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Hokkaido’s capital and host city for the 1972 Winter Olympics, Sapporo is a modern metropolis born during Japan’s colonization of its largest northern island in the late 19th century. It’s from this time that the city’s most famous product – beer – started to be brewed. The original red brick brewery is a must place to visit – it has a small visual museum (where you can sample Sapporo’s various ales) and many restaurants at which to enjoy the city’s famous “Genghis Khan” lamb barbeque. Sapporo’s equally famous Yuki Matsuri (Snow Festival) draws millions of visitors in early February when giant ice and snow sculptures line the central park ...

Hokkaido’s capital and host city for the 1972 Winter Olympics, Sapporo is a modern metropolis born during Japan’s colonization of its largest northern island in the late 19th century. It’s from this time that the city’s most famous product – beer – started to be brewed. The original red brick brewery is a must place to visit – it has a small visual museum (where you can sample Sapporo’s various ales) and many restaurants at which to enjoy the city’s famous “Genghis Khan” lamb barbeque. Sapporo’s equally famous Yuki Matsuri (Snow Festival) draws millions of visitors in early February when giant ice and snow sculptures line the central park Odori Koen. Nearby is the pulsing nightlife district Susukino while to the west of the center you can visit the Sapporo Winter Sports Museum and a park with giant sculptures designed by acclaimed artist Isamu Noguchi. Journey nine miles east of the city to the Historical Village of Hokkaido, an impressive architectural museum that documents the early days of the island’s modern development. Also well worth a trip is the attractive port of Otaru, 25 miles northwest of Sapporo, where many historic buildings around the old canal area have been preserved; it too has a small modern day brewery.

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

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Simon Richmond for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    January through March are best for winter sports (and there's the snow festival in February) but June through September has the most pleasant weather