You have a single day in Sapporo. How do you spend it?
If you’re anything like me, you want to get the most out of the day, so that means waking up early and getting back late. But you don’t care, because you’re too busy to think about it.
Here’s how I made the most of a single day in Sapporo. Hopefully you will find something in here to help you make the most of your travels too!
6:00 am – Time to wake up. You’ve got a lot ahead of you, and every minute counts.
6:30 am – You’ve showered and packed your bag, so it’s time to step out into the snowy streets of Sapporo.
6:35 am – Quickly realize that your are up way too early for any place but the 7/11 on the corner to be open.
6:36 am – Duck in to the aforementioned 7/11 for some hot coffee. Walking in the streets is cold!
6:45 am – According to most stores, 9 am is when the city will open up, so you’ve got some time to kill. The McDonalds down the street has free internet and an Egg McMuffin will give you some energy.
6:58 am – Seat yourself at the second floor window of McDonalds to eat, map out your day, and watch the cars go by on the street.
6:59 am – Watch a trolley car go by and think about how cool it would be to ride in one for the first time.
7:08 am – Finish up your food and planning but decide to stay and watch the parade of cars for a little bit longer
7:15 am – Step back out into the street and decide to walk up towards Sapporo Station, but not before taking out your camera to take some pictures.
7:30 am – After you stopped at every corner to take a picture, you turn west and walk towards some cool red brick building in the distance
7:43 am – Make it over to the building to find that it actually has a nice park surrounding it. It’s actually the old government office from the early 1900s!
7:59 am – Start back towards the Station, only another three minutes away.
8:05 am – Come to find that all the shops at the Station are closed too, but your map says Hokkaido University is nearby to the northwest. Time to explore the campus!
8:20 am – Wander through the campus and take your time to play in the snow and take some pictures of the winter wonderland. You may not be taking classes, but you are certainly learning to appreciate the campus!
8:55 am – Finish up on the campus and set off to wander the streets for a while longer. Some places are starting to open up, so maybe you’ll find something.
9:30 am – End up back at the station, having found nothing too meaningful on the walk through the streets.
9:35 am – Stop to figure out how you will get to the Sapporo Brewery Museum when it opens at 11 am and then find you have some time to kill. Time to do some window shopping!
10:14 am – You may not be buying it, but that red jacket in the department store looks damn good on you
10:30 am – Start walking towards the Brewery Museum. It’s not too far, the wind isn’t too strong, and it will be a great way to see more of the city if you walk.
10:58 am – Arrive just in time for the Museum to open and beat the line
11:00 am – Be thrilled to find that the tour is completely free and that each exhibit is offered in English as well as Japanese. Time to learn some more history about Sapporo!
11:30 am – You learned the history, now time to taste its products at the Beer Flight Station downstairs. It may be early, but it’s five o’clock somewhere!
11:55 am – After ten minutes, learn that the shirt they have in the gift shop is sold out in your size, so instead you get a really cool mug to bring home.
12:06 pm – Make it onto the bus going to Odori Park where you will hop on your next subway train.
12:32 pm – Make it just in time onto the next train bound for Shiroi Koibito Park in West Sapporo.
12:54 pm – Arrive at the station and walk over to the park. Time to get an omiyage for all the people back in Kiryu! This is Sapporo’s most famous one, so you had better get a lot of them!
1:30 pm – Now that you have gotten all of your omiyage-related problems sorted out, it’s time to head to Hokkaido Jingu, the biggest shrine in Sapporo, and collect another goshuin!
2:05 pm – Arrive at the temple and wander the grounds before you head to the main shrine. It’s in the middle of a forested park, so there are some nice trails nearby!
2:15 pm – No trip to a shrine is complete without a prayer, so you stop to ritually wash you hands and bow at the gate. If you wanna get a blessing it won’t hurt to be a little courteous
2:17 pm – Now that you have prayed, it’s time to collect another goshuin! You may not be able to read the Japanese calligraphy, but nevertheless it’s fun to collect a stamp from each shrine you visit
2:25 pm – With the temple out of the way, you figure that walking through the park will be nice. It’s certainly quieter than the streets have been!
2:30 pm – Oh look, there’s a small mountain nearby! It’s not too high and the view is probably great from up there!
3:05 pm – Yep. The view was well worth the hike
3:15 pm – Okay, you’ve rested for ten minutes and taken enough pictures. Time to descend and get some dinner.
3:55 pm – Rather than walk all the way back to Central Sapporo you just make to the nearest subway station. The cold may be refreshing, but the hike tired you out a fair bit.
4:09 pm – Back in Odori Park, and it’s time to find a place to eat. Didn’t someone tell you to try “Jingis Kan?” Some place near here probably sells it…
4:30 pm – Cool! This small yakiniku place serves it, and you even get to grill it yourself! This should be fun!
4:45 pm – So it turns out that Jingis Kan is a lamb dish. Score! It’s been a while, so the taste of lamb is a welcome change from chicken and fish
5:15 pm – Well, dinner is sorted out and you’ve got a decent amount of time left. Sitting down in Odori Park and watching the parade sounds like a nice way to pass the time
5:30 pm – Oh wait, you almost forgot to go visit Sapporo TV Tower! It’s just down the road, so you’d better get in line quick
5: 40 pm – The elevator ride to the top of the tower is short as is the line. Guess you’ll see the night skyline sooner than expected!
6:00 pm – After 20 minutes up top taking pictures and deciding which souvenir magnet to buy, you head back down to the bottom and hop on the skate rink for a few laps
6:30 pm – So you’ve done pretty much all you set out to do today, what else is left… Oh right! Ramen Alley!
7:10 pm – You took your time walking and you got a little bit turned around, but you finally made it to the alleyway. Time to see how it compares to Antenna Ramen back in Kiryu!
7:30 pm – So the ramen was definitely delicious, but it is only a close second to Antenna Ramen back home. Still one of the better ones you’ve had though!
8:00 pm – All that’s left is wandering and wondering a bit more before you head back to the hotel and call it a night. That bar you passed a couple blocks back seemed nice. Couldn’t hurt to check it out
8:10 pm – You come in and sit down. They have Glenlivet available, and you haven’t had it in a while. Time to end the night with your favorite nightcap!
8:15 pm – As you sip the smooth scotch, you look back on the day and feel satisfied with how you saw the city. Sure, it wasn’t as much time as you would have liked, but you made the best of it.
The trip next year will be even better!
I spent the first weekend of February in Sapporo. It was the place I most wanted to see in Japan and on my bucket list for my first year here. Needless to say that I wanted to get the most out of each moment in the city. Hopefully this post taught you about making the most of travel, be it in Sapporo or any other place on the planet!
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Song of the Week
“Skyfall” by Adele
If you would like to listen to this song or any of the other prior Songs of the Week, check out the Spotify Playlist linked above!