Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost region, and the country's fifth largest city. Sapporo is also one of the nation's youngest major cities. Sapporo is the center of Hokkaido’s politics, economy, and culture. The charms of this city include amazing gourmet foods such as fresh seafood, ramen, and Jingisukan (grilled mutton) as well as picturesque scenery that enchants visitors each season. Sapporo became world famous in 1972 when the Olympic Winter Games were held there. It's also a year-round destination. Being so far north, Sapporo gets plenty of snow. The mountains that ring the city become a playground for skiers and snowboarders, while the Sapporo Snow Festival in February is a visual spectacular. Come summer; when the city heats up, you'll find food and drink festivals, open air music, enchanting Japanese gardens, and an easily walkable city center. There's not much more to ask for from an Asian vacation destination.
New Chitose Airport, located approximately 45 kilometers from the Sapporo city center, is Hokkaido's largest airport, connected by direct flights to 30 cities in Japan. The airport is used by 17 million people annually, making it the third busiest airport in Japan. Notably, the number of passengers on the Tokyo (Haneda)-Sapporo (New Chitose) route exceeds 9 million annually, making it one of the world's busiest routes. The airport serves an important role as the gateway to Hokkaido. The airport terminal is home to the "Hokkaido Showroom" featuring an assortment of stores selling produce, gourmet foods, and sweets from all over Hokkaido. The airport also has a natural hot spring, a theater, and a theme park.
Sapporo Okadama Airport is located within the Sapporo city. Its scheduled airline service is limited to turboprop flights to other cities in Hokkaido while larger aircraft use the New Chitose Airport. The airport is also used by the Japan Self-Defense Forces and by corporate and general aviation operators. An adjacent facility houses the air traffic control center for Hokkaido and the Tohoku region as well as the headquarters of Hokkaido Air System (HAC). HAC currently operates routes that connect Sapporo with Hakodate, Kushiro, Rishiri, and Misawa. Also, Fuji Dream Airlines offers flights between Shizuoka, Matsumoto and Sapporo (Shizuoka is summer time only, Matsumoto only from August 8th-31st). The airport is about a 20-minute drive from central Sapporo. Bus and subway access are good, and the airport is convenient for fast transit.
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Hokkaido's geography makes it an interesting island to visit. Every season has something completely different to offer, so the best time to visit Hokkaido will depend on what you want to see and experience. For those who wish to see the cherry blossoms and Lavender should visit Sapporo in Spring when the snow melts and the flowers bloom. By the end of April up to early May, the trees are laden with cherry blossoms and make a pleasant sight. The weather also warms up but never gets too hot in Sappora, so this is a good time to visit Sappora. However, for those looking for a winter wonderland should visit Sapporo during winter. The snow in winter makes it one of the most popular skiing destinations in Japan. It can be extremely cold, but one cannot deny how beautiful the city can be at this time of the year. If you are interested in snow sports, Sappora is known as the Winter Sports capital of Japan, and you will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the sports activity here. Tourists come from far and near to Sappora in February for the famous Snow Festival when gigantic ice sculptures are on display - they are real works of art and are lit up at night and present a very beautiful sight for the viewer.
1. Jozankei Onsen Hot Spring- Less than an hour's drive from Sapporo is the spectacular Jozankei Onsen Hot Springs. Tucked away in a scenic valley with mountains adding to the scenery, the mineral waters of these famous hot springs have attracted many visitors from Sapporo and beyond since 1866, all drawn by the curative and restorative qualities of its sodium chloride-rich waters. Jozankei Onsen boasts of 56 hot springs pouring out an estimated 8,600 liters of water per minute at temperatures between 60 and 80°C. Afterwards, a fun thing to do is explore the area's many scenic walking trails, taking in such beautiful spots as the Shiraito-no-taki Waterfall, the Nishikibashi Bridge, and the crag of Futami-Iwa.
2. Mount Moiwa - Towering high above Sapporo, the 531-meter-tall Mount Moiwa (Moiwa-yama) is the most visited of the many hills surrounding the city due largely to the ease with which its summit can be reached. While a popular destination for walkers, by far the most-frequented option is to take the aerial tramway, Mount Moiwa Ropeway, most of the way up before transferring to a cable car that takes only minutes to reach the summit's Upper Station. Here, you'll not only be treated to great views over the city from the station's observation deck, but you can also stop at its on-site restaurant or enjoy a show at its planetarium. Come winter; the Mount Moiwa Ski Resort lures winter sports enthusiasts from far and wide for its many fine slopes easily accessible from Sapporo's city center.
3. Hokkaido Shrine – Built in 1871, the Hokkaidō Shrine (Hokkaidō Jingū) is one of the country's most important Shinto religious sites. The shrine became even more popular after it was dedicated to the soul of much revered Emperor Meiji in 1964. The site is massive, and in addition to the huge temple building, it consists of a large garden replete with cherry blossoms, a big draw when they are in bloom each spring. Another favorite time to visit is New Year's, when special celebrations and festivities are conducted, or during the annual Sapporo Festival every June when long parades of traditionally dressed revelers visit the Hokkaidō Shrine and pay homage to their ancestors and the spirits of the country's most revered religious leaders.