One of the main highlights of a visit to the island of Hokkaido is the opportunity to visit the capital, the mighty Sapporo. This part of the island is known as one of the most exciting cities in this part of Japan and you can come here and enjoy both the modern and the more traditional side of Japanese life.
The city is known for its winter attractions such as a winter festival and some breathtaking ski areas on the outskirts of Sapporo. The Sopporo Festival 2020 begins on January 31 through February 11.
Below are the top 14 things to do in Sapporo.
Tour the Ishiya Chocolate Factory
If you want to do something sweet on your trip to Sapporo, you should visit the Ishiya Chocolate Factory.
You can take a tour of the facility and find out how the chocolate is made. The special treat is the white chocolate Shiroi Koibito, a specialty of Hokkaido.
You can also dine at the on-site restaurant, enjoy a cake buffet, and visit a robot show and toy museum.
If you’re traveling with younger visitors, this is definitely one of the city’s top attractions not to be missed.
Attend Sapporo Snow Festival
The Sapporo Snow Festival is the most important social event in the city and known for its amazing ice sculpture competition.
The festival takes place every year at Odori Koen and starts in early February.
Visiting ice sculptors come from all over the world and you can also find attractions for children such as ice castles and igloos.
If possible, come at night when the ice sculptures are lit with different colored lights, but keep in mind that it can get pretty crowded too.
Walk around Asahiyama Park
Asahiyama Park is one of the most beautiful of its kind in the city and is surrounded by a beautiful flower garden that is colorful all year round.
The park is popular with young couples in love and the best time to come here is in spring when you can enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms.
If you’re here in the fall, you can also enjoy the bright orange fall colors. This is a nice place to escape everyday life and find a corner of calm in Sapporo.
Catch a game at Sapporo Dome
Sapporo Dome hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup and now serves as a home stadium for a number of baseball teams such as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.
You may not immediately think of baseball when you think of Japan, but you will even find traditional snacks like hot dogs here and you can watch a number of games throughout the season.
If you are a baseball fan or just want to see something different in Hokkaido then this is an excellent choice.
Check out the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art
Art lovers should not miss the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, which is set in a pretty park with extensive lawns.
The museum is dedicated to the presentation of modern works of art, mainly made by Japanese artists. Some western works are also exhibited.
There are also changing galleries with artists, so stop by and see what’s going on when you’re in town.
Check out the Clock Tower
The Clock Tower is known as one of the most famous buildings in Sapporo and dates from 188 when it was built in honor of today’s Hokkaido University.
There is also an explanation of how the bell tower was created.
This is a very popular place in Sapporo. So take some time to take photos as it can get very crowded here.
Visit Odori Park
Odori Park is the most famous green area in Sapporo and one of the most popular places in the city.
The park stretches over 15 blocks and is an excellent place to take an afternoon stroll.
The Odori Park is overgrown with trees, flowers and fountains. If you come here in autumn, you can also enjoy the wonderful copper autumn colors.
Check out the views at Sapporo TV Tower
The Sapporo TV Tower is one of the most famous buildings not only in Sapporo, but in all of Japan.
The tower is a rather surprising attraction in Sapporo, as it is modeled on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
You can drive up to the observation deck, which is at a height of around 90 meters, and enjoy the wonderful view over Sapporo. So this is a good choice if you are new to the city and want to get an overview of the cityscape.
Explore Hokkaido Pioneer Village
The Hokkaido Pioneer Village is located just outside the center of Sapporo. Here you can learn about the history of industrialization in this part of Japan.
Here is an old model of a train station, and many of the buildings on display date from the early 20th century.
There are also lush gardens to stroll around in the late afternoon, and you’ll also see a number of delicious shrines.
Moiwayama is also known as Moiwa Mountain in English and this is one of the most magnificent mountains in the region.
It is just outside Sapporo and you can come here and take the cable car up to enjoy the spectacular view of the city.
A lot of people also come here at night because the lights that sparkle over Sapporo are really magical.
Sapporo is known for its winter sports and if you want to ski you have to go to Mount Teine, the most famous ski mountain in the region.
This was also the place where the 1972 Winter Olympics took place, and this is an excellent place for all types of skiers as there are some beginner, intermediate and advanced runs.
You can also try other snow activities like snowboarding and sledding here.
If you want to leave the center of Sapporo, consider a day trip to Jozankei, which is about an hour away.
Here you will find a picturesque satellite city known for its onsen and hot springs. This is the ideal place if you want to escape the city and relax. You can also visit the parks here.
These become a colorful place in the fall, and there are some other interesting places like the Houhaikyou Dam, which also gives you some nice views over the wider landscape.
If you’re looking for a day trip while staying in Sapporo, this is hard to beat.
Admire the Okura-yama Ski Jump Stadium
The ski jumping stadium is another famous location in Sapporo and is known for its slope built alongside Okura-yama or Okura Mountain during the 1972 Winter Olympics. At a height of over 133 meters you can also try out a simulator in the museum that It shows you what it would be like to actually descend this amazing slope.
Visit the 100th Anniversary Memorial Park
The 100th anniversary memorial park is located near the Hokkaido pioneer village. Therefore, it makes sense to visit both parks at the same time.
The main reason why people visit the park is to try out the big tower that stands here. You can climb to the top and then gaze at the rest of Sapporo.
This is also a good place to explore nature as the park is surrounded by some of the region’s most beautiful mountains.