September 27, 2017

What to see and do in Sapporo

From Motomachi, we took taxi back to the hotel. Sakura hasn't bloomed yet so we skipped  Goryokaku Tower and the park. Next time yea? As much as we wanted to stay longer, we had a train to catch to Sapporo.

Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture and Japan's fifth largest city. The city is famous for its annual yuki matsuri or Sapporo Snow Festival. Ohh I have to come during winter next time and experience the powder snow!

Since we didn't have time to eat seafood at Hakodate, first thing we did at Sapporo was go to Nijo Market and had fresh seafood breakfast. There are several restaurants among the shops in the market and guess what, we found halal food! Okay it's seafood of course we can eat it but do you know sometimes they put alcohol or sake to make it taste better?

But before that, we walked around the market to see what was on offer. There's variety of fresh local produce and seafood such as crabs, salmon eggs, sea urchin and many more although I think Hakodate Market was more interesting and have more choices. Japanese being Japanese, the sellers here were also a nice bunch. We asked this one guy selling crabs some questions, and he let us tasted freshly-steamed king crab and oh my god, it was soooo yummy ok! He didn't give small cut like those food samples at the supermarkets. Instead, he gave us a large chunk of the crab, almost like one leg! Soo generous!

The market is open everyday rom 7 am ~ 6 pm (varies by individual store)
Access: About 5 minutes walk from Odori Station

on the way to Nijo Market

Most of the interesting places in Sapporo are within walking distance of each other. Of course there's the tram or subway to get you to your destination.

Sapporo streetcar

After breakfast, we went for a walk and stopped at Sapporo's most famous landmark, the Clock Tower. The clock tower is known to many as a symbol of Sapporo. The building was built in 1878 as a drill hall of the Sapporo Agricultural College (now Hokkaido University). Currently it is the oldest building in Sapporo. The clock was made in Boston and installed in 1881. It is maintained and continues to run and keep time, and the chimes can be heard every hour. Sapporo Clock Tower was designated as Important Cultural Property in 1970.

Access: About 10 minutes walk from JR Sapporo Station
Opening hours: 8.45 am ~ 5 pm (Closed on Dec 31 ~ Jan 3)
Entrance fee: 200 yen

We continued our walk to Odori Park. Situated at the center of Sapporo, the park stretches over 1.5 kilometer and is the venue for numerous events and festivals like Sapporo Snow Festival, Beer Festival and Autumn Festival. There's different activities and festivals in each seasons. There's also fountains, sitting areas, some snack shops.. definitely a good romantic place for couples and good play area for the kids.

bare trees during winter season

sakura just started to bloom

Access: Odori Park is just next to Odori Subway Station or 10 minutes walk from JR Sapporo Station

From Odori Park, you can continue your walk either above or below ground. There's 2 underground shopping arcades, with more than 100 shops open daily 10am to 8pm. Underneath Odori Park, from Odori Station all the way to the TV Tower is the Aurora Town. Another one, Pole Town extends from Odori Station all the way to Susukino.

We checked out Aurora Town for a while and went above ground again to continue sightseeing.

At the eastern end of the park stands the Sapporo TV Tower, which has an observation deck. But it is not that high, the tower is just about 150 metres tall, and the observation deck is at an elevation of 90 metres.

Opening hours: 9 am ~ 10 pm
Entrance fee: 720 yen

Walked further and we reached Former Hokkaido Government Office or affectionately known to local as akarenga or Red Bricks. The building was first completed in 1888, but had to be rebuilt in 1911 after fire destroyed much of the interior, though the red brick exterior survived major damage. It contains a number of historical exhibition rooms but mostly in Japanese.

Access: Short walk south west of JR Sapporo Station
Opening hours: 8.45 am ~ 6 pm (Closed on Dec 29 ~ Jan 3)
Free entrance

Just a short walk from the old government office, we reached JR Sapporo Station.

It's still early to hop on the subway and return to our hotel in Susukino, so we went to Sapporo JR Tower Observatory T38. Initially I wasn't too sure about going up to the top of the tower cos I thought I've seen better view from Tokyo Sky Tree or Mount Hakodate. But we went up anyway since we were already at the station after a full day walking.

brought a piece of home with me :D

So glad we did cos the view was amazing. It made me realized just how big Sapporo is. And I loveee seeing the snow-capped mountain. There is also a café where people can chill and watch the view. A perfect end to a long day of sightseeing.

Access: Just above JR Sapporo Station
Opening hours: 9 am ~ 10 pm
Entrance fee: 720 yen

There's a lot more to see in Sapporo like Shiroi Koibito Park, Mount Moiwa, Historic Village but I guess I'll save them for my future trip(s)!


Dave O'Gorman said...

I live in Phnom Penh and I was thinking about Sapporo as a winter destination, but purely for the purposes of being in a big urban milieu with good coffee and restaurants (I'm a writer). Would you say Sapporo will feel cosmopolitan enough for me -- Pittsburgh with miso soup -- or is it more of a regional city, more like ... I don't know, Syracuse with miso soup?

rara said...

@Dave: I'd say Sapporo is Pittsburgh with miso soup :)