Comfort Hotel Sapporo
Minami 3 Nishi 9, Chuo-ku
Phone: (81) 11 221 2311
Fax: (81) 11 261 4772
The botanical gardens, which are run by the Faculty of Agriculture of Hokkaido University, were opened in 1886. It is home to more than 5,000 species of plants, many of which are unique to Hokkaido. Located in the dense forests of Japanese beech, elm, oak and maple, the grounds of this truly impressive collection of vegetation are a haven of tranquility which make it the perfect place to visit if you need a break from the city crowds. There is also a small museum of housing items—ceremonial objects, tools, household utensils, and clothing—belonging to the Ainu or Japanese aborigines. Check out the website for more details.
At the eastern end of Odori Park, the Sapporo TV Tower, which is 147.2 meters high, watches over the city. It houses an observation level at 90 meters that offers the best panoramic view of the city as well as the mountains and sea in the distance. There are also souvenir shops, restaurants and a game center, so you can take it easy and spend some time here. Although open between 9a-9p, the times are extended in some months—during the Snow Festival and New Year Period, for example—so call for confirmation.
Odori Park, which is right in the center of Sapporo, plays a major role in the cultural and leisure activities of the city. It includes trees, lawns, flower beds, sculptures, monuments, fountains and a shallow waterway for children to play in. There are activities taking place in the park all year round. From April to October, for example, stalls selling all kinds of snacks spring up and the park becomes a vast open-air eatery. The park is home to the Bon and Yosakoi Soran Festivals in the summer, and in the winter it hosts the Snow Festival and White Illumination.
The Sapporo Factory is a multi-functional complex that opened in 1993. It occupies the site of the very first Sapporo brewery, which was built in 1876, so it is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It is a massive structure united by a central atrium, the largest in Japan, that is a great place to hang out or enjoy the events that frequently take place here. The Sapporo Factory houses a shopping mall, scores of restaurants, cinemas, a hotel, a sports club and even a natural thermal spa. There is something here for the whole family. Open daily from 10 AM.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, the Sapporo Brewery and Beer Museum occupy the site of the original brewery that was the first brewery in Japan when it was established in 1876. A guided tour of the facilities takes about one hour and is free. The exhibits and audio-visual displays show the development of brewing in Sapporo since the early pioneering days. The site also houses the Sapporo Beer En, a gigantic beer hall and beer garden that should also be on your itinerary.
Located at the foot of Maruyama Hill, this park is a popular recreational spot for residents of Sapporo and visitors to the city. It has something to offer all year round, from the brilliant cherry blossoms in the spring through the hiking and sports of summer and autumn, to the solemn New Year's rites held in the middle of winter. There is a zoo, Maruyama Zoo, that makes a good day out for the children and a sports stadium for ball games. The park is also home to Hokkaido Jingu Shrine.
Mt. Moiwa is in the very center of Sapporo. At a height of 531 meters, it offers a fabulous panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. You can see right into the distant Sea of Japan and the Shokambetsu mountains. Mt. Moiwa itself has a rich natural environment, covered with forests, so the colors of the mountains change with the seasons. The gondola ride up or down the mountain is spectacular especially at night for those with romance on their minds.
Maruyama Zoo makes for the perfect day out for the kids. Set in the idyllic surroundings of Maruyama Park, it has the feel of being miles from the city, yet it is only four subway stops away from the action. Gathered here are all the usual characters you would expect in any zoo—chimps, elephants, camels and lions—but it is the penguins that pull the most visitors. Within the grounds of the zoo there is another attraction—Kid Land—an amusement park for children of all ages. Check website for admission prices.
This pet park is the ideal place to take the kids. There are 180 four-legged stars here, including 80 different breeds of cats and dogs. They love to be spoiled. Of course the animals have their own agenda, but they are flexible enough to meet you half way. If you want sit a dog or cat on your (or your child's) knee, and the animal agrees, then do it. You will both feel good. There is also a store that sells souvenirs, all related to pets. Everything you buy here contributes to the upkeep.
This museum is the perfect place to take the kids to give them a hands-on experience of nature. There are exhibits, models, reading and video materials on all species of salmon and related fishes. Be sure to visit the underground observation room from which visitors can get a full of mature salmon. Throughout the year there are different activities to educate children on fish. In the spring, for example, children have an opportunity to release salmon fry into the river, and in summer they can catch them with a net for observation.
Hitsujigaoka is located in the gentle hills on the southeastern side of the city, where it offers a panoramic view over Sapporo and the Ishikari Plain. Do not be surprised at the number of sheep you see grazing on the hills as hitsujigaoka, roughly translated, means, "sheep hill." Located here is a bronze statue of Dr. William S. Clark, the American who established Hokkaido University in 1876, which is a popular prop for photos. The view over the hills is particularly impressive at sunset. There is also an area for barbecuing mutton in the Sapporo style that is called "Genghis Khan."
The Ishiyama Park, which was the earlier site for the largest stone quarry in Sapporo for about one hundred years, is an amazing outdoor art gallery featuring some very interesting and unusual rock carvings. The park is divided into two sections: the north block, which offers a panoramic view from the hillside; and the south block featuring the sculptures. A unique aspect of the park is that the fences, benches, trashcans, lights and water fountains were created by the sculptors to blend in with the surroundings and the theme of stone art.