokkaido specialty dish consisting of grilled lamb and vegetables.
Experience the Lively Nightlife
When the sun sets, Tanukikoji Shopping Street comes alive with vibrant nightlife. With a variety of bars, nightclubs, and izakayas, visitors can experience the best of Sapporo’s evening atmosphere. One of the most popular bars on the street is the Sapporo Beer Garden, where you can enjoy a cold pint of Sapporo beer while savoring some of Hokkaido’s famous seafood. For those who prefer a more laid-back atmosphere, the cozy and intimate jazz bars on the street are the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy some live music.
Aside from shopping, eating, and drinking, Tanukikoji Shopping Street is also a great place to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. Visitors can witness traditional Japanese performances such as taiko drumming and dance performances, or even try their hand at Japanese calligraphy and origami at the various cultural experience centers on the street.
There you have it – ten exciting things to do during your visit to Sapporo. With so many incredible destinations to explore, the city is the perfect destination for any traveler looking for adventure and culture.