Top 26 Places To Visit In Sapporo, Japan - Updated 2023

places to visit in sapporo
| 13 min read

Sapporo is the fifth-largest city in Japan and the largest on the island of Hokkaido. As the capital of Hokkaido, Sapporo rose to prominence after hosting the 1972 Olympic Winter Games and continues to be famous for its ramen, beer and annual snow festival in February, which draws millions worldwide. Home to Japan’s indigenous people, the Ainu, its name translates to “important river flowing through a plain” in the native language and is a place rich in both ancient and modern culture. Being such a large city, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by choice and hard to figure out which places are most worthy of your time. If you’re one the many struggling with this conundrum, then be sure to keep reading our list of top places to visit in Sapporo!

1. Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium

places to visit in sapporo | okurayama ski jump stadium

Ōkurayama Ski Jump Stadium sits on an 8.2-ha (20-ac) piece of land that has a capacity of 50,000 people. The largest jump hill stands at a respectable 133 m (436 ft). Named after its creator, this five-story building was brought about by hotelier Kishichiro Okura with the aid of Prince Chichibu. Past events that have been held here include the 1972 Winter Olympics and FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2007. Other than the ski jump, the stadium also houses Winter Sports Museum, Ōkurayama Crystal House, and Mt. Okura Observation Platform.

Sapporo Mt Okura and Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill Sightseeing Bus Tour (Multilingual Audio), Hokkaido, Japan - Klook

Duration: 3hrs30 Min Duration

2. Mt. Moiwa

Mt. Moiwa
Source: 木村 優光

Mt. Moiwa is one of a few small mountains south of central Sapporo and is known as a vantage point for viewing the city skyline. The observation deck, which stands at a height of 531 m (1,742 ft) offers unparalleled views of the city, which is rendered hauntingly beautiful at sunset. A sacred mountain that is said to be home to several gods who watch over the Ainu people, Mt. Moiwa’s Ainu name is known to be “Inkarushibe”. The ropeway at its foot will take you three-quarters of the way up, whereupon you will need to transfer to a small cable car that will take you to the summit where there is also a planetarium, theatre, and a lovely restaurant.

3. Sapporo Science Center

Source: Photo by user MIKI Yoshihito used under CC BY 2.0

Sapporo Science Center is a must-see for those travelling with kids. With over 200 hands-on exhibits, this is a thrilling scientific adventure for all. Be transported into an immersive world of wonders as you learn to conduct a train, use a body scanner, and create electricity! Inside, there’s also a breathtaking planetarium capable of projecting millions of stars - the perfect scenario to kick back and marvel at the beauty of the universe.

4. Hokkaido Museum

Hokkaido Museum.
Source: Photo by Flickr user MIKI Yoshihito used under CC BY 2.0

Hokkaido Museum is located within Nopporo Shinrin Kōen Prefectural Natural Park, home to squirrels, black woodpeckers, and a variety of unique wildlife. The museum consists of several permanent exhibits detailing the layered history of Hokkaido, dating back to primordial times. Based on two concepts, “Hokkaido as Part of Northeast Asia” and “The Interrelationships of Nature and Humans”, the museum showcases five main aspects of Hokkaido’s history: the overarching relationship between the land and its people, the history and culture of Japan’s Ainu people, the unique lifestyle of the locals, the development of Hokkaido throughout the years, and finally, the current wildlife that inhabits the state. Those who visit can make a day out of it by dropping by the nearby Historical Village of Hokkaido and the nature park’s visitor centre for an excursion into Hokkaido’s rich history and culture.

5. Sapporo City Maruyama Zoo

Maruyama Zoo Canis lupus occidentalis 001
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rsa used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Those who wish to learn more about Hokkaido’s unique wildlife in a more controlled environment will find Sapporo City Maruyama Zoo well worth the time. The zoo has a lovely mix of native species such as Hokkaido brown bear and Hokkaido sika deer, northern animals like the snow leopard and spotted seal, as well as more common varieties like giraffes and kangaroos. The zoo is most popular for its polar bears and adorable red pandas. The premises is one of the largest you’ll ever see, with an area of 22.5 ha (55.6 ac) that cover a lush expanse of forested hillside and includes plenty of playgrounds, sporting fields and even an athletic park!

6. Sapporo Satoland

Sightseeing bus.
Source: Photo by Flickr user MIKI Yoshihito used under CC BY 2.0

Sapporo Satoland is an agriculture-theme park wherein visitors can prance and frolic through gorgeous pastures and fields. The biggest attraction here is the on-site farm, and it boasts hands-on activities such as cattle feeding and petting. Other activities are also conducted throughout the day as part of its agricultural experience program. This includes butter, sausage and ice cream-making activities, and in some seasons, crop harvesting. Families will have fun at the wooden playground and obstacle courses. You can also rent bikes and explore the park.

7. Moerenuma Park

/ Moerenuma Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user Kentaro Ohno used under CC BY 2.0

Moerenuma Park was designed by Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese American artist, and built on reclaimed grounds. Previously a marsh, Moerenuma is a lake that’s also known as “a slow‐flowing river” in Ainu language. Inspired by the verdant green lands, rolling hills and gorgeous northern landscape, Noguchi sought to create a park that was one cohesive art piece. The seamless design experience won the Good Design Award in 2002 and encompasses several large sculptures dotted across the pastures. Its most notable symbol is a brilliant glass pyramid near the park’s entrance nicknamed the “Sunny Spot”. The park is beautiful in May when the cherry trees blossom.

8. Nijo Market

Nijo Market
Source: Photo by Flickr user sodai gomi used under CC BY 2.0

Nijo Market has been selling delicious fresh seafood for over a hundred years and continues to be a popular market to this day. With a diverse repertoire of fresh sea urchins, fish, melons and other crisp fruits and vegetables, visitors are spoilt for choice - the place stretches out for an entire city block. The most unique characteristic of Nijo Market is that one is able to haggle prices, which is typically unacceptable in other regions of Japan, allowing both locals and tourists to score a real bargain. Even if you’re too embarrassed to try, every piece of seafood and produce is sold at a reasonable price for the phenomenal quality!

9. Sapporo Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill

Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill.
Source: Photo by Flickr user MIKI Yoshihito used under CC BY 2.0

Sapporo Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill is a gorgeous scenic viewpoint that is best known as a vantage point for viewing herds of sheep grazing in the Ishikari Plains. Hitsujigaoka, which means “Hill of Sheep”, is home to the arresting figure of Dr William Clark, immortalised as a bronze statue as he peers over the pastoral plains, an iconic symbol of the frontier spirit that exists in Hokkaido. The hill is also home to a pristine white chapel, a popular site for weddings and a breathtaking structure in the white of winter when you can also drop by the nearby Snow Museum. In summer, the lavender gardens bloom into a vibrant purple sea. Visitors can also take a lovely stroll through the adjacent birch grove to revel in the serenity of Sapporo.

10. Shiroi Koibito Park

Shiroi Koibito Park.
Source: Photo by Flickr user MIKI Yoshihito used under CC BY 2.0

Lovingly called the “Chocolate Factory”, Shiroi Koibito Park is a beautiful place where European and Japanese culture come together. This chocolate entertainment park is operated by a Japanese confectionery manufacturer, Ishiya. They make the famous Shiroi Koibito Langue de Chat cookies, one of the most famous souvenirs from Japan. Built in the Tudor style, the park has plenty of exhibits dedicated to the manufacturing process, and they also have workshops for baking cookies and making candy. Every hour, the Chocolate Carnival parades through the streets and around the clock tower, filling the courtyard with a flurry of activity.

11. Sapporo JR Tower

tower sapporo beer
Source: Photo by Flickr user Azlan DuPree used under CC BY 2.0

Sapporo JR Tower is a skyscraper that includes a shopping mall, hotel, cinema and office complex. Located directly above JR Sapporo Station, it stands an impressive 173 m (568 ft) tall, with a total of 38 stories. At its very top is a stunning observation deck where you can see the streets of Sapporo stretching out in all directions. The perfect place to watch the sun setting behind the city skyline, visitors will positively enjoy the cool crisp air while marvelling at how the sky is rendered a breathtaking myriad of colours.

12. Nakajima Park

Nakajima Park
Source: 月宮 うさ

Formerly a lumber yard, Nakajima Park stretches across a huge 21-hectare (52-acre) piece of land. This serene park offers idyllic views no matter the season, with over 5,000 trees like red spruce, gingko, Japanese elm and wisteria. Even in the frigid winter, the snow-covered slopes turn into the perfect winter sports course whilst the summer is a flurry of activity during Hokkaido Shrine Festival. Hasso-an tea house was supposedly designed by Enshu Kobori, a Japanese artist and a master of the tea ceremony. Its greatest feature is Shobu Pond, located at the very heart of the premises.

13. Former Hokkaido Government Office Building

Former Hokkaido Government Office Building

This charming red-brick building was used as the Hokkaido Government Office for about 80 years. Now it serves as a museum that celebrates Hokkaido’s interesting history. Built in the French style, the building is one of the most architecturally intriguing structures on the island. Not only are the Neo-baroque elements, double doors and warped glass rare in Japan, they also have an ingenious functionality, as they keep the cold winter air out. Meanwhile, the dark brick is able to withstand high temperatures. Those visiting the building’s historical archive may also make a day out of their visit by dropping by the nearby Odori Park and Sapporo TV Tower.

14. Sapporo TV Tower (from USD 7.0)

places to visit in sapporo | sapporo tv tower

Those visiting Odori Park definitely should not miss out on Sapporo TV Tower, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Constructed in 1957 by Tachū Naitō, the same Japanese architect famous for building Tokyo Tower, Sapporo TV Tower is a standout feature on the city skyline. Visitors may ride the lift up the 147-m-tall (483-ft) tower to the observation deck for a bird’s-eye view of the blossoms below, an unmatched view of the city, or simply to watch the sun setting below the far horizon.

Sapporo TV Tower admission ticket

Duration: 1 day

15. Historical Village of Hokkaido

Historical Village of Hokkaido
Source: Photo by Flickr user x768 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Historical Village of Hokkaido is a vast, open-air museum located inside Nopporo Shinrin Kōen Prefectural Natural Park. A must-see for history buffs, visiting this museum is akin to being transported back in time! With 52 historical buildings from the Meiji to Shōwa period and a host of seasonal events, there’s plenty to see and experience. Come on down during the summer to try your hand at local farm work, or drop by during the frigid winter months to ride a horse-drawn sleigh.

16. Ōdōri Park

(Sapporo Odori Park)
Source: Photo by Flickr user y.ganden used under CC BY 2.0

Odori Park is a gorgeous green space stretching 1.5 km (0.9 mi) through the heart of Sapporo, separating the city into two sectors. While the soil springs forth with a verdant green carpet and enables the place to host a number of exciting events during the spring and summer, winter is definitely its most popular season. Home to Sapporo Snow Festival, millions are drawn here annually to admire the popular figures skillfully carved from snow or to simply enjoy the local food sold on the park grounds.

17. Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens

Sapporo Botanic Garden Hokkaido University, Japan
Source: Photo by Flickr user #sung-min used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens is a 13.3-ha (32-ac) space established in 1886, making it the second-oldest botanical garden in Japan. The grounds are home to a number of interesting gardens such as Alpine Plants Rock Garden, with over 600 species native to Hokkaido, and Northern Peoples Ethnobotanical Garden, with hundreds of plants used by the indigenous peoples of North-East Asia. It also houses the oldest lilac in Sapporo, early ancestral homes, and a National History Museum exhibiting various artefacts from the Ainu people as well as other specimens of national importance.

18. Asahiyama Memorial Park

Asahiyama memorial park.
Source: Photo by Flickr user MIKI Yoshihito used under CC BY 2.0

Asahiyama Memorial Park is adjacent to Asahikawa Zoo and best known for the vibrant cherry gardens that turn into a flurry of cherry pink petals in spring. Even during other seasons, the park remains a gorgeous natural landscape that can be admired at one of the many observatories and pavilions. Situated on the western tip of Sapporo, the park rises 137.5 m (451 ft) above the sea and offers amazing views of the city. Sapporo Asahiyama Music Festival is also held here annually. This place has plenty of amenities such as a playground, hiking paths and a fountain that is illuminated at night.

19. Sapporo Dome

Source: Photo by Flickr user Sapporo Dome 2009 used under CC BY 2.0

Typically used for baseball and football, Sapporo Dome is the home field of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball team and Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo football club. Sports fans may find it worth their time to take a tour of the dome when there are no sporting activities or concerts scheduled, or just to head up the observation deck facing the mountains. Sapporo Dome is set to be the football venue for the 2020 Summer Olympics and was previously used for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Those not keen on sports may also marvel at the technological brilliance of the Dome’s architecture because it is able to switch between two different surfaces: an artificial turf and grass field.

20. Takino Suzuran Hillside Park

Takino-Suzuran Hillside National Park.
Source: Photo by user MIKI Yoshihito used under CC BY 2.0

Takino Suzuran Hillside Park is a huge expanse - a staggering 200-ha (494-ac) piece of land that is open to the general public. In spring, Country Garden bursts with a colourful array of flowers that render the hillside a breathtaking sight. In May, thousands of lilacs bloom for visitors, and during the winter, the park transforms into Takino Snow World, with snow-covered slopes perfect for winter sports. Those looking to escape the city and reconnect with nature may enjoy a short camp or even a simple walk to relish the crisp pine air and admire the four waterfalls surrounding the park.

21. Sapporo Beer Museum

Sapporo Beer 2
Source: Photo by Flickr user Toby Oxborrow used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Sapporo Beer Museum is the only museum dedicated to beer in Japan and is a registered Hokkaidō Heritage Site. This island is the cradle of Japanese beer, best known as the birthplace of the country’s oldest and most popular beer brand: Sapporo Beer. Brewed locally since 1877, the museum showcases the entire process along with artefacts of the brewing process that date as far back as the time before World War II. Those interested in a more detailed visit may sign up for a guided tour and complimentary beer tasting. Otherwise, patrons can head down to Sapporo Beer Garden just next door for some cold beer and delicious grilled meat.

22. Sapporo Clock Tower

Sapporo Clock Tower

Sapporo Clock Tower is arguably the most iconic symbol of Sapporo. Located in the heart of the city and right next to Odori Park, the American-style wooden tower was constructed during the early years of the city’s establishment to serve as a drill hall. It currently remains one of the last remnants of Sapporo Agricultural College. Today, it’s the oldest building in Sapporo and one of the few surviving structures built in a Western-style. It’s used as a museum and ceremony hall. The clock functions to this day and its bright chimes can still be heard announcing the hour.

23. Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art

Source: Photo by Flickr user Mike Linksvayer used under CC0

Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art is a celebration of cultural treasures originating both at home and abroad. The museum’s permanent collection is exhibited on rotation on the first two floors. Prominent works include those of Eien Iwahashi and Nissho Kanda, and feature glasswork, Japanese modern art, European art, and Ukiyo-e prints. This modest museum houses an estimated number of 4,800 pieces of art and is built such that visitors may take in a view of the gorgeous gardens and modern art sculptures outside while admiring the art exhibited inside.

24. Hokkaidō Shrine (from USD 99.0)

Hokkaidō Shrine
Source: 浦 カオリ

Hokkaido Shrine is one of the most sacred sites in Japan as it enshrines four deities, including the soul of the esteemed Emperor Meiji. This gorgeous Shinto shrine is located within Maruyama Park and is surrounded by over a thousand cherry blossom trees. As they bloom into a heartrending scene of swirling pink and white petals, the temple often gets crowded with tourists and locals enjoying flower-viewing parties. The shrine also organises Sapporo Festival during the summer, wherein people bearing palanquins parade through the streets. Stalls are also set up along the shrine’s paths.

Sapporo Private Full-Day Tour with Local Licensed Guide

Duration: 7 hours

6 reviews

25. Sapporo Art Park

Sapporo art park.
Source: Photo by Flickr user MIKI Yoshihito used under CC BY 2.0

Located within a 40-ha (98-ac) piece of forested land, Sapporo Art Park is an exciting experience that stimulates all our senses. The art complex consists of a museum, art studio, outdoor stage and music rooms that offer a plethora of interesting hands-on activities like pottery, woodworking, and glassmaking, allowing visitors to make art in a variety of mediums. It also has facilities available for those looking to stay overnight. The park consists of over 70 art pieces that are scattered throughout the grounds, melding the manmade and natural together in an eclectic synergy that celebrates creativity and the unstoppable forces of life.

26. Tanukikoji Shopping Street

Source: Photo by Flickr user James.Kirk used under CC BY-SA 2.0

With over 200 shops along a covered street, Tanukikoji Shopping Street - or “Raccoon Alley” - is one of the largest malls in Sapporo and definitely its oldest, with a track record of over 130 years. Spreading over 10 blocks, the shopping street is about 1 km (0.63 mi) long, with a wet market at its very end. With an interesting mix of shops selling kimonos and incense sticks alongside state-of-the-art electronics, the mall showcases the unique hustle and bustle of a bazaar, as both traditional and modern merchants stand side by side bartering their goods.

A snowy wonderland

Sapporo is definitely a city with a rich and complex history and culture. With a dizzying number of accolades and attractions, one can feel easily overwhelmed by the myriad of choices it offers. Luckily, many of the best tourist destinations are clustered together, like Odori Park, Sapporo TV Tower and Former Hokkaido Government Office! If you’re visiting Sapporo to see these places or just coming for Sapporo Snow Festival, be sure to also check out our other articles related to Sapporo.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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