Japan’s fifth-largest city, and the prefectural capital of Hokkaidō, Sapporo (札幌) is a surprisingly dynamic and cosmopolitan urban centre that pulses with energy despite its extreme northerly latitude. Designed by European and American architects in the late 19th century, Sapporo is shaped by its wide grid of tree-lined streets and ample public-park space, which contribute to the city’s surprising level of liveability. Even if you get cold easily, you can always get your energy back over a hot meal, a great proposition given Sapporo’s wholly deserved gastronomic reputation.
As the island’s main access point and transport hub, Sapporo serves as an excellent base for striking out into the wilds. But don’t check out too quickly: Sapporo is a major tourist destination in itself, especially for those partial to the delicious liquid gold that is Sapporo beer.
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This museum is a tribute to one of the world's most delicious fish. Check out more than 20 species of salmon in varying stages of development, as well as a few odd salamanders, turtles and frogs. Bring the kids! It's in Makomanai Park near the Olympic stadium. Take the subway to Makomanai Station, then board any bus to Kyogijo bus stop (15 minutes, ¥200). From here it's a five-minute walk.
Panoramic views of Sapporo can be had from this scenic ropeway, which runs 1200m up the slopes of Moiwa-san. At the top is a large tourist complex where you can linger over a meal, shop for Hokkaidō-related paraphernalia or scan the cityscape with high-powered binoculars. You can easily access the ropeway by taking the tram to the Rōpuwei-iriguchi stop, and then walking west towards the hill for around 10 minutes.
This massive and unmistakable compound has more than 15 kinds of baths, ranging from take-your-skin-off scalding to cryogenic freeze-inducing cold.
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