With miles of pristine, light, and powdery snow, Sapporo has quickly risen to become one of the world’s top skiing destinations. Avid skiers flock to this city all year round to pound snow and carve its challenging slopes. While it is commonly known as a haven for skiing enthusiasts, the capital of Hokkaido still has a lot to offer its visitors who prefer to do things off the slopes. We list down fun activities for non-skiers to do when visiting Sapporo.
- Take a Selfie with Giant Snowmen
Marvel at the ingenuity of Japanese people by experiencing the Sapporo Winter Festival. Feast your eyes on a number of massive snow sculptures that took months to plan and make. The past years saw the festival creating memorable sculptures such as Star Wars’ Darth Vader, the Taj Mahal, the Arc de Triomphe, Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage and even Harry Potter. Take your time snapping photos and even snagging a couple of selfies with these amazing creations.
- Catch a Beer Buzz
One of the oldest and most popular beer brands in the country, the Sapporo Breweries opened the Sapporo Beer Museum in 1987. Take a trip down memory lane as the museum introduces you to the history of beer in Japan. For a minimal fee, visitors can enjoy beer tastings after the historical tour.
- Get your Art Fix
Spend an afternoon feeding your artistic soul by visiting the Moerenuma Park. Aside from admiring the impressive Glass Pyramid, this art park also lets visitors have a closer look at the different open air pieces designed by Isamu Noguchi. Art lovers will also have a blast descending down the Sapporo Odori Underground Gallery. This art tunnel features both local and foreign artists’ work along the 500 meter walkway between Odori and Bus Center-Mae metro stations.
- Wish for Happily Ever After
Couples who wish to stay together forever may consider visiting the Mount Moiwa Observation Deck. Enjoy a stunning 360 degree view of Sapporo and Ishikari Bay at the top of the 531 meter high climb. Couples who lock a padlock on the deck and ring the Bell of Happiness are said to live happily ever after.
- Watch a Puppet Show
Located in Nakajima Park, the Sapporo Children’s Puppet Theatre Kogumaza is Japan’s first public theatre dedicated to puppet shows. Kids and even adults who are still young at heart can watch puppet shows during weekends
- Go on a Food Trip
Aside from seafood, Sapporo offers a wide variety of gastronomical treats that visitors shouldn’t miss. Feast on soup curry, which is considered to be one of the city’s best known culinary inventions. Soft cream concoctions are also a must try. Seafood specialties are present in almost all of Sapporo’s restaurants, and crabs are always on their customer’s lists. Meat lovers will also have a field day when they have their fill of grilled lamb cooked or Jingisu Kan.
- Sample Sushi and Sashimi
There is no shortage of quality seafood in Sapporo. Izakayas or local bar/taverns use the freshest catch of the day to create the tastiest sushi and sashimi plates. Most customers enjoy eating these raw delicacies with a side of cold Sapporo Beer.
- Hang out With a Polar Bear
Treat the kids to a fun day at the zoo. Head on over to Maruyama zoo for an afternoon of bonding with the animals. Considered to be the oldest zoo in Hokkaido, Maruyama opened its doors in 1951. It is home to 177 varieties of mammals, birds, and reptiles. The highlight of the zoo is the polar bear enclosure, where visitors can get up close with these magnificent creatures.
- Sled at Full Speed
Trade in your skis for a day and hop on a tube sled at the Takino Snow World. Every winter, the Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park is covered in powder snow and is transformed into a winter wonderland. The park boasts of the longest sled slopes in all of Hokkaido, thus making the sledding activity its main attraction.
- Shop ‘til You Drop
Combine your love for retail and cardio exercise by shopping at the Tanuki-koji Shopping Arcade. Built in 1873, it is one of the oldest and biggest shopping districts in Sapporo. Some shops have even been in business for more than a hundred years. This 900 meter long arcade has over 200 shops, restaurants, and bars. Visitors often drop by this area to hunt for bargain souvenirs to give their friends back home.
While skiing still ranks as the major reason for going to Sapporo, there are a number of fun and exciting activities visitors can enjoy. From trying out tasty delicacies to exploring amazing sites, sampling the best beer, and unlimited shopping, the city has an answer for every kind of pursuit you’re looking for. With your sense of adventure in tow, one can never run out of amazing things to do when in Sapporo.
Disclosure: This is a guest post and all opinions expressed are that of the writer.