Sapporo Winter Activities
Making the most of winter in the Sapporo area
*Updated October 25, 2019
If you are wondering what there is to do in Sapporo in the winter, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading for our recommendations for fun in the snow, hot springs, delicious cuisine and more!
Get Ready for Winter!
Sapporo winters are quite cold and there’s lots of snow! It’s quite common for temperatures to drop below 0°C, even during the day, but it’s heated indoors, so bring a jacket that’s easy to take on and off. Sidewalks are slippery when they freeze over, so make sure you bring your boots. If you aren’t used to walking on icy roads, it might be best to use the underground passageways throughout the downtown area to get around, even if it means a bit of a detour.
Downtown Sapporo Illuminated in Sparkling Lights
Downtown Sapporo is decorated in glittering lights for the winter. Crowds gather at Odori Park to see them sparkling in the night. Make sure to check out the area’s two major winter events, Sapporo White Illumination and German Christmas Market in Sapporo, which begin on Friday, November 22, 2019.
Sapporo White Illumination
German Christmas Market in Sapporo
Fight Off Winter’s Chill with Sapporo Cuisine
Sapporo is filled with amazing food to warm you up on a chilly day, from cuisine featuring wild game (known as gibier,) that has grown popular in recent years, to all kinds of incredibly unique takes on the ramen.
A Midwinter Spectacular
The Sapporo Snow Festival is the city’s main event of the season. Here, you’ll find massive ice sculptures that come alive with projected imagery, snowboarding and mogul competitions, and even an ice skating rink, so there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy! Don’t forget to try out the food stalls!
Sapporo Snow Festival
Snow is for Skiing and Snowboarding
You can usually start skiing and snowboarding in the Sapporo area around December, and by mid-January, the winter sports season is in full throttle. The Hokkaido winter is long, so sometimes you can actually continue to play in the snow all the way until May! Make sure to show your support at the many winter sports tournaments held throughout the season.
- For easy day trips to the slopes: Sapporo Ski Areas
- A 20 min. drive from downtown Sapporo: Sapporo Moiwayama Ski Resort
- Spectacular night-skiing until 10pm: Sapporo Bankei Ski Area
- Try the luge: Fu’s Snow Area
- For everyone from beginners to experts: Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort
- Bring the whole family: Takino Suzuran Hillside Park Snow World
It’s Winter Sports Time
Hokkaido is perfect for anyone who loves winter sports. There’s fun for all ages, whether you want to try sliding a curling stone across the ice or even a virtual ski jump.
Soak Off Winter’s Chill in the Hot Springs
There’s nothing better than a dip in the hot springs surrounded by snow. Whether you stay inside the city limits or venture out to Jozankei Onsen, a soak in the hot springs is certain to warm you to the core.