Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan, the largest city on the island of Hokkaido, and the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture.
Sapporo is a fairly young city for Japan, in 1857 its population was only 7 people, and now it has grown to 2 million. Although the city doesn’t have as long a history as, for example, Kyoto, it attracts many tourists, primarily for its Snow Festival, as well as excellent hot springs and many resorts located nearby.
Outside of Japan, Sapporo is known as the city that hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics. In addition, Sapporo has hosted three Asian Winter Games in 1986, 1990 and 2017.
If you smoke, please note that in the center of Sapporo, smoking is not allowed on the street or in public places. However, there are certain areas and establishments in the city where smoking is allowed – but even there, be prepared for the fact that you will be asked to show ID. See EDUCATIONVV for education and training in Japan.
How to get to Sapporo
All international and domestic flights arrive at New Chitose Airport, located southeast of the city. Direct international flights from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea arrive at the airport, and from Russia you can fly there from Sakhalin. Sapporo is connected by domestic flights to almost all cities in Japan.
You can get from the airport to the city by buses of the Chuo Bus company, departing every 15 minutes and following to Sapporo Station. On the way, buses spend about 40 minutes, and the fare for them is 1070 JPY.
From Honshu to Sapporo, you can take a train running through the Seikan Tunnel, which has a total length of 53.85 kilometers.
At the moment, Seikan is the second largest tunnel in the world, in 2017 it was bypassed by the Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland. But Seikan retains the title of the longest underwater tunnel, because 23.3 kilometers of the way through it pass under the waters of the Tsugaru Strait.
From Tokyo to Sapporo can be reached in 9.5 hours on one of the three high-speed trains, and such a trip will cost you about 31,500 JPY. Keep in mind that high-speed trains are the most popular among both tourists and the Japanese themselves, so it’s best to book tickets in advance.
In addition, two more trains depart from Tokyo, from Ueno Station – the expensive and luxurious night train Cassiopeia and the cheaper Hokutosei. Both follow about 16 hours.
With the Twilight Express trains, you can reach Sapporo from Kyoto or Osaka in about 21 hours, which is considered the longest train route in all of Japan. In addition, trains run to Sapporo from most major cities in Hokkaido, including Hakodate, Otaru, and Asahikawa.
All train stations in Sapporo are connected to subway stations, so you won’t have any problem getting to your hotel.
High-speed buses to Sapporo depart from almost all cities in Hokkaido. The bus terminal is located next to Mahe Subway Station, located on the Nanboku and Toho Lines.
On a ferryboat
Despite the fact that Sapporo is located inland, there are two ports nearby – Otaru and Tomakokai, where ferries from several Japanese cities regularly arrive.
Sapporo has JR trains that will take you to almost anywhere in the city and beyond. Trains are considered the cheapest way to move around the city.
Sapporo has three subway lines that intersect at Odori Station in the city center. A ticket for one trip costs 200 JPY, and a one-day ticket costs 520 JPY on weekends and holidays and 830 JPY on weekdays. In addition, for 1000 JPY you can buy a one-day ticket for both the subway and the bus.
Trams are not the most popular means of transport in Sapporo, but they can come in handy. A ticket for a single tram ride costs 170 JPY, and a one-day ticket costs 300 JPY.
The cheapest accommodation option in Sapporo will appeal to nature lovers. For only JPY 1,050 per campsite and JPY 450 per person, you can stay at Takino Campground, located in the suburbs of Sapporo near beautiful waterfalls. The campsite is equipped with all necessary facilities such as shops, vending machines for drinks and snacks, laundry, public telephones, toilets and kitchens, and is open all the time from the last week of April to the first week of November.
Of the more civilized budget places to stay, it is worth noting Jimmyz Backpackers and Ino’s Place hostels, where a night costs 2900 JPY.
Sapporo Mets hotels (4050 JPY for a single room and 6200 JPY for a double room, breakfast included) and Richmond Hotel Sapporo Odori (11,800 JPY for a double room) will cost you a little more.
And for lovers of luxury, we can offer Sapporo Grand Hotel, built in 1934 and which is a historical monument, or Washington One, which, among other things, has a computer with Internet connection in every room.
Restaurants in Sapporo
Aji No Tokeidai is Japan’s most famous chain of cafes selling ramen noodles, even Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama once visited here. In addition to togu, you can dine here quite economically, because most of the dishes cost 600-700 JPY. You can also find great ramen at Ramen Yokochō.
The Beer Museum has a bar called Sapporo Beer Garden where you can eat and drink whatever you want for 100 minutes by paying an entrance fee. They have great food and lots of fun.
Hiraku has amazing oysters, but other seafood is top notch, and Romantei has some great desserts.
Sapporo is famous for its kegani (hairy crab) which you can find in many seafood restaurants.
Attractions and attractions in Sapporo
The clock tower, located near Odori Park, is considered the symbol of Sapporo. The Ishiya Chocolate Factory, also located near Odori, offers interesting tours. This factory produces the Hokkaido-only Shiroi KoiBito white chocolate.
Odori Park itself is also worth a visit. It is quite large and filled with blooming flowers and beautiful trees, and the murmur of the fountains perfectly relaxes. The Sapporo TV Tower is a 90-meter copy of the Eiffel Tower, and climbing to the observation deck, you can see a beautiful panorama of the entire city. The cost of the entrance ticket is 720 JPY.
Also, a great view of the city opens from the tower of the Hyakunen Kinentou memorial. Admission is free, but there are always a lot of schoolchildren who come on an excursion. At the Beer Museum, you can watch the production of local beer, and then try any varieties you are interested in with a significant discount – all the more so, admission to it is free.
Hokkaido Pioneer Village is a living history museum where you can observe life in Hokkaido at the very beginning of the 20th century. Entrance ticket – 1200 JPY. At the Museum of Modern Art, you can view a permanent collection of works by both Japanese and Western artists, and there are frequent exhibitions. And in the Art Park, you can see about 80 statues created by modern Japanese sculptors.
Sapporo has a Botanical Garden, owned by the University of Hokkaido. The garden is open from 9:00 to 16:00, ticket price is 420 JPY.
If you are going to Sapporo in winter, be sure to visit the Snow Festival, held annually in the first week of February. During the festival, many sculptors make ice sculptures – both their own and copies of other people’s famous works.
A short drive from Sapporo is the Teineyama Ski Resort. For 6700 JPY you can drive to the resort and use the lift for 7 hours.