You’re going to visit the island of Hokkaido in Japan and its capital? Here is a presentation of the districts to stay in Sapporo!
Sapporo is the regional capital of Hokkaido Island in Japan and the fifth largest city in Japan with a population of 1,948,262. The city is crossed by the Toyohira River and bordered by the Ishikari River to the north. Its climate is icy in winter, but it is nevertheless more bearable in summer than other Japanese cities: the temperature range averages ~23°F in January and ~71°F in July. Renting accommodation to stay in Sapporo will be expensive, so let’s get that tidbit out of the way.
The city of Sapporo is symbolized by the Lilac, the Lily of the Valley and the Cuckoo, and is home to many tourist sites and other essential activities. This Ainu city – named after the indigenous people who have lived there since prehistoric times – was colonized by the Japanese in 1866 under the leadership of Emperor Meiji and is also known for its beer which draws its namesake from Sapporo.
A typical regional cuisine, vast green spaces, a dynamic art scene, many places to go out in the evening, internationally renowned sporting events and countless museums and concert halls: Sapporo has much to offer its residents and visitors. Here are some of the best areas to stay in Sapporo.
Susukino is located in the city center. It is the most festive and nightlife oriented district in Sapporo. Here, Sapporo beer flows freely in 4,500 restaurants and other bars. Be careful, as this district promises to be quite noisy, and souls in search of peace and quiet should look elsewhere to stay in Sapporo! Susukino lives mainly at night, and it is not uncommon for employees to come drink in the taverns in the city center at the end of their shift.
Yet there is more to Susukino than just drinking! It is here that you can taste the best seafood in the region (crabs, sea urchins, scallops, squid) as well as Genghis Kan (grilled lamb) and Sapporo râmen. If you like the cold and snowy weather, come and visit Sapporo in February to attend the snow festival and its massive ice sculptures in Odori Park and Tsudome Stadium.
Between the fish and seafood markets, Shinto temples and sanctuaries, tourist monuments – the Clock Tower (pictured above), JR Tower, Sapporo TV Tower (300 feet high, with superb views of the city) -, Nakajima Park or Kitara Concert Hall, the many bars and restaurants of Susukino, no one will be bored. This effervescent district that never sleeps is an ideal place to stay in Sapporo, but be careful, it is also crowded with people.
North of the Susukino, there is a large district from the Clock Tower to the banks of the Ishikari River: Higashi. This is where you can visit the Sapporo Beer Museum, or take a leisurely stroll through Moerenuma Park.
It is a very academic and student-centric district: many high schools, colleges, and university campuses dot the streets of the area. Thus, staying in Higashi will allow you to be in contact with a rather young and trendy population, frequenting bars and restaurants, art galleries or simply indulging in entertainment during nighttime haunts. Generally, we liked it!
Chuo is the district of the city center as well as the mountains to the southwest. This is the district that concentrates most of the hotels where you can stay in Sapporo: a great location to be able to visit the city without wasting too much time in transit.
On the green side, the Sapporo Maruyama Zoo – home to lions, giraffes, hippopotamuses, kangaroos, a variety of monkeys and birds – extends around a virgin forest that attracts locals and tourists: a true national monument. The district also offers a visit to the Hokkaido University Museum, which houses 400,000 plants, two million insects, 190,000 fish samples and more than 2,000 invertebrates.
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