Hokkaido Itinerary Winter

One Day in Sapporo Itinerary – Winter

How to spend a day in Sapporo in December/January? If you are planning to visit Sapporo in December or January, especially from mid-December through late January you will find this itinerary very helpful.

Sapporo is worth visiting in winter for its snowy landscape, festive atmosphere, colorful winter illuminations, great shopping, and events. There is a lot to experience in this capital city of Hokkaido.

With so many things to do and see, this one-day itinerary takes you to some of the best attractions that make Sapporo city the exciting place that it is.  

Note that you don’t need to wake up very early in the morning, just enjoy your sleep!

For your stay in Sapporo, you may prefer staying in this hotel, located close to the iconic Sapporo TV Tower. And the location is accessible from JR Sapporo Station through the underground walkway.

Morning

Mountains in the distance and Odori park in winter. Photo Credit: Nkns at Wikimedia Commons.

The hotel has some restaurants from where you can easily enjoy your breakfast.

After breakfast, head toward Sapporo TV Tower, a symbol of Sapporo city which is located in Odori Park. You may walk around Odori Park for a while and take some photos of the tower as it looks pretty amazing from the park.

TV tower’s normal opening time is 9:00 AM. You must go up to reach the upper observation deck. It stands over 90 meters above ground, offers magnificent views of Sapporo City, Odori Park and mountains in the distance, including famous Mount Moiwa.

Indeed it is a great attraction to explore as your first sightseeing spot of Sapporo.

Sapporo Clock Tower in winter.

Make your way to Sapporo Clock Tower, a historic landmark which was built in 1887 as a theatrical hall of the Sapporo Agricultural School. Today it serves as a museum where you can learn about the history of the tower and visit its exhibition hall.

Afterwards, I recommend you take a walk around Susukino area, an entertainment area and red light district of Sapporo.

Here you can find restaurants, bars, shops, cafes, hotels, and karaoke bars. You will find most of them when you walk along the Tanukikoji, an approximately 1km-long shopping arcade.

Ganso Ramen Yokocho (Ramen Alley) is the perfect stop for lunch. It is located in the area of Susukino, a 2 minute walk from Susukino subway station, where you can find small ramen shops. They sell popular ramen dishes of Hokkaido, such as Miso Ramen.

Afternoon

The walkway to the Hokkaido Shrine! Photo Credit: t-konno at Wikimedia Commons.

When you are ready to move on to the next destination, it’s time to take the subway.

Now, go back to Odori Park and then to Odori Subway Station. Take the subway from there to Maruyama Koen Subway Station on the Tozai Line.

Your destination here is the Hokkaido Shrine, located in Maruyama Park, Sapporo. The walkway from the massive Torii gate to the complex of the shrine is particularly striking. It looks picturesque in winter when snow covers the entire pathway.

Explore the shrine and the park thoroughly and I am sure you would fall in love with it as you keep walking in search of beautiful winter scenery.

Dress up properly as snow falling is common in Sapporo during winter. We recommend you check out the weather forecast before you go out to spend a day in Sapporo.

After spending a few hours there, it is time to head back to Odori Park. Take the subway and get off at Odori Subway Station.

Evening

Sapporo city night view from Mount Moiwa observation platform. Photo credit: Sapporo Mt. Moiwa Ropeway.

Now is the time to see one of the best views of the city. To do so you have to go to Mt. Moiwa Ropeway.

Mt. Moiwa can be reached by streetcar. Get in a streetcar from either Tanukikoji or Susukino Station and get off at Ropeway Iriguchi station. One way ride is 200 yen. From there take a free shuttle bus to the lower ropeway station.

Buy a round-trip ropeway ticket. The price also includes mini cablecar ride. It’s worth the ticket price and you can take great photos and enjoy the breathtaking night view of Sapporo City.

At the summit of the mountain there is an observation platform. From here visitors like gazing at the city at night. It is considered one of the three great night views of Hokkaido along with Tenguayama in Otaru and Mount Hakodate in Hakodate.

Let’s leave the observation deck and head back to Odori Park by streetcar.

Talking a walk along Odori Park during the Sapporo White Illumination is an absolute must-do on a trip to Sapporo in winter. You will see amazing winter illuminations and festive lights there until late December every year.

A view of Odori Park during Sapporo White Illumination seen from Sapporo TV Tower observatory platform.

Odori Park is one of the five venues where Sapporo White Illumination is held. This annual illumination can be enjoyed until mid March along the street of Minami 1-jo Dori and Sapporo Statino Ekimae dori until early February.  

This itinerary will also suit for your trip to Sapporo in February, when Sapporo Snow Festival takes place in Odori Park.

Your next stop is Kitakaro Sapporo Honkan, a confectionary shop with a café on the 2nd floor, offering a wide variety of sweets including famous cream puffs, chocolates, cakes, rice crackers, and cookies. In the café, you can try some local dishes.  

Let’s call it a day and go back to the hotel.

In the end, I highly recommend you check the weather forecast before you go to Mt Moiwa as when it snows a lot, it is difficult to see the night view and the ropeway stops its service due to possibility of strong winds and heavy snowfall.

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