With ski slopes, parks, beer gardens and festivals, this sprawling city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido has something to offer year-round.
The vibrant city of Sapporo is one of Japan’s largest cities and most popular tourist destinations. With snow on the ground for about four months of the year, Sapporo is famous for its wintersports and hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics. The city is also a big draw in the summer with its parks, bars and beer gardens.
Relax in Odori Park, a large, grassy expanse with fountains, benches and gardens. It encompasses 12 blocks through central Sapporo. At the eastern end is the Sapporo TV Tower. Travel up to its viewing platform, 295 feet (90 meters) above street level. During February, the park is the setting for the Sapporo Snow Festival, a week-long event with ice sculptures, snow rides and concerts.
During the winter, make your way to the ski resorts in the mountains around Sapporo. Go cross-country skiing at Nakajima Park and try night skiing at Sapporo Bankei Ski Area. Take the children sledding and snow tubing at Mount Moiwa Ski Resort, which has a gentle family slope for beginners. If you’re a non-skier, try computer-simulated ski challenges at the Winter Sports Museum at the foot of the Okurayama Ski jump.
The city is also known for its beer. Learn about the history of the beverage in Japan at the Sapporo Beer Museum. During summer, many beer gardens open up in parks and on the rooftops of buildings across the city.
Try the alcohol with delicious local food. Visit Susukino, the large entertainment district, which is packed with bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Try fresh sushi in the Sushi-ya restaurants or explore Ramen Yokocho, a narrow lane lined with restaurants serving ramen, a popular noodle soup.
Reach Sapporo by flying into New Chitose Airport, which is 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) southeast of the city. Get around Sapporo by public transportation, or by renting a car or bicycle. Visit Sapporo to take advantage of its fantastic skiing, enjoy local cuisine and explore its beautiful outdoor areas.