Japan welcomed 20 million tourists, mostly from China and Taiwan in 2015. Thirteen million of them visited Sapporo City in the north. It may not be as familiar to Filipinos who prefer to travel to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.
In no time, however, the adventure-loving among us will add to the number of tourists who will fall in love with the dynamic capital of Hokkaido. Sapporo is ready to satisfy our wanderlust, and it has fantastic offerings that Filipino families and young travellers can’t resist.
SAPPORO SNOW FESTIVAL
A can’t-miss attraction is the Sapporo Snow Festival in February, which is one of Japan’s biggest events with millions of visitors each year. This winter spectacle displays snow structures and ice sculptures from local and international participants. At night, they are colorfully illuminated to the delight of night-time viewers.
With its reputation as a world-class ski-resort destination, having hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972, Sapporo is an ideal place for winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. It also boasts of outdoor hot springs where you can soak your body while surrounded by Sapporo’s awesome snow scenery.
On warmer months, the city is also postcard-pretty. The cherry blossoms are as stunning as those you can see in the southern parts of Japan. The mountain trails beckon you for a climb. And even if you just walk around, you will surely behold the natural wonders of Sapporo.
Sapporo is famously called the “City of Food,” because it is a paradise of ingredients from its dry field, rice and dairy farming and fishing industries. It is known for its Ramen noodles, Japanese curry, sweets, “Genghis Khan” mutton and seasonal sushi. All these culinary dishes can be paired with sake or fresh flavor of Classic, a variety only found in Hokkaido, or other beers available only at the Sapporo Beer Garden.
Sapporo is in step with whatever trend is sweeping Tokyo’s fashion set and the habitues of Harajuku. The shopaholic will find her retail paradise in Tanukikoji, a shopping arcade that has been in operation since the frontier period. Tanukikoji is an approximately 1km-long arcade with around 200 shops that runs east to west in downtown Sapporo. It’s also a great place to buy Hokkaido souvenirs.
Just like Kyoto, Sapporo is known for its functional grid of streets and avenues, making it more convenient for visitors, whether families or solo travellers, to move around and explore the city and its environs. The residents are courteous, well-educated and disciplined. Thus, Sapporo prides itself in its clean surroundings and sustainable way of living.
Sapporo is as cosmopolitan as any first-class city. Five-star hotels, apartment hotels and affordable inns are all over the city at rates that whole families or solo travellers will enjoy. You can stay at a place that is nearest to the tourist spots you wish to visit. Transportation and traffic is smooth that there won’t be a problem getting to your desired location.
So set your sights on Sapporo – even if you are a frequent traveller or a first-time visitor to this wonderful city. It will always charm you with its irresistible offerings and countless attractions. For millennials and the hardworking Filipinos, Sapporo City is, definitely, the destination in 2017.