Sapporo, the forgotten but most beautiful city in Asia

Sapporo

Sapporo is located on Japan’s second-largest island, Hokkaido, whose name translates as “the way to the northern seas. Hokkaido doesn’t have very harsh winters and its mountainous terrain makes it a great place to play any kind of winter sport. In 1972, Sapporo hosted the Olympics and then had a great center for skiing.

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General Info

Sapporo is a ski resort, but you can not only conquer the mountain peaks here, but also soak in hot springs. With a moderate monsoon climate the winter here is -5 °C, and summers are quite warm with an average temperature of +22 °C.

For fans of Japanese cuisine, Sapporo is a paradise. When visiting restaurants tourists conducted various master classes dedicated to cooking national Japanese dishes. Sapporo restaurants will delight you with all kinds of dishes: rice with seafood, sushi, ramen, udon, sobu, and miso soup, and you’ll be offered green tea or sake to accompany these dishes.

You can stay in Sapporo in a traditional Japanese hotel or in a European-type hotel. You can get here from Russia from any airport in Moscow.

Things to see

In Sapporo there are mostly sights of modern Japan, but this does not make them any less interesting than the buildings of ancient times. According to the recommendations of guides to the most interesting places are Odori Boulevard, confectionery factory “Isaya,” Beer Brewery Museum, Nihama Airport and Sapporo Botanical Gardens.

Sapporo Botanical Gardens, which can present plants representing various regions as living exhibits. Not to mention the Susukino neighborhood, which has entertainment for all tastes, both for adults and children. The city can be proud of its transportation system, which carries out endless excursion routes around the island of Hokkaido. All trips around the island begin with the Botanical Gardens.

Odori Boulevard is not only the main street of the city, but also the central avenue. It is a sort of border between the two main parts of the city. This road was built back in 1869. At that time it still had a much more modest appearance, but during the process of various extensions and additions, its appearance has become as it is now. Now this road is used not only for the main traffic, but also for the processions of various festivals, including the Snow Festival and the Lilac Festival. In the warm season the street is decorated with various garlands and flowerbeds, which pleases the eyes of locals and visitors alike.

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The best chocolate confections in Japan are made by the Ishii Factory. This has made it so popular that it is even visited by visiting tourists to learn about its history and buy its products in the local museum. Its most popular product, Shiroi Koibito, has been awarded several times at competitions and awarded the highest seal of quality. You can have a good time not only in the museum, but also in the adjacent park. The area is beautiful not only because of the greenery, but also because of the many soap bubbles that are released from the bubble machines all over the area.

The Asahi brewery is the leading brewery in Japan. During the tour you will have the opportunity to learn about the stages of beer production, promotional programs and to taste the product you like. It is allowed to buy the product “from the conveyor belt” in a gift box. Not only that, but the tour also includes historical data, for example, you can look at all the packaging of beer in recent decades (and the design of packaging has changed more than once).

For the most part, Nijama Airport is used for domestic services, although there are some international flights. Attractive is not the airport itself, and the infrastructure assigned to it: cafes, stores, souvenir shops and so on. From the airport is a good transport to different points of the city almost a whole day. But foreign visitors should be prepared for the fact that both at the airport and in its vicinity is very little English-speaking signs, so it is better to have a phrasebook. The airport staff also do not speak English.

Sapporo

Sapporo

Sapporo is one of the largest cities in Japan (ranked 4th, after Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka). It is a major industrial and economic center, and one of the most important educational and cultural centers in Japan.

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Sapporo is the site of the famous Snow Festival. In addition, the city is famous for its resorts: there are many thermal springs in its vicinity.

General Information

People who are not too interested in the history and culture of Japan, the city is known primarily for the fact that the Winter Asian Games 2017 was held exactly in Sapporo. But where exactly is Sapporo located, on what island?

The city is located on the island of Hokkaido, and Sapporo is the capital of the region. It is not difficult to find Sapporo on the world map: it is in the west of Hokkaido, not far from the coast, practically at the same latitude as Vladivostok. The city stands on the banks of the Ishikari River, which flows into the Sea of Japan.

Sapporo on a map

Sapporo was founded in 1868 as the administrative center of the island. The city grew rapidly and in 1907 a college was founded here which became part of Tohoku University.

Sapporo enjoys a special status as a city designated by a special decree of the government. Only 13 settlements in the country have the same status as Sapporo, and in Hokkaido, it is the only one of its kind.

Sapporo has a population of almost 2 million people. Many of them are employed in the tourist industry, but the city also has a well-developed industry: heavy industry (machinery, woodworking, paper, metalworking) and food. The city is home to Hokkaido University, one of the seven National Universities of Japan.

Climatic conditions

The climate in Sapporo is humid continental. Summers here are usually hot and quite dry. The temperature rises to +22 … +26 ° C, the maximum recorded temperature is +36.2 ° C. September is usually a little warmer than June. Still, it rains in summer. June is the driest month of the year with only 47 mm of precipitation, while in July and August it is 83 and 124 mm, respectively. The driest months of the year, besides June, are April and May.

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Winter in Sapporo is quite cold: usually the temperature in December is -3…-4°C, January and February are colder, the thermometer column goes down to -6…-8°С. But there are also much more frosty winters, when the temperature drops to -17 … -20°С. Winters are snowy: the total depth of snow cover is about 590-600 mm.

The Sapporo Tram and Snowmobile

Sapporo has ski resorts Sapporo Teine (located within the city limits) and Sapporo Kokusai (not far from the city); from the latter you can quickly get to the Kiroru Snow World Resort. In addition to ski resorts, the city also has thermal spas. A significant part of them is located in the Jedzankei recreation area.

Sapporo Teine

What to see in Sapporo?

The symbol of the city is considered a clock tower, which is most often portrayed in the photos of Sapporo, which is quite unusual for Japan – the “visiting cards” of other cities are temples. It is worth climbing the TV tower, which offers a beautiful view of the city, as well as the tower of the Hyakunen Kinentou Memorial.

The Clock Tower, a symbol of the city

Other attractions in Sapporo that are atypical of Japan are the Beer Museum and the Ishiya Chocolate Factory, where you can taste Shiroi KoiBito, a white chocolate that is produced only here in the country.

Also noteworthy:

Some travel companies offer Russian-speaking tours in Sapporo, during which you can explore the city’s sights, learn about the history of the city, its temples and other buildings.

Events in the city

The Sapporo Snow Festival is one of Japan’s most popular non-state festivals. Its other name is the Festival of Snow Figures. It has been held annually since 1950 – when local schoolchildren built several snow figures in the central park. The festival lasts for a week and attracts about 2 million people to Sapporo.

Sapporo Snow Festival

Where to stay?

The city offers a wide variety of accommodation options from the cheapest to the most luxurious and expensive, with 5* hotels in Sapporo considered to be some of the best in Japan. Bed and breakfasts in Sapporo are few and far between: even 2* establishments usually offer more to their guests. Of the inexpensive options, the best are:

  • 3* JR Inn Sapporo-eki Minami-guchi;
  • 2* Hotel Relief Sapporo Susukino;
  • 3* JR Inn Sapporo-eki Minami-guchi;
  • 3* APA Hotel TKP Sapporo Eki-Kitaguchi Excellent.
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As for the more expensive options, the best are:

There are many restaurants and cafes in the city, where you can try dishes of national Japanese cuisine. Even the “budget” eateries look very attractive and offer the best quality food. Some of the most popular inexpensive eateries include:

Shopping

The city is sometimes called the shopping capital of Japan. People from other cities, even larger ones, come to Sapporo for shopping. The main place to shop is Tanuki Koji Shopping Street; it is completely covered and consists entirely of stores and cafes. There are rows of shops even underground.

Tanuko Koji

How to get to Sapporo?

The fastest way to get to the city is by air. The airport serving Sapporo (called Chitose, 5 km from Chitose and Tomokomai) hosts both international flights (from East Asia – China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Russia – from Sakhalin) and domestic flights: flights arrive here from almost all Japanese cities.

Titoshi Airport, serving Sapporo

How to get from Tokyo to Sapporo? The fastest way to get here is by air; a direct flight takes an hour and a half, a connecting flight takes 2 hours and 20 minutes. You can also get there by high-speed train; it takes about 9 hours. If you go by car, depending on the route taken, the journey takes from 16 to 19 hours.

The city is well developed public transport. The subway in Sapporo was opened on the eve of the Winter Olympics, which was held here in 1972. In 1976 began work the second line, and in 1988 the third. Now the total length of the lines is 48 km.

Sapporo subway

In addition, streetcars ply in the city. The first one went on line in Sapporo in 1910. In addition, the most popular means of transport in the city are the JR trains, which without exaggeration can be used anywhere in the city.

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