Sapporo is the capital of the beautiful Hokkaido Island, located at the North end of the Japanese archipelago. Hokkaido is Japan’s second largest island.
Exploring Hokkaido is like taking a journey deep into wild nature. The island offers beautiful landscapes of forests, mountains, lakes, volcanoes and hot springs. It is a paradise for nature lovers, as well as for ski enthusiasts. With a siberian climate, winters are long and cold and are perfect to go skiing! Winter Olympic Games were even hold there in 1972, making the city world famous ever since.
We had the chance to visit Sapporo in summer, during the month of August, and the cool weather came like a delicious breeze into our exploration of Japan after a few very hot days in Tokyo and Kyoto.
Unlike many Japanese cities, Sapporo is very easy to explore as it was built on a grid pattern at the end of the 19th century. Addresses follow a numbered grid system, which is not always the case in Japan! It is also one of Japan’s youngest major cities as in 1847 the population stood at just 7 people! As winters are long and cold, a huge underground pedestrian street enables the inhabitants to stay warm!
Sapporo is a dynamic and very pleasant cosmopolitan city, famous for its delicious food (especially the ramen) and its beer. The atmosphere is totally different from Tokyo and Kyoto and it is an amazing place to relax! It is also a great starting point to start exploring Hokkaido’s wilderness as the transportation system is very convenient. I arrived by plane from Osaka but you can also arrive by train from the Honshu Island!
Before exploring Hokkaido’s wild nature, let’s start discovering the island’s lively capital.
Tanuki Koji is an approximately 1km-long arcade with around 200 shops. It is Sapporo’s oldest shopping area, dating from the late 1800′s. Some shops here have been in business for 100 years. You will find everything from clothing, cosmetics, souvenirs to cafes, restaurants and karaoke bars. The roofed arcade can be used regardless of the weather. We loved the ramen restaurants.
Sapporo’s ramen are amazing!
The problem is that after having eaten ramen in Sapporo, it is hard to find good ramen in other parts of the world as they will never be as good as there !
Bon appétit !
Nijo Market is a public fish market in the center of Sapporo that occupies about one city block. I am not a big fan of sea food but I still enjoyed discovering this market. I got to hold a huge crab and to see other species I had never seen before.
I loved discovering Sapporo’s parks and its beautiful traditional Japanse gardens!
We had the chance to visit Sapporo during the month of August, that is to say right in time for the beer festival!
It takes place in Odori Park and each famous beer brand has a stand there. We would grab a beer, some food and take a seat at one of the large large tables where you will get to make new friends while enjoying Sapporo’s delicious beers.
Sit back and relax in Sapporo’s beer Garden.
The Historic Village of Hokkaido
The Historic Village of Hokkaido (Kaitaku no Mura) is an open air museum which exhibits about 60 typical buildings from all over Hokkaido, dating from the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. The buildings were dismantled in Sapporo and other parts of Hokkaido and then re-erected there.
Jozankei is a very nice little town located in the mountains, about an hour away from Sapporo by bus. It is very famous for its hot springs or “onsen”.
Thanks to its volcanic activity, Japan benefits from hot springs all over the country and going to an onsen is a social event for Japanese families, couples, friends or even business partners.
Onsen can be found in or outdoors. They use naturally hot water from geothermally heated springs. As the water contains many minerals, bathing in an onsen is said to be very good for your health.
You can bathe in an onsen in many of Jozankei’s hotels or you can also find free foot baths around town. I only tried the foot bath. Be careful! The water is very hot! I couldn’t let my feet more than a few seconds in the water!
Walking around this cute little town is very pleasant. Do not miss the picturesque Futami-tsuribashi Bridge and take a stroll on the near-by mountain path.
Sapporo by night
Sapporo by night is beautiful! Susukino is the center of Sapporo’s night life.
I hope you enjoyed discovering Sapporo!
– Our trip to Japan –
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