Sapporo is the capital city of the northern island of Hokkaido. The city’s name originates from the Ainu language, an ancient, native Hokkaido tribe. Today, Sapporo is the fifth-largest city in Japan. Sapporo’s establishment began soon after the Meiji restoration as the newly formed government set up the Hokkaido Development Commission and established the head office in Sapporo. Sapporo and Hokkaido as a whole became a newly developed region of Japan. During the initial start-up period, foreign specialists traveled to the raw and rather sparsely inhabited island to advise on developmental issues. Sapporo’s city streets were designed on clearly laid out patterns of north-south, east-west avenues, making the city easily navigable for travelers. Today, Sapporo is famous worldwide for the Winter Olympics in 1972 and a grand winter snow festival.
- Day 2
- Soup Curry or Kaisendon Sushi Bowl for Lunch
- Sapporo Snow Festival
- Where to stay in Sapporo
- Other articles you might like
Hokkaido Former Government Office
From Sapporo station, you can easily walk to the historical Government Office. You will be surprised to discover that many of Sapporo’s historical buildings have more of a Western design style than other cities in Japan; this is partly because Sapporo was in effect a new creation. This red brick building is a fine and unique example of Sapporo’s historical architecture. It was built in 1888 in the American Neo-Baroque style and used as the city hall for 80 years. Today, it exhibits documents and pictures related to the history of Hokkaido.
8:45 am -6:00 pm
Entrance fee: free
Access: 8 min walk from JR Sapporo station or Subway Sapporo station
The Clock Tower standing in the center of Sapporo’s business district is an iconic landmark of the city. It was built in 1878 as a lecture hall for the Sapporo Agricultural College (Hokkaido University now). The building is another example of the city’s relatively recent development. The bell chimes every hour, and the clock tower is illuminated at night. Inside it serves as a museum to exhibit the history of Sapporo and Sapporo Agricultural College.
9:00 am ～10:00 pm
Entrance fee: 720 yen for adult
Access: a few minutes’ walk from Odori station, from any of its connecting Subway lines.
Nearby the clock tower, you’ll find the very impressive Odori Park. This one and a half kilometer collection of broad green lawns and finely designed fountains divides the town between south and north. Here you can see one of Isamu Noguchi’s famous sculptures. The park is an all-season retreat for the city’s inhabitants, with various festivals throughout the year. One special and traditional activity is buying freshly cooked corn from one of the wagons along the parkway. The Sapporo TV Tower at the eastern edge of the park has a 90-meter-high observation deck with great views of the city and surrounding area.
Access: right above of the Odori station in any Subway line
Lunch at Sapporo Ramen Yokocho
Sapporo is famous for many local dishes, and ramen noodles, especially miso-flavored ramen, is one of them. Sapporo noodles are curled and yellow, and the ramen often comes with corn and butter as a symbol of the Hokkaido flavor. Ramen Yokocho is located in Susukino, a short walking distance from Odori Park. Ramen Yokocho is an alleyway entirely made up for ramen restaurants. Actually, this is the original ramen lane (started in 1951) and there is a newer street (from 1976) nearby. Various restaurants offer true, original ramen here, (often from secret recipes) and all are unique and special!
Access: 3 min walk from Susukino station in the Subway Namboku line.
To reach the University, you first return north towards the Sapporo station. You can either take a subway or make the 20-minute walk from Susukino, perhaps to burn off the heavy ramen lunch! Hokkaido University has a vast campus in the city center, which is unusual in most big Japanese cities. You can feel the scale and nature of Hokkaido when visiting the campus. There are many historical buildings and picturesque natural sites, and one of the streets is lined with ginkgo trees, a popular spot to enjoy the fall foliage in autumn.
Access: 7 min walk from JR or Subway Sapporo station
Sapporo Beer Museum
Now you can move a bit northeast of Sapporo center and visit Sapporo Beer Museum. Sapporo beer is one of the oldest and most popular beer brands in Japan. Sapporo beer exports to the international market as well. This museum was opened in 1987 in an old brewery built in the Meiji period. Visitors can learn about the early pioneer life in Sapporo, as well as the history and brewing process of this famous beer brand. The tour is free, and you can try beer tasting at the end of the tour for a small fee.
Entrance fee: free tour, beer tasting tour 500 yen for adult
Access:10 min walk Higashi Kuyakushomae station in Subway Toho line
Dinner at Susukino
Susukino is the largest entertainment district in the northern part of Sapporo. The neighborhood is filled with bars, restaurants, shops, karaoke, game centers, pachinko parlors, hotels, and a red-light district. Local cuisine, served in charming and cozy restaurants, includes specially prepared dishes of fresh seafood; crab and sushi; a miso-based hot pot Ishikarinabe made with salmon and a lot of vegetables too. For meat lovers there is the famous Hokkaido grilled lamb/mutton dish Jingisukan. The recent trend among the youth is to hit the bars that serve fancy cocktails and beautiful parfaits.
Hokkaido Shrine/ Hokkaido Jingu
On the second day, let’s head west to the Maruyama neighborhood. The 60,000-square-meter Hokkaido Jingu Shrine was built in 1869 during the emerging period of the State Shinto ideology, the government soon supported Shinto as the national religion. Enshrined here are three of Hokkaido’s protective deities. Heavily visited by many people, especially crowds gather here during the cherry blossom season in spring and on New Year’s Day.
Access: 10 min walk from the Maruyama Koen station on subway Tozai line
Maruyama Zoo, the oldest zoo in Hokkaido, is famous for facilitating safe and close up areas where visitors can observe the animals in a natural manner and habitat as could be designed. Among the various events, there is a very special event such as Night Zoo, where visitors can see nocturnal animals in activity. Many of the animals can be commonly found in other zoos, but some are unique to the cooler northern weather. Especially popular animals are the Polar Bears and Red Pandas.
9:30～16:30 (March to October),9:30～16:00（November to February）
Entrance fee: 600 yen for adult and free for small children
Access: 15 min walk from Maruyama Koen station on Tozai line
Soup Curry or Kaisendon Sushi Bowl for Lunch
So, it’s almost time to head back to the airport, which leaves perhaps one last meal in Sapporo. What should you choose? The choice may be difficult. There are Sapporo’s soul foods; soup curry or a seafood rice bowl (kaisen don). Japanese loves curry, and new shops are popping up all around the city as the birthplace of soup curry. Sapporo curry shops are well known for serving up an addictive light broth with a special blend of spices. Often the broth is kept hot and fresh and deepens in taste. The soup is served with various toppings; fresh vegetables from Hokkaido’s farms, marinated and paper-thin slices of pork, chicken, and shrimp.
Many Japanese travel to Hokkaido just to eat fresh seafood. If that’s your choice, go for the kaisendon. Kaisendon is a collection of fresh (raw) seafood over a bed of unseasoned white rice. It’s basically a bowl of sashimi on rice. A simple dish, but because of its freshness it tastes so good!
Sapporo Snow Festival
Many people know Sapporo for the Snow Festival in February.
If you are planning to go, here is everything you need to know about this exceptional winter event in Sapporo!
Where to stay in Sapporo
Hotel Classe Stay Sapporo ― Very convenient location to the main touristic destinations in Sapporo, it is suitable for a long stay, breakfast is included.
Sapporo Guest House 庵 Anne ― Newly opened guest house where the friendly owner operates all by herself, you can enjoy the homemade breakfast.
Randor Residential Hotel Sapporo Suites ― Located in the central part of Sapporo City, they offer the clean and modern style rooms with a good bath.
Recommended article: 10 Best Hotels Near the Sapporo Snow Festival
In two days, you can experience the heart of this northern city just by following the itinerary above; visiting the historical buildings, enjoying the lawns and fountains in the park, and trying all of the cities’ special dishes in fancy cafes, or simple street vendors. We hope this helps you to plan your trip!
Other articles you might like
This post contains some affiliate links. When you click through and make a purchase we may receive some commission, at no extra costs to you.