A comprehensive list of fun things to do In the summertime in Sapporo
Here are some recommendations for summer sightseeing in Sapporo
“What’s a good recommendation for sightseeing in Sapporo in the summertime?” Here you can find information to that question and more with tips about fun things to do in and around Sapporo City in the summertime. With activities like beach swimming, visiting beer gardens, coastal hiking, as well as on parks where you can enjoy the great Sapporo weekend pastime of barbecuing, swimming areas safe for young children, and traditional Japanese cultural events, there’s certainly plenty to do. And of course, who could forget the ice cream!? Which would you like to try first?
Getting ready for summertime
Even though it may be summer, mornings and evenings in Sapporo can still get chilly all year round. A definite recommendation is to bring a warm cardigan or some long sleeves that you can fit in your bag. If you’re off to the seaside or the mountains, even in August the temperature can get close to 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure you don’t catch cold if you sleep with the window open.
Barbecues and beer gardens: the Sapporo way of life
Once the long winter is over, Sapporo residents greet the summer they’ve waited for all year with weekend barbecues and a month long beer garden held in the city’s Odori Park. Wouldn’t you like to experience how Sapporo locals enjoy themselves, eating delicious food under a vast blue sky? Check out the guide “Enjoy casual, DIY-style dining under the open sky in Sapporo” that introduces parks where you can enjoy barbecuing empty-handed to get the best out of summer in Sapporo.
Ice cream made with fresh milk – a Hokkaido summertime staple
Ice cream chock-full of fresh Hokkaido milk is good enough for seconds or even thirds. At the sweets shop Senshu-an located in the center of Sapporo, try the rich milk flavored ice cream along with their delicious western style “Yamaoyaji” senbei rice crackers; or maybe ice cream made with sake lees at the Sapporo Chitose-tsuru sake museum; or perhaps matcha ice cream full of matcha (green tea) from Gyokusuien, a store specializing in Japanese teas. All three of these stores offer souvenirs to pick out while you enjoy your ice cream. If you’re out at night, our recommendation is relaxing at the hidden-away Penguin-dou. Try one of their special parfaits available only at night made with ice cream and the shop’s own homemade sorbet with some Japanese sake to wash it down.
The taste of summertime—cherries, strawberries, sea urchin, squid, and all the veggies you can imagine!
One of the best things about sightseeing in Sapporo is the fresh seafood. Relish in sea urchin and squid, which are typical summer staples, at the Curb Market or Nijo Market. Another popular summertime attraction in Sapporo is fruit picking. At the Jozankei Farm located close to the Hoheikyo Dam in Sapporo, June sees tourists flock for strawberry picking, with July and August equally popular for picking cherries. Back in Sapporo city, visitors can find a plethora of markets selling all sorts of different vegetables. Kiosks in Odori Park known as Tokibi Wagon switch gears in late July to sell fresh-picked corns. Enjoy their extraordinarily juicy flavor!
A multitude of fireworks dancing across the night sky—a Japanese summertime extravaganza。
Fireworks festivals are held from mid-July to late September all over Sapporo. Hokkaido’s most beloved fireworks display is held at Makomanai Park, where over 22,000 fireworks shoot across the sky at the Hokkaido Makomanai Music Fireworks Festival. Another longtime favorite in Sapporo is the Doshin UHB Fireworks Festival held near the center of Sapporo by the Toyohira River Minami Bridge. At the city’s Moerenuma Park, fireworks are accompanied with music in the Moerenuma Artisitc Fireworks. Lively fireworks and the booms they make when soaring up the sky makes for a Japanese summertime extravaganza. Make sure to experience it for yourself.
Traditional summertime events means Sapporo Festival and Hokkai Bon Odori dance
Between June 14th and 16th, the city enjoys the festivities of the Hokkaido Shrine Festival (Sapporo Festival), a festival enjoying over 100 years of heritage. Food kiosks are placed throughout the Hokkaido Shrine precincts and Nakajima Park throughout this period, and during the Mikoshi Togyo (Japanese portable shrine carrying ceremony) held on the 16th, Sapporo locals carry portable shrines and decorated platforms all throughout the city. To end the month-long Sapporo Summer Festival, “Hokkai Bon Odori” is held in Odori Park 2-chome, which is a long-held tradition of the city of Sapporo. Bon Odori dance originally stems from a dance held to comfort the souls of ancestral spirits that have returned during the period of Obon in the summer. Nowadays, the festival serves as a time of elation where one can revel in traditional dance set to the time of a leading crier. Since the dance is a repetition of simple choreography, anyone can join in the festivities.
Rock , jazz, classical—Sapporo is brimming with music in the summertime
Hokkaido’s premier rock festival, the Rising Sun Rock Festival (mid-August), is not just known for its music but also for its delicious food. “Join Alive” has an amusement park located within its grounds and is a popular destination for families. Also, at Sapporo City Jazz, held primarily within Odori Park (July through August), and at the international classical music education festival Pacific Music Festival (PMF) held mainly at the Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara (July through August), you can lightheartedly come and spend a few hours listening to a wide range of music. There’s nothing that relieves the cares of the world quite like listening to musical programs outside with a cold beer in one hand. A great destination for those travelling with friends or family.
Two great swimming spots perfect for sightseeing—Ishikari Bay and Moerenuma Park
Ishikari Asobeach is a popular beach swimming area with Sapporo locals on Ishikari Bay. Only a 40 minute drive from Sapporo, wouldn’t you like to enjoy some beachside barbecue and relax with a little swimming? After you’ve cooled off with a dip, we recommend warming up at one of the hot springs right next to the beach. “Moere Beach”, a series of large-scale carvings within Moerenuma Park reminiscent of the seaside that is part of famous sculptor Isamu Noguchi’s “Daichi No Chokoku (Sculpture of the Earth)” piece, is a popular destination for children. Since this is located on a sandbar, even visitors with young children can feel at ease as their children play. From June, you have the “Ocean Fountain” where the area is lit up at night. After a long day in the sun, take a load off as you enjoy the beautiful and artistic waterworks.
Take in mother nature on a relaxing hike around Sapporo
On the outskirts of Sapporo, there are several mountains such as Mount Hakkenzan and Mount Soranumadake where even beginners can enjoy a relaxing hike. How about taking in the natural beauty surrounding the city of Sapporo? Maruyama and Moiwayama can be accessed by public transportation in the center of the city, allowing for easy access to all the sightseeing spots these mountains have to offer. Between July and August, the Maruyama Zoo located near the mountain stays open until 9 pm for their “Evening Zoo” event where visitors can see nocturnal animals in their natural state. Definitely a recommendation in the summertime. Be sure to stop by.
Horse races and horseback riding – equine summertime sightseeing in Sapporo
The Sapporo Racecourse holds their annual “Hokkaido Series” over the summer. Certainly a highlight of the summer season is the spectacle of horses galloping past before your eyes. At the racetrack, patrons can visit a petting zoo where they can pet Dosanko (a breed of Japanese horse native to Hokkaido) as well as other ponies and children can play in a tree house, making it a great destination the whole family can enjoy. If you want to try your hand at riding, Ishikari Bay offers a popular horseback trek along the seaside at the Frontier Horse Riding Club. Another recommendation is Wild Mustang’s located near to Jozankei. Both offer plans that include basic lessons for beginners, perfect for those who’ve never ridden before. Enjoy the splendor of nature on the back of your trusty steed.