Sapporo is considered to be the central metropolis of Hokkaido, and it offers a wide array of gourmet and sightseeing spots. For this article, we have picked up 5 staple sightseeing spots that anybody coming to Sapporo for the first time should visit.
1. Former Hokkaido Government Office Building
The Former Hokkaido Government Office Building was built in 1888 as the Office Building for the Hokkaido Government, and it has become a popular sightseeing spot of Sapporo under the name of "The Red Brick Office". Built in an American neo-baroque style, the building is registered as national important cultural property. The highlights are the beautiful external appearance of the building built with red bricks, the profoundly nostalgic interior, and its lovely gardens. It is said that the total number of red bricks used in the building is 2,500,000. The areas within the building that are open to the public feature exhibitions of various materials regarding the history of Hokkaido and paintings by distinguished painters associated with Hokkaido. We recommend a stroll through the garden after you finish your visit to the interior of the building. Enjoy the view of the cherry blossoms and tulips in the spring, the foliage in the fall, and the wonderful contrast between the red color of the bricks and the snow during the winter - it does not matter what season of the year you are visiting, this building always is an amazing sightseeing spot! Make sure to visit it!
2. Moerenuma Park
Moerenuma Park is a very unique comprehensive park that combines nature and art designed by internationally renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi after the concept of "making the whole park into one single sculpture." The park extends over an area of 188.8 hectares, and the most convenient way to get around it is using a rental bicycle. In this park you will find attractions for both grownups and children including a glass pyramid that is the symbol of the park itself and Mt. Moere, which is about 50 meters high and on which visitors can ski during the winter - make sure you check them both out! The sea fountain, which artificially creates wave splashes of water up to 25 meters high, is an especially powerful sight! You may feel that the atmosphere here is somewhat similar to that of Las Vegas. The fountain show, which is performed a few times a day, is a must see (performed only between the end of April and October).
Another way to enjoy this park is looking for the best spots to take photographs of the combination of the highly artistic buildings and nature throughout the seasons.
3. Sapporo Bier Garten
The Sapporo Bier Garten is managed by a leading beer manufacturer in Japan. The large building, called the Genghis Khan Hall, houses three beer halls, the Kessel Hall, the Trommel Hall, and the Poplar Annex, all of which are different and offer draft beer received directly from the factory, along with Hokkaido's specialty Genghis Khan yakiniku (grilled mutton/lamb). If you are undecided as to which hall to visit, we recommend going to the Kessel Hall first, as here you will be able to see a giant cauldron where beer is produced.
They have 6 different types of draft beer, and they are all way more delicious than your regular draft beer. Here, one glass of beer is served in just 3 seconds. Their Genghis Khan yakiniku, made with carefully selected raw lamb meat, enjoys an especially good reputation, and prices start at 2,900 JPY (excl. tax) for an all-you-can-eat menu. The facility includes a beer museum, a restaurant called Garden Grill, and a souvenir shop - take your time and enjoy!
4. Sapporo Central Wholesale Market Curb Market
If you've made it all the way to Sapporo, it is only natural that you'd want to eat some fresh seafood! The Sapporo Central Wholesale Market Curb Market is the place to go. This lively market has become an attractive touristic spot thanks to its lively atmosphere. The Curb Market is directly connected to the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market, which means all products are delivered fresh every morning to over 60 shops including fish shops, greengrocers, and canteens. The place is always bustling with tourists seeking to enjoy shopping and to taste Hokkaido specialties. Many of the shops give free tasting samples to buying customers, which may be enough to make your belly full. We recommend that you take your time to walk around and see the whole market once, and then indulge in sushi or a "kaisen-don" (bowl of rice topped with raw fish). Hokkaido is famous for its crab, so when possible make sure to choose a dish with crab in it! You will surely be surprised at how delicious it is. If you are a little tired of fish, there are other shops offering soup curry. The market is open between 6:00 am and 5:00 pm (canteens and restaurants open at 7:00 am), but some of the shops may close earlier than that, so make sure to come early!
5. Ride the nORBESA Ferris Wheel
Susukino is a famous entertainment district in Sapporo and one of its most popular touristic attractions is the Ferris Wheel nORIA. This large Ferris wheel is located on the rooftop of nORBESA, a large amusement complex that houses a variety of shops and stores including bowling, karaoke, restaurants, and duty free shops. This Ferris wheel is 78 meters above ground level and takes 10 minutes to do a whole round, offering a panoramic view of the city of Sapporo. It is popular for being a casual way to enjoy the view. Nothing blocks your sight and on clear days you may even be able to see Mt. Okura and Mt. Moiwa. The Ferris wheel is brightly lit up by night, when you can enjoy a panoramic night view of Sapporo!
The complex also holds a rooftop beer garden during the summer starting at the end of June, so if you are coming during this season, you can enjoy a break and a cold beer after riding the Ferris wheel!
Ferris Wheel nORIA costs 600 JPY to ride.
5. Ride the nORBESA Ferris Wheel
There are many different ways to enjoy Sapporo, but if you are at a loss about what to do, we recommend starting with the staple spots! Use the information on this article as a reference to narrow down your travel plans.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.