For most of my 3-day trip to Sapporo, I was running low on time and high on cold and drizzle, so I couldn’t squeeze in as much as I would have liked. I still managed to walk around Sapporo and visit the Daisetsuzan-Soukyo ropeway that offers great views of the Daisetsuzan National Park on a day trip. In this post, I list things to do in Sapporo at a leisurely pace and for free for most part.
Hokkaido University Botanical garden
I visited during mid-October when the leaves were changing colors. These gardens were the first thing I visited in the morning and had a pleasant time strolling under the trees.
Spread out over 15 blocks, Odori garden is a beautiful green area in the center of the city. There are many lower beds and designs scattered across the park that make for an involving walk.
Sapporo TV Tower
It is one of the most famous towers in Japan and offers great views of Sapporo. Built on the ground of Odori gardens, it is 147.3 metres high with the observation deck at a height of 90.38 meters.
Red Brick Office
This striking red building is the former Hokkaido Government Office that now showcases the history of Sapporo. It was built in 1888 and is an example of American neo-baroque architecture.
Tanukikoji Shopping street Sapporo
It was a sunny morning when I started but it soon turned cloudy and drizzly. Instead of heading to Asahiyama Park, I headed to Tanukikoji street. It is a 150 years old shopping arcade that has all kinds of specialty shops. It has cafes, restaurants, game shops, fashion stores, souvenir stores and stores selling things like clear coke and flavored kitkat and this list is not comprehensive. They played too safe with the wasabi flavored kitkat and so the experience was just luke-warm.
I had my dinner and headed back to my hostel as it got dark.
I visited this grand scale sculpture garden on my last day in Sapporo. Built on garbage reclaimed ground, this project took 23 years for completion. Designed my Isamu Noguchi, it has won several awards for design. It has almost 120 outdoor sports facilities or equipment. The glass pyramid or Hidamari is the most spectacular. The snow collected in winters keeps it cool in the summers. There is a mound that you can climb on and soak in the views of the city. It has a huge parking lot where parking is free, maybe because it has been a venue for many events.
How to reach Moerenuma Park?
There were hardly any visitors and it was time consuming to reach by public transportation. You can take the metro to Khajodori higashi and from there take bus 69(east), 79(east) or 61(east) and get down close to the park.
I waited for almost an hour for the return bus in the evening. My clothes and shoes had become damp from the continuous drizzle and on that note, don’t forget to carry an umbrella. I had no energy or enthusiasm left to visit any other place including the ropeway in Sapporo so I called it a day and headed back to my hostel.
Daisetsuzan National Park
It is the biggest National Park in Japan and contains three mountain groups of volcanic origin. It takes three hours one way to reach any point of interest from Sapporo so I advise against a day-trip from Sapporo. you will only end up spending a lot on transportation and won’t have time enough to explore and enjoy the views.
Daisetsuzan Sōunkyō Kurodake Ropeway
Cable car fee: Sōunkyō station to Kurodake station or 5th station: 1980yen(both ways)
chair lift from 5th station to 7th station: 600 yen
In the limited time I had, I took the Daisetsuzan Sōunkyō Kurodake Ropeway. The base city is Kamikawa and you can take the cable car gondola from Sounkyo station to Kurodake station, also called the 5th station. You have the option of taking chair lift from the 5th station(altitude 1300 meters) to the 7th station(altitude 1520 meters), from where you can hike to the top of Mount Kurodake. I couldn’t go to the 7th station probably because the chair- lift was not in operation. I can’t recall the exact reason why I didn’t take the chair lift.
At Kurodake station, you can soak in the views from the deck or go on some short trails around the area. From 7th station, you can hike to the top of Mount Kurotake. It was very cold when I visited in mid-October, so be prepared with proper clothing and gear and leave early in the morning, if you intend on hiking.
The town of Kamikawa was beautiful with colored leaves adorning the trees while the view at Kurodake station was trees with bare branches. I attempted going on short trails around Kurodake station but it was not possible with the wind and the amount of clothing I had. I could have just walked around Kamikawa, a charming settlement.
How to reach?
From Sapporo, take JR train from Sapporo station to Asahikawa. It cost me 5080 yen both ways without a JR pass, which was too expensive. To know more about JR pass, read my post transportation in Japan.
From Asahikawa, I took a bus to ropeway which cost me 2100yen one way.
I booked Untapped hostel in Sapporo, a hostel in city center. It was warm and cosy and perfect for chilly Autumn nights.I paid 13100 yen for three nights. Again, I didn’t book my hostel until the night before and so it cost me more. To more information on traveling to Japan, read my post a practical travel guide to Japan.
How to reach Sapporo?
You can take a train or flight to Sapporo. I took a flight from Tokyo to Chitose International Airport. I took a shuttle bus to city for around 1000yen.
I walked wherever I could and used subway and tram to get around. Do buy an IC card as it makes traveling around easier.