The capital of Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, Sapporo is famous for its beer, skiing and annual Sapporo Snow Festival in February featuring enormous ice sculptures (which I’m SO sad we missed by just a few weeks). We only had about 24-hours in the city, sadly, but here are the highlights!
Looking for info on other cities in Japan? Check out my Blog Posts on Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo and Niseko.
When To Go To Sapporo:
Japan is one of those countries that you can visit any time of year, but, it all depends on what you’re looking for. It is filled with beautiful flower fields in June-August, the Sapporo Snow Festival takes place in early February, and Snowsports range from late November to Early May.
How To And From Sapporo:
From Niseko (Kutchan) to Sapporo, it’s a comfy 2 hour train ride (slow moving) through the mountains and snowy hills. It’s on the JR line, which is great!
Times from Kutchan to Sapporo leave at 5:20am, 6:20am, 6:58am, 8:04am, 9:38am and 11:42am, so keep that in mind when booking your flight.
Do note that you have to change trains at Oatru for Sapporo.
From The Main Central Station to New Chitose Airport, it’s about one hour on the JR line.
How To Get Around Sapporo:
Japan Rail (JR Pass): This is a MUST purchase if you’re planning to travel all over Japan. It MUST be purchased prior to arriving in Japan and expires in 7, 14 or 21 (your choice) days from the date of activation upon arrival in the country. The JR Pass can be activated at any JR office, located at all major train stations throughout the large cities. There are different regions of passes, but I suggest to get the N-Pass (Nationwide), which worked well for the 14 days and multiple cities we explored. The cost ranges from $200USD-$500. Be SURE to reserve your seats on long journeys on the bullet trains (Kyoto to Tokyo, Tokyo to Sapporo) ahead of time at the JR stations at no additional cost. There is no need to do this for short distances.
Subway: DO NOT be misled, just because you have a JR pass, it doesn’t mean you won’t have to purchase local subway transport in cities. There are special JR lines that go around the cities, but if sometimes you’ll need to purchase a subway card or individual ticket to get around. When you book your accommodation, I’d suggest ensuring it’s walkable to a JR line for more convenience. Each subway ride costs about $1.85USD/one way (ouch).
Taxis: Taxis in Japan are SUPER expensive. Each taxi driver wears a suit and tie, if that tells you anything! They all use meters, so it’s very safe and legit, but costly: for a 3.5 mile ride, we paid $20USD. Needless to say, we only took a taxi one time.
Where To Stay In Sapporo:
MyStays Sapporo Station
MyStays Sapporo Station is a 5 minute walk from The Main Train Station, which was super convenient in the cold, blizzardingx weather. There is a sister hotel just opposite, called Mystays Sapporo Aspen (more expensive), so be sure to check your reservation. $72USD/night
What To Do In Sapporo:
Sapporo Beer Museum
Sapporo Beer Museum is a $10USD cab ride from The Main Station. For $6, you can enjoy a sampler of 3 different types of beer! It’s a MUST SEE!
Not only is Sapporo Station the main station for railway in town, but it doubles as a very large shopping mall with endless restaurants. It’s fun to roam around the many halls and explore and eat. The station has a lively pub scene!
Where To Eat In Sapporo:
Hanamara Sushi in Paseo (Sapporo Station):
We loved the sushi so much here, we ate here twice in the short time we were in the city. The service is great and the prices are reasonable!
Hanamara Sushi in JR Tower Stellar Place (Sapporo Station):
This is another conveyor belt sushi that came highly recommend, although we never dined there.
Ramen Yokocho is a lane packed with shops and countless different ramen restaurants with budget-friendly prices! Teshikaga Ramen came highly recommended!
Things To Note About Japan:
Small Bills are a MUST! Be sure to always have notes of $1,000 Yen or less.
Wifi isn’t easy to get around the city, so be sure to reserve an accommodation that provides pocket wifi.
Many of the train stations don’t have lifts (elevators), so if you have heavy luggage, it’s a LONG journey up/down multiple flights of stairs. Pack light!
When making payment anywhere in Japan, never hand your money directly to the cashier, as there are trays provided for handling these items so hands are not touched between cashier and payee.
Sapporo became famous in 1972 when the Winter Olympic Games were held there.
The cities nickname is ‘The City of Ramen.’
Sapporo is the most popular Asian beer sold in the USA, since 1986.
The star logo of Sapporo is in reference to the North Star, a pioneer’s symbol for the pioneers of Japanese beer.
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XOXO The Traveling Blondie
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