There are a great many things to do in Sapporo for people of all ages. Sapporo is also a popular destination for skiers from all around the world but the fun doesn’t just stop with the white powder. Other activities include ice skating, smelt fishing, snowmobiling, road and mountain cycling, golf, paragliding, hot air ballooning, fruit picking and onsens (spas).
Another fun and unique activity in Hokkaido is to go smelt fishing in autumn usually between mid-October and November at Kushiro (southeastern Hokkaido,) and Hidaka (east of Hokkiado). Visitors can also enjoy this sport in winter at Lake Shinotsu which is not far from Sapporo. A few companies organize day trips with packages including transportation, fishing equipment, lunch and a few hours of actual fishing. Believe it or not, sitting in a heated tent while fishing through a small hole bored through thick ice can be a memorable experience for some.
- Opening Hours: Winter time
- Location: Lake Shikotsu
For those hungry for a challenging snow sport other than skiing, try snowmobiling. Snowmobile Land Sapporo is a reputable company that is expert in snowmobiling and one that knows the area well. With English-speaking instructors, advance booking is required. No experience necessary but riders must be at least 16 years of age.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 08:30 – 17:00 during the winter season,
- Location: Snowmobile Land Sapporo is at 478, Fukui Nishi-ku, Sapporo-shi about 20 minutes by car from downtown Sapporo
- Tel: +81 (0)11 661 5355
Horse races are held in Sapporo every year at the downtown racecourse. Visitors can hop on the free shuttle bus service between Sapporo Racecourse and JR Soen Station and Nijuyonken Subway Station every weekend while races are held.
- Opening Hours: From Aug to Oct from 09:00 – 17:00 (may change at times)
- Location: Sapporo Racecourse located downtown Sapporo
- Tel: +81 (0)11 726 0461
Jozankei is probably the most well-known spa town in the Sapporo area. Conveniently located about an hour away by bus from Sapporo it is full of natural hot springs and onsens. Tourists can also take a hot foot bath without having to check into any onsens. One oddity visitors will notice is that people cook eggs in the hot springs and eat them afterward. Not a bad idea to warm up and snack at the same time.
- Opening Hours: All year round
- Location: Jozankei Onsen is in Shikotsu-Toya National Park, about an hour by bus from Sapporo
- Tel: Tel: +81 (0)11 598 2012 between 09:00 - 17:00
Paragliding in Sapporo
The idea of running off hills and paragliding might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who are after nothing but absolute thrills, they can definitely find them in the Sapporo Area. Paragliding has become more popular with tourists and many hotel tour desks can hook you up with the closest operators.
- Opening Hours: Hours vary depending on the operator
- Location: Around Sapporo
Moerenuma Park is a recreational theme park created by Isamu Noguchi, a famous Japanese designer. Facilities include the ‘Forest of Cherry Trees’, a popular area with children featuring seven play sections. Moere Beach is a small body of water designed to look like a sea shore where everyone is welcome to have a dip. Mt. Moere is popular with hikers as they can appreciate the beautiful city views from the summit. In winter, it is one of the busiest sledding and skiing spots in Sapporo. Also featured at the park is a glass pyramid ‘Hidamari’ – a gallery exhibiting Isamu Noguchi’s works, along with a space for cultural events, shops and restaurants.
- Opening Hours: Throughout the year from 07:00 – 22:00
Moere Beach open between Jun 1 – Sep 20 from 10:00 – 16:00
Glass Pyramid opening hours and activities schedule at the park’s entrance gate or call beforehand
- Tel: +81 (0)11 790 1231
- How to get there: Bus No. 69 and 79 from Kanjo Dori Higashi Station (it is about 30 minutes north of Sapporo City)
Known in short as Satoland, this is an agricultural theme park located not far from Moerenuma Park. Here, you’ll discover many interesting outdoor and indoor activities related to farming, food processing and more. Enjoy pony rides and wagon rides from April 29 – November 3, butter making daily and ice-cream making every Sunday and national holidays from May until October. Buckwheat noodles making every Sunday from November through March. Or come to practice your crop harvesting skills from May to mid November. Other facilities include restaurant and events hall.
- Opening Hours: Apr 29 to Sep 30 from 09:00 - 18:00 and Oct 1 to Apr 28 from 09:00 - 17:00
Close: On Mondays from Nov 4 to Apr 28; open every day from Apr 29 to Nov 3. (Some facilities are closed in winter.) Hands-on activities vary by season.
- Location: Okadama-cho 584-banchi 2, Higashi-ku, Sapporo (close to the Moerenuma Park)
- Tel: +81 (0)11 787 0223
Sapporo is known all over the world as one of the best locations for skiing with many great ski locations to choose from, fit for all levels of skiers. Below are some of the most popular locations in Sapporo.
Sapporo-Teine (Olympic zone)
- Location: 593, Teinehon-cho, Teine-ku, Sapporo
- Tel: +81 (0)11 681 3191
Sapporo-Teine (Highland zone)
- Location: 172, Teine Kanayama, Teine-ku, West of Sapporo
- Tel: +81 (0)11 683 3721
Sapporo-Kokusai Skiing Ground
- Location: 937, Jozankei, Minami-ku, South of Sapporo
- Tel: +81 (0)11 598 4511
Sapporo Moiwayama Skiing Ground
- Location: 1991, Mo-Iwashita, Minami-ku, Sapporo
- Tel: +81 (0)11 581 0914
Bankei Ski Area
- Location: 410, Bankei, Chuo-ku, near downtown Sapporo
- Tel: +81 (0)11 641 0071
Fu's Snow Area
- Location: 473-1, Fujino, Minami-ku, Sapporo
- Tel: +81 (0)11 591 8111
Most of Sapporo’s ice rinks are open only in winter but some stay open all year round including:
Mikaho Gymnasium (indoors)
- Location: Kita 22-jo Higashi 5-chome, Higashi-ku
- Tel: +81 (0)11 741 1972
- Location: Tsukisamu Higashi 1-jo 8-chome, Toyohira-ku
- Tel: +81 (0)11 851 1972
Hoshioki Ice Skating Rink
- Location: Hoshioki 2-jo 1-chome, Teine-ku
- Tel: +81 (0)11 681 8877
Maruyama Ice Skating Rink
- Location: Maruyama Koen, Miyagaoka 3, Chuo-ku
- Tel: +81 (0)11 641 3015
Road Bike Tour
Sapporo is blessed with natural beauty, agreeable temperatures in summer and the famous snow festival in winter, making it possible for tourists to enjoy many outdoor activities all year round, including cycling. Most cyclists prefer the warmer season from June to September but many still love the idea of riding bikes in winter. If you haven’t tried a snow cycling tour, here is your chance.
Sapporo has many local companies who know the road and weather conditions well. They offer group and private tours to major tourist landmarks like Odori Park, Toyohira River, the former Hokkaido Government Building, Sapporo TV Tower and Nijo Fish Market while some companies focus only on countryside destinations as well as challenging mountain bike tours.
Cycling Frontier Hokkaido or CFH
- Tel: +81 (0)11 211 2111
Niseko Adventure Centre
- Tel: +81 (0)13 623 2093
Sapporo is home to many great golf courses, all with fantastic views and surroundings that feature all types of designs suitable for both beginners and experienced golfers. Here are some of them.
Kokusai Country Club
A 27-hole course established in the early 1960s
- Opening Hours: Daily from May to October
- Location: Located on Shimamatsu 49-5
- Tel: +81 (0)11 376 2221
Korakuen Country Club
Features 27 holes
- Location: Located on Nibetsu 152
- Tel: +81 (0)11 376 2611
Fuji Royal Golf Club
It offers 18 holes and a golf par of 72
- Location: Between Chitose and Sapporo
- Tel: +81 (0)11 376 2831
Kitahiroshima Prince Golf Link
Kitahiroshima Prince Golf Link consists of three golf courses (the East, West and the South) with total of 54 holes.
- Location: It is on Nakanosawa 450-1
- Tel: +81 (0)11 373 1111
Wattsu Golf Club
Dating back to late 1950s it is one of the oldest courses in the area.
- Tel: +81 (0)11 376 2231
Sunpark Golf Course
A 27-hole course.
- Location: Located on Tomigaoka 456
- Tel: +81 (0)11 372 6370
Kosaido Country Club
Kosaido Country Club has three golf courses with total of 54 holes.
- Location: At Shimamatsu 641
- Tel: +81 (0)11 376 3210
In and around Sapporo area, visitors will find quite a handful of friendly house stables and riding clubs where they can enjoy horseback riding in the countryside.
Ranch Riding Club
- Tel: +81 (0)14 562 3453
Hokusei Riding Club
- Tel: +81 (0)11 596 2407
Northern Horse Park
- Tel: +81 (0)14 458 2116
Suzuran Riding Club
- Tel: +81 (0)12 336 6386
Kitahiro Horse Riding Club
- Tel: +81 (0)11 372 5401
World Ranch Horse Club
- Tel: +81 (0)72 190 4701
Field Attaching Riding Farm
- Tel: +81 (0)15 386 2846
Hot Air Ballooning
If you pick up postcards or information brochures relating to Sapporo and Hokkaido, there is a big chance that you will come across some pictures of colourful hot air balloons. If you visit the city during the famous snow festival, head to the Tsudomu Site for a hot air balloon riding experience. You will also find this in Niseko Village (about 100 km from Sapporo) and in Furano City (about two-and-a-half hours by bus from Sapporo).
Alpine Snow & Adventure Center
- Tel: +81 (0)16 722 1311
- Tel: +81 (0)16 722 0534
Dolphins Adventure Service
- Tel: +81 (0)16 723 1421