With numerous parks and wide, tree-lined streets, Sapporo is not only aesthetically pleasing but also friendly and relaxed. Although it is Hokkaido’s largest city and Japan’s fifth, it is less hectic than most.
Click on your destination of interest
Top things to do in Sapporo
Sapporo city tour
The focal point for the city of Sapporo is the Tokei-Da clock tower. It is one of the few remaining western-style buildings in Sapporo, built with assistance from the American government in the 1870's. Other sites of interest include the Jingu temple, which is a Shinto shrine set in forested grounds that was the site of the reclamation of Hokkaido by Emperor Meiji in 1869. Hokudai Shokubutsuen is a botanical garden and museum exhibiting over 4,000 plants in a 14-hectare site. The former Hokkaido Government Office was built in 1871 as the administrative base for the development of Hokkaido, and is now open to the public with some historical exhibition rooms, libraries, a museum shop and flower garden.
Visit the historic coastal town of Otaru
Set on the coast, an hour north of Sapporo, the historic town of Otaru has western-inspired architecture and a busy fishing town ambience. A pleasant morning or afternoon can be spent browsing in the shops by the Otaru canal, eating fresh seafood, and seeing some exquisite craftsmanship and architecture at the Old Aoyama villa, former home to an illustrious trading family who made their fortune in the herring fishing industry. With their wealth the family hired Nenosuke Saito, the chief Imperial carpenter, who directed 40 fellow carpenters, plasterers and joiners in the work that took six years to complete, using traditional building techniques and materials. Otaru is also well known for its glass manufacturing industry. At the Kitaichi Glass Factory, the company has a museum displaying a variety of glasswork and a showroom with select pieces for sale.
The latest from Compass - our online travel magazine
"The whole organisation worked incredibly well and we had a most informative and enjoyable visit. Yoshie Matsumoto must be the most outstanding guide in Japan. She was absolutely superb and added a great deal to our enjoyment."