As the capital of Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture, Sapporo balances its urban sensibilities with incredible mountainscapes, relaxing hot springs, and natural spaces built into the city center, like Odori Park, which is beautifully sandwiched among the city’s skyscrapers. Though once a humble trading town, Sapporo’s development skyrocketed in the 19th century when urban planners decided to create a new kind of Japanese city modeled after Western metropolises. Still, you’ll find plenty of historic attractions on a Sapporo cruise, like the Noboribetsu Jidaimura, a museum dedicated to the Edo period.
Let your Japan cruise with Celebrity Cruises be a gateway to the best Sapporo has to offer, whether you’re exploring the open-air Village of Hokkaido, admiring masterpieces at the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, or sipping brews at the Sapporo Beer Museum.
In Japanese, the phrase “Odori” means “large street,” and almost like New York’s Central Park, Odori Park is a sweeping stretch of green located in the center of Sapporo. Explore the rose garden, or take a walking tour of the park’s wealth of artsy statues. Odori Park is not only a favorite location for people-watching, it’s also home to dozens of cultural events in Sapporo throughout the year.
The Village of Hokkaido is an open-air museum dating back to the 19th century. It tells the story of Hokkaido’s rich history from the Meiji and Taisho periods, covering everything from Japanese culture to local wildlife. Explore the nearly 60 buildings and learn about Sapporo’s farming and fishing past.
Travel back in time to the Japanese Edo Period at Noboribetsu Date Jidai Village, a historical theme park with exhibits and reconstructed buildings from the 17th century. While at the park, you’ll pass samurai homes and nearly a hundred reconstructed buildings that emulate centuries past. Learn the secrets of Japanese ninjas, and try the art of throwing stars.
Since 1977, art lovers have flocked to the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, which showcases a variety of contemporary Japanese artists. Beyond paintings and sculptures, the museum is home to rotating exhibits, fine glass art, and more.
On a Sapporo cruise, a gondola ride to the summit of Mount Usu is a must-do activity. Mount Usu overlooks Lake Toya, and the lush hills surrounding this active volcano yield spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean beyond the observation deck. For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s a hiking path stretching along the Usu Crater Basin.
More than a mere clock tower, the Sapporo Clock Tower is an instantly recognizable landmark and a testament to the history of Sapporo. The clock tower was built back in the 1880s and is now the spot of a historic museum detailing the rich history of Sapporo.
The Shiroi Koibito Park, owned by the Shiroi Koibito sweets brand, is a theme park that celebrates all things sweet. Take a tour of the chocolate factory, learn how to make its signature cookies and chocolate, and take the kids to play in the miniature village.
There are plenty of excellent options when you’re craving ramen in Sapporo, including Teshikaga Ramen, which is regularly rated one of the top ramen places in the city. Order fried gyoza, ramen with hearty fish broth or pork, or crab leg soup.
If you’re on the hunt for authentic Japanese sushi in Sapporo, head to Hanamaru, one of the top-rated sushi places in the city. Try tsukemono, a type of pickled cabbage and cucumbers, alongside sides of crispy sweet potato.
Sapporo Beer Garden
A trip to Sapporo isn’t complete without a glass of the town’s eponymous beer at the lively Sapporo Beer Garden. Take a tour of the museum and learn the history of Japan’s oldest brew. Sip on a flight, then hit one of the nearby restaurants for Japanese BBQ.
Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido Island and the fifth-largest city in Japan. Before the 19th century, Sapporo was an underdeveloped trading town. When the city hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, Sapporo grew in prominence. Today, Sapporo has a growing population of young professionals and has come to symbolize a futuristic approach to Japan’s urban centers. Plus, it’s home to its own namesake beer and brewery, which is a favorite among locals and a beloved Japanese export.
Your cruise ship will dock in the city of Muroran, a port on the eastern end of Uchiura Bay. There is a tourist information center nearby, and the train station is around a 15-minute walk from the cruise port.
There are multiple trains available to take you from Muroran to Sapporo. The city of Sapporo has a robust public transit system which includes a subway system with three lines, a variety of buses, and rail passes for inter-city travel. There are also convenient day passes available for visitors who are only in the city for a short time. The city is numbered and organized in an easy-to-learn rectangular grid for travelers exploring on foot.
In Sapporo, there’s a variety of shops just outside the train station, so you can step off the train and immediately get to shopping. Stellar Place is one of the largest shopping malls in Japan, home to dozens of department stores, boutiques, beauty stores, and more. When you’re tired, head to one of the cafes within the mall for a pick-me-up coffee or tea.
You’ll use the official currency of Japan, the yen (JPY), during your Sapporo cruise. There are plenty of international ATMs throughout the city. Smaller stores and local shops may not accept credit cards, but bigger establishments take credit cards like MasterCard and Visa. Tipping isn’t a common practice in Japan; it’s sometimes even considered impolite. Generally, a 10% to 15% service charge will already be included in the bill.