10 Best Things To Do in Sapporo, Japan
Sapporo offers terrific things to do year-round, but it is most attractive in February. During this month, the capital and largest city of Hokkaido (the northernmost island of Japan) is covered with fluffy snow, which appeals to many sorts of travelers, from honeymooners and families with kids to outdoor and snow lovers.
If you ever need an excuse to travel to Sapporo, here are the 10 best things to do in the city during its busiest, most fantastic snow-filled month.
1. Sushizen, Sapporo
If you’re pleased with the sushi you had in Tokyo, you will be impressed when you dine in Sushizen Sapporo. Here you can taste the freshest sea urchins, sushi, and sashimi, then wash them down with everyone’s favorite drinks: a special Sapporo craft beer. Sapporo is the birthplace of the Sushizen brand, so while franchises of the famous sushi place seem superb, you’ll find the best offers in Sapporo.
2. Sapporo Ramen
What could be more perfect than hot ramen noodles when the weather is freezing? Miso ramen is the popular type of noodle soup tourists seek out when in Sapporo, especially during the cold season. If you are feeling rather bold, try the ramen versions cooked with Hokkaido’s most popular ingredients: corn and butter. Sample delicious varieties of Hokkaido ramen at Ramen Republic located at Sapporo JR Tower, a famous skyscraper with offices, a shopping complex, and an observatory.
3. Asia’s Winter Sports
Since Sapporo hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972, the city has earned the reputation as a premier winter destination for travelers. With major airlines like ANA, JAL, Hawaiian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Air Canada operating one-stop flights to Sapporo from major cities throughout the world, the city is within easy reach. Various types of winter sports attract athletes and spectators to Sapporo. Whether you are participating or simply cheering for your favorites during skiing, biathlon, skating, ice hockey, or curling competitions, you need to book a flight to Sapporo as soon as you can.
4. Sapporo Snow Festival
Witness stunning ice sculptures during Sapporo’s most festive event: the week-long Snow Festival from February 5 to 11. Millions flock to this event to see the city’s gigantic, gorgeous ice sculptures. These impressive, high-rise ice sculptures sometimes stand as tall as 50 feet! The themes frequently depicted in these sculptures include characters from local mythology, popular buildings, and awe-inspiring figures. While there’s no entrance fee to join this festivity, you might have to pay to get a panoramic view of the event. Hike up to the top of Sapporo TV Tower for a sensational view of the Snow Festival show, and check the current fees that apply.
5. Sapporo Beer
Share your winter tales with locals and fellow travelers with a mug of authentic Sapporo beer in hand. Most bars and restaurants in the city serve this drink chilled. For a wide selection of craft beer and other local beverages, chill out at Beer Inn Mugishutei. Better yet, learn more about the history and production process of these traditional beers at Sapporo Beer Museum. For a beer selection so vast, it pays to educate oneself about each type of beer. Tasting tours are available at an affordable price, and the rate includes free mugs of prime Sapporo beers.
6. Shiroi Koibito
Sapporo citizens are so passionate about their local sweet treat that they had a park built especially for it. Shiroi Koibito (“white lovers”) is a ubiquitous name among avid consumers of special candies, chocolates, and cookies. These goodies are popular souvenir items to take home to the people in your life who have a sweet tooth. If you want to know how they make these confectionery masterpieces, take a tour through the production line and candy-making workshop. Be sure to stop by the cafe to savor their best products before you leave.
7. Historical Village of Hokkaido
A province the size and age of Hokkaido is rich with history worth exploring. Luckily for Sapporo visitors, there is a place in city where they can catch a glimpse of Hokkaido’s 19th-century history. Historical Village of Hokkaido is an open-air museum divided into four major areas that resemble a typical village of a bygone era. These include the urban area, the farm village, the mountain area, and the fishing village. Its 52 historical sites and structures can easily consume an entire day, so plan your visit well. The scenery looks dramatic here in the winter with the soft fluffy snow decorating the well-preserved historical site. Get a postcard from this trip using an old-fashioned printing press within the historical village (yes, the equipment still works).
8. Sapporo Spa
If there’s anything the people of Sapporo continue to enjoy from its ancient days, it’s the soothing, warm bath in ryokans or spa. Unwind in an outdoor hot spring like the Hoheikyo Onsen, or soak in the healing, geothermal bath of Jozankei to survive the cold of winter. If you choose Hoheikyo Onsen over Jozankei, you will be able to sip alcoholic beverages while you bathe, warming your body both in and out. Separated by gender, these volcanic hot springs are an essential aspect of Sapporo living worth experiencing during your trip.
9. Skiing in Mt. Moiwa
If you’re vacationing in Sapporo in the winter, you should head straight to city’s most popular ski resort: Mt. Moiwa. Steep slopes of thick snow guarantee fun and excitement in spite of the frigid temperature. As for skiing options, the slopes and set-up of Sapporomoiwayama Ski Area look like a lot of fun for adults and kids alike.
10. Maruyama Park
If you crave the warmth of human interaction, you’ll find fellow tourists and residents playing in the snow, enjoying nature, or exploring the wildlife in this popular leisure spot within the city. The park is home to about 800 animals, the Hokkaido Shrine, a baseball stadium, and an athletics stadium. With the park’s indoor and outdoor fun on offer, it’s easy to stay active any time of the year in Sapporo.