Where to Stay in Sapporo? Check our on this guide more about the capital of the Hokkaido Island, and one of the most interesting cities to visit in Japan.
If you want to experience a great trip in Northern Japan, you should definitely consider a stay in Sapporo. Located on the island of Hokkaido, the city is the capital of the island and the fifth largest city in the country.
Tourism in Sapporo: Overview
Despite being one of the biggest cities in Japan, Sapporo is quite an unique one. Firstly, it is the only one among the 5 biggest cities in Japan to be located in the Northern Island of Hokkaido. Secondly, it is a pretty young city, with much of its early developments happening in the second half of the XIX century. Thirdly and oddly, Edwin Dun, an American had an important role in the early development of the city.
Sapporo is now a large metropolis, with a population just under 2 million inhabitants. Apart from being a hub for winter sports, the city is an excellent starting point to discover Northern Japan. Just like most of the country, it has an excellent transport infrastructure, various entertainment options and delicious food.
Getting to the city is relatively easy, and flying is, by far, the best option. The New Chitose Airport is located 30 km from the city center, and offers multiple international and domestic flights, including from low-cost carriers. From New Chitose Airport, the trip to the city center using regular rapid trains takes around 40 minutes.
The city comes to life in winter when the Sapporo Snow Festival is held. The city was also the venue to the 1972 Winter Olympic Games, counting with an excellent winter sports infrastructure. If you aren’t visiting in winter, the city has a number of attractions, with a more affordable price tag than what you will usually find in Kyoto or Tokyo.
Where to Stay in Sapporo?
Sapporo has ten different wards, which is home to various attractions that visitors can check out when they are in the city. Each ward is connected by the Sapporo Municipal Subway and the local Streetcar lines. JR Hokkaido also runs some of the rail tracks in the city to nearby destinations like Hakodate and Chitose.
If you want to know where to stay, here are the two wards you should check out for your accommodations.
Chuo-ku literally means central ward in Japanese, and is the best area to stay in Sapporo. The area is also where most of the attractions of the city are located. One of the major destinations in Chuo-ku is Odori Park, the location of the Sapporo Snow Festival and the home of the Sapporo TV Tower. For those who wish to visit the city’s major shrine, Hokkaido Shrine in Miyanomori draws in a lot of people, especially in the New Year.
For those looking for nightlife, the Susukino area in Chuo-ku is the place to visit. Accessing this place only requires one street car ride from Odori Park. Visitors can also check out the Hohei Kan and the Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens when they stay in this ward to see beautiful scenery and architecture.
Budget Accommodation in Sapporo
Grids Sapporo Hotel&Hostel – a great budget option featuring bunk beds and private rooms close to the Odori Park.
Reasonably Priced Accommodation in Sapporo
Ibis Styles Sapporo – a great hotel in one of the best areas to stay in the city, at a walking distance to Susukino.
Richmond Hotel Sapporo Odori – a reasonably priced hotel in one of the best places to stay in Sapporo.
Daiwa Roynet Hotel Sapporo-Susukino – an excellent hotel in the Susukino area.
Luxurious Hotels in Saporro
Sapporo Grand Hotel – one of the most luxurious hotels of Sapporo, just a 5 minutes walk to the JR Sapporo Station.
Cost of Travel in Sapporo
Like most cities in Japan, travelling to Sapporo requires careful planning as the prices of food, accommodations and attractions in the city can be very expensive. On average, a budget of at least ¥10,000 per day should be enough to cover all costs during your stay in the city.
Apart from the weeks when the Snow Festival happens in Sapporo, the city is quite affordable for Japanese standards. That is especially the case in regards to accommodation prices. Other costs like transportation and food are on a par with other major cities in Japan.
When to Visit Northern Japan
Considering its location in the North of the country, it is understandable that Sapporo is colder than most big cities in Japan. Nonetheless, the city has four very defined seasons. While winters are pretty harsh with frequent snowfalls, summers are warm and milder than in most areas of Japan.
Visiting the city in Summer is ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities, as temperatures usually hover around 20°C to 28°C. April, May or June would also guarantee that you do not experience much rain or snow during your visit.
The busiest times of the year to visit Northern Japan are during the Snow Festival and when the cherry blossoms bloom. The Snow festival usually takes place in early February, and the cherry blossom season usually happens in late March or early April.
Other Resources for Traveling in Japan
If you are visiting Japan don’t forget to check some of our guides to the country. Check where to stay in Tokyo, or the best areas to stay in Osaka. If you are traveling in East Asia, check also our Taipei and Beijing guide.