Sapporo Neighbourhoods, Locations and Districts
(Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan)
Sapporo is a city full of tourist appeal and offers four main districts of particular interest to visitors. Many top attractions are to be found North of Sapporo Station, including a racecourse and brewery, while the district known as South of Sapporo Station is where you will find the Botanical Gardens and many beautiful historic buildings.
The Odori Koen district is where many of the city's most notable festivals take place, while the Nakajima Koen is home to one of Sapporo's most significant parklands, together with many cultural attractions.
Distances connecting locations on the map can be relatively far, although it is easy to get around Sapporo thanks to its navigable street network and excellent transport infrastructure. Characterised by spacious boulevards, the grid-like system of smaller streets are numbered in a logical fashion, to prevent you from getting lost. Get to grips with the city buses and you will be able to explore the hidden charms of Sapporo's districts and neighbourhoods with ease.
Nakajima Koen District
Offering a calm and peaceful setting in which to relax, Sapporo's oldest park takes a special place in the heart of residents within the Nakajima Koen district. Combining a natural landscape with regular cultural events, Nakajima Park lures visitors with its inviting ambience. Check out the impressive Sapporo Winter Sports Museum and the Sapporo Concert Hall, which offers frequent concerts. The Hokkaido Museum of Literature, also on-site, hosts a variety of exhibitions and activities, while the Nakajima Sports Centre offers various seasonal sporting events.
Also of interest is the Susukino district, the city's entertainment hub. Renowned across Japan, Susukino is known as a place to come and party. Luring visitors and regulars alike with its myriad of entertainment options, including hundreds of eateries, bars, saunas, nightclubs, soap lands (brothels), adult-only shops and massage parlours, Susukino is where life on the wild side begins as night-time approaches. Located south of Odori Park, the value hotels here make it a good base for the budget-minded, but don't expect things in this neon-lit district to be quiet.
North of Sapporo Station
To the north of Sapporo Station lies a number of the city's major sights. Particularly popular is Sapporo Brewery, which is not just for fans of the amber liquid. In addition, the family friendly Sapporo Racecourse is another well-known attraction and offers horse racing and much more besides. Finally, Hokkaido University is hailed as one of Japan's premier universities and is home to more than 20,000 students, being surrounded by many lively bars and inexpensive eateries.
Odori Koen District
Odori Park, in the Odori Koen district, is located in central Sapporo and is the site of numerous annual events. Amongst the festival highlights that occur here are the Summer Festival and its enormous beer garden, and the Snow Festival and its many icy sculptures, both of which attract visitors in their thousands. Maruyama Park, to the west of Sapporo city centre, is a popular place for sports fans who want to get active, with the stadium catering for many different athletic needs. Additionally, there is a zoo here with a good selection of interesting animals. Shopping aficionados will enjoy the huge department stores along the main esplanade nearby, while several top-class hotels to the east of the main thoroughfare cater for business and pleasure tourists. Don't miss the Tokei-dai, Sapporo's iconic clock tower.
South of Sapporo Station
Covering the district between Susukino and Sapporo Station, this southerly area is the administrative quarter of the city. One of Sapporo's most attractive parts, the west side is home to exquisite architecture, including the glorious Old Hokkaido Government Building. The delightful Botanical Gardens cover a large portion of this area and feature many important plant collections, continually drawing green fingered gardeners from across Japan. Nearby, the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art hosts a contemporary collection of artworks by mostly Japanese talents.