Sapporo (札幌), the capital of Hokkaido, makes for an interesting change to the cities on the main island of Honshuu. With an American style grid system and deep history of foreign influences, it’s a great place to spend a few days.

Budget travel tips

  • Pick up the superb map from the Tourist Information Center in Sapporo station, with all the bus routes and a subway guide.
  • It’s possible to walk to almost all the sights, so get the map and enjoy walking around!

Things to do

Sapporo Beer Garden and Museum (FREE)

A must-visit in Sapporo, even if you don’t like beer! Really interesting, free tours and super cheap beer to try at the end. The museum also has an interesting collection of old beer posters..

Open: 10:00-18:00

Price: Free

Former Hokkaido Government Office (FREE)

A stunning example of foreign influenced architecture, with lots of little exhibitions to check out. The gift shop also has some amusing, Hokkaido themed presents.

Open: 8:45-18:00

Price: Free

Botanic Garden of Hokkaido University

Another must-see in Sapporo, we enjoyed it even though it was showering with rain! Split into many different sections with around 4000 species in total.

Open: 9:00-16:00

Price: Adults 400 yen, Children 280 yen

Odori Park (FREE)

Lined with beer gardens and lots of sculptures, Odori Park is an amazing place to come almost anytime of the day. It takes about 15 minutes to walk though the park.

Open: Always

Price: Free

Shiryokan (FREE)

Located at the end of Odori Park on the west side, the former Sapporo Court of Appeals is another free place to check out for those interested in art and culture. Some fun activities for kids as well.

Open: 9:00-19:00

Price: Free

Moerenuma Park

Massive park containing modern art and architecture, a place where art and nature come together. Also provides a decent view over the city.

Open: 7:00-22:00 (last entrance at 21:00)

Price: Free

Sapporo Factory (FREE)

If you want to do a bit of retail therapy or try some of Hokkaido’s ‘Gengis Khan’ barbecue, this is the place to come. This place is rather big!

Open: Varies, but usually 10:00 to 22:00

Price: Free

Nijo Fish Market

Although not as big and impressive as Hakodate’s fish markets, Nijo Fish Market makes for a nice stroll while looking at all the strange fish.


Sapporo’s red light district has plenty of bright lights and is well known for it’s butter miso raman. The shopping arcades around Susukino are not as sleazy and have loads of shops and restaurants to explore.

Clock Tower

One of the main landmarks in Hokkaido, this building is a great place to enter if you want to know about how foreigners have made Hokkaido so unique. If you are not interested in that, it’s best just to take photos from outside and save on the entrance fee!

Open: 8:45-17:00

Price: Adults 200 yen, Children free

JR Tower

Not an essential visit, but if you want to get a view over the city then this is the best option.

Open: 10:00-23:00

Price: Adults 720 yen, Children 300-500 yen

How to get there

From Tokyo or Osaka, it’s cheapest to get a flight. The best budget airlines can be found in our flight guide. Most flights arrive at New Chitose Airport.

From other cities in Hokkaido, it’s cheapest to get the bus if it’s more than an hour away.


Recommended hostels and cheap hotels

International Hostel Khaosan Sapporo

Friendly hostel with dormitory rooms near Susukino. Check prices at

Sapporo International Youth Hostel 

Another reliable hostel, this one has more room types and is in a quieter location. Check prices at

More at

Get the ultimate guide with my Hokkaido travel book

Published by Matthew Baxter

Japan travel writer and onsen addict

2 thoughts on “Sapporo

Comments are closed.