Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, is one of Japan’s youngest cities. The population has grown from only 7 people in 1857 to now being the 5th largest Japanese city with a population of almost 2 million. As Sapporo is a new city it doesn’t have the traditional Japanese architecture found in many other Japanese cities, however one of the benefits of Sapporo being a new city is that the roads are based on a grid, so it’s really easy for travellers to navigate.
Sapporo was put on the map in 1972 when it hosted the Winter Olympics, the first games to be held outside Western Europe or the USA. During winter Sapporo is now most well known for the Sapporo Snow Festival
which attracts more than 2 million visitors each February from around the world. There aren’t many cities in the world that can hold such an amazing snow festival, but Sapporo is a very cold and snowy city with an average annual snowfall of 6.3 metres.
Sapporo Accommodation Listings
Sapporo Ski Resorts
If it snows that much in downtown Sapporo, you can start to imagine how much it snows up in the nearby mountains!
For many visitors on a Hokkaido skiing
holiday, Sapporo is just a gateway, but Sapporo in its own right is a worthwhile base for a ski or snowboard holiday. From Sapporo it’s possible to take day trips to various nearby ski resorts.
is only 20km northwest of downtown Sapporo, a 45 minute drive. Sapporo Teine is made up of two interconnected ski areas; Teine Olympia and Teine Highland. Teine Olympia is perfect for beginners and kids, whilst Teine Highland has some awesome steep tree skiing.
is 46km west of Sapporo, a one hour drive. This ski resort boasts a massive 18 metres of powder per season, and whilst the small in-bounds area gets a bit crowded, there are plenty of freshies to be found in the lift accessed backcountry areas.
is a destination ski resort but because it’s only 43km west of Sapporo (70 minute drive), the ski resort is also good for a day trip from Sapporo. Kiroro is a modern resort and it scores full marks from us as a ski resort for powderhounds.
Asari ski resort
is near Otaru and is good for a day trip to ride the deserted off-piste and backcountry areas. Asari is at low elevation so it’s good for really windy days when the other ski resorts are a bit nasty.
is another modern OTT Japanese ski resort that has good piste runs and some great off-piste riding. Tomamu is only an 80 minute train ride from Sapporo.
See the Sapporo travel
page for information on how to get to the Sapporo ski resorts.
Sapporo is a great base for a ski holiday. The nearby ski resorts receive abundant snowfall and you can revel in all that this big city has to offer: miso ramen; interesting Sapporo shopping
; the Sapporo snow festival; various other Sapporo attractions
; a really vibrant nightlife that goes for 24 hours; and lots of Sapporo beer.
Tours That Include Sapporo