Sapporo: The Fifth-Largest City in Japan

About Sapporo Japan

Sapporo Japan Time

The Japan Standard Time (JST) is at UTC +9 which means that it is about 9 hours ahead of the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Unlike in other countries such as Australia, the US, and Europe, there is no such thing as daylight saving time in Japan. 

What is interesting is that during the earlier times, there was no standard time throughout the country. Each region has its own “timezone” and was measured when the sun is exactly up right. For instance, Osaka is 20 minutes ahead of Tokyo. This has created a bit of confusion for a number of systems that need synchronization, such as train schedules. Certain parts of Okinawa as well was only about UTC +8 or eight hours ahead of the Coordinated Universal Time. 

Soon enough, after the Second World War, Japan has officially established their own standard time which will be followed throughout the country. 

Sapporo Japan Population

According to reports, there are almost two million persons or individuals registered in Sapporo. It is believed to be the 5th largest population in Japan and makes about 30% of the entire population of Hokkaido. Sapporo is the 4th largest city in all of Japan, which explains the high population in the area. 

Sapporo Weather

Spring and Summer in Sapporo

Since the area is found at a high elevation, Sapporo is believed to be cool during the spring time and summer time. What is special about this place is that there is a Sapporo Summer Festival which is held during July to August of every year. During the Spring, people enjoy seeing the cherry blossoms in parks and the mountains. 

Sapporo Japan Winter and Autumn

Of course, Sapporo is a winter destination because of its enjoyable slopes and ice sculptures. However, a number of tourists also enjoy the fall season in the region. This is because of the fact that the changes of the leaves of trees, such as maple and cherry, from green to red, orange, and brown turns the cold Sapporo temperatures to something more homey and warm. Since the region is mountainous, ropeways and cable cars are quite enjoyable during this time of the year. 

Tips for Traveling to Sapporo Japan

Sapporo Japan Hotels

Most resorts in Sapporo have hotel rooms for their guests to stay in. However, a three-day trip to a single ski resort might just be too much. It may be a good idea to include some city tours to the itinerary. There are hotels near the JR Tower in Sapporo which is located at the city center. Through this place, all other areas in Sapporo are easier to access because of proximity to train and bus stations. 

Sapporo Japan Map

Maps to special destinations around Sapporo are always available in hotel lobbies and reception areas. Some detailed maps are offered up for a price but most maps are usually given out for free. Local bookstores also offer up detailed maps and guides throughout the city – where to eat, which hotels to pick, how to go to skiing resorts, and the like. There are also guides that are written in the English language for foreign tourists. 

Sapporo Japan Airport: The New Chitose Airport Terminal, Hokkaido

For anyone trying to visit Sapporo, the airport terminal nearest to the city would be the New Chitose Airport which is roughly an hour away from the city. What is great about this is the fact that there are JR train lines that go to and from the airport to the city. Trips go in and out throughout the day. 

Things to do in Sapporo

Sapporo Japan Skiing and Enjoying the Sapporo Japan Snow

The highlight of Sapporo’s tourism centers on all the winter activities that could be done in the region. Since Sapporo is most popular for its gentle slopes, a number of tourists enjoy a skiing trip to the mountainside of Sapporo. The peak of the influx of tourists in the area is during February when the Sapporo Snow Festival is in full swing. 

Most ski destinations offer day trips to their resorts. There are places great for beginners and there are also difficult slopes for skiing and snowboarding experts. It is said that it was in the 1972 Olympics that Sapporo was able to demonstrate and show that their slopes have great quality and can provide enjoyable experiences. 

Most ski lovers in the area say that the slopes in the Sapporo Mountains are always filled with fresh snow which is the best kind of powdery snow to ski and board on. The slopes are wide and gentle as well. Sapporo is a popular winter destination. Among the places that are popular include Sapporo Kokusai, Asari ski Resort, Tomamu, and Sapporo Teine. Each ski resort has a highlight of its own offering up unique characteristics to their guests. The great thing is that these ski resorts have something to offer for ski lovers of any age. 

Places to go in Sapporo

The Beauty of Odori Park

The Odori Park is one of the largest and most popular parks in Sapporo which stretches from the northern to the southern districts of the prefecture. The Odori park is so large and so long, with a span of 1.5 km, that it literally divides the city into its north and south sections. 

At the time when Sapporo was just established in 1869 and widespread urban planning was being done, Odori was originally intended to become the main street that would divide the city into two different sections. The northern section was planned to become home to public servants and government offices while the southern section was planned to become a residential area. 

In 1871, the entire plan had been scrapped and a new urban plan was put in place. The entire Odori was turned into what is known as the Kabo-sen, or a fire break. The entire area was just left as a vacant lot. The Odori was eventually transformed into a park and since then a number of festivals, shows, events, and ceremonies are held in this special place including the Sapporo Snow Festival and the Sapporo Lilac Festival. 

Susukino and its Ice Festival

This place is known to be Sapporo’s largest entertainment district which is filled with restaurants, shops, karaoke, and even pachinko parlors. The place is also home to Sapporo’s red light district. This is a great place to go to during the evening with all the neon signs and lights – all from 4,000 bars and restaurants located in the area.  

Among the most popular destinations in Susukino is the Noria Ferris Wheel found on top of the Norbesa Building, the Daimaru Department store, and the Covered Tanuki-Koji arcade. Susukino is also popular because of its role during winter, it becomes a site for the Sapporo Snow Festival. This festival is an ice sculpture competition held throughout the region and has been popular with tourists and locals alike. Every year, it gains thousands of local and foreign visitors. 

Ishiraki Ski Resorts

This place is one of the most popular tourist destinations not only in Sapporo but in all of Hokkaido. It is a small ski hill loved and enjoyed by tourists during the winter time. It is located in the northeastern portion of Sapporo. This hill has a total of 106 meters in height, with 126 m as its max elevation and 20 m as its minimum elevation. 

The Ishiraki ski resort has a total of two ski lifts taking its passengers to three different courses in the entire area. It is divided into the beginner, intermediate, and the advanced ski courses. Out of the three, the longest is the 500 m course and the steepest is the 19 feet course. The Ishiraki tries to cater the needs of all of its visitors, despite its small size. For first timers, there is a ski school offering ski lessons in the area. There are also rentals for ski and snowboard gear and equipment. There is also a small course for children at the base of the ski hill. 

Sapporo Japan Temple: Sapporo Japan LDS Temple

One very interesting place to visit in Sapporo would be the Sapporo Japan LDS Temple – a Mormon church opened to the public for viewing. This is the third Mormon church ever built in Japan since the first arrival of their missionaries in Japan in 1905. 

It is a 4,500 square meter facility built on a 4-hectare land, it is one of the biggest and the most iconic in the world. There are a number of facilities within the vicinity, this includes the Arrival Center, the Patron Housing Facility, the Temple Missionary Housing Facility, and more. 

It was built in 2009 and was designed with inspiration from Asian architecture – making it different from all Mormon churches in the world. On top of that, it is located on a piece of land on the Atsubetsu River, turning the place into a majestic tourist spot.  It was opened to the public only mid-2016 scheduled as “open houses” on specific times of the week. 

Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium

Since snow and ice are very common in Sapporo, skiing and other winter activities are among the primary reasons why it is flocked by tourists every so often. One favorite go-to place would be the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium. This stadium is a remnant of the 1972 Winter Olympics held in the country, it is located at Mount Okura. 

The jump height has a 133-meter slope turning it into a competition level jump area. This place can house a total of 50,000 people due to its size. Every year there are shows, events, and competitions held in this place that would surely give the thrill and a wow-factor to its audiences. 

What is special about this place is that it was remodeled and redesigned in 1998 so that it would have what is known as a summer hill. This allows skiers to jump even during the summer time when the temperatures are high and the snow is thin. 

Space Barley? Sapporo Beer Museum

The Sapporo Beer Museum is home to Japan’s oldest and most popular beer brands known as the Sapporo Beer. This place has been a brewery since the Meiji Period and introduces the history of beer making in Japan. There are tasting sessions and exhibitions inside, which comes free with paid tours. 

One thing that Sapporo takes pride in would be their Space Barley which was launched in 2009. What makes it a “Space Beer” is the fact that it was made from malt that was completely grown in the International Space Station. It was part of a research done by Sapporo Breweries in partnership with different organizations. 

This beer is so rare that it is considered as one of the Top 10 World’s most expensive beers. There are only less than 300 bottles made out of this. Furthermore, all the proceeds of the sale of the “Space Beer” are donated to the Okayama University for the continuous development of their curricula. Earlier than this, there was another “Space barley” researched by the same company which was ready made beer kept in space for a total of five months. 

Enjoying the Mount Moiwa Ropeway

Sapporo is a mountainous region with a collection of small forested mountains in certain areas. For tourists and guests to enjoy this beautiful view, a ropeway has been developed in the area. The Mount Moiwa Ropeway starts at the base of the mountain and goes to a transfer station up the mountain. Then, there would be a mini cable car that goes up to the summit. 

At the top of Mount Moiwa is an observation deck and a restaurant which provides a romantic 360-degree view of the city. People enjoy the view of the forest filled mountains during the day. It is said to be most beautiful at night because of the light coming from the buildings below. Other than an observation deck there is also a theater and a planetarium.