Sapporo is the largest city of Hokkaido. It has many tourist spots and hotels, as well as being a hub for trains and buses. Hence, it’s often used as a base for traveling in the vast Hokkaido. Whether you’re looking for sight-seeing, shopping, something fun for the kids and family to do, or even a vibrant nightlife, Sapporo will never disappoint.
We stayed in Sapporo for 6 nights – spent 3 days in Sapporo and one day each in Asahikawa and Otaru. I’d say that two days in Sapporo is enough, unless you want to do it slow with lots of eating and shopping like us, then 3 days will be great. Check out our guide of fun things to do in Sapporo with Kids. 😃
10 Must-Visit Attractions in Sapporo
1. Odori Park and Sapporo White Illumination
Every year, many of Hokkaido’s best-known seasonal events such as the Snow Festival and White Illumination in the winter, Lilac Festival in the spring, YOSAKOI Soran Festival in the summer, and Autumn Festival are held at Odori Park. Depending on your travel dates, you may get a chance to catch one of these exciting events. But even if you don’t, this park is still worth a visit.
Odori Park is an oasis with 92 types of trees including lilacs and elm stands located in the middle of a business district. Clean and well-kept, it’s a PERFECT place to watch the best of what the different seasons have to offer – lush greenery in spring, yellow and red foliage in autumn, and white and snowy scene in winter.
We spent a night at Odori Park to see the beautiful Sapporo White Illumination where almost half a million of light bulbs were used to illuminate objects centered on cosmic and Christmas themes. This winter light-up takes place at three different locations every year: Odori Park, Sapporo Eki-mae Dori and Minami 1-Jo Dori starting late Nov from 4:30pm to 10pm except from 23 – 25 December, during which they will be on until midnight.
There’s also the German Christmas Market selling Christmas items, hot wine and German food. Tents with seats are also available near the food stalls, so you don’t have to worry about the snow. It was SO fun to soak up in Christmas mood here where the entire park was covered in pure white snow. Lara Biyuts said it best: “The first snow is like the first love. Do you remember your first snow?” This will always be our first memorable snowy Christmas! 😍
Location: Next to Odori Subway Station or 10 mins walk south of JR Sapporo Station
2. Shiroi Koibito Park
You know how famous Shiroi Koibito cookies are when you see them everywhere in Hokkaido. They are like Tokyo Bananas of Hokkaido – every tourist will definitely bring some home. 👍 Shiroi Koibito Park is a popular tourist attraction, and it consists of the Shiroi Koibito Factory where the well-known Hokkaido confectionery is produced, Cookiecraft Studio, Rose Garden, and a dessert café.
What’s more? For a small fee, you can take a tour in the factory and design your own cookie at the studio. Note that the factory is undergoing construction from 1 Apr 2018 till 11 July 2019. During this period, the production line and cookie making studio are not available.
Entrance to the park is free. Knowing that the cooking making studio was not opened, we delayed out visit to late evening so that we can see the illumination. Every winter, the park is decorated with beautiful winter lights. The main venue is at the courtyard of the park.
On the first floor, there’s a candy-making kitchen that showcases how candies are being pulled and twisted into shape before being cut into bite-sized portions. The toy museum on the second floor showcases an impressive collection of vintage toys. My favourite part is the dessert café to enjoy the Shiroi Koibito soft serve. It uses the same white chocolate and has the taste of Shiroi Koibito. Mixed with Hokkaido milk, it tastes light, creamy and VERY YUMMY! You can taste the popular souvenir Shiroi roll cake and Shiroi Baum here too.
Location: Miyanosawa 2-jo 2-chome Nishi-ku,Sapporo 063-0052
How to get there: Get off at Miyanosawa Station on the Tozai Subway Line. Walk about 7 mins through a mall. Follow the signboards as you walk and you can find the park easily.
3. Sapporo TV Tower
Sapporo TV Tower is located on the east of Odori Park. It offers the best 360° view of Sapporo and has become one of Sapporo’s landmarks since its completion in 1956. Take the elevator from the 3rd floor to the observation deck (90.38 m above ground) and the entirety of Sapporo city unfolds beneath your eyes.
During winter, it’s a perfect place to see the Sapporo Snow Festival and White Illumination from the top. You can also visit the souvenir shop located on the 3rd floor to check out some unique collectibles like fridge magnets and buy your tickets for access to the observation deck.
Location: Odori Nishi 1-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
How to get there: Exit 27 1-min walk from the Odori Station (Toho line)
Admission fee: Adults ¥720, Students ¥300-¥600, Child ¥100. You can also purchase slightly discounted admission tickets from KLOOK here.
4. JR TOWER Observatory T38
Directly connected to JR Sapporo Station, the observation deck is located at a height of 160 m offering various views of Sapporo from every angle, including a townscape filled with nature and a grid-pattern night view of the central Sapporo. In my opinion, the views are quite similar between Sapporo TV Tower and JR TOWER Observatory T38. However, the latter is much newer and more spacious. 😃
We went to JR TOWER at night and the night view of Sapporo was totally amazing. There are plenty of chairs for you to relax, enjoy your views or order a drink at the tower’s T’CAFE. If you plan to visit both, I’d suggest that you visit at different timings so that you can see different views. For us, we visited Sapporo TV Tower in the morning and JR TOWER at night. At night, the skyline of central Sapporo is illuminated in all directions! 😍
Location: Odori Nishi 1-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
How to get there: 3-min walk from Sapporo JR Stn, inside JR Tower
Admission fee: Adults ¥720, Students ¥500, Child ¥300. You can also purchase slightly discounted admission tickets from KLOOK here.
5. Mt Moiwa Ropeway
If you’re looking for the BEST out of the best views of Sapporo, we recommend Mt Moiwa (and if you’re still not tired of the views LOL). Are we crazy about Sapporo’s view? 😆 Yes, we are! But this is a slightly different experience as compared to the previous two. To get to the peak, you need to first ride a ropeway that takes you from the base to three quarters of the mountain to a transfer station. Then, you proceed to the peak by taking a Morris car – sort of like a mini cable car.
There is an observation deck and a restaurant called The Jewels at the summit where you can just sip on your hot drink, relax and be captivated by Sapporo city’s view. You can visit Mt Moiwa in the day or at night, and the views are vastly different. We went up at night and the dazzling lights after dark were just SO mesmerizing. We enjoyed ourselves so much even though it was freezing cold up there.
Location: Minami Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture 005-0041, Japan
How to get there: Take the streetcar to Ropeway Iriguchi Station. Walk for 1 min (100-150m) and take the shuttle bus to the base of the cable car station.
Admission fee: Adults ¥1700, Child ¥850. For an easier way to get there, you can consider Mt. Moiwa with Dinner at Mt. Okura Sapporo Trip on Klook. The night view dinner trip includes bus transportation from Sapporo station, Mt. Moiwa Ropeway round-trip ticket, and 70 min all-you-can-eat fresh Genghis Khan lamb buffet dinner.
6. Sapporo Clock Tower
What?! Tower again, you may start protesting LOL. Let me explain. This tower is totally different from Sapporo TV Tower and JR TOWER. Surrounded by modern buildings, the 141 years old Clock Tower stands out distinctively. First built in 1878 as a military drill hall, the tower has an awesome history that is closely tied to Sapporo. We decided to check it out as it was very close to JR Odori Station.
On the first floor, there is an exhibition on some historical events. On the second floor, there is a musical hall and a model of how the clock works. We were fascinated by the fact that the clock is powered by the force of gravity alone. A 50-kilo stone box and 150-kilo bell are hung at the bottom of the clock, that cranks the gears and keep it moving for more than a century. Interesting, isn’t it? 😉
Location: 2 Chome Kita 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0001, Japan
How to get there: 5 mins walk from Odori Station Exit 7
Admission fee: It’s totally free during my visit. I’ve also read somewhere that the admission fee is ¥200 for adults and free for kids.
7. Hokkaido Shrine
Hokkaido Shrine was built in 1869 and it’s the resting place of four Gods. Truth be told, I’m not really into shrines and temples but due to V’s persistence, I decided to check it out. Now that I’m typing this post, I’m glad that we visited the shrine because it was so beautiful in the winter where everywhere was carpeted with powder white snow.
It wasn’t crowded during our visit as it was snowing quite heavily that day. Very calm and relaxing place to visit, and it’s also very near to Maruyama Park and Maruyama Zoo. It is said that one of the best places to view cherry blossoms in northern Japan is at Hokkaido Shrine. I’d recommend that you take a leisurely stroll at Maruyama Park after your visit.
Location: 474 Miyagaoka, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 064-8505, Hokkaido
How to get there: 15 mins walk from Maruyama Koen Station through Maruyama Park. Get out from Exit 3, turn right (you’ll see a KFC restaurant), walk that direction through Maruyama Park to reach the shrine. Alternatively, you can get out at Exit 2 to the bus terminal position no. 4. Take bus Nishi 14 or Nishi 15 and get off at “Jingumae teiryujo” bus stop.
8. Sapporo Beer Museum
Among all the places listed in my itinerary, the only place that I didn’t get to visit is Sapporo Beer Museum. It’s a waste, I know, as we were running out of time. You can bring anyone here (even if they are under 20) and have a free tour of the factory and the museum to find out how beer is made and what the history of beer is in Japan.
For beer lovers, you’d be delighted to know that there’s a paid tasting corner where you can try out freshly-brewed beer delivered directly from the Sapporo Breweries Hokkaido Brewery and Sapporo Kaitakushi Brewery. There’s also a premium paid tour that includes a guided tour (Japanese language only) and beer tasting. 😋
Also popular here is the all-you-can-eat mutton “Genghis Khan” at the adjoining Sapporo Beer Garden. Genghis Khan is Hokkaido’s representative dish usually made with lamb and mutton that you eat after grilling on a metal skillet which is dome shaped at the center. Not a mutton lover? Fret not! You can also opt for the crab buffet. And if you love beer, you’ll fit right in here. There’s an all-you-can-drink beer buffet too! You can purchase Premium À-La-Carte Buffet from Klook at a discounted price.
Location: Kita 7-jo, Higashi 9-chome 1-1, Higashi-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
How to get there: Take the subway to Higashikuyakusho Mae Station, 10 mins walk from Exit 4
9. Mitsui Outlet Park
Shopping is one of the enjoyments of travel, especially outlet malls where you can purchase items for a fraction of the normal price. Mitsui Outlet Park wasn’t in our original itinerary, but we decided to check it out after hearing some great reviews from a hotel guest that we knew.
There are two outlet malls near Sapporo: 1) Chitose Outlet Mall Rera near the New Chitose Airport and 2) Mitsui Outlet Park located midway between the airport and Sapporo. We went to the latter because it’s nearer and bigger.
Mitsui Outlet Park is a huge outlet mall with over 180 stores of all types offering a broad selection of famous brand name goods. On the first floor, there is a corner selling all sorts Hokkaido souvenirs such as agricultural products from Hokkaido Loco Farm Village, local sake, snacks etc.
We didn’t have time to visit all the stores, of course. Some of the brands that we saw include Under Armour, GAP, Banana Republic, Adidas, New Balance, Reebok etc. The items are almost half the price they cost in Singapore! You can get very good winter outer coat (thick with fur) for less than S$100. There’s also a huge food court serving popular Hokkaido dishes like Teshikaga Ramen and Samurai Soup Curry.
Location: 3-7-6 Omagari Saiwai-cho, Kitahiroshima City, Hokkaido
How to get there: Take a direct bus from Sapporo Station (50 mins). Click HERE for direction and do check the timing as the frequency is not high. Personally, I find that it’s easier to take the subway to Fukuzumi station, take the Exit 3 to the bus terminal. Take Bus # 95 bound for Mitsui Outlet Park.
10. Susukino district
Welcome to Susukino – the nightlife district of Sapporo where the streets are filled with bars, restaurants, cafes and even pachinko shops! This is the largest entertainment district of Northern Japan, so take your time to explore.
Sapporo Ramen Yokocho is a famous ramen alley in Susukino, also known as the birthplace of miso ramen. It’s popular with local and foreign tourists. These restaurants are used to serving foreigners, so don’t worry – you’ll have no problem communicating with them. Many shops also have English menus. 😀
Location: Susukino station
Wow, that’s a super long post! Thanks for reading thus far. 😆 We hope you enjoyed reading and find this post useful. 👍 And if you’re still thinking about your next travel destination, do consider Sapporo. We enjoyed ourselves SO much here. Sapporo is also a city with great public transportation. I’ll share more about public transportation in Sapporo soon, please stay tuned.
Disclosure: This trip was made entirely on our own expenses. If you made a purchase through the affiliated links, you won’t pay a penny more, but we will receive a small commission that supports the running of this site. Thank you!