The “musts” of Sapporo sightseeing in the spring

Here are some recommendations for spring sightseeing in Sapporo

*Updated December 26, 2019
Here we present recommendations for springtime Sapporo sightseeing. There are festivals, events, gourmet choices, and activities that should not be missed. In the spring, there is so much to enjoy in Sapporo!

Preparing for spring

The average temperature in Sapporo during April is around 7.1 degrees Celsius. Although it’s still rather cold, the spring sunshine brings out the excitement and energy of Sapporoites. Downtown the snow melts on the roads and you will see people begin to ride bicycles here and there. The temperature gradually rises in May and the following months. Unlike Honshu (the main Japanese island), Hokkaido does not go through the muggy and dreary rainy season, so the skies are typically clear and the weather is good. However, the temperature can fall to around a chilly 10 degrees Celsius in the morning and evening. Be sure to pack a lightweight cardigan or a scarf to keep your neck warm.

Blossoming flowers herald the coming of spring

As the snow melts, from late April onward, the flower beds of Sapporo’s parks bloom in vibrant colors. The many attractive choices include Odori Park in downtown Sapporo; Yurigahara Park, which is popular for its unique flowerbeds and gardens, and Takino Suzuran Hillside Park, which boasts an entire hillside covered with tulips.

Cherry blossom peak time arrives with Golden Week

In Sapporo and much of Hokkaido, the cherry blossom season peaks around the time of Golden Week—late April to early May. Popular spots include Hokkaido Shrine, Maruyama Park, Nakajima Park (site of a number of historical buildings), and the cherry tree forest of Moerenuma Park. Cherry blossoms can also be seen in central Sapporo so you can enjoy the view as you stroll the city during your stay.

Taste the flavors of spring—edible wild plants, asparagus, and fresh sea food

The special tastes of spring include fuki (bog rhubarb), bamboo shoots, and other edible wild plants. It is also early spring when the opening of the crab season (primarily in Eastern Hokkaido) brings crabs to the markets of Sapporo. Asparagus cultivated outdoors appears in Sapporo markets around May. In June the sea urchin season opens. The creamy texture and rich sweetness of fresh sea urchin is truly delicious.

Enjoy famous outdoor events under clear skies

The diverse outdoor events to be enjoyed include the month-long Jozankei Keiryu Koinobori* event that begins in mid-April, the popular sheep-shearing show held during the spring festival at Sapporo Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill, the Sapporo Lilac Festival held at Odori Park in mid-May, the YOSAKOI Soran Festival of powerful dance performances in June, and the flower petal carpet laid out at Sapporo Kita 3-jo Plaza (Akapla).

Sapporo Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill

Eagerly anticipated dazzling mikoshi processions and food stalls Hokkaido Shrine Festival (The Sapporo Festival)

Boasting a history of more than 100 years, the Hokkaido Shrine Festival (also called the Sapporo Festival) is held from June 14 to 16. On the final day, people line the streets to catch a glimpse of the mikoshi (portable shrines) and festival cars that parade through town. At Hokkaido Shrine, you will find food stalls and traditional offering ceremonies. Food stalls also line Nakajima Park, where you can even enjoy a haunted house and a motorcycle circus.

Hokkaido Shrine Festival

Enjoy the spring breeze while spring skiing, rafting, and cycling

Sapporo Teine and Sapporo Kokusai Skiing Resort, which are located about 40 to 60 minutes by car from downtown, are typically open for skiing until early May. Rafting amid the beauty of the Jozankei river gorge is also quite thrilling in springtime because of the increased water flow from snow melt. Mid-April marks the beginning of cycling season. To fully enjoy your sightseeing time, we recommend trying the Porocle bicycle rental service in central Sapporo.