WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS TO SEE IN SAPPORO? HOW MANY DAYS TO VISIT SAPPORO? WHAT ARE THE BEST DAY TRIPS FROM SAPPORO? IN WHICH SEASON IS IT BETTER TO VISIT SAPPORO?
Do you want to visit Sapporo and wonder what to do in Japan’s fifth largest city? Or you are already in Japan and simply debating: should I go to Hokkaido and visit Sapporo? Whether you are already convinced or still hesitant, here are our top suggestions of the best things to see in Sapporo!
Located in Hokkaido, Sapporo is one of the largest and most interesting cities in the country! Known in particular for having been the site of the first industrial beer brewery in Japan, it hides many other assets.
Temples, parks, mountains and various monuments to visit, Sapporo has a lot to offer. Whether you go alone, with friends or family, you will always find something to do in this great city.
Here are some beautiful impressions of Sapporo:
Want some ideas for visits to this magnificent city? Here are the 30 best things to see in this city!
1. Start your visit of Sapporo by enjoying the view at the top of the TV Tower
Going on the top of Sapporo TV Tower is one of best things to do in Sapporo. Located in Odori Park, it was built in 1957 and is 147 meters high.
Thanks to its observation platform, the Sapporo TV Tower is one of the best photo spots in Sapporo! At top you will have an amazing panoramic view of the city, Odori Park and the mountains that surrounds Sapporo.
At night the TV Tower is completely illuminated, almost like a “mini” Eiffel Tower! So check it out at night too!
Admission Fee: 1000 yen for adults and 500 yen for children (DISCOUNT: you can get a better price if you buy your ticket with Klook here)
2. Stroll through the gorgeous Odori Park
A walk through Odori Park is one of the best thing to do in Sapporo. Here you can enjoy some peaceful time in a gorgeous park right in the center of the city (a bit like a “mini” central park in New York).
The park is 1.5 kilometers long and is divided into 5 parts: Exchange, Border, Oasis, Encounters and Flowers. Each part of the park has its own environment.
This is where locals likes to meet, workers have their lunch on a bench during their break, or many events are held throughout the year. Make sure to check it out if you visit Sapporo, it’s the heart of the city…
3. If you are visiting Sapporo in winter, make sure to check out the Snow Festival
Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the most impressive events in Hokkaido. Every year the Sapporo Snow Festival features giant sculptures made with snow and ice. It only lasts 2 weeks a year and it’s free.
The festival takes place in Odori Park.
The Swow Festival is also a good time to test local specialties. Hundreds of small street-food stands and souvenirs shops are displayed for the occasion.
This is one of the best things to see in Sapporo in winter!
Check out this website to find out about the exact dates: here
4. Visit the Sapporo Beer Museum
This museum tells the story of the very first industrial brewery in Japan. It was opened in 1876 by the government of Hokkaido, the Kaitakushi.
The Sapporo Beer played a very important role in the development of the economy of Hokkaido. So even if you are not particularly a big fan of beer, this museum is still very interesting! And it’s free!
You can opt for a guided tour as well, which will allow you to taste a few of their beers!
5. Shop and eat at Tanuki Koji shopping street
Tanuki Koji is a pedestrian street about 1km long with nearly 200 shops. Dating back to the late 19th century, this is the oldest pedestrian street in Sapporo. You can find everything there: clothes, cosmetics, souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants, karaoke… We particularly enjoyed the ramen restaurants!
Sapporo ramen is really delicious! The problem is that once you have tasted it, it is difficult to appreciate ramen in other parts of the world because it is never as good as in Sapporo!
The street is fully covered, so it’s great to visit Tanuki Koji on a rainy day or snowy day. Overall, Tanuki Koji is one of the best things to see in Sapporo.
6. Visit Nijo seafood market
Nijo Market is one of our favorite places to visit during a trip to Sapporo. This public seafood market located in the center of Sapporo takes up an entire city block.
Go there early morning to see the market bustling! Many locals eat breakfast in the market.
We tried lots of different seafood at the market and it was always delicious! Remember, Hokkaido has some of the best seafood in Japan. So if like us you like seafood, you won’t be disappointed at Nijo Market.
Be aware that the market and most restaurants close early afternoon, so better go in the morning.
7. Have fun at Susukino district at night!
Sapporo at night is even more beautiful! Head to the Susukino area, this is where you will find the best nightlife in Sapporo but also some of the best restaurants!
Susukino is also the largest Red-Light District in Japan. So don’t be surprised if you see huge posters of women everywhere. However, don’t worry, the area is not dodgy or anything, there are lots of great restaurants and standard bars also.
8. Eat the best ramen in Sapporo at Ganso Ramen Yokocho (the “Ramen Alley”)
Yes, you read that right, you are no dreaming. An alley full of ramen restaurant! For us it sounds like paradise…
But yes, in Sapporo there is an entire alley with only ramen restaurants! This is not only the best place to eat ramen in Sapporo but also one of the best things to see in Sapporo!
Here you can try many many different types of ramen. From spicy miso, fish, pork, and seafood based broths, there are so many choices! We simply love the atmosphere in those small ramen restaurants in a tiny alley. This is so Japanese and we love it!
So make sure to check it out.
9. Ride on nORIA Ferry Wheel in Sapporo
One of the best things to do in Sapporo at night is to ride on the nORIA Ferry Wheel.
The wheel is located on the rooftop of a shopping mall. From the Ferry Wheel you can enjoy a stunning view of Sapporo for 600 yen/person.
10. Visit Hokkaidō Shrine Tongu
There are a few main shrines in Sapporo worth a visit. One of them is Hokkaidō Shrine Tongu, located in the heart of the city.
The shrine is quiet respite in the city. Due to its proximity of many of the offices and appartments, Tongu is very popular among local. Stop there to check it out, this is one of the best things to see in Sapporo.
Hokkaidō Shrine Tongu is one of the best things to see in Sapporo!
11. Visit Sapporo Clock Tower, the symbol of the city
The Sapporo Clock Tower is one of the most iconic things to see in the city. It is a real symbol of Sapporo. So make sure to check out during your visit!
The Clock Tower is a two-story wooden historical Western-style building. For more than 140 years since its foundation, it has continued to watch over the city of Sapporo and is designated as an important cultural property of the country.
The official name is “Former Sapporo Agricultural College Demonstration Hall”, and it was originally built as a place to hold entrance and graduation ceremonies for students of the agricultural school and to conduct military training.
The clock tower was built in 1878 (there are only very few clock tower in Japan). The sound of the bell echoed throughout the entire city to provide time to locals. It was and still is a local’s favorite!
Admission fee: 200 yen
12. Enjoy a walk in the beautiful Botanic Garden Hokkaidō University
If you are visiting Sapporo during Spring or Autumn then a visit to the Botanic Garden Hokkaidō University is one of the best things to see in the city!
For us, it was one of the highlights during our trip to Sapporo during autumn. The nature is absolutely stunning, with various ponds, a rose garden, lots of Momiji (Japanese maple trees) and even a small museums!
We spent quite a lot of time, simply enjoying this beautiful park!
Admission fee: 420 yen for adults and 300 yen for children
13. Take the ropeway to get to the top of Mt. Moiwa
Going on top of Mount Moiwa in Sapporo is one of the best things to do in the city. You can easily access the summit by taking a ropeway and then a funicular. Mount Moiwa, at 531m high offers a spectacular view of Sapporo.
There is also a restaurant offering a gorgeous view of the city. Be aware though that this place can be quite busy, so better book in advance if you want to have lunch or dinner at the restaurant (the last ropeway leaves at 10pm)
How to get to Mount Moiwa?
To get to the ropeway station you can take the tram, the subway or various buses leaving from the city center. From the tram station, there is a free shuttle bus getting you to the ropeway, otherwise 10min walk will get you there as well.
Admission fee: 2,100 yen for adults and 1,050 yen for children (you can also hike to the top of Mount Moiwa, it takes a bit more than 1hour). We recommend booking in advance here.
14. Visit the beautiful Fushimi Inari Temple
From Mount Moiwa ropeway station you can easily get to Fushimi Inari temple by walking for 10min. This is one of our favorite temples in Hokkaido and one of the best spots to take great photos in Sapporo!
The temple is easily recognizable by its many red doors, called Torii, which will offer you an amazing first sight. Do not hesitate to cross them to get to the temple while enjoying the pleasant atmosphere and landscape of the place.
The shrine is after the Torii and a series of stairs. Many locals come to make a wish and pray at the altar located in the sanctuary. You can also take a walk around it as well as in the surrounding nature to take magnificent photos.
If you are hungry by then, there is a wonderful curry and udon restaurants across the street from the temple called Oni wa soto Fuku wa uchi (location / menu). We ate some of the best udon in Hokkaido at this place! Do check it out.
Location of the temple: here
15. Visit Hokkaido-Jingu Shrine and the beautiful Maruyama park
Built in 1871, Hokkaido Shrine, also called Sapporo Shrine or Hokkaido-jingu, is the largest in the entire region. Indeed, it is a traditional temple of more than 180,000 m². It is located in Maruyama Park, more than 226 meters above sea level. This temple is dedicated to three Shinto deities, or kamis: Okunitama, Okuninushi and Sukunahikona.
This is one of the best things to see in Sapporo. You can also enjoy a pleasant walk in the park, especially during spring for the cherry blossoms or during autumn to see the trees with different colors!
To get there, take the subway to Maruyama Koen Station. From there walk about 5min.
Admission fee: Free
16. At Maruyama Park you can also see polar bears at the zoo
Fancy a family outing while you’re visiting Sapporo? Then Maruyama Zoo is a great idea. This zoo opened in 1951 and is a lot of fun!
At the polar bear pavilion, there is an 18m underwater tunnel, the longest in Japan, where you can observe polar bears swimming. This is one of the best things to see in Sapporo.
You will also be able to see tigers, lions, kangaroos, red pandas, birds, reptiles, and much more. You will be closer to the animals in this zoo and can even attend various events, including the Night Zoo. This is an activity where you will have the opportunity to see the nightlife of all the animals in the zoo.
Admission fee: 800 yen for adults and 400 yen for children
17. Visit Mt. Okura Ski Jump Stadium and Sapporo Olympic Museum
Not far from the zoo you can visit the impressive Mt. Okura Ski Jump Stadium. Here you can get to the top of the hill to enjoy a great view of Sapporo and the surrounding nature.
Okuray Ski Jump Stadium has hosted a number of winter sports events including the 1972 Winter Olympics and FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2007.
The view is awesome from the top and is definitely worth coming here.
There is also the Sapporo Olympic Museum right next to the stadium. Here you can try digital ski-jump on a huge screen and other olympic sports. It’s a lot of fun.
Admission Fee: For the Museum 600 yen for adults/450 for children and for the Ski Jump Stadium 1,000 yen for adult and 500 for children. It is cheaper if you buy both the museum and the ski jump chair lift combined.
18. Visit Sapporo Chocolate Factory (Shiroikoibito Park)
If you like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, then head to Sapporo Chocolate Factory. Here it’s a paradise for children.
At the Sapporo Chocolate Factory you can observe the manufacturing process of Shiroi Koibito, a classic Hokkaido souvenir. In addition to showing the production line of the factory through the glass, there is also a display of chocolate cups and package labels, and a diaporama of a 19th-century chocolate factory. You can also experience making sweets, such as making a 14cm heart-shaped “My Shiroi Koibito”.
We didn’t stay too long, as we went there during the weekend and it was really crowded with lots of kids. We just bought some chocolate in the shop inside the Factory (which is free by the way, except for the museum).
It was quite exciting though when we saw the huge sign “CHOCOLATE FACTORY”. It really felt like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!
To get there, take the subway to Miyanosawa Station then walk for about 8min.
19. Check out the beautiful Hokkaidō Government Office
Across the street from the Clock Tower, don’t miss the Red Brick Government Building (Former Hokkaido Government Office Building)
This Western-style building from the Meiji period symbolizes Hokkaido’s pioneering history. Built in 1888, it has been designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan as a beautiful building with an elegant Western-style appearance.
There are many good photo spots in the surrounding area. The gorgeous structure unique to Western architecture and the beautiful seasonal flowers that bloom in the surrounding garden are perfect for taking great shots!
20. Visit the Historical Village of Hokkaido
The historic village of Hokkaido is one of the most interesting visit we did in Sapporo.
This is an open-air museum that will take you back in time! Indeed, the museum exhibits many objects and scenes dating from the 19th and 20th centuries, during the Meiji era. The collections features objects about fishing, agriculture, town and mountain.
This place is therefore a real must for anyone visiting Sapporo.
Admission fee: 800 yen for adults and 600 yen for children
21. Shop at the beautiful Sapporo Factory
Sapporo is a beautiful industrial building reconverted into a huge shopping mall.
It’s a nice place to eat as well and a good activity during rainy weather.
We especially enjoyed the great architecture of the building and the red leaves covering the building during autumn!
22. Go on a day trip (or overnight stay) at Jozankei Onsen
Located an hour by bus from Sapporo in Hokkaido, the village of Jozankei is known for its many onsen (hot springs) in the heart of the mountains. If you go there in autumn, the surrounding forests will look like an explosion of colors with the magnificent show of momiji (Japanese Maple Tree).
In total, Jozankei Onsen has 56 hot springs dumping around 8,600 liters of water per minute at temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Celsius, much of which is now easily accessible thanks to the many spas and resorts developed in the town.
If you are staying in Sapporo we highly recommend a day trip to Jozankei or even better to stay overnight to fully enjoy this onsen town and stay in a Ryokan, a Japanese traditional hotel.
23. Go on a day trip to Otaru
Famous for its canal and its preserved brick warehouses, Otaru attracts many visitors whole year round.
What to see in Otaru? During your visit you can see historical streets (such as Sakaimachi and Nichigin-dori), walk along the scenic canal and take a boat trip. You can also discover Otaru’s craftsmanship famous for their glass work especially. The region is also renowned for its Japanese sake, which you can discover at Tanaka Sake Brewery.
In Otaru, you will feel more in Europe or North America than in Japan. There are many imposing buildings directly inspired from America’s architecture. The canal even feels a bit like Venetia in Italy with its small boats navigating it. Otaru is really unique in Japan.
24. Visit Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art
The Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art is absolutely worth a visit. The museum feature a permanent collection of Japanese art the collection of international art.
Overall the beautiful space with plenty of art/architecture makes this museum a must-see in Sapporo.
Admission fee: 500 yen for adults and 350 yen for children
25. Relax at Asahiyama Memorial Park
If you want to escape the city for a while, then head to the gorgeous Asahiyama Memorial Park. The park is not far from Mount Moiwa.
Asahiyama Memorial Park is a great place to get some fresh air and to enjoy the beautiful view of Sapporo as the park is located on top of a hill.
There are plenty of walking tracks at the park. From there you can even hike all the way to the top of Mt. Moiwa.
26. Visit another beautiful park at Moerenuma Park
This multi-purpose park was designed by the sculptor Isamu Noguchi and opened in 2005.
In this massive park you can see beautiful fountains, huge sculpture with modern geometrical forms, vast grounds, playground for kids . This park is a great spot where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery around Sapporo.
There are cherry blossoms in spring, a water playground in summer, autumn leaves in autumn, and cross-country skiing and sledding in winter.
27. In winter go on a snowmobile tour
If you are travelling to Sapporo in winter, there are so many fun activities you can do in the snow. One of them is a snowmobile tour in Sapporo back country!
This is such a fun experience, which will give you unforgettable memories of your trip to Sapporo. You can choose between a 60min or 90min tour.
28. Rent a Kimono and take plenty of memorable photos
Why not renting a kimono for a few hours and taking plenty of beautiful photos in the parks and temples of Sapporo. This is something you gotta try at least once in Japan.
You can choose amongst plenty of different kimonos and of course it is available for men too.
29. Ride a horse in the nature around Sapporo
Head to Northern Horse Park, just a 15-minute drive from New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido.
Northern Horse Park has a wide range of activities and events throughout the year. One of the best things to do is of course to ride a horse. This is such a fun experience in Sapporo.
They also have pony shows, and other snow activities in winter.
30. Go on a day trip to Lake Toya and Noboribetsu
Our trip to Lake Toya and Noboribetsu is one of the most memorable things we visited in Hokkaido!
Lake Toya is absolutely gorgeous. There you can take a road trip and stop at one of the island in the middle of the lake. The view from there is so scenic and peaceful.
Then Noboribetsu is THE best place we visited in Hokkaido. We loved visiting the Hell Valley. This is one of the most impressive things we saw during our road trip. We also enjoyed relaxing onsen as we stayed in one of the Ryokan for a night.
Driving to Lake Toya and Noboribetsu takes 2 hours. You can also take the train which take around the same time. However, for a day trip we recommend joining a tour group. To book, click here.
Where to stay in Sapporo?
Hotel Ten to Ten
Ten to Ten is one of the best hotels in Sapporo. The design of the hotel is gorgeous. It is also in a prime location near the train station, Hokkaido University, the Botanic Garden and Odori Park. In terms of best value for money this is it! Book here.
Wyndham Garden Sapporo Odori
This hotel is perfect if you are in Sapporo for only a few days and want to be in the center of it all. This hotel is in the middle of Odori Park, Susukino bustling district, Tanuki Koji shopping street etc. Which means you can visit pretty everything on foot from Wyndham Garden Sapporo Odori. This is a great hotel in the area, search no longer, book here.
Sapporo Prince Hotel
You can’t miss this hotel if you travel to Sapporo. This tall and round shaped building is easily recognisable. If you are looking for full comfort, full amenities, big rooms with amazing view of the city and buffet breakfast in the morning, then book Sapporo Prince Hotel.
This is one of the best hotels in Sapporo, no doubt! Book here.
How to get to Sapporo?
Whether you are travelling from Tokyo or abroad, the best and fastest option to get to Sapporo is by plane. You check the availability and the cheapest prices here.
Other useful information about Sapporo
Getting Around Sapporo
While many attractions in Sapporo are concentrated around Odori park and can be done on foot, some activities will require public transport.
The good thing, is that it is very easy to get around in Sapporo. You can either take the subway, tram or bus. Most places are very well connected.
Best Time to visit Sapporo
Like anywhere in Japan, the best time to visit is Spring and Autumn. However, the good thing about Sapporo and Hokkaido in general is that it’s a winter wonderland. Here you can enjoy tones of winter activities and of course see the Sapporo Snow Festival!
How many days to visit Sapporo
In conclusion about the best things to see in Sapporo
Sapporo is more than just a stopover during a trip to Japan, Sapporo is a destination in itself. Capital of the island of Hokkaido, it is also an ideal base to explore the island which is absolutely spectacular. The nature in Hokkaido will make you forget everything else!
The list of things to do in Sapporo is endless. Here we only listed the top things to see in Sapporo, however if you decide to stay there for a longer period of time you won’t get bored. Besides, there are so many great things to see just outside Sapporo such as Jozankei and Otaru.
We truly enjoyed our trip to Sapporo and we hope you will too. If you have any question to help you prepare for your trip, please feel free to leave a comment below. We usually respond within 24 hours.
For more posts related to Japan, check out this link here.
20 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN HOKKAIDO: here
20 GREAT THINGS TO SEE IN OTARU: here
12 INCREDIBLE THING TO SEE IN LAKE TOYA: here
18 AWESOME THINGS TO SEE IN NOBORIBETSU ONSEN: here
16 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN JOZANKEI ONSEN: here
12 UNIQUE WINTER ACTIVITIES IN HOKKAIDO: here
VISIT MOUNT MOIWA IN SAPPORO: here
VISITING FURANO IN HOKKAIDO DURING WINTER: here
20 INCREDIBLE THINGS TO SEE IN HAKODATE: here
WHAT TO DO IN NISEKO, HOKKAIDO: here
6 BEST SKI RESORTS IN HOKKAIDO: here