So my final stop on my most recent adventures in Asia was Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan. I had never seen snow, I had never been in temperatures below zero, and I had obviously never been skiing; these were all about to change. Hokkaido is truly beautiful, and Sapporo is a wonderful city full of great food, great views and activities to keep you busy. I didn’t stay in a hostel this time instead I stayed with friends who lived there so I can’t recommend places to stay, but I can recommend things to do. Here we go:
Sapporo Beer Museum
This is a great little activity to enjoy rain, hail, snow or shine. It’s a small museum, but very interesting. There are video displays, physical displays and interactive displays in the form of you drinking beer at the bar. What more can you want from a museum? You learn about the history of Japan’s oldest beer, and then drink to forget it all at the end.
Getting there: Easiest way would be to get to Sapporo Station and take the Loop 88 Factory Bus. I walked from the station and it doesn’t take any longer than 20 minutes in the snow.
Cost: It’s free if you don’t choose a guide, and you don’t need one. For 3 beers fresh from the tap it is 600 yen, so around $7.50 AUD.
This is definitely something you should check out when in Sapporo. It’s extremely easy to get to, and at different times of the year it will offer up some beautiful memories. Unfortunately, I did not get to see anything special as I was there two weeks before the Snow Festival, which means it was all under construction. However, that shouldn’t mean everyone else misses out on it’s beauty in the middle of town. Just do some research before heading down to find out when best to visit. You can also see the Sapporo TV Tower which has an observation tower to the north.
Getting there: A quick subway trip to Odori Station and you’re there.
Cost: Free – entrance to the TV Tower observation deck is 700 yen
This is probably the biggest shrine in Hokkaido, and it’s situated in such a peaceful area that it makes it worth a visit. It’s a large Shinto shrine and in winter it’s in a state of zen paradise as you walk through the white wonderland to get there. If you’re lucky and time it nicely you can also see the burning of the new years decorations for luck.
Getting there: I walked from Odori Park, which took me around 15 minutes. But, the easiest way would be to walk from Maruyama Koen Subway Station on the Tozai Line.
Okurayama Ski Jump
This one was well worth doing and I can’t recommend it enough! It’s got everything, history, a fantastic view, beer and ice cream and if you’re especially lucky maybe even competitions on! You can see the entirety of Sapporo from atop the ski stadium. Definitely visit when in town!
Getting there: Get on the Tozai Line and hop off at Maruyama Koen Station, from there take a bus on line 14 and get off at Okurayama Kyogijo Iriguchi bus stop. From there it’s a 10 minute walk up the hill.
Cost: 500 yen to get to the top. Train to Maruyama Koen is 200 yen, the bus will be around 220 yen.
A pretty little seaside port town that offers the freshest and best sashimi in Japan. There are several little adventures to be had here, and if you’re into music, food, and canals this might be your kind of day trip. Don’t get me wrong, it’s only worth a day trip, but it’s still something you should check out. I can’t emphasise enough how good the sushi is here! The canals make for a beautiful walk as well. If you go in winter wear appropriate footwear and stay warm, it’s cold by the sea.
Getting there: Hop on the subway and get off at Sapporo Station. Then get on the JR Hakodate Train and get off at Otaru Station.
Cost: 640 yen one way by train. Sushi will cost you around 1,000 for a full meal, pricey but worth it.
So this is an absolute must experience while in town. Mt Moiwa can be seen from just about anywhere in Sapporo as it towers over the city and you just know the view is spectacular. There are many ways to see Mt Moiwa in winter such as the cable car, take a snow mobile tour, ski, or snowshoe/hike it which is what I did. It is incredibly rewarding once you make it to the top and it’s something I’ll carry with me forever. The views are superb and all in all it’s a wonderful day adventure. If you choose to visit at night it’s meant to be one of the main light attractions in Japan, but I didn’t get to see that.
Getting there: As said there are many ways, but to get to the actual mountain itself it’s probably best to take the subway to Susukino Station, from there hop on the tram and get off at Ropeway Iriguchi. There is a free shuttle bus from that stop that will take you to the cable car station, and from there you can decide which way to head up the mountain. There are many hiking trails, if that is what you wish to do, and the ski resort may be the better option to begin from rather than the cable car station.
Cost: 1700 yen for a complete round trip on the cable car, free if you hike
Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park
Do you like skiing? Do you like nature, waterfalls, tubing, hiking, exercise, lavender fields, cross country adventures? Then this is your place to be. There is so much to do here that it makes for a picture perfect day trip. In the spring you can see lavender as far as the eye can see, but obviously I was there in winter where the real adventure begins. We went cross country skiing, saw frozen waterfalls, tubed down snowy hills and fell on our asses time and time again. I highly recommend this little slice of delight. A must see is the Ashiribetsu Falls which you can ski to. It’s frozen in winter, and truly a delight.
Getting there: We drove there, and it took around 10 minutes. Otherwise, hop on the subway Namboku Line and get off at Makomanai station. From there take the Chuo bus 102 and get off at Suzuran Koen Higashiguchi stop.
Cost: Entry is free in Winter, 400 yen any other time off the year. The tubing is free, ski hire is 2500 yen for the full day, but we only booked for a few hours for 820 yen since we only chose to do the cross country skiing.
Jozankei Onsen and Snow Festival
Everyone needs to go to an onsen while in Japan and Hokkaido offer some of the worlds best hot springs. Jozankei was my chosen, and it was spectacular. There are multiple to choose from when you arrive, and they vary in price, but rest assured which ever you choose will be a relaxing experience. I was lucky enough to attend while the snow festival was on and got to engage in some dog sledding, and tubing amongst other things. It’s only on specific dates in January though so plan accordingly.
Getting there: Easiest way would be to take the the Jotetsu Bus from Sapporo Station. They leave a few times an hour and will set you back around 770 yen. It’ll take around an hour and a half.
Cost: Prices range from 500-1500 yen entry depending on where you go! The festival, if you choose to attend that, will set you back around 2500 yen for 15 coins to be spent at attractions.
There we have my list of things to do in and around Sapporo! There are WAY more things to see and do that I didn’t have time for and a lot of them come highly recommended. Places such as Hakodate, Niseko, Noboribetsu, and even way up north to see the ice shelf at Abashiri.
I hope this helps! Thank you for reading