Sapporo: Exploring Local Culture and Traditions

Sapporo: Exploring Local Culture and Traditions

Welcome to Sapporo

Sapporo City

About Sapporo

Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. With a population of over 1.9 million people, it is the fifth-largest city in Japan. Sapporo is renowned for its beautiful parks, vibrant nightlife, and delicious cuisine. The city has a rich history and is known for hosting the 1972 Winter Olympics, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

Getting to Sapporo

Sapporo is well connected to the rest of Japan by air, rail, and road. The city is served by New Chitose Airport, which is located about 50 kilometers southeast of downtown Sapporo. From the airport, you can take a train or bus to reach the city center. The train journey takes approximately 36 minutes, while the bus ride takes about 70 minutes.

If you prefer to travel by train, you can take the JR Hokkaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Sapporo. The journey takes around 8 hours, but it offers breathtaking views of the Japanese countryside. Alternatively, you can travel by car or bus from other cities in Hokkaido or mainland Japan.

Exploring the City

Sapporo is a city that offers a unique blend of modernity and tradition. Here are some of the top attractions and activities you should not miss:

1. Odori Park

Odori Park is a beautiful green space that stretches for 1.5 kilometers through the heart of Sapporo. The park is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, especially during the annual Sapporo Snow Festival. Visitors can enjoy strolling along the park's tree-lined pathways, relaxing on the lawns, and admiring the various sculptures and flowerbeds.

2. Sapporo Beer Museum

Sapporo is famous for its beer, and a visit to the Sapporo Beer Museum is a must for beer enthusiasts. The museum is located in the original building of the Sapporo Brewery, which was established in 1876. Visitors can learn about the history of beer brewing in Japan, take a guided tour of the museum, and even sample different types of Sapporo beer.

3. Hokkaido Shrine

The Hokkaido Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Maruyama Park, one of Sapporo's most picturesque spots. The shrine is dedicated to four deities and is visited by locals who come to pray for good fortune and health. The surrounding park is particularly stunning during cherry blossom season, when the cherry trees bloom in a sea of pink.

4. Sapporo Clock Tower

The Sapporo Clock Tower is a symbol of the city and is worth a visit to learn about its history. Built in 1878, the clock tower was originally used as a drill hall for the Sapporo Agricultural College. Today, it houses a small museum showcasing the city's early pioneers and the development of Sapporo.

5. Nijo Market

Nijo Market is a bustling seafood market where you can sample some of the freshest seafood in Sapporo. The market is home to numerous stalls selling a wide variety of seafood, including Hokkaido's famous crabs, uni (sea urchin), and salmon. You can also find local fruit, vegetables, and souvenirs here.

Local Cuisine

Sapporo is known for its delicious food, and no visit to the city would be complete without trying some of its culinary delights. Here are a few must-try dishes:

  • Ramen: Sapporo is famous for its miso ramen, a hearty and flavorful noodle soup topped with various ingredients such as sliced pork, corn, and bean sprouts.
  • Genghis Khan: Genghis Khan is a traditional Hokkaido-style barbecue dish made with thinly sliced lamb or mutton and served with vegetables.
  • Jingisukan: Similar to Genghis Khan, Jingisukan is a popular grilled lamb dish that is often enjoyed with a cold beer.
  • Soup Curry: A unique Hokkaido specialty, soup curry combines the flavors of Japanese curry with a lighter, spicier broth.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Sapporo depends on your interests. If you love winter sports and snow festivals, then the winter months from December to February are perfect. The Sapporo Snow Festival, held in February, is a major highlight of the winter season. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) offer mild weather and stunning natural scenery. Summer (June to August) is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities and festivals, although it can be a bit hot and humid.

Getting Around

Sapporo has an efficient public transportation system that makes it easy to get around the city. The Sapporo Subway has three lines that connect major attractions and neighborhoods. Buses are also available, and taxis can be found throughout the city.


Sapporo is a vibrant city with a rich culture and fascinating history. Whether you're exploring its beautiful parks, indulging in its delicious cuisine, or immersing yourself in its local traditions, Sapporo offers a unique and unforgettable experience for every traveler.