JAPAN: DESTINATION HOKKAIDO PART 1

SAPPORO CITY

Sapporo (札幌市, Sapporo-shi) is the fifth largest city of Japan, and the largest city of Hokkaido and its capital city. It is an ordinance-designated city located in the southwest and lies within the alluvial fan of the Toyohira River, a tributary stream of the Ishikari River.

As with most of Hokkaido, the area of Sapporo was home to settlements of the indigenous Ainu people. 

 

Sapporo was increasingly settled from Japanese migrants in the late 19th century. Sapporo hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, the first Winter Olympics ever held in Asia, and the Sapporo Dome hosted three games during the 2002 FIFA World Cup and two games during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The annual Sapporo Snow Festival draws more than 2 million tourists from abroad. The city is served by the New Chitose Airport in nearby Chitose, and is home to Hokkaido University.

 Sapporo Factory

A large shopping and entertainment complex that was opened in 1993 with about 160 clothing stores, souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes and a multi-screen movie theatre. The shops are concentrated around a five story atrium that provides visitors a refreshing and spacious atmosphere.

 

Sapporo Factory was constructed on the site of Japan’s first beer brewery, and the complex includes a red brick Akarenga building that is reminiscent of Hokkaido’s early development in the late 1800s. A small, functioning brewery can be seen within the building, and the beer itself can be enjoyed afterwards at the Akarenga’s beer hall or at a tasting bar.

 

Odori Park

 

Odori Park is located in the middle of a business district. On its lawns and around its fountains, and its trees you can find locals and tourists alike relaxing. It was built in 1871, as a firebreak, which cuts central Sapporo into is northern and southern parts,originally named Shiribeshi Dori, which was renamed Odori. This space is also used for many of Hokkaido’s best-known seasonal events, such as the Snow Festival in the winter, Lilac Festival in the spring, YOSAKOI Soran Festival and beer garden in the summer, and Autumn Festival, which brings together various Hokkaido cuisines.

2015 Trip

Old Government Building

HOKKAIDO UNIVERSITY BOTANICAL GARDEN

This botanical garden (北海道大学植物園, Hokkaidō Daigaku Shokubutsuen) close to Sapporo’s city center belongs to Hokkaido University and primarily serves a scientific and educational purpose. 

Botanic Garden of Hokkaido University, opened in 1886, occupies 13.3 hectares in the heart of Sapporo city and is a ten-minute walk from Sapporo station.

 

The garden includes remnants of natural woodlands with old growth trees of Japanese elm, showing the original landscape of Sapporo before the urban development. It is home to a collection of around 4,000 plant taxa with a focus on alpine and cool-temperate plants in Hokkaido and neighboring areas. The garden offers beautiful botanical sights all year round and highlights include enchanting spring ephemeral wildflowers, Japanese cherry blossoms or sakura, and autumn leaves.

 

Additionally, the museum built in 1882 exhibits old natural history specimens and items related to the colonization of Hokkaido, and Northern Peoples Museum displays artifacts describing the culture of people indigenous to Hokkaido. The botanic garden is a facility of Hokkaido University for botanical research and education, and also open to the public and contributes to public education and recreation.

NOPPORO FOREST PARK

It was opened as part of Hokkaido’s Centennial Project in 1968 to protect and enhance the precious natural forest and to give residents a recreational area for getting closer to nature. It has been designated a Prefectural Nature Park.The majority of its 2,053 hectares are national forest, parts of which have been designated as Showa no Mori recreational use forest and a wildlife sanctuary. Walking paths crisscrossing the park let visitors enjoy nature observation, therapeutic forest walks, and in winter, cross-country skiing

Hokkaido Centennial Memorial Tower

 

Centennial Memorial Tower was built in 1970 as one part of Hokkaido’s Centennial Project, as an expression of gratitude for the hard work of the people who built the Hokkaido of today and as a symbol of limitless future development.

 

The tower is 100 meters tall to represent 100 years, and a view room that overlooks the city of Sapporo and Ishikari Plain was built on its 8th floor (23.5 meters up). Quadratic curves that stretch toward the sky and cross at a point at an infinite height symbolize future development. Moreover, on a planar level it is modeled on a hexagon, which expresses a snow crystal. 

Historical Village of Hokkaido (Kaitaku-no Mura)

 

The Historical Village of Hokkaido is an outdoor museum that contains historical structures of Hokkaido built in the Meiji and early Showa eras.

 

It was opened in 1983 to preserve precious cultural assets and hand them down to later generations and to allow people to learn through experience about the lives of people during the frontier days. 

 

It is made up of four areas — Town, Fishing Village, Farm Village and Mountain Village — which contain 52 historical structures, and the villages make up one big exhibition area. In the summer a horse-drawn trolley runs along the main street of the Town, and in winter a horse-drawn sleigh goes around the villages.

MOUNT MOIWA

Mount Moiwa (藻岩山, Moiwa-yama) is one of several small, forested mountains southwest of central Sapporo. The mountain is a popular sightseeing spot that is known for the spectacular view out over the city from an observation deck at its summit. The view is especially beautiful after sunset.

The Mount Moiwa Ropeway climbs from the base of the mountain three quarters up the mountain to a transfer station. From there a rather unique mini cablecar travels the rest of the way to the upper station at the summit where there is an observation deck and restaurant with nice views out over the city. The station also houses a planetarium and theatre. 

SAPPORO SATOLAND AND MOERENUMA PARK

Sapporo Satoland (サッポロさとらんどSapporo Satorando) is an amusement park located in Higashi-ku, Sapporo. Sapporo Satoland, which has an agricultural theme, was opened in 1995. Its official name is Sapporo Facility of Agricultural Experience and Interchange .

The Satoland Centre has a restaurant and meeting rooms, and the Satoland Interchange Hall is a hall designed for events. Visitors can eat organic vegetables grown in Hokkaido at the restaurant and shops in the building.

The agricultural experience program, including butter, sausage, and ice cream making experiences, has been held at the farm in the park. A bus and carriage run around the park.

 

 

 

Moere Yama occupies large part of the park. It is 62 metres high Which enables visitors to overlook the landscape of the park and northern part of the Sapporo city. 

A 150-metre canal, the Aqua Plaza, is in the centre of the park, and the Sea Fountain is constructed near the canal. The fountain reaches 25 meters high when it jets out, and it is closed during winter. The monument called Music Shell is used as the musical venue. It is shaped to imitate two shells swelling up from the ground — as the name indicates

Moerenuma Park (モエレ沼公園Moerenuma Kōen) is a municipal park in Sapporo. It has playground equipment, outdoor sports fields, and objects that are designed by Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese American artist. Visitors can enter the park and use the parking lot for free. Construction began in 1988; the park opened in 2005. It won a number of awards including the Good Design Award in 2002.

The biggest symbol of the park is a glass pyramid near the eastern entrance. The pyramid has the nickname “Hidamari”, which means “sunny spot”. The Tetra Mound, an object with triangle stainless steels (one of the creations of Isamu Noguchi) is placed in the western side. Several events have been held in the square close by.