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Winter in Sapporo (November to March)

Winter in Sapporo (November to March)

As the cold begins to draw in, the first snowfall of the year can be seen in November. From late December, the amount of snow begins to increase as Sapporo transforms into a winter wonderland just waiting to be explored, covered in pure white snow that lasts until March.
Sapporo in winter is an incredible experience, with a variety of winter activities to be enjoyed, including skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing, as well as events such as the iconic Sapporo Snow Festival, which takes place around the city when the cold reaches its peak in January and February.
Read on for some important information to keep in mind before you travel.

Enjoy seasonal food delicacies from Hokkaido’s vast expanses and the fall foliage that arrives ahead of Honshu|September to November

Enjoy seasonal food delicacies from Hokkaido’s vast expanses and the fall foliage that arrives ahead of Honshu|September to November

Fall arrives in Sapporo after the start of September. The Sapporo Autumn Fest takes place in mid-September and showcases seasonal tastes from across Hokkaido in Odori Park. It also marks the start of the fall foliage season in the mountains and around town. After the fall foliage peaks, the trees begin to shed their leaves, and it is local knowledge that the first snowfall of the season is near when white fluffy snow bugs begin to fly around. Sapporoites know that winter is soon to follow once they view the snow-dusted summit of Mt. Teine from downtown. Although with each passing day it only grows colder, autumn is also known as the most “delicious” season, when Hokkaido-grown produce is the most bountiful. This is the time to get out and enjoy an outdoor hot spring bath and meal at a nearby hot springs spa or head to a popular restaurant serving seasonal favorites.

Beer

Beer

The history of beer in Sapporo begins with the Kaitakushi Beer Brewery (the predecessor of Sapporo Beer), established by the government in 1876. Sapporo Beer’s star logo is derived from the “Red Star” symbol of Kaitakushi. It is also used on the clock tower and red-brick government buildings, and can be seen as a symbol of Hokkaido’s development. Here is a guide to a journey through the history and culture of beer in Sapporo, “where there is low humidity and the water is delicious”.

Bicycle

Bicycle

Why not take a trip by bicycle during your stay in Sapporo? The period from mid-April when the snow starts to melt to October with its beautiful red leaves is excellent for experiencing Hokkaido’s northern landscape with your body, both within Sapporo and around its outskirts. Sapporo does not have rainy seasons and the average temperature in mid-summer is about 22°C. On the outskirts, even the countryside roads where you can command a view of the rural scenery are well paved, perfect for touring in nature. The number of overseas visitors in search of this ideal environment is increasing every year. Here we introduce ways to thoroughly enjoy Sapporo on a bicycle, whether touring in nature or cycling in the city.

Odori Park hosts several outdoor events, and the entire city rejoices in the arrival of the short but exciting northern summer|June to August

Odori Park hosts several outdoor events, and the entire city rejoices in the arrival of the short but exciting northern summer|June to August

From June to August, events for enjoying Sapporo’s short summer are packed with people. The Hokkaido Shrine Festival and Yosakoi Soran Festival in June mark the arrival of early summer, while in July there are music-related events including the Pacific Music Festival (PMF) and Sapporo City Jazz. Beer gardens, another favorite summertime tradition in Odori, also appear at this time. These events and more ensure that Sapporo locals get out and enjoy the summer to the fullest. Hokkaido has no sticky and humid rainy season like the main island of Honshu, so one of Sapporo’s draws is its comfortable summertime weather. While on some days it can be hot during the daytime even in a t-shirt, the wind at night can be chilly, so be sure to bring a thin long sleeve shirt.

Spring in Sapporo (March to May)

Spring in Sapporo (March to May)

Honshu may be well into spring between from March to May, but in Hokkaido winter still hangs in the air. The sunlight intensifies and the snow begins to thaw, but the buds on the trees take some time to emerge. The cherry blossom front that sweeps Japan each year usually arrives in Sapporo in time for the Golden Week holiday at the end of April. With the arrival of the cherry blossom, the season where the city bursts to life begins as the trees that line the streets bud new leaves. Although the snow may be gone, there can still be a chill in the air and a light coat or stole is recommended for those who feel the cold.

Night View

Night View

Hokkaido, which features no less than 5 of the top 100 best night views in Japan, as chosen by night-view lovers, can be said to be a mecca of night views, alongside the likes of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka and Hyogo. Sapporo, in particular, has a large number of night view spots, including Mount Moiwa and JR Tower Observation Deck T38, which were selected for inclusion in the top 100 best night views in Japan, in addition to Sapporo TV Tower and NORBESA ferris wheel in the Odori Park / Susukino district, Okurayama Viewing Point at the top of the ski-jump platform, and Asahiyama Memorial Park. We introduce “Sapporo’s best night view spots”, carefully selected from the local viewpoint of Sapporo residents.

One-day driving trips to Jozankei

One-day driving trips to Jozankei

About 1 hour by car from the city, Jozankei hot springs is familiar to Sapporo residents, and it is a hot spring area made attractive by the fact that it is close enough to visit on the spur of the moment. However, do you know that the hot springs are not the only reason for wanting to head out there? This time, with “Jozankei is not just about the hot springs” as our theme, we introduce fun spots hidden away down side roads and in the forests, that you wouldn’t notice just driving down Route 230. That said, you might find that you may suddenly want to warm yourself up on your way back, but that is okay too, Jozankei hot springs has around 20 bathing facilities for day-trippers, so keep a towel handy in your bag, just in case.

Enjoying hot springs and sento bathhouses in Sapporo

Enjoying hot springs and sento bathhouses in Sapporo

*Updated November 6, 2019
Bathing is an incredibly important part of Japanese culture. In addition to bathing at home, Hokkaido residents love to take day trips to one of the island’s plentiful hot springs and sento bathhouses. In Sapporo, Hokkaido’s main city, there are many bathing facilities to take a warm, relaxing soak, with several hot spring towns nearby for those who don’t mind venturing a little further out. Most hot springs and sento bathhouses are open to both people staying the night and day visitors. Read on to find out the best places in Sapporo to take a relaxing dip after a hard day’s traveling.