Sapporo is the largest city in the Japanese island of Hokkaido and, as a result, is the main centre of commerce, education and culture there. When arriving in Sapporo, you might be surprised by the lack of traditional Japanese architecture, but amid all the soaring skyscrapers and neon lights, there are plenty of tree-lined boulevards which make the city seem less crowded. In winter, Sapporo is regularly covered in a thick layer of snow, making it a perfect destination for those looking to go skiing without having to visit a traditional resort. Snow is a big part of life here, but so is the theatre, literature and sport. The city also has a bustling entertainment district, where dining out and seeing a show is always a possibility.
Fuel can be expensive in Sapporo, so to try and get the most from your tank. A small car is the most sensible thing to drive in the city, no matter where you plan on driving.
Driving in Sapporo Chitose
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Although there are plenty of car parks in Sapporo, parking is known to be a problem. Generally, the larger ones tend to be the least busy.
The Sasson Expressway is the main motorway going through Sapporo. As it’s a toll road, it pays to have some Yen on you for each trip.
It is possible to avoid using the toll road, but traffic on these routes can be horrendous during weekdays with commuters clogging the roads.
Highlights & Hotspots
The Sapporo Beer Museum is one of the few museums of its kind in the world. Dedicated to the strong brewing tradition in the city, it offers a free tour of the building, looking at how different beers are made. At the end, there’s a tasting session.
Hokkaido Pioneer Village is one of the quirkier attractions. On the outskirts of the city, it’s a large model village showing how life was like on the island at the beginning of industrialisation. There are a few gardens dotted around the village as well.
Art fans have a few places to visit, but two venues stand out. One is the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, which mixes Japanese and western works, while the other is Sapporo Art Park, a sculpture park with over 70 works in its grounds.
The Sapporo Snow Festival is the largest event in the city. Aside from winter sports and live music, there is the annual ice sculpture competition which attracts artists from all over the globe. The festival is held on the first week of February.
New Chitose Airport is a new airport serving Sapporo, located in the city of Chitose, some 11 miles southeast of Sapporo city centre. It is the largest airport in Hokkaido, serving destinations throughout Asia including Tokyo and Seoul.
The airport is located besides the 36 Highway, which happens to go directly from there to the centre of Sapporo, going through Chitose along the way.