20 Things To Do In Sapporo

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Sapporo is the capital of Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido and Japan’s fifth largest city but back in 1857 it had a population of only seven people! If you are planning on heading to Japan’s northern island, then you will want to visit Sapporo for its mountains and impressive natural beauty. The city hosted the 1972 Olympic Winter Games and is well known for its snow festival. Check out these 20 things to do in Sapporo before finalising your trip to Japan.

Sapporo, Japan

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20 Things To Do In Sapporo

Sapporo City Downtown Skyline Cityscape Of Japan
Wondering what to do in Sapporo in winter?

1- Enjoy The Views At Sapporo Mt Moiwa Ropeway

The Sapporo Mt Moiwa Ropeway is a cable car that takes you up to the top of Mount Moiwa in the south of Sapporo.

The cableway opens between 11am (10:30 in summer) and 10pm and provides incredible and expansive views of Sapporo and its surroundings.

Whether you visit during the day or at night, it’s a wonderful place to head to in Sapporo.

There are two ways up and down the mountain: the ropeway (cable car) and a mo-risu car (a mini cable car) that moves more like a tram on a track.

The mountain is 531 meters (1742 ft) high so bring your camera to photograph the impressive view.


The Sapporo Mt Moiwa Ropeway is at Hokkaido, Sapporo, Minami Ward, Moiwayama.

2- Feel The Tranquility At Hokkaido Jingu (Hokkaido Shrine)

Hokkaido Jingu or Hokkaido Shrine was built in 1869 and is in Maruyama Park.

The shrine is dedicated to three deities (or gods) who were there to uplift the spirits of pioneers clearing the virgin forest.

It also offered them a gathering place to meet people. In 1964 an additional enshrinement to Meiji Emperor was established.

It’s a beautiful and peaceful place to visit which is transformed in winter when the snow comes and in spring when the cherry blossom blooms.

Hokkaido Shrine is at 474 Miyagaoka, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-8505.

3- Eat Soup Curry – A Sapporo Creation

Images Of Soup Curry With Chicken
Eating soup curry is one of the tasty things to do in Sapporo.

If you are traveling to Sapporo and wonder what foods you must try then definitely go for soup curry.

Soup curry originates from Sapporo on Japan’s northern island Hokkaido.

This iconic food and local favorite is a light broth with impactful spices.

From shrimp to pork bones, the restaurants of Sapporo each have a unique take on this local delicacy.

Many curries have big pieces of vegetables (that are always fresh) , others have soft meat like braised pork belly, seafood or chicken.

You can also choose how spicy the curry is, how much rice to have and if you want to add any toppings.

There are a plethora of restaurants serving soup curry, the only problem you’ll have is trying to settle on a place to eat because as is always the problem in Japan, everything looks so good.

Recommended tour: Sapporo Culinary Quest: Tastes of Tradition and Treasures

4- Explore Odori Park

View Of Otaru Canel In Winter Season With Sunset
Admiring Otaru canal is one of the things to do in Sapporo at night.

In the heart of Sapporo, Odori Park offers a welcome break from the urban dwellings.

This oasis is in the middle of the business district and it’s not so much a park more like a linear park in the middle of two streets and flanked by 92 types of trees.

In fact, the park, stretching 12 blocks (around 1.5 km) splits Sapporo into the northern and southern parts.

There are lawns where you can enjoy a picnic or a refreshing drink in summer.

There are fountains and in summers the park is home to the Autumn Festival, a beer garden and the YOSAKOI Soran Festival.

Odori Park is at 2 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042.

Recommended tour: Hokkaido: Noboribetsu, Lake Toya and Otaru Full-Day Tour

5- Walk To The Hill Of The Buddha

Professor Clark Statue In Sapporo
The Professor Clark Statue in Sapporo.

The Hills of the Buddha is a shrine at the Makomanai Takino Cemetery.

The Buddha was designed by Japanese modernist architect, Tadao Ando, and sits humbly inside a circular concrete enclosure.

The statue was designed so that you can only see the Buddha’s head popping out of the top from a distance.

You can go inside the structure and see the Buddha up close.

A beautiful 40-metre tunnel amplifies all sound for a strangely calming feel. The Buddha is 13.5 meters (16 ft)!

One of the best times to see the Hill of the Buddha is in July when the 150,000 strong field of lavender creates a purple carpet on the hill.

While there you can write a wish on the wooden placards known as ema or take your omikuji fortune.

Though the Buddha is found within a cemetery it is also a place to celebrate and commemorate life.

The Hill of the Buddha is at Takino, Minami Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 005-0862.

6- Take A Look At The Sapporo TV Tower

Sapporo TV Tower In Sapporo Japan
Enjoying the view from Sapporo TV Tower is one of the things to do in Sapporo in April.

The Sapporo TV Tower looks much like the Tokyo Tower, Osaka’s Tsutenkaku tower and the Nagoya TV Tower.

Its Eiffel tower-like structure makes it an iconic Sapporo landmark that stands at 147.2 meters (482 ft) high and is a wonderful place to take in 360-degree views of the city.

You can head up to the 90.38 meter (296 ft) viewing platform to soak in the city.

The tower is primarily a TV and radio broadcasting tower. You will find the tower in Sapporo’s Odori Park.

The Sapporo TV Tower is at 1 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042.

Recommended tour: Sapporo: Private Customized Guided Tour

7- Find Cherry Blossom At Maruyama Park

An Old Famous Ancient Cherry Blossom Tree At Maruyama Park
Admiring cherry blossoms in Maruyama Park is one of the best things to do in Sapporo.

If asked the question “What is Japan famous for?”, you’ll probably say sushi but if not the chances are you will say cherry blossom.

Well, if you are in Sapporo around late April to mid-May then you are in for a treat.

Maruyama Park is one of the best spots to take in the pink canopy of cherry blossoms that covers much of Japan.

If you are looking to embrace nature, then this is the park for you.

The park covers around 70 hectares at the foot of the Maruyama mountain just 3km (1.86 miles).

This park is next to the Hokkaido Jingu shrine so you can easily visit on the same trip.

There’s plenty to see in the park beside the beautiful cherry blossom.

There’s a zoo, a recreational canal, baseball diamonds, and always people exercising and socializing.

Maruyama Park is at 〒064-0959 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Miyagaoka, 3.

8- Experience Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park In All Seasons

No matter what time of year you are in Sapporo, Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park is waiting to entertain you.

This is the only national park in Hokkaido, so it’s well worth visiting.

The park covers 400 hectares.

Within this space there is a flower garden, playpark, three waterfalls and a picturesque and peaceful forest to explore.

The best time to visit the tulip filled flower garden is in late May and the cosmos in early September.

During winter the park transforms into the Takino Snow World.

Admission to the park is free in winter (a bonus) and you can play in the snow and try cross-country skiing.

Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park is at 247 Takino, Minami Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 005-0862.

9- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth At Shiroi Koibito Park

Tree House Architecture Snow Winter
Visiting the chocolate-themed Shiroi Koibito Park is one of the top things to do in Sapporo.

You may be thinking of fields and trees, but the Shiroi Koibito Park is all about chocolate!

Shiroi Koibito Park is a chocolate themed entertainment park run by the manufacturers of Shiro Koibito (a very famous Japanese chocolate filled cookie).

The park’s architecture is the first thing you will notice.

It’s the point at which British and Hokkaido culture blends together.

The founder was greatly interested in England’s architectural beauty and was keen to show it to locals (hence why there are a fair few Tudor houses).

At the park you can head to Chocotopia House where you will learn about the major inventions in chocolate making.

There’s also a chocolate factory where you can see everything being made.

There’s the Cacao Pod where you can learn about the making process and the ingredients used in chocolate.

All in all, it’s a fun, family day out for chocolate lovers, biscuit enthusiasts or those just looking for a unique experience in Japan.

Shiroi Koibito Park is at 2 Chome-11-36 Miyanosawa 2 Jo, Nishi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 063-0052.

10- Check Out The Okurayama Ski Jump And Olympic Museum

Structures For Ski Jumping. Ski Jumping Resort On Winter Season
Checking out the Okurayama Ski Jump and Olympic Museum are fun things to do in Sapporo.

Sapporo held the winter Olympic games in 1972.

The Olympic Museum showcases Japan’s history with the winter Olympics (having hosted a total of four Olympics as of 2020).

While there you will really get a feel for how many Winter Olympic sports have developed over time owing to technological advancements.

Exhibits showcase Japanese medal winners, the paralympic events, an Imperial family collection and the legacy of the 1972 games.

While there you can also check out the Okurayama Ski Jump and ride the lift to the top of the jump!

The Sapporo Olympic Museum is at 1274 Miyanomori, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0958.

11- Explore The Historical Village Of Hokkaido (Kaitaku-no Mura)

The Historical Village of Hokkaido is a fascinating open-air museum on the outskirts of eastern Sapporo.

The village represents the history of Hokkaido between 1868 and 1920 (from the Meiji period to the Showa period).

It is not only a place to showcase local history, but it also preserves cultural assets for future generations.

The village has 52 buildings, the town area, a fishing village, a farm village and a mountain village.

At each building you can learn more about the structures, their uses and what life was like for people living during this time.

Visiting the Historical Village of Hokkaido is a fun activity for the whole family.

The Historical Village of Hokkaido is at Konopporo-50-1 Atsubetsucho, Atsubetsu Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 004-0006.

12- Discover European Architecture At The Hokkaido Government Office

The Historic Former Hokkaido Government Offices
Discovering European architecture at the Hokkaido Government Office is one of the unusual things to do in Sapporo.

Japan is a place with its own unique culture and architecture so it’s interesting to see other global influences play a part in its designs.

The Former Hokkaido Government Office, colloquially known as the “red brick office” is a grand building standing at the end of a street.

The building was used as the government office for around 80 years.

The red brick façade is typical of American neo-baroque architecture.

The building was constructed back in 1888 and features warped glass that was first created in the Meiji Period.

As well as photographing the building from the outside you can also head inside to check out the exhibits on Hokkaido history.

Hokkaido Government Office is at 6 Chome Kita 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0003.

13- Spend A Night Out In Susukino District

Susukino is Sapporo’s main entertainment area.

If you are searching for evening entertainment, then you should start (and probably end) in Susukino.

They’ve got everything there from bars to cafes, clubs, movie theatres, KTV and restaurants.

It should also be pointed out that this area is home to the “red light district” so be sure to keep your eyes peeled (or not) if you don’t want to wander into uncharted territories.

The area is well known for its fluorescent neon shop and street signs which really do bring the streets to life.

There are plenty of places to eat dishes like miso ramen, sushi, seafood, and barbecue.

You can shop at the department stores and even visit the Tokokawa Inari Temple.

14- Ski Or Snowboard At A Nearby Resort

Girl Snowboarder With A Snowboard
Skiing or snowboarding at a nearby resort is one of the popular things to do in Sapporo in winter.

As the hosts of the 1972 Winter Olympic Games, of course Sapporo has some top-quality ski and snowboarding resorts.

Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort is just an hour from the city and is known for its powdery snow and slope variety.

Another option is Sapporo Teine where the winter Olympics took place.

There are two zones at this resort, the Olympia Zone (family friendly) and the Highland Zone.

Fancy skiing with a view of the ocean?

Snow Cruise Onze has got you covered.

You can access this ski resort via a free shuttle bus from the Sapporo municipal subway.

If you are one of those who likes to ski without those pesky snowboarders, then head to Sapporo Moiwayama Ski Resort.

15- Tuck Into Fresh Sushi From The Sea Of Japan

Rolls Set With Fish Shrimp And Caviar Sushi With Chopsticks
Tucking into fresh sushi is one of the top 10 things to do in Sapporo Japan.

Sapporo’s proximity to the sea means that it’s one of the best places in Japan to eat sushi.

The freshest high-quality ingredients are used in sushi restaurants all around Sapporo.

There are a plethora of sushi places to head to.

From luxurious sushi restaurants, to Michelin star sushi, to long established establishments there’s so many options.

Sit at a private table and take your time dining or go to a more casual conveyor belt restaurant.

16- Taste Miso-Based Ramen At Sapporo Ramen Alley

Japanese Noodle Soup Ramen
Tasting miso-based ramen at Ramen Alley is one of the things to do in Sapporo in January.

Everyone knows Japan is famous for its ramen noodles. It’s hard to visit the country without sampling a bowl full.

Miso based ramen is a noodle soup where the broth is made from miso.

It is usually chicken or pork stock and served with meat and vegetables.

This ramen is thicker than its counterparts and the noodles are usually super fresh.

Ganso Sapporo ramen Yokocho, otherwise known as Ramen Alley, is an awesome place to grab a bowl of delicious ramen.

It’s not just a tourist trap, locals eat here too!

This part of Sapporo is arguably the “birthplace” of miso ramen.

In 1948 there were eight ramen houses and now there are around 17!

Despite there being many restaurants, most places will have a line outside because they are just that popular!

Most of these ramen joints are open from midday to midnight! So, you can basically have ramen most of the day.

17- Shop At Tanukikoji

The Arched Walkway At Shopping Mall In Sapporo
Shopping at Tanukikoji is one of the things to do in Sapporo Japan.

Tanukikoji is a 1 km long arcade or shopping street.

It features more than 200 shops and runs from east to west in the heart of Sapporo’s downtown.

This is a top thing to do in Sapporo if it rains as the arcade is undercover from Nishi-1-chome to Nishi-7-chome.

There are a combination of old and new shops, karoke bars, snack shops and souvenir shops.

It’s always a lively place to visit, with locals and tourists picking up what they need or looking for the first time.

Tanukikoji shopping street is at〒060-0062 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo Ward.

18- Admire The Sculptures At The Sapporo Snow Festival

Glass House Architecture Snow Winter Festival
Admiring the sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the things to do with kids in Sapporo.

The Sapporo Snow Festival is well renowned in Japan.

The event takes place over the course of one week in February.

The event first started in 1950 and it’s only grown since then.

The festival started when high school students built some snow statues in Odori Park.

Visit today and you will find intricate ice sculptures.

Ice sculptures light up and there’s even an epic hand carved tubing slope for the whole family to enjoy.

The festival takes place across three areas: Odori, Susukino and Tsu Dome.

19- Feel Festive Walking Among Sapporo’s White Illuminations

Sapporo In Winter
Looking for things to do in Sapporo winter?

If you visit Sapporo during winter there are plenty of things to see and do, including the Sapporo White Illuminations.

During winter, Sapporo hosts different illuminations across the city.

Some of the places where you can see the beautiful, cheerful, and festive lights include Odori Park and Sapporo Station.

The illuminations were first held in 1981 and it’s now recognized as one of the three best illuminations in the whole of Japan.

From hanging lights to installations and fairy light wrapped trees there’s so much beauty to be found in Sapporo in winter.

20- Taste Japanese Beer At The Sapporo Beer Museum

Want to check out Japan’s oldest beer museum?

Well, Sapporo has a long history of beer brewing, and you can learn all about it at the Sapporo Beer Museum.

Sapporo beer is one of the oldest and most popular beers in Japan.

They have been brewing in Sapporo since 1877.

The beer museum was opened in a former brewery from the Meiji Period.

Learn about the history of beer in Japan, the beer making process and of course sample some of their offerings.

The Sapporo Beer Museum is at 9 Chome-1-1 Kita 7 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Hokkaido 065-8633.

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Harriet Comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!