Sapporo's famous Snow Festival

About Sapporo

Sapporo is the capital and largest city of the northern island of Hokkaido.
Sapporo (“important river flowing through a plain” in the Ainu language) is the capital of Hokkaido and Japan’s fifth largest city. It is also one of the nation’s youngest major cities. In 1857, the city’s population stood at just seven people.

Being a new city, especially by Japanese standards, it has little in the way of traditional architecture and institutions of cities such as Kyoto. But what it lacks in “Japanese-ness” it makes up for with its lovely open, tree-filled boulevards to enjoy in summer and excellent snow (and facilities to cope with said snow) in the long winter.

  • Great powder snow for skiing and snowboarding
  • Historic Village and its open-air museum
  • Mount Moiwa, offering a beautiful view of Sapporo
  • Okurayama, the former Olympic ski-jump stadium
  • Odori Park
  • Susukino entertainment district
  • Clock Tower, the symbol of Sapporo
  • All about chocolate in Shiroi Koibito Park


In the beginning of the Meiji Period, when the development of Hokkaido was started on a large scale, Sapporo was chosen as the island’s administrative centre and enlarged according to the advice of foreign specialists. Consequently, Sapporo was built based on a North American style rectangular street system.

Sapporo became world famous in 1972 when the Olympic Winter Games were held there. Today, the city is well known for its ramen, beer, and the annual snow festival held in February.

During the Snow Festival, the streets are filled with ice sculptures created by artists from around the world. The sculptures are illuminated at night – a fantastic sight.

The city is also home to the Sapporo Brewery and the famous white chocolate biscuits “White Lovers” exclusively sold in Hokkaido.
In the entertainment district of Susukino are lively clubs and discos – some of the best nightlife in Japan.


In winter, the mountains around the city are a resort paradise, offering Japan’s best snow, with a well-developed ski lift system. For some of the best powder snow in the world, go to Niseko, a couple of hours from Sapporo.
On this northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, over 15 feet of snow falls in the season. So there is fresh powder snow almost daily. And many hotels offer ski-in ski-out facilities directly from the hotel reception.

In summer, the natural surroundings of the many national parks are inviting areas for day trips or long mountain walks. Hokkaido is a volcanic island, and there are plenty of hot springs, and attractive spa locations in the mountains. At many hot spring hotels and resorts (onsen) you can soak in the hot spring waters in the open air.

Practical information:

  • From Tokyo Haneda to New Chitose Airport (890km)(1h45)
  • It is possible to travel to Sapporo by train, but domestic air is recommended

Sapporo on our Google map

Our packages includes Sapporo


North Japan tour 10 days

From £ 2,559 p/person
See Japan by coach! This tour visits the highlights of north Japan on a guided coach circuit. See Tokyo, Nikko, Sendai, Morioka, Aomori, Noboribetsu and Sapporo. This is a GROUP tour with regular departures April – October 2018.

Travel on the bullet train with the Japan Rail Pass

Explore Japan by Rail 21 days

Explore Japan in depth on this fully-escorted tour, from the southern island of Kyushu to Sapporo in the north, taking in many fascinating towns and cities on the way. Travel by train including the world-famous Bullet train with your Japan Rail Pass. This is a GROUP tour with departure dates until May 2019.



Hokkaido is Japan’s northern island. Low humidity makes the summers pleasant, while in winter the amount of high-quality powder snow makes it a great destination for winter sports. The JR Hokkaido Rail Pass is a great way to travel around the island.
Hokkaido has areas of great natural beauty: Daisetsu-zan National Park; the secluded Shiretoko-hanto Peninsula; […]

Great powder snow in Niseko


With its reliable falls of powder snow December – March, Japan offers great opportunities for skiing and snowboarding. Equipment hire is readily available in the resorts, and hotels in certain areas have hot spring bathing facilities too. Why not include a few days winter sports in your trip to Japan, or plan a longer stay […]

JTB-ABTAJTB-British-airwayscredit cardJTB-IATAJTB-JNTOYOUTUBE JapanspecialistJTB-ATOL