Recommended 3-Day Itinerary In Sapporo During Sapporo Snow Festival

Recommended 3-Day Itinerary In Sapporo During Sapporo Snow Festival
| 6 min read

Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido, the northern-most island of Japan. The city is well known for its ramen, beer and skiing. One of Japan’s most popular winter events, the Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri), is also being held in the city for a week every February. If you are planning a winter trip, why not make the trip to Hokkaido in February to coincide with the 2017 Snow Festival that will be held from 6 to 12 February 2017? Besides joining in the fun-filled annual Snow Festival, you can also explore the charming city. This article will recommend some of the best experiences you can look forward to within 3 days in Sapporo!

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Day 1: Start your trip at Odori Park, the main site of Sapporo Snow Festival

Odori Park Sapporo Snow Festival 2007
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Eckhard Pecher used under CC BY 2.5

Located in the heart of Sapporo, Odori Park (大通公園) is the main site of the Sapporo Snow Festival. The renowned festival has its origins all the way dated back to 1950, when local middle and high school students exhibited six snow sculptures at Odori Park. From a small exhibition some 60 years ago, it has evolved into a major wintertime event attracting tourists from all around the world now. Take your time to stroll along the 1.5-kilometre long park over twelve city blocks filled with beautiful snow and ice sculptures of varied sizes. At the 11-chome site reserved for international participants, you can also watch the teams who are working hard to complete the best sculpture during the festival.

In 2017, the dates of festival in Odori Park area is Feb 6th to 12th. Find more information from here.

Don’t forget to return to Odori Park in the evening for mesmerising views when the sculptures are lit up after sunset till 10pm. In addition, the stunning night view at Sapporo Television Tower located at 1-chome site is certainly worth mentioning too. Look out at the splendid night view of Sapporo from the 90-metre-high (295-foot-high) observatory of the tower, and you will understand why it was selected as one of “Japan’s New 3 Best Night Views” in 2015.

Odori Park (大通公園)

Address: Odori Nishi 1 to 12-chome, Chuo Ward, Sapporo City

Price: free admission.

Opening Hours: always open, but illuminations turned off at 10pm.

Access: 10-minute walk from JR Sapporo Station, south exit.

Contact: +81 11-251-0438

Odori Park (大通公園)

Sapporo TV Tower

Address: Odori Nishi 1-chome, Chuo Ward, Sapporo City

Price: 720 JPY (6.50 USD).

Opening Hours: 9.30am - 9.30pm.

Access: 15-minute walk from JR Sapporo Station, south exit.

Contact: +81 11-241-1131

Sapporo TV Tower

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Fill the time in between with the must-see Clock Tower and tuck into great local specialties

After touring the lovely snow sculptures at Odori Park in the morning, you may be feeling a little hungry now. There are plenty of great dining options in the city centre, from local and hotel restaurants to cafes and takeaway bars, you name it, they have it. Perhaps you are feeling a little under the weather as you have yet to adapt to the chilly winter in Sapporo, head out for some warm Soup Curry at the popular Picante Sapporo Ekimaeten, or old-school Soup Curry from Coffee House. Or take your pick from the other local specialities such as hairy crab in the vicinity too.

There is also the popular Nijo Market (二条市場) just three blocks south of the TV Tower at Odori Park. At Nijo, besides fresh local produce and seafood such as crabs, salmon eggs and sea urchin, you can also find several restaurants and little drinking places along the narrow Noren Yokocho street. If you can, before you start your Snow Festival tour at Odori Park, go to Nijo Market for a fresh and delectable seafood breakfast of uni ikura donburi, sea urchin and salmon eggs on rice.

Nijo Market (二条市場)

Address: Higashi 1-chome, Minami 3-jo, Chuo Ward, Sapporo City

Price: free admission.

Opening Hours: Shops: From around 7am to around 6pm (varies by individual store); Restaurants: From around 6am to around 9pm (varies by individual store).

Access: 5-minute walk from Odori Station.

Contact: +81 11-222-5308

Once you have had your fill, let’s visit the symbol of Sapporo - the historical Clock Tower built in the late 1800s. Listed as one of Japan’s Important Cultural Properties, the clock is still active today, making it the oldest clock tower in the country. It also functions as a museum showcasing the building and city’s history. This iconic colonial American midwest-style architecture right in the city centre makes it a perfect spot to commemorate your trip to Sapporo!

Sapporo Clock Tower (時計台)

Address: North 1, West 2, Chuo Ward, Sapporo City

Price: 200 JPY (1.80 USD).

Opening Hours: 8.45am - 5.10pm (last admission at 5pm). Closed from 31 December to 3 January.

Access: 10-minute walk from JR Sapporo Station, south exit.

Contact: +81 11-231-0838

Sapporo Clock Tower

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Day 2: Start your day by ascending the scenic Mount Moiwa

Mount Moiwa Ropeway
Source: Photo by user redlegsfan21 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Snow Festival is staged on three sites in Sapporo, namely the Odori site, Susukino site and Tsudome site. Before touring the spectacular Ice World at the Susukino site, why not visit Mount Moiwa (藻岩山), located in the south-western part of Sapporo? Get a spectacular view of the city from its summit. Experience the scenic ropeway ride on Sapporo’s only streetcar line from Susukino to three quarters up the mountain. Thereafter, you can ride on the unique mini cable car to the summit with an observation deck and restaurant. Watch a special 3D movie at the planetarium. Feel out of this world with such captivating snowy scenery in the amazing nature!

Mount Moiwa (藻岩山)

Address: Fushimi 5-chome 3-7, Chuo Ward, Sapporo City

Price: 1,700 JPY (15.30 USD, roundtrip for ropeway and mini cable car); 1,100 JPY (9.90 USD, roundtrip for ropeway only); 600 JPY (5.40 USD, roundtrip for mini cable car only).

Opening Hours: 11am - 10pm (last admission 30 minutes before closing).

Access: 25-minute tram ride to “Ropeway Iriguchi” station (170 JPY, 1.50 USD).

Contact: +81 11-561-8177

Mount Moiwa (Japanese only)

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Feast on the famous Sapporo Ramen at Sapporo Ramen Yokocho

Shirakaba Sansou, Sapporo Ramen Kyowakoku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, 味噌拉麵, 白樺山荘, 札幌拉麵共和國, 札幌拉麵共和国, 札幌, 北海道, 日本, みそらーめん, 味噌ラーメン, 麺処白樺山荘, 札幌ら~めん共和国, しんちとせくうこう, さっぽろし, ほっかいどう, にっぽん, にほん
Source: Photo by user bryan... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Sapporo is a city full of delicious cuisines, and one cannot forget the miso ramen which is a signature of Sapporo specialty. Since you are in the Susukino district, you must check out the popular Ramen Yokocho (ラーメン横丁) which literally means noodles street. Right in the heart of the red light district of Sapporo, you will find two narrow alleys filled with Sapporo ramen restaurants just opposite each other. The original alley, Ganso Ramen Yokocho, started since the first ramen restaurant opened in 1951. Shin Ramen Yokocho was formed in 1976 after 15 ramen restaurants witnessed the success of the historic street and followed suit to set up business in the area. With so many tasty Sapporo ramen restaurants here, you can feast as much as you can before visiting the Susukino Ice World!

Sapporo Ramen Yokocho (ラーメン横丁)

Address: 3 Chome Minami 5 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo City

Price: varies depending on restaurant.

Opening Hours: restaurant opening hours vary, but generally open from 11am till late.

Access: short walk from Susukino Subway Station.

Sapporo Ramen Yokocho

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Visit the Susukino Ice World after dark

Return to Susukino Station where the Susukino Ice World is held after dark. “Enjoy The Ice” like its theme suggests. Besides the awesome ice sculptures on display, there is also an Ice Sculpture Contest being held here. Have fun riding on cool ice sculptures at the Fureai Hiroba Plaza, or hang out for some warmth with hot drinks at the swanky Ice Bar. The Illumination Street is definitely not to be missed at night. You can soak in the alluring illuminated views of the sculptures and take as many photos as you wish till 11pm (10pm on the last day of the festival).

Susukino Site (Susukino Ice World)

Address: Ekimae-dori from Minami 4-Jo to Minami 7-Jo, Chou Ward, Sapporo City

Price: free admission.

Opening Hours: always open, but illuminations turned off at 11pm.

Access: short walk from Susukino Subway Station.

Contact: +81 11-518-2005

Susukino Tourist Association

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Day 3: Great family fun at the community dome - Tsudome site

As the second largest site of the Sapporo Snow Festival, the Tsudome site features family-oriented amusement rides in the community dome. Outside the dome, there are three types of snow slides and a snow rafting area that allows visitors of all ages to enjoy a fun-filled snow-ice experience. Inside the dome, there is a stage for performances as well as numerous food stalls for you to take a break and relax. Your little ones will definitely enjoy Tsudome with all the exciting action here, so you may be pleased to know that this site will be open earlier from 1 February for 12 days!

Tsudome site

Address: 885-1 Sakaemachi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo City

Price: free admission.

Opening Hours: open from 9am - 5pm.

Access: Take a shuttle bus at Sakaemachi station (100 JPY, 0.85 USD).

Contact: +81 11-784-2106

Tsudome site

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Discover the history and taste the famous Sapporo Beer at the Sapporo Beer Museum

Sapporo Beer Museum
Source: Photo by user Ruth Hartnup used under CC BY 2.0

Now that you have toured all three sites of the Sapporo Snow Festival, you should also check out the beer that Sapporo is famous for before you leave the city. In case you don’t know, Sapporo Beer started brewing in the city since 1877, and is one of the oldest and most well-known beer in Japan. At the museum in Higashi-ku, find out more about the history of beer in Japan and how it is made. Built on the grounds of a former brewery during the Meiji Period, it has been registered as a Hokkaido Heritage Site since 2004. In fact this is the only place in Japan where you can unravel everything you want to know about the tasty beverage.

After checking out the exhibits, pay a small fee for a session of beer tasting. Alternatively, you can proceed to the restaurants at the Sapporo Beer Garden. Besides Sapporo Beer, check out local specialties including snow crabs, king crabs and Genghis Khan, a grilled lamb and mutton dish. Eat to your heart’s content with the “All You Can Eat” buffet as well as free flow draft beer.

Sapporo Beer Museum

Address: 9-2-10, Kita7Jo, Higashi Ward, Sapporo City

Price: free admission.

Opening Hours: 11.30am - 8pm for the museum, restaurants open till 10pm.

Access: 10-minute walk from Higashi Kuyakusho Mae Station, exit 4.

Contact: +81 120-150-550

Sapporo Beer Museum

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A chilly yet wonderful holiday in Sapporo

Yes, winter in Sapporo can be too chilly for comfort. In fact, there are many days in February when you will experience sub-zero temperatures when exploring the outdoors. Do remember to dress warmly so as not to fall sick. You should also consider staying in accommodations in central Sapporo as most Snow Festival sites are within the area for ease of travelling. As long as you are adequately protected against the freezing cold weather, I am sure you will have a memorable holiday at the annual Sapporo Snow Festival featuring an incredible winter wonderland!

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