Autumn has arrived in Hokkaido! The days are getting shorter and the weather cooling off and a lot of things are going to happen from viewing momiji to eating out delicious foods in local restaurants. Eating ramen is a must-do thing whenever you visit Sapporo, and the capital city of Hokkaido hosts a food fest in September where lots of foods can be found including ramen of different kinds. Are you excited to explore the food festival?

Autumn season lasts from early September to late November in Hokkaido and October is the best time to see the fall colors in the region, especially in Sapporo city. In central Hokkaido, leaves start to change color in early September and reach peak between mid September and early October each fall. On the other hand, Sapporo peak foliage season is in mid October.

Sapporo is an amazing destination with scenic views, excellent restaurants and impressive museums. Many travelers visit Daisetsuzan national park, Hokkaido’s largest national park to see earliest fall foliage in the month of September. There they find rewarding day trip adventures for sure!

Below are our top tips on what to do in Sapporo in autumn. If you have been dreaming of things to do in Sapporo either in September or October, read on!

1) Sapporo Autumn Fest

Food stalls at Odori 6 Chome. Photo Credit: Sapporo Autumn Fest.

Sapporo Autumn Fest is arguably one of the best food festivals in Japan. Locals think that this is the kick off show of Hokkaido’s beautiful autumn season with a plenty of seasonal tastes. This food fest usually takes place in early September every year in Odori Park, located in the middle of the city with beautiful gardens, lawns and fountains.

This year, the festival is scheduled to be held from September 6 to September 29, 2019.

A lot of foodies from all over Japan come to participate in this lively food festival. This food fest brings the most delicious cousins from all over the Hokkaido region, offering you abundance of tastes and flavors. In addition, Hokkaido is one of the best places in the world to travel for beer lovers. In fact, when you visit the festival, you will have the opportunity to taste variety of beers including the famous Sapporo Beer.

2) Daisetsuzan National Park in Central Hokkaido

Mount Asahidake. Photo Credit: WAKASARESORT Co., Ltd.

You don’t want to miss visiting the areas of outstanding natural beauty in Central Hokkaido. Do you? For those looking to take in the colors in Hokkaido, I recommend you to take a hike along the trails up Mount Asahidake and Mount Kurodake at higher elevations, particularly if you want to go out early in the season.

If you are not an advanced hiker, then I have an inspiring message for you. The area has been incredibly well loved by many hikers and outdoor lovers and best known for its fantastic walks and ever changing weather. Daisetsuzan National Park is a perfect place to pursue their dreams. On the other hand, if you come to Hokkaido as an ordinary tourist with little experience in hiking or trekking, yet you can visit the national park and enjoy its unspoiled wilderness in autumn.

One of the reasons I want you to head towards the national park is that there are multiple day trip courses offered by private bus companies in Sapporo. They are cheap, punctual and lunch is provided! It’s impossible for you to cover all the areas in the park that ablaze with colors during the autumn months but at least you can visit some within a day. For example, many tourists get to Asahidake Ropeway, while others visit Kurodake Ropeway. Two separate day trips right from Sapporo city is enough to witness the gorgeous fall colors of the Daisetsuzan National Park.

If you are visiting Sapporo in Mid-September and thinking of visiting this huge park, I would highly recommend you to choose a day trip that takes you to Mount Asahidake. There is a circular trail around the ropeway’s upper station that is easy to walk along! Besides, upper elevations of Mount Kurodake is worth a visit around that time as well, while lower elevations on the mountain reach peak in mid-October.

3) Sapporo Satoland

This farm themed park is one of the best family-friendly places in Sapporo city, which can be visited year round. The park is huge with wide-open playing areas for young kids. Visiting this fun filled park in autumn is highly recommended for tourists with little and young kids.

Sapporo Satoland is very pleasing not only for its beautiful surrounding scenery but also for butter making, animal feeding, crop harvesting, cycling, riding on a horse-drawn carriage, observing the milk manufacturing process, playing fun games in the playgrounds and other variety of activities. Entrance to the park is free and here you only pay for the paid activities though.

If you have few hours left to spend for sightseeing after visiting Sapporo Satoland, be sure to explore another popular attraction named Moerenuma Park, where you can see many interesting landmarks. It’s easy to reach to Moerenuma Park from Sapporo Satoland on foot. For the right direction you can get some help from the staffs of the information desk.

From Okadama KouKou Mae bus stop, it’s a 10-minute walk to Sapporo Satoland.

4) Jozankei Onsen

Koyo Kappa Bus, Jozankei. Photo Credit: Jozankei Tourist Association.

Jozankei is a hot spring town located inside Shikotsu-Toya National Park. It is a famous autumn leaves viewing spot in the Hokkaido region and showcases spectacular fall colors vistas. There is no doubt that the best time of year to visit Jozankei is in the fall. There are many good reasons to visit the area in winter too.

Each autumn (October), thousands of tourists make the pilgrimage to Jozankei Onsen to see the fall colors in action. And no visit to Jozankei would be complete without spending time at Hoheikyo Dam, a popular fall foliage spot around Jozankei in October. Along with seeing gorgeous foliage around the onsen town, visitors here can also enjoy its hot spring waters. Many hotels/ryokan allow day visitors to enjoy their onsen baths, and admission is required to do so. And there are many footbaths around the town that are free to use.

If you come to Jozankei by car from downtown Sapporo, the possibility of exploring some other interesting attractions in the area such as Sapporo Jozankei Natural Village, Hoheikyo Dam, Mt. Hakkenzan and Jozankei Farm within a day is feasible. And, if you access to Jozankei Onsen by bus from Sapporo city, I believe that you can still spend a lovely day in this hot spring town by visiting Hoheikyo Dam, walking around the onsen town and riding a special guided tour bus (Koyo Kappa Bus Tour) that departs from Jozankei Tourist Information Center. To ride the bus, reservation is needed. Please note that reservation by phone is not available.

5) Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort

Gondola at Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort. Photo Credit:Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort.

This is a ski resort located on the outskirt of Sapporo city receives massive amount of snowfall in winter, making it one of the top ski resorts in Hokkaido. For intermediate and beginner skiers, Sapporo Kokusai is an ideal ski resort to try skiing on the slopes.

Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort is not just a wintertime escape. Those leaf-peepers wanting to stay overnight in Jozankei must visit this place to make their trip full amazing surprises. This is one of my favorite places outside Sapporo to admire the fall foliage. During autumn, on any given day, especially a sunny day, Sapporo Kokusai is a majestic place to behold!

Take a ride on a mountain gondola (Kouyou Gondola) for the most incredible autumn foliage views. Enjoy the ride all the way up to the summit and be amazed by the surrounding picturesque autumn scenery. The peak foliage is usually at the begging of October.

6) Night Views of Sapporo

Asahiyama memorial park.

There are at least four night views I can recommend you to explore in Sapporo city, and among these, Mount Moiwa is the best. Sapporo city is beautiful at any time of the day. But there is something about viewing the city lights at night and the only way you can experience that is by taking a trip to Mount Moiwa observatory, providing stunning panoramic views of Sapporo. The observatory is located on the top of the summit of Mount Moiwa. To reach the summit, first, you get on the gondola (Mt. Moiwa ropeway) and then the mini cable cars.

Mount Moiwa is not the only option you have when it comes to viewing stunning night views of Sapporo as there are other interesting places such as Asahiyama Memorial Park, Sapporo TV Tower, and JR tower observatory t38. For those of you willing to spend some times for amazing night views of Sapporo’s Skyline, the above attractions can meet your expectation. How about a ride on The Noria Ferris wheel?

7) A Day trip to Eastern Sapporo

One of the interesting things to experience at the Historical Village of Hokkaido is horse-drawn tram. Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito at Wikimedia Commons.

Exploring museum is one of the best things you can do in Sapporo. Indeed, it’s always a great adventure to discover some museums when you visit a city like Sapporo. There are many museums around the city, and visiting the Hokkaido Museum alongside Historical Village of Hokkaido (an open air museum located in the east of Sapporo city) will be a great idea, especially if you are a museum lover. In addition, when you visit these two interesting museums, make sure that you pay a visit to the Hokkaido Centennial Memorial Tower, located in Nopporo Forest Park.

Hokkaido Museum is a popular museum in Sapporo city introducing the nature, history and culture of Hokkaido. The museum consists of many interesting collections of art and artifacts, main exhibition room, memorial hall, special exhibition room, library, auditorium, museum café, Discovery Square and coin lockers. There are many valuable treasures that help you to learn about the climate, geology and history of Hokkaido such as Ainu handicrafts, real fossils, full skeleton of Naumann Elephants, artifacts, and pictures. These are all on display with temporary exhibitions and educational activities and events throughout the year.

Hokkaido Centennial Memorial Tower.

If you head towards Hokkaido Museum, be sure to explore the Historical Village of Hokkaido. This outdoor museum consists of historical structures of Hokkaido built in the Meiji and early Showa eras. Opened in 1983, Historical Village of Hokkaido was built to preserve important cultural assets so that future generations can learn through experience. It exhibits about 60 typical buildings and each of them was reconstructed and restored or reproduced in the past. The museum has four different sections: a Town, Fishing Village, Farm Village and a Mountain Village. Discover each section thoroughly!

Designated as a Prefectural Park, Nopporo Forest Park is a large park, where bird-watching is a common thing to do for locals. Some people go mountain biking! And many outdoor fanatics come here to enjoy nature by walking in the wood as well. It’s going to be really fun when deciduous trees here turn red, yellow and orange in the fall!

Built in 1970, Centennial Memorial Tower is an interesting landmark in Nopporo Forest Park. This 100 meters tall tower was built to commemorate 100 years since the colonization of Hokkaido. Walk around the tower for a while before you decide to head back to downtown Sapporo. The park is a 10 minute walk southeast from the Shinrin-koen JR Station, on the JR Hakodate Line.

8) Makomanai Park in Minami Ward

Leaves are looking so vibrant!

Considered one of the best places to go to view fall foliage and cherry blossom in Sapporo city, Makomanai Park is a wonderful park to stroll around, located outside downtown Sapporo in Minami Ward. In the 1970 Sapporo Winter Olympic, this place was used as a main venue.

Not many foreign tourists are familiar with this park, but every autumn, locals pay a visit to this site to admire the fall foliage. The fall striking colors that hundreds of deciduous trees highlight here are truly breathtaking.

Getting to the park from Makomanai Station on the Subway Namboku Line will require a walk of 15-20 minutes.

9) Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park

It’s early autumn in Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park. Photo Credit: t-konno at Wikimedia Commons.

This park is one of the largest and most popular outdoor destinations in Sapporo, offering visitors a wide range of activities that include leaf peeping, flower viewing, BBQ, waterfalls, fishing, climbing wall, cycling, golfing and playing in the water. There is also a list of great outdoor winter activities, from skiing to snowshoeing. In fact, Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park can be visited year-round!

There are many spots in Sapporo that highlight the beauty of the changing leaves. This place is no different from the other autumn foliage spots in the city. Here vibrant reds, oranges and yellows are sure to take your breath away as you explore the vast space. One thing that you don’t want to miss in the park is Ashiribetsu Fall, one of Japan’s top 100 Waterfalls.

From Makomanai Subway Station, hop on the Chuo Bus (Takino Line 106) to Suzuran Park Higashi Guchi bus stop and then walk for a 5-minute to reach the park.

10) Hokkaido University Campus

Ginkgo avenue of Hokkaido University. Photo Credit: t-konno at Wikimedia Commons.

Walking around Hokkaido University campus is the last but not least best things to do in Sapporo city in autumn. When someone’s looking for tips on things to do in Sapporo city in the autumn, especially those traveling to the city between mid October and Late October, they must go to vast Hokkaido University campus. Indeed, the area is huge with a lot of things to discover from historic buildings (built during the Meiji Era) to beautiful lawns and ginkgo trees.

Lined with ginkgo trees, the ginkgo avenue of Hokkaido University is a popular place to view autumn leaves. This 380 meters long avenue stretches from Kita-Jusanjo Gate all the way to Ono Pond. During the peak, trees are lit up gorgeously at night.

Apart from walking down the avenue, visit the Central lawn, Elm Forest, Hokkaido University Museum, the Botanical Garden, and Sapporo Agricultural College Farm No. 2. Have fun!

Finally, you don’t always have to go far enough of downtown Sapporo to see fall colors, instead pay a visit to any of these awesome attractions: Nakajima Park, Maruyama Park, and Odori Park. You can even plan to hike Mt. Moiwa as the trails are easy to follow and you will be glad to see autumn’s changing leaves along the way to the summit.