Autumn Hokkaido Travel Guide

10 Best Places to Visit in Sapporo in Autumn

One of the beautiful things about Sapporo is the lovely weather it offers during the fall. Temperature here gradually decrease as a result it starts to get cold – not that much harsh as it is during the winter months though.

It’s pretty gorgeous to see that leaves start turning red and yellow in the surrounding mountains in Sapporo in early October. They look absolutely breathtaking in late October. And that’s the best time to see autumn leaves in the city. Prior to your trip to the city, I highly recommend you to check out our top 5 fall foliage spots in Sapporo.

View of Odori Park from Sapporo TV Tower. Photo Credit: redlegsfan21 at Flickr.

Hokkaido is famous for its unspoiled nature and seafood, but there is one important fact you should know about is – It is the first place in Japan to see autumn leaves each year. Impressed?! The capital city of Hokkaido, Sapporo, attracts millions of tourists throughout the year.

Autumn is arguably one of the best times when a lot of visitors tend to explore the city’s best attractions including the regional cuisine. Today, I would like to introduce some of Sapporo’s interesting places that are worth visiting in autumn. Let’s get started!

1) Mount Moiwa

An impressive view of fall colors from the Mt. Moiwa Ropeway. Photo Credit: Sapporo Development Corporation.

The landscape of Mount Moiwa is indeed breathtaking. I like the views of the surrounding mountains that become lively with the leaves of deciduous trees turning rich reds and yellows in the fall.

Designated as one of Japan’s three most spectacular night scenic views, Mount Moiwa is the sort of place you can visit throughout the year. This is because many tourists visit the mountain to see the night view of the city from the mountain top.

And seriously you don’t need to choose a specific season to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. But as the mountain is covered with many trees including deciduous trees it looks absolutely mind-boggling in autumn. Fall foliage here is an exclusive feature that can be experienced only in the fall.

You will be overwhelmed seeing the picturesque views as the gondola takes you to the upper ropeway station. From there you will be transferred to the mini cable car to reach the observation platform, located on the top of the mountain.

Up there, it’s windy and cold during autumn, so be sure to wear a comfy jacket. It’s highly recommended for you to get there before the sunset. You will be able to view beautiful fall colors then!

2) Sapporo Autumn Fest in Odori Park

Food stalls at Odori Park during Sapporo Autumn Fest.

Odori Park is on every Hokkaido traveler’s bucket list. It’s lively atmosphere and seasonal highlights make for a beautiful view any time of year.

Autumn is a perfect time to celebrate a food festival. For years, Sapporo has been one of the top cities in Japan to explore as it’s packed with a number of annual festivals and incredible seasonal highlights. It’s delightful to see autumn colors in the city, no doubt about that.

On the other hand, one of its top features for autumn is Sapporo Autumn Fest – a popular food festival in Japan. Held in early September at the Odori Park, it’s has a lively atmosphere created by a lot of visitors and smell of the delicious foods at the festival venues often make it difficult to decide which area of the festival should visit first.

It’s a paradise for food lovers indeed. You can try a list of famous Hokkaido local dishes such as soup curry, ramen, soba noodles, jingisukan including variety of seafood, beer, sake, fruits, and soft-served ice-creams.

Apart from all these foods and drinks, I suggest you to try cakes and chocolates that are locally produced. If you are curious about Hokkaido cuisine, this is a place that you cannot miss visiting in the fall.

3) Nakajima Koen

Nakajima Koen in autumn. Photo Credit: Hideo at Flickr.

No matter what kind of traveler you are, there are a few stunning places in Sapporo that are a must see for everyone. Nakajima Koen is my favorite park in the city where I often pay a visit to. The reason is to witness its tranquil atmosphere. A walk through the park is necessary in order to explore its beauty thoroughly.

The park has a beautiful pond called Shobu. You can take a walk around it or if you want to get something unique then rent a boat. In addition, there is a traditional Japanese garden that looks pretty amazing especially during spring and autumn.

If you are planning a trip to Sapporo this autumn to see fall foliage, Nakajima Koen is going to be one of your top attractions alongside other popular autumn leaves spots in Hokkaido. Ginkgo and maple trees are scattered throughout the park.

Besides, there are a number of areas to relax and enjoy the beautiful outdoor nature. If you are tired of walking, find a bench for resting a while. Admission to the park is free!

4) Jozankei Onsen

Autumn leaves in Jozankei Onsen, Sapporo. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

An hour’s drive, on the outskirts of Sapporo there is a hot spring called Jozankei. In Hokkaido, Jozankei is perhaps the best hot spring resort town that ablaze with color in autumn. If you visit Jozankei Onsen in the fall, you are bound to come across stunning views of dazzling fall colors for sure. This is one of the top reasons why people like to visit the hot spring town in mid October. There are other reasons that must be explained to you.

Autumn in Sapporo is cold though the weather is not freezing. Tourists and locals alike would agree with me that the season is a perfect time to soak your body in a hot spring. It will be relaxing and energetic for the upcoming day trips to elsewhere in Sapporo or even outside.

In Jozankei, there are tons of activities available during every season of the year. You may find it interesting when you explore the Hoheikyo dam museum. Hoheikyo Dam itself a nice autumn leave spot in Jozankei to admire its surrounding fall foliage. You must go for it if you visit Jozankei Onsne.

There is a sightseeing bus tour known as Koyo Kappa Bus Tour that departs from Jozankei Tourist Information Centre. This bus tour offers visitors witnessing incredible autumn color vistas of Jozankei.

Autumn is also a great time to pick fruits. Here in Jozankei, you can do it at Jozankei Farm. Fruits like cherries, strawberries, apples, pears, grapes can be picked. Enjoy eating those juicy fruits in the orchard!

5) Moerenuma Park

Hidamari – the glass pyramid at Moerenuma Park, Sapporo. Photo Credit: Moerenuma Park.

Designed by Isamu Noguchi, Moerenuma is a massive park located on the outskirts of Sapporo. The park is quite different than Nakajima and Maruyama Park. There you can see some gorgeous sculptures and landmarks that include HIDAMARI (glass pyramid), Sea Fountain, Tetra Mound, Music Shell, Aqua Plaza, Play Mountain, Mount Moere and etc.

The Glass Pyramid (Hidamari) is the symbol of Moerenuma. It often reminds me of Louvre Pyramid in Paris, France. Inside the building, there are an information centre, gallery, atrium, and you can find other facilities too.

The trail of Mt. Moere tempts us to walk along it. If you don’t want to miss incredible panoramic views of the entire park, hike up the mountain at a leisurely speed and enjoy. In addition, the entire park provides a wide range of activities for all ages to enjoy. Please note admission to Moerenuma is free.

6) Hokkaido University – Sapporo Campus Trip

Hokkaido University – Gingko tree Avenue. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Sometimes I believe that even a day trip to Hokkaido University campus would not be enough to explore its whole area. Its massive grounds are blessed with fascinating gardens, parks, pond, forest, impressive walkways, historic buildings, museum, tourist information centre, café, gift shop, and so many other things.

At the information centre, you can find a map provided by the University. Take a good look at the map, and then plan accordingly. In fact, that helps you decide which area of the campus you would like to go to at the beginning of your trip. It will be a good idea taking a photo of the map!

Gingko tree Avenue of Hokkaido University is the place you don’t want to miss visiting in the fall. Trees planted along the avenue turn yellow in autumn quite gorgeously. For an unforgettable peak leaf-peeping trip, plan a trip to Gingko tree Avenue in mid-to late October.

Are you worried about how you can reach the main gate of the University? It is a 10-minute walk from Sapporo Station; it depends of the traffic signal though.

7) Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park

Cosmos flowers at Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park.

Home to one of Japan’s 100 best waterfalls, Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park is one of the most popular places to visit in Sapporo. It’s an excellent destination to travel to during autumn trips to Hokkaido. Its picturesque scenery with flower gardens, waterfalls, walking trails, picnic spots, and large playground equipment are the main highlights for visitors to experience.

The park has plenty of flowers during spring and summer. Spring in Takino Suzuran Hillside Park features immense blooming flowers with tons of tulips. During autumn, the park becomes lively with many visitors as most of them want to view cosmos flowers and autumn leaves.

Want to see abundance of cosmos? Head towards this park in early September and your trip would be delighted then. The Ashiribetsu Falls is particularly gorgeous when nearby trees turn crimson in autumn. Once you are there, you may see a rainbow over the falls.

By exploring the surroundings of the park, you will understand why this place is considered a must-see place in the city. Without any doubt, this is a great place to spend a lovely time for families with kids.

8) Maruyama Park

Autumn leaves at Maruyama Park, Sapporo. Photo Credit: David Baron at Flickr.

This picturesque park attracts nature lovers to its lovely trails, Maruyama wild forest, and a historic landmark known as Hokkaido Jingu (Hokkaido Shrine). The one who likes to walk into a park would find this place as an ideal place to relax and enjoy outdoor nature filled with wild birds, plants.

Here, the walking trails really shine! Adjacent to the park, there is Maruyama Zoo. It is home to some of Hokkaido’s endangered wild animals and birds. Seriously, if you could manage some time, then make your way to the zoo alongside visiting the shrine and park.

Maruyama Park features striking scenery year round. During spring, the place is visited by locals and tourists who enjoy hanami underneath sakura trees. In fall, most of the area of the park is awash with color.

This large compound has a number of deciduous trees such as Japanese maple, Japanese elm, and katsura. Fall colors here are at their brightest in mid October through late October.

9) Asahi Breweries Hokkaido

Asahi beer!

This beer factory is a top notch for beer lovers. Are you interested in visiting a beer factory? If you are, then this is the place you would like to go. Please note this is a fully guided tour where at the end of the tour you will be offered to drink 3 glasses of freshly brewed beer (alcoholic or non alcoholic – the choice is yours) for FREE.

Earlier I have mentioned here that Hokkaido is famous for its beer. Keeping this in mind, you should go there and see the whole brewing process with a guide who explains to you everything you encounter on the tour.

Admission to the factory is free, but reservation is required. So, if you plan on visiting the factory on Tuesday, then make a reservation over phone on Monday. There is a gift shop inside the building, so don’t forget to visit it as you are going to find some cute stuff (souvenirs) to buy.

Visiting this sort of beer production factory with the help of guide is a unique way of experiencing the best of Hokkaido. Access to the factory is easy. It’s a 7-10 minute walk either from Shiroishi Station or Nango Nana Chome on the Subway Tozai Line.

10) Historical Village of Hokkaido

A horse-drawn trolley at Historical Village of Hokkaido. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Sapporo’s attractions are too numerous to mention. I have decided to feature only the top 10 best things to do in autumn in Sapporo here in this post, and this is going to be the last one for sure. It’s the Historical Village of Hokkaido. Have you ever heard of this great historic site before?

Opened in April 1983, this is a massive open air museum, located in the suburbs of Sapporo and consists of 4 main areas, they are as follows: the Town, Fishing village, Farm village, and Mountain village. Each of these areas is well preserved with historical buildings and landmarks.

The village hosts several annual festivals throughout the year, but according to my experience, the harvest festival during autumn is the best.

The entire village is charming and you will never find this place too crowded like Odori Park. That’s the fact! If you have always wanted to travel back in time to another period in the history of Hokkaido, then this is the place you must explore. You can learn the lifestyles, culture of the people living during the Edo and Meiji era on the island.

Alongside visiting those fabulous historic buildings, you should experience a ride by a horse-drawn trolley. In addition, there are plenty of areas to walk around to see what it exhibits!