Enjoy casual, DIY-style dining under the open sky in Sapporo.
Dining is one of the pleasures of traveling in Sapporo. In addition to regional specialties such as Genghis Khan mutton, ramen, and soup curry, there are several restaurants where you can enjoy cuisine made from Hokkaido ingredients. That said, eating out at a restaurant day in and day out may become tiring. When the weather is fine, there may be many people who think, “If only I could eat outside…” This time, we will introduce convenient spots for occasions where you long to enjoy dining under the open Sapporo sky. Casual takeout meals, parks where both dining and recreation can be enjoyed to the fullest, and department store basements that offer delicacies from all over Japan―all are options available to Sapporo citizens. You too can enjoy dining in Sapporo as you please, in a casual DIY-style that fits your mood that day.
*DIY = Acronym for “Do It Yourself,” meaning that you do what you can on your own, without relying on others to do it for you.
Sandwiches and coffee, or rice balls and Japanese tea?
Casual dining where you can combine takeout options as you please.
Takeout options such as sandwiches and coffee, or rice balls and Japanese tea, are convenient when dining casually outdoors. Why not head over to Odori Park, Sousei River Park, or Nakajima Park in central Sapporo for a picnic? If you decide to get takeout food near Nakajima Park, we recommend the 24-hour takeout specialty store, Sandwich Shop Sandria, and Marumi Coffee’s second location, Marumi Coffee Stand Nakajima Park, which has a reputation for maintaining high-quality coffee beans. The two shops are within a 15-minute walking distance, and are also accessible by tram. Near Odori Park or Sousei River Park, we recommend pairing takeout coffee from Marumi Coffee with a sandwich from coffee and sandwich shop, Saera (Toshin Bldg. Floor B3, Odori Nishi 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo), famous for its red king crab salad sandwiches. For rice balls, request takeout from the hand-made rice ball shop Arinko, which has five stores within the city, including locations at Sapporo Station, Odori, and Maruyama. At Gyokusuien, a Japanese tea specialty store located near Odori, not only can you request Japanese tea takeout, but you can also refill your own water bottle (350 to 500 ml) with freshly-steeped Japanese tea for only 210 yen, a great service for those who need to walk long distances.
Children and adults alike can relax at Odori Park, with its myriad of street food vendors that change with each event, or at a park where you can simply show up and enjoy barbecuing.
Enjoying a barbecue under the blue sky is a classic pastime for Sapporo citizens on their days off. On weekends, parks with grilling areas are bustling with Sapporo citizens. Gotenzan Park and the milk village within Sapporo Satoland both offer barbecue equipment for rental as well as sell the ingredients, so you can show up empty-handed and still enjoy barbecuing. In addition, starting from late April with the Tokibi Wagon (corn-on-the-cob vendors) in Odori Park, you’ll be able to enjoy the street food from the different vendors that show up with each event, such as Hokkaido wine and food made from Hokkaido ingredients at the Lilac Festival (May), beer and seasonal Hokkaido pleasures at the beer garden (July through August), a collection of Hokkaido autumn delicacies at the Autumn Fest (September), vendors serving German cuisine and other street food at the Munich Christmas Market (November through December), and street vendors full of international character at the Sapporo Snow Festival (February). Since kids are allowed to run around freely, the park is a great spot for dining as a family.
Enjoy dining on self-tailored combinations from department store basements and supermarkets that offer everything from side dishes to desserts.
The food markets that occupy the underground floors of department stores, known as “depa-chika,” are gourmet treasure troves filled with delicious select produce from all over Japan, from Japanese and Western side dishes, to bento, desserts, wine and regional Japanese sake. In front of Sapporo Station, you can choose from Daimaru Sapporo Store, Sapporo Tokyu Department Store, and Sapporo Esta, and Odori has the Marui-Imai Sapporo flagship store and Sapporo Mitsukoshi. A word of caution: depa-chika shops close for the day from around 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you are looking for side dishes that use 100% Hokkaido ingredients, we recommend HuG Delish inside the HUG Mart on Tanuki Koji Shopping Street. Supermarkets that are open at night are your haven when you are out of dining options late at night. DinnerBell, located a 7-minute walk from the Susukino Subway Station (Minami 7-jo Nishi 6-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo) is open 24-hours, and Toko Store on the 1st floor of Sapporo Factory is open until 11 p.m. The sashimi on sale in Sapporo and Hokkaido supermarkets are delicious, so why not enjoy sashimi in your room paired with beer or Japanese sake? For those staying in a guest house with a shared kitchen where simple preparations can be made, this may be an even more convenient option.。