Sapporo is the largest city in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. Known for its mountainous snowy climate, winter sports, local cuisine, and festivals, this modern city attracts millions of travelers every year. Below, we explore some of the best sights and attractions Sapporo has to offer.
Sapporo Maruyama Zoo
The Maruyama Zoo in eastern Sapporo is the oldest zoo in Hokkaido. The main attraction is the polar bear enclosure. As the polar bear is unfortunately nearing extinction, this is a rare opportunity to see the animal. The zoo is easy to navigate and is within walking distance from the nearest subway station.
Sapporo Beer Museum
At the Sapporo Beer Factory and Beer Museum, visitors can get an inside look at how beer is made and learn about the history of brewing in Japan. Of course, no visit to a brewery would be complete without a beer tasting and at the end of the tour, guests are given 30 minutes to drink as much beer as they’d like!
Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium
Opened in 1931, the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium has hosted several notable winter sporting events, including the 1972 Winter Olympics. The stadium offers various attractions for tourists all year round. The Viewing Point provides one of the most scenic views in the city; from the peak, guests are treated to a skier’s view of the massive ski jump directly below them, with a panoramic backdrop of Sapporo city in the distance. In the evening, diners can enjoy a night view of the city skyline.
The Hokkaido Shrine was built in 1869, during Japan’s Meiji period. It enshrines Sukunahikona, Ookunitama and Ookuninushi, who are said to be the three deities of Hokkaido. While open year round, the shrine gets the most visitors during the spring season when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
The skiers in your group will want to head to the Mount Moiwa Ski Resort on the eastern slope of this little mountain. Those in search of a more relaxing afternoon can get on the Mount Moiwa Ropeway, which will take you about 3/4ths of the way up the mountain. From there, visitors take a mini cable car to the peak, which features an observation deck and a restaurant with a gorgeous night view of Sapporo city.
Miyanomori Art Museum
Satisfy your inner art connoisseur with a visit to the Miyanomori Art Museum, located not far from Sapporo’s Maruyama Park. Opened in 2011, the museum primarily focuses on contemporary art and features works from both Japanese and international artists. In addition to the standard galleries, the museum holds special exhibitions and events throughout the year.
Odori (literally “large street”) is located in the heart of Sapporo’s downtown, providing residents with a lush, green escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. From east to west, the park spans about 1.5km and covers over 78,000 square meters. There are special events and festivals held at the park throughout the year, most notably the Sapporo Snow Festival. It’s possible to spend an entire day and night in this area, as many of the city’s nightlife areas and shopping districts are within walking distance of the park.