Sapporo Restaurants & Nightlife

Sapporo Restaurants & Nightlife

Sapporo Restaurants

Sapporo has an array of restaurants including upmarket cuisine, small family run establishments, quaint bars, izakayas and large restaurants. In some restaurants you’ll find comfort in menus with pictures, but others are not geared up for tourists so you’ll need to rely on a knowledge of common Japanese food or a translating app.

Of course there’s always the fall back position, McDonalds! There are also other western style restaurants and for day time fare, many of the shopping malls have patisseries that sell all sorts of yummy pastries.

The Susukino district has hundreds and hundreds of restaurants, many of which will tout for your business. These range from large Japanese restaurants to little izakayas, but Sapporo is most famous for its classic Hokkaido ramen bars.

A must-do is a visit to Ramen Alley, a tiny narrow alley with lots of ramen bars that sell miso ramen, gyozas and other simple fare. Some of the ramen bars are very tiny and seat about 6 to 8 people, whilst others are a fraction larger. These little eateries are cheap and cheerful but not the sort of place where you can have a long leisurely dinner. The ramen bar on the corner of the main street in particular is very popular, and you’ll see people outside queuing up in the freezing cold.

Another must-do considering you’re in Hokkaido is to find a great crab restaurant. If you’re particularly hankering for crab, you’ll find some restaurants with all you can eat crab legs. Crab restaurants range from affordable to super spendy. It also seems apt in Hokkaido to eat the snow crab (zuwaigani).

For an upscale dinner and/or drink, head to the Sky J Bar and Restaurant in the JR Tower Hotel Nikko, which is part of the Sapporo train station complex. The restaurant and bar are located up on the 35th floor of the tower and offer superb views across Sapporo.

Sapporo Nightlife

Susukino is also teeming with many bars and clubs. This red light district has a slightly unsavoury reputation due to the yakuza (Japanese mafia) presence and the girly bars, but it’s a very safe area for travellers. The nightlife in this area is famous (or infamous) and can continue on until daylight hours (it’s great heading off to a ski resort in the morning and seeing various locals doing the walk of shame!), and there are plenty of opportunities to partake in the famous beers including Asahi, Kirin and course, Sapporo beer!

The Nikka Bar in Susukino is easy to spot with its massive sign near a major intersection. This is a classy bar albeit rather expensive (especially considering the cover charge), where you can taste a flight of whiskeys, but just have a taste if it’s a powder day tomorrow.

Susukino is also renowned for the many Pachinko parlours, a popular game that is a cross between a pinball and pokies machine. The Tanuki Kōji Shopping Arcade (the undercover shopping arcade) in particular has lots of Pachinko!