I went to Sapporo from February 8 to February 10, primarily to see the Yukimatsuri, but also to experience snow, something I do not get to see very often in my home town.


I got there by plane, and would highly recommend it. As far as I know, it was the cheapest and most convenient way to get there (about 60 dollars both ways), and was easy to book even at the last minute.


Once there, I stayed at DK Sapporo, which I booked through a last minute deal provided by DK Shinkoiwa, for \3500 a night. The facilities were clean, the room was quite large, and the overall vibe there felt very cozy and homey. Additionally, the manager was very friendly and talkative!

Location-wise, it was quite good, being only about a 10 minute walk from Odori Park (the main site of the snow festival), and a short subway train ride from Sapporo Station (though, it’s only about a 30 minute walk) I’m planning on returning to Sapporo in the Summer, and DK is certainly on my list because of the great experience I had there.


I spent the plurality of my time in Sapporo at the Snow Festival, and the sheer scale of it exceeded my expectations. The main site spanned about 14 blocks on Odori, and had a really wide variety of sculptures. There was an international section, a few really large installations that had periodic light shows, as well as concerts and even a snowboarding slope. The food was alright, and there was a good variety, but it was quite expensive, especially for hot drinks. I’d recommend getting a hot chocolate for 1/4 the price at one of the many Lawsons around the area.


Other than the snow festival, I also explored town quite a bit. I went to some of the more popular restaurants (would recommend Picante if you want to try curry soup!) and explored areas like Maruyama Park and the old government building. Maruyama Park in particular was absolutely beautiful in the winter, as it was blanketed entirely by mostly untouched snow.

Overall, I would say it is more for those who want a quieter, more peaceful, experience, as opposed to a place like Tsudome which is full of wintery activities like sledding.


Overall, if you can deal with the cold (and are okay with slipping on ice from time to time), then Sapporo in the Winter is a really nice break from Tokyo. 3 days is certainly enough time if you are just going to stay in Sapporo, but Hokkaido has plenty of other things to see as well!



Kirk Johnson