Sapporo and Hokkaido (photos)

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

Dotted among the modern, functional architecture of Sapporo are the tired, wooden structures endemic to northern communities


Japan’s Northern Island of Hokkaido is colder and much snowier than on parts of the world on a similar latitude. It is also much less populated, although with 5.5 million – half of whom are concentrated around Sapporo – it is certainly not empty.

Sapporo is actually slightly north of Vladivostock, Russia, and in Europe, it would be in Southern France. In the winter, this young city receives upwards of 6 meters of snow. Within Japan, the region is known for its excellent food – crab and sushi are famous from the area.

As I have a passion for all places, I enjoyed the large, cold river and the functional architecture, but most enjoyed the old, run-down wooden buildings dotted around the city.

The train south to Tokyo revealed magnificent landscapes and the world longest tunnel with a portion under seawater! The bullet train still does not make it all the way to Sapporo, but we were so happy to go a little slower to enjoy the fishing villages and snowy volcanoes.

The tower in central Sapporo (there is one in every city)


Here are a series of photos from Hokkaido:

As with Japanese cities in the south, there are kilometers of underground passages. These probably offer respite from the winter winds and snow!


A delicious fresh sashimi bowl


A small, lighted, fishing vessel moored on the old canal of Otaru – an excellent day trip from Sapporo


Notice the ski area in the back, from the canal


Snow piled up in front of a shrine in central Sapporo. This one seemed to have some sort of clapping ritual


Looking up the Toyohira River towards the mountains


We found this odd place in the Susukino entertainment district in Sapporo


This was the ‘Onsen’ (hot springs) we visited about an hour out of the city. Sorry – no photos of the pools. Everyone was naked!


I love these worn, wood buildings. We could be in Fairebanks, or Yukon!


Here I am at the Sapporo brewery – probably Japan’s best-known export beer. The tour was just ok.


A 1930’s beer ad!


Nice to see a statue to the Ainu indigenous inhabitants in the main train station


They really like King Crab in Hokkaido!


Hard to read, but this sign says there are fines for smoking and littering. I wish they would ban smoking in restaurants! I have not gone to a single pub because of tobacco.


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