50 things to do in Sapporo

Explore the magical capital city of Hokkaido

50 things to do in Sapporo

In association with the Society for Promotion of Creative Tourism in Sapporo

50 things to do in Sapporo

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1. Order a boat of sashimi

Creepy masks and vintage toys line the walls of this seafood restaurant, which serves up world-class fish. If you find it hard to plough through all that raw fish, ask them to cook up what's left for a change in flavour. Reservations recommended.
7F Kamiya Bldg, Minami 3 Nishi 4, Chuo
011 271 2694, 5pm-10pm, closed Sun & hols

2. End your night with a miso-flavoured slurp

A popular spot for post-booze noodles, Iso-chan is one of Susukino Shin Ramen Alley's top shops and stays open until 5am (3am on Sundays). Don't miss the local speciality: miso-based Chuka Negi Ramen served with corn and a nice big chunk of butter.
Iso-chan: Inside of Shin Ramen Alley, Minami 4 Nishi 3, Chuo
011 533 4511, 8pm-5am (Sun 7pm-3am)

3. Peek at public art

Admire the impressive Glass Pyramid and other quirky open-air pieces at this extensive 'art park' designed by Isamu Noguchi. The place gets really snowy from early January to early March, but skis and snow shoes are available to rent.
Moerenuma Park

4. Set your alarm for pastries

Organic-leaning, heartily topped pastries line the shelves, but you'll need to visit this newly opened bakery in the morning to get your hands on one of the super-popular breads – they'll all be gone by noon.

5. Pick out paper

Stocking more varieties of paper than we knew existed, Mabuchi is your one-shop stop for any and all letter-writing needs. Find it at the top of a flight of stairs, to your right as you enter the store.

6. Warm up like the locals do

Soup curry is one of Sapporo's best-known culinary inventions – sample it with shrimp-based soup and chunky veg at the funky Okushiba chain's original branch, which is set inside a traditional Japanese-style house.
Soup Curry Okushiba Shoten

7. See Sapporo's most famous building

Built in 1888, this red-brick neo-Baroque beauty makes a strong case for the title of most beautiful building in Sapporo, and the night-time light-up only adds to the splendour. There's a free museum inside.
Former Hokkaido Government Office

8. Taste a fusion monstrosity

'Ramen salad' is a popular izakaya dish in Hokkaido, and we have this eatery inside the Sapporo Grand Hotel to thank for the innovation. Try combining noodles and veg with a pint of Sapporo beer, brought in directly from the brewery.
Hokkaido Dining Big Jug

9. Descend into an arty tunnel

Alfresco art is everywhere in Sapporo, but some of the finest pieces are actually hidden underground: as the name suggests, this free gallery shows off local (and sometimes foreign) artists' work over a 500m stretch between Odori and Bus Center-Mae metro stations.
Sapporo Odori 500m Underground Walkway Gallery

10. Discover what lies beneath

This snake-like underground passageway is not only convenient on rainy or snowy days: it's also a popular shopping destination, with areas like 'Aurora Town' and 'Pole Town' set up to attract the masses.
Sapporo Chikagai

11. Wish upon a padlock

Climb the 531m-high Mount Moiwa for a stunning view of Sapporo and – on fine days – Ishikari Bay. Couples who lock a padlock up on the deck and ring the 'Bell of Happiness' are said to live happily ever after.
Mount Moiwa Observation Deck

12. Lick the emperor's ice cream

Created exclusively for the Imperial couple back in 1968, the decadently rich Snow Royal ice cream can now be had by commoners as well – it's even available in parfait form. Also check out their amazing selection of other parfaits on offer.
Yukijirushi Parlor

13. Go apartment shopping

It may look like a normal apartment building from the outside, but each room here is actually a shop, café or workshop. Gather your courage and ring the doorbells – adventures await on the other side. Note: some shops only open on weekends.
Space 1-15

14. Order a fish set for breakfast

If only the freshest marine treats are good enough for you – and fish for breakfast doesn't sound too offputting – this popular eatery inside the Nijo Fish Market is a must-visit. Head over from 7am and order the grilled fish set.
Nagamori: Minami 3 Higashi 1-8, Chuo
011 222 6733, daily 7am-6pm

15. Stick around for a puppet show

The first public puppet theatre in Japan, Nakajima Park's Kogumaza holds regular shows with entrance fees as low as ¥300, making it worth a stop even if you're just passing through the park. There are performances almost every weekend.
Sapporo Children's Puppet Theatre Kogumaza

16. Browse 9,000 records over lunch

A steadily growing record collection has forced it to relocate several times over the last 40 or so years, but this dedicated jazz café has always stayed true to its mission: to offer quality tunes and tasty grub to a diverse audience.

17. Put the fun into farming

This 'agricultural amusement park' aims to teach and inspire. Take a tour of the milk factory and try some freshly made soft serve in the building next door. Open from late April to early November.
Milk no Sato

18. Sip artisanal Joe in a traditional home

Home-roasted, hand-drip coffee in a gorgeous 70-year-old wooden house – your mid-afternoon break doesn't get much better than this. If you're feeling peckish, try the excellent croque-monsieur or something off the extensive dessert menu.

19. Enter the bear house

The polar bears are the stars of the show – especially the pup born in late 2014 – but this superb zoo also offers plenty more wild highlights. Look out for the new Africa Zone, open in October 2015. Kids aged 15 and under enter for free.
Maruyama Zoo

20. Ponder some rocky art

Sculpture collective Cinq has turned this former nanseki ('soft stone') quarry into a surreal outdoor art exhibit, complete with a Colosseum-like stone piece and several fortress-like structures. Rocky art can be viewed in the south area, while the north area offers an observation deck.
Ishiyama Green Space

21. Savour sublime sushi on the cheap

In Sapporo, even the conveyor-belt sushi is something else: the nigiri at Toriton go for as low as ¥130, but the quality can't be faulted. This branch is a little out of the way, which means you probably won't have to queue up to savour treats like local scallops and prawns.
Kaitenzushi Toriton Maruyama

22. Hunt down choice choc

Making the most of local ingredients, these Sapporo-based chocolate artisans' creations are treats for both the eyes and the taste buds. Their buttery, just-right Pain au Chocolat tends to sell out in the blink of an eye.
Chocolatier Masale

23. Munch on Sapporo soul food

It might not look like much at first sight, but locals swear by this chain eatery that deals in two Sapporo staples: curry and gyoza dumplings. Order the Miyoshino Set for a taste of both.

24. Say prayers amongst squirrels

Hidden among the lush greenery of a 20-hectare grove is one of Hokkaido's most important shrines, famed for its sakura and plum trees. June's matsuri (traditional festival) is a great time to visit – when you do, keep an eye out for the resident squirrels.
Hokkaido Shrine

25. Crack a local brew

Craft beer is booming in Hokkaido, and the island's multitude of brews is best sampled at this laidback bar. Make sure to combine your pick of the six North Island beers with some juicy sausages or homemade liver mousse.
Beer Bar North Island

50 things to do in Sapporo

1-25 |
26-50 |

Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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