1. Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri)
The Sapporo Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり, Sapporo Yuki Matsuri) is held during one week every February in Hokkaido’s capital Sapporo. It is one of Japan’s most popular winter events.
The Sapporo Snow Festival was started in 1950, when high school students built a few snow statues in Odori Park. It has since developed into a large, commercialized event, featuring spectacular snow and ice sculptures and attracting more than two million visitors from Japan and across the world. The snow festival is staged on three sites: the Odori Site, Susukino Site and Tsu Dome Site.
The main site is the Odori Site in Sapporo’s centrally located 1.5 kilometer long Odori Park. The festival’s famous large snow sculptures, some measuring more than 25 meters wide and 15 meters high, are exhibited there. They are lit up daily until 22:00.
The upcoming snow festival is on 4th Feb to 11th Feb, 2021.
Address: 7 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042, Japan
Hours: 24 hours
Admission: Entry is free
Access: 345m from Ōdōri Station, 600m from Susukino Station
2. Sapporo Beer Museum and Sapporo Beer Garden
Hokkaido is the birthplace of beer in Japan. Sapporo Beer, one of the oldest and most popular beer brands in the country, has been brewed in Sapporo since 1877.
The Sapporo Beer Museum (サッポロビール博物館, Sapporo Beer Hakubutsukan) was opened in 1987 in a former brewery from the Meiji Period. The museum introduces the history of beer in Japan and the process of beer making. After the exhibitions, beer tastings are available at a small fee. Alternatively, paid tours are held in Japanese that include a tasting session at the end.
Next to the museum is the Sapporo Beer Garden, which consists of a few restaurants. Among the restaurants are several, atmospheric beer halls, but also the more sophisticated Garden Grill restaurant. Popular in the beer halls are all-you-can-drink beer and all-you-can-eat mutton BBQ, a popular local dish named after the great Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan (Jingisukan in Japanese).
Address: 9 Chome-1-1 Kita 7 Johigashi, Sapporo, Hokkaido 065-8633, Japan
Admission: Free (500 yen for a guided tour)
Hours: Opens 11am-8pm daily, Closed on Mondays
Access: 10 minute walk from Higashi-Kuyakusho-Mae Station on the Toho Subway Line. Disembark from the JR Hakodate Main Line at Naebo Station; 8 minute walk from North Exit.
3. Shiroi Koibito Park – Ishiya Chocolate Factory
Shiroi Koibito Park (白い恋人パーク) is a theme park by Ishiya, a local chocolate company. The company’s flagship product is the Shiroi Koibito cookie, which consists of two thin butter cookies and a layer of white chocolate in between. It is one of the most famous souvenirs from Hokkaido.
The park consists of a free area with a shop, cafe and restaurant and a paid area with various chocolate-related exhibits and, most interestingly, a few large windows through which visitors can observe the cookie production process in the factory. It is also possible to create your own cookies in hands-on workshops.
Address: 2 Chome-11-36 Miyanosawa 2 Jo, Nishi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 063-0052, Japan
Admission: Free (600 yen for paid areas)
Hours: Opens 9am-7pm daily
Access: 10 minute walk from Miyanosawa Station from Tozai Subway Line
4. Ice Fishing in Sapporo
For ice fishing, you can make your way to Barato River. It takes half an hour ride by car from downtown Sapporo to reach this popular ice fishing spot and you will be provided all sorts of fishing equipment. There will meet a guide who explains you everything you need to know prior to ice fishing.
The weather out there is cold enough to make you crazy about it, so wear warm clothes such as winter jacket, cap, gloves, muffler, sunglasses, socks, and so on.
Address: Oyafuru, Ishikari, Hokkaido 061-3245, Japan
5. Mt. Moiwa
Mount Moiwa (藻岩山, Moiwa-yama) is one of several small, forested mountains southwest of central Sapporo. The mountain is a popular sightseeing spot that is known for the spectacular view out over the city from an observation deck at its summit. The view is especially beautiful after sunset.
The Mount Moiwa Ropeway climbs from the base of the mountain three quarters up the mountain to a transfer station. From there a rather unique mini cablecar travels the rest of the way to the upper station at the summit where there is an observation deck and restaurant with nice views out over the city. The station also houses a planetarium and theater. The ropeway and building complex at the summit were reopened in 2012 after extensive renovations.
The Mount Moiwa Ski Resort lies on the mountain’s southeastern slope. This skier-only resort has several runs and is close to Sapporo City; however, it is approached from a different direction than the Mount Moiwa Ropeway.
Address: 5 Chome-3-7 Fushimi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0942, Japan
Official Website: http://moiwa.sapporo-dc.co.jp/
Admission: 1700 yen (roundtrip for ropeway and mini cable car)
1100 yen (roundtrip for ropeway only)
600 yen (roundtrip for mini cable car only)
Hours: 10:30am to 10:00pm (from 11:00am from December to March); admission ends 30 minutes before closing
Access: From Susukino, take Sapporo’s only streetcar line to “Ropeway Iriguchi” station (25 minutes, 200 yen, frequent departures). From there, a free shuttle bus operates to the lower ropeway station (5 minutes, departs every 15 minutes). Alternatively, the Mount Moiwa Ropeway can be reached in a five minute walk from the Ropeway Iriguchi streetcar stop.