Sapporo Dome
The Sapporo Dome (Photo credit: atuweb)

Sapporo Travel Guide

QUICK FACTS

  • The largest city on Hokkaido Island, Sapporo is home to nearly 2 million people.
  • The modern city is among the nation’s youngest, having developed from a population of just 7 members in 1857.
  • It is the prefecture’s main political, cultural and economic channel.
  • The city held the 1972 Winter Olympics, the first ever held in Asia.
  • Nickname: The City of Ramen

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Currency: Japanese Yen (JPY).
  • Spoken languages: Japanese.
  • Best time to visit: from January to March for the wonderful snow season and the world-renowned Sapporo Snow Festival. Alternatively, visit from April to September for a pleasant, mild climate.
  • Arriving via airport: New Chitose Airport (CTS) is served by Chuo, Hokuto Kotsu and Donan bus lines with tickets dependent on distance; JR bus Airport Express for ¥1,040 one-way. Taxis pick up passengers from the arrivals hall and charge ¥12,000-14,000.

WHERE TO STAY

Chūō-ku is the focal point of the city, a well-planned district awash in entertainment and culture through the many landmarks, which include the Sapporo TV Tower and Odori Park. Susukino is a fun congestion of bars, restaurants, karaoke lounges, teahouses and more, perfect for those who like to be central to the action. The genteel neighbourhood of Minami-ku offers peace and quiet while also being connected to the crucial wards via the city’s efficient transportation.

GETTING AROUND

  • Sapporo is Japan’s easiest-to-navigate city, with city blocks named and numbered according to the point of the compass.
  • The city’s organized transportation system consists of the subway, tram and privately-owned bus companies. One-day passes for unlimited use of the subway cost ¥800 while a one-day pass for unlimited use of the network costs ¥1000.
  • The Hokkaido Rail Pass provides unlimited access to JR trains and buses in all of Hokkaido, with a 3-day pass priced at ¥15,000 and a weekly-pass at ¥22,000.
  • Taxis are readily available around the city and can be hailed from the street. Meters start at ¥580 with a 20% surcharge between 23.00-5.00. Dial 881 311 or 581 2454 to pre-book.

SAPPORO NIGHTLIFE

  • Drinking age is 20, and last call is 4 AM.
  • Susukino is home to the largest and most varied entertainment scene, with bars open all night catering to the young professional crowd.
  • Sapporo Station has a lively pub scene that caters to a casual crowd.
  • Odori offers its takers a vibrant music scene, favoured by local and international bands.

UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT

  • Sapporo TV Tower watches over the city, a landmark that holds an observation deck at 90 metres, shops and restaurants.
  • Odori Park is a symbol of Sapporo, a major cultural destination famed for its activities as it hosts the annual Snow Festival in Feruary and the Bon and Yosakoi summer festivals.
  • Sapporo Beer Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of beer in Japan and in particular to Sapporo beer, one of the oldest and most popular brands in the country.
  • Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art hosts exhibits on contemporary art
  • Sapporo Clock Tower is the oldest building in the city and one of the few remaining Western-style structures, a symbol of the American assistance received in developing the city.

INTERESTING WALKS

  • Nijo Market features fresh local produce such as Hokkaido melons and seafood such as sea urchins and salmon roe.
  • Sapporo Art Park allows visitors to appreciate its outdoor museum, craft studio and workshops from a beautiful park setting.
  • Moerenuma Park is the last wish by the late sculptor Isami Noguchi. The grounds feature several interesting designs, from the Sea Fountain to thr Glass Pyramid and are a popular summer and winter destination.

LOCAL WISDOM

  • Hokkaido is the birthplace of Sapporo beer, first brewed in 1876 during the Meiji period.
  • Shiroi Koibito is the ubiquitous souvenir, a premium sandwich cookie that translates to “white lover,” made with white chocolate between two wafers of shortbread.
  • Where to find good cheap eats: Ramen Yokocho is a lane packed with shops selling Sapporo’s famous ramen for budget-friendly prices.
  • Dangerous areas: none – Sapporo is a very safe city.

RECOMMENDED SAPPORO GUIDE BOOKS

Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days


SEE ALSO:
Sapporo Travel Guide was last modified: September 26th, 2016 by Nick
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