On our current 6-week trip to Asia I was told we must see the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan. In the previous post we explained the logistics part of our trip. In this post we will show you what a beautiful and interesting city we found in Sapporo. I think it’s a nice sized city that is easily walkable and filled with plenty to do.
The beautiful JR Tower and Sapporo Stellar Place Shopping Mall provides a great backdrop for arrival into the Sapporo Train Station. Plan for a day here, put your bags in a locker and enjoy some fantastic shopping and dining. If it’s a nice viewing day pop up to the top of the JR Tower for great views of the city.
Upon our arrival in Sapporo, we headed straight for our hotel (the APA Sapporo Susukina-Ekimae) and then out for a bite. There was a little noodle shop around the corner from our hotel – that fit the bill for a quick and delicious meal. My husband who lived in Japan for years, said we should visit noodle shops, as they are popular and usually good. The place was filled with what seemed like locals, who showed us how “it works”. We placed our order at a kiosk by the entrance and took a receipt to a table. My daughter enjoyed the fried chicken pieces and some noodles in savory broth. It was quick and hit the spot.
We then took a brief stroll and ended up at a shopping mall – in search of warm pants. I figured that there should be some good warm pants for sale in Hokkaido, home to beautiful snowy winters. I was right – and all on sale for that matter!
We headed back to the room for a good bath in the hotels deep soaking tub. I am not a bath person but my daughter loved it. I liked that I could take a shower right next to her while she bathed.
The next day we took a leisurely stroll a few blocks to Odori Park, host of the Sapporo Snow Festival. The event is held for about a week every winter and draws visitors from across the globe (1-12 Feb this year). For blocks there are snow sculptures, food tents, entertainment and more! The sculptures go from amusing to absolutely amazing. This year they had a massive Star Wars display, an Arc de Triomphe and many smaller, fun sculptures from Donald Duck to anime characters.
Ellie’s favorite was the Nissin slide – a sculpture of a Nissin Noodle Cup with a built in slide. Some staff members were filming for a local TV news program and asked us to be on the segment. Ellie and I ended up on the local news and Ellie was a big hit! We are working on getting a copy of the reel, we’ll let you know when we get it!
After a long day at the festival we headed to the Sapporo Station Stellar Place Shopping Mall. Some friends we met on the train invited us to join them for dinner. We were looking for one place in particular but there was a 90-minute wait. If you walk around the 6th floor you will find many restaurants offering a great variety of foods. We had a wonderful dinner with our friends and ended the evening with some shopping on the lower levels.
We ran out of time but there is also world class skiing in many places around Sapporo as well. If you are looking to visit Japan in the winter, we highly recommend that you plan a visit to Sapporo for the Snow Festival – there’s something for everyone!