Sapporo is the regional capital of Hokkaido. The vibrant city offers a lively and energetic feel to its visitors especially when coming in from Hakodate and/or the outlying coastal cities. As Sapporo is a major transport hub in the North, it will likely feature in any Hokkaido itinerary. As the article turned out to be too long with all the awesome photos I took, this guide is a two part series on what to see and do while in Sapporo. This is Part Two.
Click here to see Part One where we covered Sapporo Central Wholesale Market, White Lover Park and Sapporo Beer Museum.
If beer is not your thing or if you would like to do some shopping, you can consider popping over to Sapporo Factory which is a short walk away from the Beer Museum.
Sapporo Factory is a shopping complex that appears to be converted from an old factory. It appears to be a brewery that belonged to the Kaitakushi, the old government of Hokkaidō prefecture, and subsequently owned by the Sapporo Beer Company, the predecessor of the Sapporo Brewery. You can still see parts of the complex reflecting their link to the Sapporo Beer Company.
If you are hungry, do try the semi self-service teppanyaki restaurant where you get to be your own teppanyaki chef for the day!
Sapporo Clock Tower, Odori Park and Sapporo TV Tower + Shopping @ Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade + Free flow Wagyu Beef Shabu Shabu
If you are not done for the day, why not visit the Odori area in Sapporo? Not only is it close to a number of attractions, it is quite close to the Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade. Don’t worry, there are many restaurants there as well so you can end of with a sumptuous meal =]
The Sapporo Clock Tower is apparently one of the oldest (if not, the oldest) surviving building in Sapporo. While it appears on many itineraries, it appeared to me to be a little hyped up. I think its expected given that it was built in 1878 and there is nothing much you can do to a building then. So either plan it as a 5 minutes detour or just route your way such that you will have a chance to have a quick glimpse before you head over to Odori Park.
Odori Park, depending on the season, may be a worthwhile place to visit. During ordinary months it is just a plain old park. However, during winter it becomes an interesting attraction with its snow sculptures and maybe even a small “christmas market”. When I was there, I noticed makeshift stalls being set up in the park and also Christmas decorations. I mused aloud to my girlfriend that it would have been a beautiful sight if we visited just a month later.
Odori park is located just beside Sappro TV Tower. It looks somewhat like the Eiffel Tower (which I covered in my other post here). We decided to head up the Tower during our visit as an alternative to going up Mt Moiwa. My recommendation is to skip the Tower and just brave Mt Moiwa. Although both of them offer an elevated view of Sapporo City, there is a difference looking at Sapporo City from afar as compared to looking at it from above. The Tower is only recommended if it has been raining the Mt Moiwa is shrouded with fog or if you are rushing for time. If you are attempting to do the Tower, it would be preferable to do it in the day as the city appeared to be rather dark. There are just not much attractions to catch your eye at night other than the Beer Museum and Sapporo Factory’s glass roof.
Once you are done, you can perhaps pop by to the Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade. The sheltered arcade is approximately 1km long with around 200 shops that runs east to west. It begins at Nishi-1-chome and ends at Nishi-7-chome and offers tourists a very lively and vibrant area to visit. For the history buffs, this arcade can trace its roots back to the Meiji period when the Meiji government established the Hokkaido Development Commission in Sapporo with merchants setting up shop around the area. Expect to find place somewhat crowded with tourists seeking a bargain from the tax free shops and/or a meal nearby.
For us, we decided to give a shabu shabu restaurant (Wai-Wai-Tei @ Shimizu Building) near the Arcade a try after being refused entry from an overbooked restaurant while at Hakodate (read more about it here). The restaurant is actually hidden as you have to take a lift up. There were, however, signs on the street to help advertise the existence of the place. The place looked quite authentic with mostly locals frequenting the place other than the odd tourist. The prices are also affordable for a free flow of Wagyu beef.
While we got both the shabu shabu and sukiyaki, my suggestion is to go with just the shabu shabu. Sukiyaki is just too sweet. There is also pork available. For both types of meat, there are different prices for different cuts. We went with the normal wagyu beef (3,820 yen per pax) and found them to be good enough. If you don’t fancy taking too much rice balls, consider asking them to cut back on them to reduce waste.
This is my itinerary for Sapporo. While I have sought to arrange it into a day’s worth of itinerary, I actually done it over the course of two days. Depending on your schedule, you may want to tweak accordingly.
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