|Opening Hours||Open 24 hours|
|Notes||Sightseeing spot, paid parking underground, festivals throughout the year (see below), toilets at park|
|Odori Park runs horizontally right through the middle of Sapporo. It is a 10 minute walk from Sapporo Station. It is also directly above Odori Subway station. The park can be easily accessed from 3 subway stations along the Tozai Line (subway orange line).
7 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042
Odori Park is the most famous park in Sapporo, if not Hokkaido. It runs through the heart of Sapporo and is home to the some of the biggest festivals throughout the year. The park runs for twelve blocks and separates the city into north and south. At the eastern most end you can find the iconic TV Tower which has great views overlooking the park. The park was originally constructed as a large street, which also served as a firebreak in 1871. In 1872, the street was named ‘Shiribeshi Dōri’ but this name was not popular so it was renamed ‘Odōri’ in June 1881. Odori meaning ‘large street’ in English. The park itself didn’t become a park until 1909.
Annual Events at Odori Park
|February (2nd week)||Sapporo Snow Festival|
|May (middle of the month)||Lilac Festival.|
|June (2nd week)||Yosakoi Soran Festival|
|July (from mid July)||Sapporo Beer Garden
|August (to mid August)||Sapporo Beer Garden|
|September||Sapporo Autumn Festival|
|November (end of month)||Sapporo White Illumination|
The park is hugely popular especially during the warmer months. There are benches that line the park, and the grass areas throughout the park are a great spot to sit and have lunch, or a drink, and relax. There are numerous fountains to admire and to dip your feet in the hotter months. Swings, slides, a stage for performances, and beautiful flower gardens can be found throughout the park. On the western most block are the rose gardens and the Sapporo City Museum. Big events are held at Odori Park. The biggest being the Summer Beer Garden and the Snow Festival are at this park.
|Located at the north end of the town of Kutchan. It's a 15 minute wlka from the centre of town or a 20 minute walk from Kutchan train station.
〒044-0057 Hokkaido, Abuta District, Kutchan, Kita 7 Jonishi, 1 Chome−８
Konpira Temple (or better known as ‘Konpiraji’ in Japanese) is a buddhist temple. It is the main temple in Kutchan and is a good place to visit while in town. It makes for a good spot to get some photos or to experience a little of the Japanese culture. A statue of the founding priest was constructed at the foot of Mt. Konpira which can be found at Lake Toya. Every year, at the temple, the annual Konpira Temple Festival is held. This festival celebrates Autumn and heralds the coming of winter. It is a three day festival and is held on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of October.
Being a buddhist temple, they have many statues around the grounds. The most common being the Ojizo-sama. These are usually small statues that have a child like appearance. They are often dressed in a red bib. This practice is believed to have begun when grieving parents who had lost a child put the deceased child’s bib on a Jizo statue in the hope their child would be protected in the other world. To get to the temple it is a fifteen minute walk from centre of Kutchan, or a five minute drive.It is located just to the north of central Kutchan. It is easily accessed as it lies at the end of the main street that runs through the town.
|Dates||Mid August around the 13th - 15th
|Starting times||All day|
|Various locations throughout every city.
Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of ancestors. It has been celebrated in Japan for over 500 years and is known as a time for family. It is a time of family reunion, where the graves of ancestors are visited and cleaned. It also includes a celebration involving a Bon dance (Bon Odori). This festive dance was originally a folk dance to welcome the spirits of the dead. The dance takes place around a high wooden scaffold called a ‘yagura’. Musicians, playing a Japanese drum (taiko), and singers sit at the top of this yagura to perform for the line of dancers below.
These small festivals are held throughout each city in various places and districts. If you are in Sapporo, the main Bon Festival is held in Odori Park. Plus, there is another in front of the Park Hotel. At these Bon dances, there are stalls selling food and drink and this goes all day. In the evening the lanterns come to life and the music starts. Anybody is welcome to join the line dance that circles the yagura. This is a great way to get involved with centuries of Japanese culture and make for a great spot to get some video or photos.
|Dates||Last weekend of July|
|Opening Hours||Fireworks start from 19:30 until 20:30|
|Held near the Toyohira River Minami Bridge in Sapporo. It's a 10 minute walk from Nakajima Koen subway station or Horohira-Bashi subway station
64064-0809 1 Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
The Doshin/UHB Fireworks Festival (better known as the Toyohira River Fireworks) is part of the Sapporo summer fireworks schedule. It is located along the banks of Toyohira River, and it os one of the three large firework displays in Sapporo. The festival is held on the last Friday of July. Due to its easy access from central Sapporo (about a 10 minute walk from Susukino or Odori), this firework festival is one of the most popular events for the summer. Over the hour, approximately 4,000 fireworks light up the night sky over Sapporo creating a beautiful effect against the city’s skyline.
The event is on during the Sapporo Beer Garden , so why not go to both? The fireworks start at 19:30 and go for an hour. This event does get very busy, so its a good idea to get there early and find a spot! Bring a mat, something to drink and enjoy the warm evening. If you are lucky enough to know someone living along the river, the views from the apartment building are the best. Many of the locals are in their yukatas (summer kimono), so you can get some good photos of the crowds.The fireworks are on every year, and in the case of persistent heavy rain, they are rescheduled to a later date.
|Opening Hours||All day|
|Notes||Parking available 175 cars, Toilets, Wheelchair access & toilets.
Matsumae Sakura Festival (late April-mid May)
Matsumae Ajisa Festival (early August)
|6 hour drive from Sapporo or 2 hour bus ride from Hakadote, get off at "Matsujo Bus Stop", 7 minutes on foot.
Matsujo, Matsumae-cho, Matsumae-gun, Hokkaido, Japan 049-1511
Mastumae Park is huge expanse of land that has a lot to see in it! The park itself is arguably most famous for its cherry blossoms that are in full bloom from late April to late May. The cherry blossom forest has 10,000 cherry trees consisting of 250 kinds of different cherry blossoms. It is the biggest collection of cherry blossoms in Hokkaido! Not only does the park hold these beautiful trees, but also there are many historical buildings to walk around. There is Matsumae Castle, Ryuun-in, the Matsumae Kashiwa Mansion, the Matsumae Lord Cemetery, plus around a dozen shrines and temples.
Besides the cherry blossoms the park has other flowers that bloom throughout the summer and spring. Camellias come out from April to May, dandelions & azaleas in mid-May. In early June, wisterias are in bloom, and from July you can see hydrangeas & roses in the park. There is a path that runs through all the way up to a second park at the back and to the base of the mountains. It is well worth a walk up as at the top you can enjoy great views looking over the whole of Matsumae Park and the Strait of Tsugaru. There are two festivals held in Matsumae park, the first is the Matsumae Sakura Festival which is held from late April to mid May. The second is the Matsumae Ajisa Festival in early August.
|Dates||Last weekend of May|
|Opening Hours||10:00 - 14:00
|Contact||0164-53-3332 (Mashike Town Office Commerce and Industry Tourism Division)|
|1 minute walk from Mashike bus station. 2 hour 15 minute drive from Sapporo.
Mashike station Ekimae Street Surroundings (Masuke Machi Bentencho 1)
The Mashike Spring Taste Festival, better known as the ‘Mashike Shrimp Festival’ is held annually on the western coast of Hokkaido. Mashike is a quiet harbor town that prizes its seafood. The festival is a celebration of the local produce from the area. Mashike has some fantastic old buildings throughout the town and the festival makes use of these as well as the streets for the multitude of stalls. At the festival, you can taste plenty of different kinds of seafood, though if you want to see a lot of the shrimp, its best to get to the festival early.
Many of the public arrive early and get shrimp in take away packs so get in quick. The festival finishes surprisingly early at 14:00. There are lots of stalls selling different kinds of food, especially seafood. You can buy shrimp, octopus and shell fish for a cheap price. Goes well with the beer! The festival also focuses on local sake and the breweries in the area. They have a sake tasting area as well as sake competition which can be seen on a large stage. There are local performers and attraction throughout the streets, so make sure to bring a camera.
There are three ways to get to Mashike. The most convenient and probably the cheapest would be to get a hire car from Sapporo. If you don’t have a lot of time, it is an easy drive up in the morning and head back in the evening. It’s a great drive and you can stop off along the way and see Shiragane Waterfall, and the Yuhinooka Rest Stop. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Sapporo Station to Rumoi (2 hrs & 50 min) and then take a taxi (20 km) to Mashike. This will put you back about ¥10,000 return. Via train from Sapporo, take the ‘Lilac Limited Express’ or the ‘Kamui Limited Express’ to Fukugawa (1 hour 5 min). Trains run every 4 hours to Owada (50min) and then a taxi to Mashike (25km). Total cost via this route is about ¥12,000 there and back.