Although not as famous as Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto, but since being chosen as the venue for the 1972 Winter Olympic Games, Sapporo has become more and more popular. Sapporo is not only the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture, but it is also considered the 5th largest city and one of the youngest cities in Japan. Sapporo is famous for skiing, snow crab and beer. So, if you are planning a trip to Sapporo and want to know when is the best time to visit Sapporo, how to get to Sapporo, what to do in Sapporo…? Let’s check it out our Sapporo travel blog (Sapporo blog) with the fullest Sapporo travel guide (Sapporo city guide, Sapporo Japan guide, Sapporo guide) for a wonderful trip to Sapporo on a budget for the first time with Living Nomads below.
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Sapporo city guide: When is the best time to visit Sapporo?
With favorable weather conditions, each season has its own unique beauty so you can make the trip to Sapporo at any time of the year. If you love nature, then summer is probably the best time to visit Sapporo. By this time the weather is warm, the temperature ranges between 25-30 degrees Celsius, not too hot, very suitable for sightseeing and natural discovery.
If you want to enjoy the cold of Japan and experience the exciting activities of Sapporo winter like skiing, you can come here in winter. However, keep in mind to bring thick, warm clothes, because nighttime temperatures often drop very low, which can drop to a minus zero Celsius degree.
Or if you want to experience exciting, interesting festivals in Sapporo, then according to our Sapporo travel experience, we recommend making the trip in February. In this time, it is the time for the annual snow white festival, extremely exciting.
Sapporo travel blog: How to get from Tokyo to Sapporo?
According to our research, the distance from Tokyo to Sapporo (central city of Hokkaido Prefecture) is quite far (about 1.157 km), depending on your financial conditions as well as time and weather, there are options suitable means of transport below.
Planes are the easiest and fastest way to get from Tokyo to Sapporo. The airfares ranging from 15.000 to 45.000 yen, and if you book tickets on a discount, the round trip airfares can be reduced to 11.000 yen. There are about 80 flights from Haneda and Narita to New Chitose Aiport in Sapporo every day. Fly time lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.
You can refer to the airfare price of airlines from Tokyo to Sapporo for one way is as follows:
- Vanilla Air: ¥5,061 (US$46)
- Jetstar Japan: ¥5,371 (US$49)
- Skymark Airlines: ¥10,919 (US$99)
- Spring Airlines: ¥17,866 (US$162)
- Japan Airlines: ¥30.000 (US$268.56)
- All Nippon Airways: ¥30.000 (US$268.56)
- Air Do: ¥30.000 (US$205.89)
Most flights use Handena Airport in Tokyo and Sapporo City’s Chitose Airport. Only a few flights use Narita Airport, Tokyo. The new Chitose Airport is located 30km southeast of Sapporo city center.
Getting to Sapporo center from Chitose Airport
Taxi: After arriving at Chitose airport, you can catch a taxi to move into Sapporo city (about 30km). Taxi fees approximately ¥13.000 plus highway fees ¥1.000
Bus: In addition, the travel time takes about 60-90 minutes if you traveling by bus from the airport to the city center. Bus fare to Sapporo center is about ¥1.030.
Express train: You can also travel to Sapporo by the JR Kaisoku Airport express train, The airport express train takes about 35 minutes and the ticket price is ¥1.040. There is also a slow local train.
In addition to the above options, you can also hire Klook’s private car charter service, which is convenient and saving a alot of time, and the travel cost is not too expensive if you go with a large group. You can refer to and book these services as follow:
- Private City Transfers between Hokkaido and Sapporo
- Private New Chitose Airport (CTS) Transfers for Hokkaido/Sapporo
- Private New Chitose Airport (CTS) Transfers for Sapporo, Tomamu, Furano, Sahoro, and Niseko
- Private New Chitose Airport Transfers (CTS) for Sapporo, Hoshino Resorts, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya, or Surrounding Areas
- Private Shin-chitose Airport (CTS) Transfers for Sapporo, Otaru and Niseko
- Shared New Chitose Airport Transfers (CTS) Between Sapporo and Hoshino Resorts
By Normal train and Shinkansen
There are normal trains from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station. The train stops at Hakodate is the last place of Hokkaido and is not very close to Sapporo. The travel time is about 4 hours to 4.5 hours, compared to an airplane of 1 hour and 30 minutes, this means of transport takes longer time and the ticket is quite high.
Depending on the coaches and the quality of the seats, there are different ticket prices ranging from 8.000 yen to 9.000 yen/one way). Book tickets from Tokyo to Hakodate here.
If you do not want to travel by normal train, you can move to Sapporo using the Hokkaido Shinkansen high speed train which has been opened since March 26, 2016. The Shinkansen go straight from Tokyo station to Shin-Aomori station, then change line Shinkansen from Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto station.
- From Tokyo to Shin-Aomori: This is a train line with very few trips during the day, there are about 15 trips/day, travel time is 4 hours, the ticket price ranging from 17.350 Yen to 27.110 Yen (Depending on the type of seat you choose).
- From Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station: There are about 14 train trips/day, the tickets are ranging from $67.93 – $75.45, the travel distance is 360 km, the travel time is about 2 hours 30 minutes.
After that, you will have to move to regular trains, buses, or other means to get to Sapporo city. You can find out more about this type of transportation: Hokkaido Shinkansen.
This ticket is equal with the 7-day train package of the JR Rail Pass, if you buy this package you can go to any train in the country, so if you prefer long-term travel, consider buying a ticket from JR Pass. Buy JR Pass here. And read more: JR Pass — Top 11 things about Japan Rail Pass you need to know.
There is no bus service from Tokyo to Sapporo. If you like, you can take the bus to Aomori. From there, take a ferry to Hakodate (in Hokkaido) and then take the bus to Sapporo.
The bus from Hakodate to Sapporo runs with the journey of day and night. So you can go anytime without worrying about time issues. Travel time takes about 46 hours/trip. Depeding on departure time, sometimes seats will run out, so you should buy tickets in advance from the their booking website. Tickets cost about 4,000 yen/trip.
Note: The total cost you have to spend is about 11.000 yen if you travel from Tokyo to Sapporo. Because in addition to the bus fee from Hakodate to Sapporo, you have to pay an extra transfer ferry fee from Aomori to the Hakodate. Alternatively, if you choosing a luxury cabin to get to the Hakodate may cost you more.
Hokkaido is also famous for its wide roads. Many passengers like to drive on such roads. If you use a rental car, you can go to from Tokyo to Kanto, Tohoku and to Hokkaido.
The cost you have to pay if travel from Tokyo to Sapporo is about 15.000 to 17.000 yen for freeway fee from Tokyo to Aomori (it takes about 8 hours to travel). Then from Hakodate to Sapporo will cost about 6.000 yen (travel time is about 3.5 hours). In addition, there is also a high gasoline fee for a long distance.
You can catch a bus or train to Oarai in Ibaraki Prefecture (1 hour from Tokyo) for 9.000 yen/way if travel by train. Then from Tomakomai catch a ferry to southern Sapporo. The ferry departs in the evening, and a trip takes 19 hours. You can also rent a cabin for a more comfortable accommodation. The cheapest room is a dormitory room. The ferry also has a restaurant so don’t worry about starving during the trip. However, on the ferry is not very private. See schedule and buy ferry ticket at MOL ferry.
Sapporo blog: Getting around Sapporo
The central Sapporo area is quite small so it is easy to access many tourist attractions by foot, but there are also three subway lines, Japan Rail trams, electric vehicles, and many buses. Subway fees are calculated based on the distance you travel, but you can buy a card with an unlimited number of trips per day for ¥800 if you need a lot of travel. JR trains are mainly for those who want to go outside the city.
Sapporo japan guide: Where to stay?
Sapporo city is one of the most famous tourist spots in Hokkaido, so the accommodation here is very diverse. Guests can easy choose the hotel that suits your travel budget. Here are some cheap, mid-range and high class hotels in Sapporo with good ratings and reviews that you can refer to.
Hotel Sunroute New Sapporo: A 3-star hotel with good facilities, fully equipped, comfortable, ensuring guests coming here will not be disappointed at the hotel. Furthermore, Hotel Sunroute New Sapporo also has massage service to help customers relax at any time. The room rates from $47/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Address: 1-1 Nishi 6, Minami-Ni-Jo, Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan, 060-0062
Mercure Hotel Sapporo: Considered as a beautiful, quality hotel in Sapporo you should not miss. With a convenient location, ideal with complete equipment, professional service staff … meet all standards in all aspects. The room rates from $84/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Address: Minami 4-jo Nishi 2-chome Chuo-ku , Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan, 064-0804
Sapporo Grand Hotel: A 5-star hotel, very suitable for relaxation. Because when you come to Sapporo Grand Hotel, you are not only satisfied with all the services of the hotel, but you also have the opportunity to experience many great utilities such as: Massage, sauna, gym, garden, .. that always helps you relax. The room rates from $89/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Address: 4 Nishi, Kita-Ichi-Jo Chuo-Ku, Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan, 060-0001
Guesthouse The Stay Sapporo: The guesthouse is located in the city center of Sapporo, from here guests can easily access popular attractions in the city like Sankichi Temple, Odori Park, Sapporo JR Tower and Hokkaido Old Government Office Building. The room rates from $13/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Address: 1008-10 minami5jo nishi9chome, Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan, 064-0805
New Otani Inn Sapporo: Romantic hotel close to many tourist attractions like Clock Tower, Sapporo JR Tower and Sapporo Television Tower … All rooms are fully equipped with amenities such as television, wifi, refrigerator, minibar, private bathroom, luxury furniture, .. The hotel will be a great destination for travelers when visiting Sapporo. The room rates from $60/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Address: Nishi 1-chome, Kita 2-jo, Chuo-Ku, Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan, 060-0002.
Hotel Okura Sapporo: This hotel is about a 10-minute walk from Curb Market, Odori Park, Clock Tower and Sapporo TV Tower. With 147 rooms equipped with advanced facilities such as bathtub and free wifi and private yard. The hotel will be the best place to stay if you want to find a stop. The room rates from $56/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Richmond Hotel Sapporo Ekimae: (Address: 1-7 Kita 3 jo Nishi 1 cho-me, Chuo-ku, Hokkaido , Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan, 060-0003), a 3-star hotel with 8.7 ratings on Agoda.com. The room rates from $62/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Ibis Styles Sapporo: (Address: Nishi 3chome 10 10, Minami 8jo Chuo ku, Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan, 0640808), a 3-star hotel with 8.9 ratings on Agoda.com. The room rates from $53/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Hotel Keihan Sapporo: (Address: 1-9, 6-chome, Kita-6-Jyo-Nishi, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan, 060-0806), a 4-star hotel with 8.4 ratings on Agoda.com. The room rates from $35/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Sapporo japan guide: What to do?
Odori Park is a block stretching 1.5km, surrounding Sapporo, dividing the city into the north and south. From here can see nearby mountains very poetic. The park often hosts many different events, such as the Winter Snow Festival and the summer beer festival. You can buy local specialties like corn and steamed potatoes in hawker stalls all year round.
Visit this Sapporo sightseeing spot you will be admired the green garden, cool fountain and exquisite sculptures and shopping as well as an underground exhibition area at gallery of Odori Park subway station.
Address: 7 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042, Japan
Hours: Open 24 hours
Phone: +81 11-251-0438
Visit Otaru: The miniature of “Amsterdam”
Otaru resembles Dutch cities as a replica with red brick buildings. Besides, the Otaru canal system seems to be stretched from far away to Holland, allowing you to walk comfortably in sunny days. The city is famous for its crystal products, glass and handmade music boxes. Try local Otaru beer at this brand’s Bavarian restaurant. You can visit Otaru on the coast of Japanese Sea easily in one day. Express train with ticket price ¥640 will take you there after 30 minutes.