While the Sapporo area has enough winter attractions to easily fill an itinerary of several days or more, for those short on time, this moderately-paced itinerary offers a taste of some of the city's best wintertime highlights.

This itinerary focuses on Sapporo's biggest winter event, the Sapporo Snow Festival, as well as a day of winter sports at a ski resort, but depending on your timing and preferences, these can be swapped out with other options like a trip to the nearby port town of Otaru, Noboribetsu's hot springs or more time exploring Sapporo's other attractions.

Day 1: Sapporo Snow Festival and Downtown

Start at New Chitose Airport
Take the JR Chitose Line into Sapporo
35 minutes
Sapporo Station
Walk to Odori Park
10 minutes
Sapporo Snow Festival
World famous winter festival 2-3 hours
The Sapporo Snow Festival is Sapporo's most well-known attraction, drawing over two million visitors from around the world each year in early to mid February. The monolithic snow and ice sculptures on display around Odori Park are the festival's main attraction, but local cuisine, live shows and winter sports exhibitions keep the energy high from morning till night throughout the weeklong event.
Walk to Susukino
15 minutes
Ramen Yokocho
Atmospheric ramen shop-lined alley in Susukino 45 minutes
A great place for a hot lunch on a cold winter day, the Susukino neighborhood's Ramen Yokocho is a small alley abuzz with visitors waiting to buy a bowl of the city's famous Sapporo style ramen.
Walk back to Odori Park
15 minutes
Sapporo TV Tower
Tower with a great view over Odori Park 45 minutes
While enjoying the snow festival, the observation deck at the top of the Sapporo TV Tower, located at the east end of Odori Park, offers a great vantage point over the festival festivities—especially at night.
Take the Loop 88 Factory Line to the Sapporo Beer Museum
20 minutes
Sapporo Beer Museum and Beer Garden
1-3 hours
The Sapporo Beer Museum is a popular destination for both beer and history fans which showcases the beverage's history in Japan and offers tastings at the end of the tour. Next to the museum, the Sapporo Beer Garden offers its famed "Genghis Khan" all-you-can-eat/drink mutton and beer dining experience.

Day 2: Winter Sports and Onsen Resorts

Start in downtown Sapporo
Take a bus to Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort
90 minutes
Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort
Ski Resort with great snow near Sapporo City 4-7 hours
Despite its small size (with only 5 lifts and 7 courses), Sapporo Kokusai is known for receiving huge volumes of powder snow, and is one of Hokkaido's most popular resorts thanks to its close proximity to the city.
Take a bus to Jozankei Onsen
30 minutes
Hot Springs at Jozankei Onsen
Developed hot spring town 90 minutes or overnight stay
By Japan standards, Jozankei's hot springs are relatively new (discovered in just 1866), but the small town has since bubbled into an mini onsen resort town whose hot baths offer a relaxing finish to a day at the nearby slopes.

Recommended Additions

Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

The harbor town of Otaru is a fantastic winter destination near Sapporo (about 30 minutes by train) with a beautifully preserved canal area. In winter, the canal and nearby areas are is lit up at night by hundreds of glowing lanterns at night during the annual Otaru Snow Light Path Festival.


For skiers or snowboarders looking for a taste of some of Hokkaido's top-tier slopes, the resorts of Niseko are considered by many the best in Japan, legendary for their massive amounts of high quality powder snow. The resort area is about 2 hours from Sapporo by train.

Hotels around Sapporo

Recommended Hotels
Air Terminal Hotel
Hotel conveniently located inside Shin-Chitose Airport.
Agoda Booking
JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo
Very popular hotel inside the tower that rises above Sapporo Station.
Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo
One of the best values in town, the Keio Plaza is located just a short walk from Sapporo Station.
Agoda Booking
Portom International Hokkaido
Nice hotel inside the terminal of New Chitose Airport.
Richmond Hotel Sapporo Ekimae
Reliable business hotel, a five minute walk from Sapporo Station.