|Dates||1st weekend of June (3 days)|
|Opening Hours||9:00 - 22:00
|Notes||Alcohol not permitted, no parking|
|5 minute walk from Sapporo station. Take the north exit from the station, head one block north. The university is on the left hand side
5 Chome Kita 8 Jonishi, Kita Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0808
The Hokkaido University Festival, also known as Hokudai-sai, is a three day event that is held at the start of June. It is a popular festival for the locals of Sapporo. The event allows the students to show the public their skills and cultural backgrounds. The event is actually compromised of ten festivals which are held down the main street of the campus in stalls, plus some of the surrounding buildings. One of the main attractions is the International Food Festival where you can sample foods from all over the world! These stalls are run by the international students attending the university.
Besides the International Food area, there are further stalls set up along the road. These stalls sell Japanese cuisine, and include games and events. There are student performances on stage, a rock festival, haunted house, and a cosplay event. Simply take a long stroll down the main road that runs through the campus and take in the sights and smells. The stalls run for a few hundred meters so there is a lot to see! The event starts during the first week of June and runs through the weekend. If you are in Sapporo around that time, make sure to put the Hokkaido University Festival into your schedule.
|Dates||June 21 - 24|
|Opening Hours||All day|
|5 minute walk from Sapporo station or Odori subway station
Sapporo-shi Chuo-ku North 2 West 4 chome & North 3 West 4-chome
From June until August, the countryside throughout Hokkaido comes alive with myriads of color. The flower season is a must see in while in Hokkaido during these months. If you can’t get out into the countryside then there are plenty of opportunities to see the flowers in Sapporo city! There are plenty of events that are held during the summer, and the Sapporo Flower Carpet has added its name to the list. This event coincides with the flower festival which is held in Odori park around the same time.
The Sapporo Flower Carpet is a relatively short event, only lasting for three days. It is set up on the paved brick road running in front of the Former Hokkaido Government Building . The outside event is free to enter and runs for about 30 meters up the road. It is on, not only during the day but at night as well, and is illuminated by hundreds of electric candles creating a very beautiful ambiance. A good time to get some photos. Running, in mid June and with easy access near Sapporo station, it’s an event that’s easy to check out!
|Dates||June 7th - June 11th|
011-231-4351（YOSAKOI Soran Festival Organizing Committee)
|Odori park, and surrounding areas throughout downtown Sapporo
Take the subway to Odori station
The Yosakoi Soran Festival is an energetic dancing event based on the Yosakoi Festival of Kochi Prefecture which was first held back in 1954. The style of dance is highly energetic, combining traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music. Yosakoi is performed all over Japan at festivals. Sapporo’s Yosakoi Soran Festival was first launched in 1992. The dances feature naruko clappers, colorful costumes and Hokkaido’s ‘Soran Bushi’ folk songs. From its origins of 10 teams with 1,000 dancers, it has bloomed into a major international event attracting some 30,000 dancers from within Japan and from abroad. Every year brings up to 20 million visitors. It runs for 4 days with the top teams performing in Odori park for the final.
The teams are made up of men and women from all ages and all walks of life; students, homemakers, and workers. The teams perform all over Sapporo from afternoon to the evening. There is a great energy at these performances and the performers put a lot of effort in. They are always smiling and happy to pose for photographs. The best teams are selected to perform on stage in Odori park on the final day, where the event is televised. Many of the roads are blocked off to traffic so its very easy to walk aorund and view the various teams.
The energetic choreography, vibrant costumes and make-up are part of the festival’s attractions. The costumes are made up of ‘Happi Coats’ and yukatas (light cotton kimonos) and are based on historical attire, popular fashion, or ethnic fashions. All members of the teams wear similar costumes and look fantastic together. Many teams carry and use the ‘naruko’ (small wooden clappers) and each member has one. The use of naruko is required in yosakoi dance but over the years, many teams use other hand held instruments or props, such as drums, flags, batons, wagasas (Japanese style umbrellas), and floats. The head of each team usually has two singers or presenters that sing to a loud backing track, and there are typically one or two flag bearers at the rear of each team that wave giant flags to the music. Yosakoi is a colorful spectacle, and is a big event on the Hokkaido calender!
|Dates||June 14th - June 17th|
|Hokkaido Shrine - take the subway to Maruyama station, it's a 10 minute walk to Hokkaido Shrine. The shrine is located in Maruyama park.
Nakajima park - take the subway to Nakajima park station. Festival is located there.
The Hokkaido Shrine Festival, also called the Sapporo Festival, has a history going back over a century. It is also one of the biggest festivals in Hokkaido. The festival runs from the 14th to the 16th of June. Stalls, entertainment and other attractions are set up through Nakajima park for those 3 days. Traditional dedication ceremonies are held at the shrine in Maruyama park, where many festival stalls are also set up. On the final day on the 16th, a huge parade sets out from Hokkaido Shrine and makes its way into the centre of Sapporo. The procession involves thousands of people dressed in colorful Heian period costumes. They wind their way through the city, so it is not hard to miss. Just follow the sound of the taiko drums. This really is a must see, a great Japanese experience!
Nakaijima park is a popular place to head to for this festival. Many people dress up in their yukatas (light cotton kimonos) and head to the park. The festival here opens midday and closes by 10pm. There a rows and rows of stalls, selling local food, beer, drinks, sweets and even goldfish. Try your luck at the many game stalls set up, and try and win a toy or trinket. At the centre of the park, are a couple of fun ghost houses that you can enter. There is also a death defying motorbike event which is pretty interesting. Watch as a motorcyclist rides the walls of small circular room, blindfolded. There are also some jumping castles for the kids, and a magic house. Be warned though! In the evening, there are thousands upon thousands of people, and walking through the stalls can take a lot of time! It can get very crowded!
The highlight of the 3 day festival comes on the last day. Thousands of people in full costume leave in a long procession from Hokkaido Shrine. With drums, piccolos, and other instruments, this parade heads into the centre of Sapporo and makes its way back. The floats and portable shrines leave from Hokkaido shrine at around 8 am. It is a full day affair. The procession usually arrives into central Sapporo around early afternoon. Along with the procession there are 4 large mikoshi portable shrines that are carried by hundreds of locals, and 8 floats. The costumes are Heian period (794 to 1185 ad) and are very colorful and beautiful. Thousands of onlookers line the street and there are plenty of cameras around to capture this great spectacle. Definitely, mark this one down on your schedule if you are in and around Sapporo!