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February 2020

Sapporo, Japan: Year-Round Destination in Hokkaido

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  • Sapporo, Japan: Year-Round Destination in Hokkaido

    Regarded as the gateway to Hokkaido Prefecture and a coveted winter destination, Sapporo City opens up plenty of avenues to explore the beauty of northern Japan. In the absence of snow, the natural beauty of Hokkaido’s capital is revealed and proves it to be a year-round destination. Sapporo is a place of idyllic respite, home to numerous parks and natural attractions.

    A beer-loving and ramen-yielding city, it is also the site of vibrant and gastronomic festivals throughout the year. This laidback metropolis can attract both people who love the city life and those trying to escape from it. It brims with energy at night and sways along to the rising sun, as gentle as a lamb, and anyone can find the kind of adventure—or relief—they are looking for without even leaving the city.

    Major festivals to watch out for:

    WINTER
    Sapporo Snow Festival
    Early-February

    SPRING
    Sapporo Lilac Festival
    Mid-May to late-May

    SUMMER
    Sapporo Summer Festival and Odori Beer Garden
    Mid-July to mid-August

    AUTUMN
    Sapporo Autumn Fest
    September

    Getting to Sapporo

    • By air:

    Recommended airline: Japan Airlines (JAL)

    Manila (MNL) — 4 hrs. ➜ Tokyo Haneda (HND) or Narita (NRT) — 95 mins. ➜ Sapporo (CTS)

    JAL Sakura Lounge

    JAL Sakura Lounge, Tokyo Narita Airport

    Beat airport boredom at JAL Sakura Lounge, available both in Manila and Tokyo airports, equipped with state-of-the-art amenities for privacy and comfort, such as free Wi-Fi, power outlets, USB ports, and buffet dining. Tokyo Haneda and Narita airports have more amenities like a sleeping area, kids room, and business center. The Haneda lounge, however, is under renovation and will re-open in April 2020.

    Eligibility: JMB Diamond, JMB Sapphire, JGC Premier, and JAL Global Club member (+1 companion); First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy Class, and Economy Class (Flex Y Fare) passengers
    Website: www.jal.co.jp/en/inter/service/lounge/

    Also read: JAL Sakura Lounge at Manila NAIA Terminal 1

    • By train:

    Covered by JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass and Japan Rail Pass

    Tokyo Station (Tohoku Shinkansen) — Approx. 3 hrs. ➜ Shin-Aomori (Hokkaido Shinkansen) — Approx. 1 hr. ➜ Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (Hokuto Limited Express) — 3.5 hrs. ➜   Sapporo Station

    Getting around Sapporo

    Navigating Sapporo is easy thanks to its efficient public transport network. The easiest and most common mode of transport is the subway. The Sapporo streetcar or tram is also a nice way to tour the southwestern area of downtown Sapporo.

    For spots in the city outskirts, buses are a reasonable option though taxis are also readily available. Car rental kiosks can also be found around Sapporo Station and Odori Station.

    Read on below for the best places you should not miss when in Sapporo City!


    By Rei Leaño

    Where to Go in Sapporo

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