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Sapporo - 10 Destinations to Visit in Hokkaido's Largest City!

Sapporo - 10 Destinations to Visit in Hokkaido's Largest City!

Hokkaido 2016.10.30

Mother Nature and an artistic downtown - this is how Sapporo could be described. This article introduces 10 great places to visit in Sapporo, including the Old Hokkaido Government Building, Nijo Market, Sapporo Television Tower and more!

Translated by Clarke

Written by Mayo Nomura

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Sapporo - Hokkaido's Largest City

sapporo tv tower 160819a

Sapporo is the largest city on the island of Hokkaido. Nestled in the beauty of nature and with delicious cuisine and an artistic atmosphere, Sapporo is host to many visitors not just from Japan but from all around the world year-round.

Read also:

Ways To Travel From Tokyo To Hokkaido! A Thorough Comparison
8 Delicious Souvenirs from Hokkaido (Part 1)
8 Delicious Souvenirs from Hokkaido (Part 2)

Must-See Places in Sapporo

There are many famous sightseeing spots in Sapporo, but with many gathered around Sapporo station, you can get your fill of sightseeing all in one convenient area.

That said, there are of course great places to visit outside of the center of the city as well. Popular year-round are the city's parks, where art and nature meet. Moerenuma Park, designed by Isamu Noguchi embodies this more than anywhere else in the city and is visited by a constant stream of tourists throughout the year.

In this article, we'll be looking at areas around Sapporo station (1~6), and a few areas outside of the center of the city (7~10).

A Point of Caution About Climate and Clothing

From November, the city really starts to get cold, and between December and March it's common to see below-freezing temperatures. If you're planning to visit in the winter, make sure to pack warm clothing accordingly.

Public Transportation in Sapporo City

Sapporo has a number of different ways to get around, including subways, buses, and street cars. The city is laid out on a grid pattern, so even just walking around is simple enough if you'd rather stretch your legs.

1. Former Hokkaido Government Office (Red Brick Gov. Office)

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Image courtesy of Yokoso SAPPORO

The Former Hokkaido Government Office is a symbol of Sapporo and is located right by Sapporo station.

This old brick building is the perfect place to snap a quick photo to commemorate your visit.

With weeping cherries and tulips in May, sweet flags in June, and water lilies and Japanese roses blooming in July, the view takes on a golden hue in fall when the ginkgo's change color.

Read also:

Explore Sapporo in Two Days with This Model Itinerary!

2. Nijo Market

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Image courtesy of Yokoso SAPPORO

Nijo Market is where all the delicious produce and food from all over Hokkaido gathers for people to come taste and buy.

Nijo Market is located in the center of the city. For those of you looking to by fresh crabs, shrimp, and scallops or for those of you who want to taste the unique flavors of Hokkaido at local eateries, then Nijo Market is a must-visit. There are several establishments where workers speak English in the market, but of course Japanese also works, too.

As it gets pretty busy after 8 am, make sure you don't sleep in too late!

Read also:

All The Delicious Foods In One Place! Sapporo's Nijo Market (Japanese)

3. Sapporo Beer Museum

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Image courtesy of Yokoso SAPPORO

High on the list of recommended spots for beer lovers is the Sapporo Beer Museum.

The museum offers guided tours for guests who have difficulty with Japanese language. If you go all in for the 500 yen premium tour, then you can even try some beer brewed in the exact same manner as it was 130 years ago.

With restaurants in the museum, you can enjoy some famous Hokkaido Jingisukan (roasted lamb), crab, potatoes, and cheese along with a glass of just-brewed beer.

4. Mount Moiwa Ropeway

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Image courtesy of Yokoso SAPPORO

Mt. Moiwa is home to thralls of Hokkaido squirrels and Ezo red foxes. With the kind of tranquil surroundings that only Hokkaido can provide, if you're looking for a great view, then take the Mount Moiwa Ropeway up to the top of the mountain.

In 2015, the nighttime view from Mt. Moiwa was selected as the second best scenery in all of Japan (No. 1 being in Nagasaki and No. 3 being in Kobe). Due to the romantic view, you'll find lots of lovers young and old coming to enjoy the scenery here.

5. Hokkaido University

Right next to Sapporo station you'll find Hokkaido University.

There are free museums located on campus grounds where minerals found in Hokkaido and other research specimens are on display to the public. Buildings built back when it was still called Sapporo Agricultural College can still be found here, making it a perfect place for those with a penchant for architecture.

The university cafeteria opens at 8 AM on weekdays, and with a breakfast set available for only 200 yen, those of you looking to eat a traditional Japanese breakfast will find that this is a deal that can't be beat.

*This is a school with actual students studying, so please be courteous while on campus.

6. Odori Park and Sapporo Television Tower (Sapporo Snow Festival!)

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Odori Park, located in the center of the city and running along Odori road, which connects the north and south of town, is an enormous park with the Sapporo Television Tower located in one corner of its grounds.

The Sapporo Snow Festival is held at the foot of the Television Tower in the winter, and with beer gardens opened there in the summer, there are often events held in this part of the city. For information on the Sapporo Snow Festival, see the Sapporo Snow Festival Official Website.

Along with the multitude of different flowers that bloom during the year in Odori Park, you can also find statues and fountains, making it the perfect place for a long, relaxing stroll.

From the Television Tower you can see the changing leaves in the fall, the Snow Festival in the winter, and many other interesting sights during the year. The view from the tower on a clear day, giving perfect vantages of Odori, Sapporo City, and the mountains in the background, is truly breathtaking.

7. Shiroi Koibito Park

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Image courtesy of Yokoso SAPPORO

Shiroi Koibito ('White Lover') is a type of cookie with white chocolate sandwiched in between. The richness and flavor of the butter used give the cookie's white chocolate a distinct taste, making the cookies a Hokkaido staple and popular all throughout Japan.

About a 1 hour bus ride away from Sapporo station, Shiroi Koibito Park is where you will find the factory where Shiroi Koibito cookies are made. With factory tours and other tourist attractions, the friendly staff will ensure you a great experience visiting the factory.

If you're looking for some extra souvenirs or something to do on a rainy day, this is a definite recommendation.

In addition to offering factory tours and the chance to try your hand at making cookies, there are lots of other adorable places to visit around the park. Just like stepping into a fairy tale, don't miss the Shiroi Koibito Park.

Read also:

Fall Into A Fairy Tale At Sapporo's "Shiroi Koibito Park"(Japanese)

8. Designed by Isamu Noguchi! Moerenuma Park

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Moerenuma Park is a park designed by Isamu Noguchi where art and nature meet.

Although you'll need to hop on a train from Sapporo proper and transfer to a bus to arrive in about 40 minutes, the beauty and artistic atmosphere of this park has made it a popular Sapporo destination despite being a little out of the way.

The panoramic view from the top of the hill is truly one of a kind. Popular among locals is the artificial beach in the summer and of course playing in the snow in the winter. With playgrounds on the park grounds, those with young children can enjoy the relaxing atmosphere while your children frolic and play.

As the park itself is quite large, we recommend renting bicycles to get around once you arrive at the park.

9. Sapporo Art Park

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For those of you looking to get out of the city proper and get some fresh air, hop on the train out of Sapporo for 20 minutes, transfer to a bus for another 15 to get to Sapporo Art Park a lovely little hideaway.

This charming, modern art park boasts 74 pieces where nature combines with art to form an otherworldly experience. For people looking to take interesting photos of their visit, this is definitely not to be missed.

Read also:

74 Charming Works of Art! Sapporo Art Park(Japanese)

10. Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park

takino suzuran park 160819

Image courtesy of Yokoso SAPPORO

30 minutes by train from Sapporo station and then another 30 on the bus, though it may be an hour outside the city, we definitely recommend checking out Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park.

A park offering lots of athletic activities, it's easy to spend a whole day here and still not see everything. Those with children in tow will certainly enjoy everything this park has to offer.

Run by the government, the park prides itself on maintaining the various gardens to perfection, making the park an excellent place to visit any time of the year.

Well, what do you think? We hope that you enjoy all the nature, food, art, and charm that Sapporo holds in store!

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