2-Day Sapporo Itinerary: Best Places To See In Sapporo, Japan On A Budget

2-Day Sapporo Itinerary: Best Places To See In Sapporo, Japan On A Budget

By DAN FORTEZA

While many travelers see the city of Sapporo as a transit hub to access Hokkaido’s mountains and hot springs, there are enough worthwhile attractions to keep you here for days. Summer is the season for beer and food festivals. In February, despite the harsh cold, Sapporo’s population literally doubles during the famous Festival of Snow and Ice. But if you only have 2 days in Sapporo and surely don’t want to miss those must-see places in the city, this blog is for you. Here, I’ve put together my do-it-yourself Sapporo itinerary, specifically for budget travelers, which includes Sapporo’s top attractions.

Hi there! First of all, I am Daniel – a solo backpacker from the Philippines. If you don’t know my story yet, feel free to read this article where I talked about how I quit my job in order to travel. This article was also featured on TripZilla Philippines.

Meet Pepper the humanoid robot. I met him at Tanukikuji Underground Mall | Sapporo itinerary
Meet Pepper the humanoid robot. I met him at Tanukikuji Underground Mall | Dantravels.org

WHERE IS SAPPORO?

Sapporo is the largest city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. It is also the fifth-largest city of Japan by population. It is about 1-½ hour flight away from Tokyo and could take up to 8 hours if you go by bullet train from Tokyo.

If you go in winter as I did, everything is so white and pristine…a beautiful winter wonderland for people like me who grew up in a tropical country!

Language: Japanese
Currency: Japanese Yen (JPY)
Airport: CTS
Preferred mode of transportation: Trams / Subway
Time Zone: GMT +9

HOW I GOT THERE:

Coming from Tokyo, I bought a cheap flight ticket to Sapporo via Jetstar Air. It was actually much cheaper (and of course way faster) than going by a bullet train. There are a lot of economy flights going to Sapporo so it’s better if you go by plane.

I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.

HOW TO GET AROUND?

  • Subways and Trams are the best way to get around Sapporo. But as I mentioned in my budget travel tips blog – “walk as much as you can!
    • Subway – Sapporo has three subway lines that can take you to many places throughout the city. Fares are generally anywhere from 200 yen to 360 yen per ride, depending on how far you’re going. Tickets can be purchased at vending machines outside the stations.
    • Trams or Streetcars – Sapporo’s tram network is one of the city’ more unique transportation methods. With only about seven minutes between each streetcar, it is one of the fastest ways for you to get around some areas of town. The fare is only 200 yen, so it’s a reasonable alternative to subways or trains.

If you already have a prepaid Suica card, you can still use it in Sapporo to pay for transport. If you haven’t, you can buy a Suica card online at GoVoyagin.com for pickup at Narita or Haneda airport.

TIP: Your navigation would be much easier if you are using Google Maps. Google Maps was my savior in Sapporo! In Japan, it is very reliable and accurate. If you’re looking for travel directions, it will give you all different options and how much it will cost for each option. You can either buy a sim card here or rent a pocket wifi here for pick-up at various airports across Japan.

WHERE DID I STAY?

I arrived at New Chitose Airport (CTS) at around 8:00 AM from a 1-½-hour flight from Tokyo. Outside CTS airport, there are buses departing every 15-20 minutes from about 5:30 am to 10:30 pm. Taking a bus is the cheapest option (costing JPY 1,030)  and take about an hour to downtown Sapporo with stopovers from various stations and hotels around the city.

  • So I then took the airport shuttle bus to go downtown Sapporo at Minami 3 Jo Susukino stop where my hostel is about 2-3 minute walk.
    • Bus ticket from CTS airport to Minami 3 Jo Susukino – 1,030 JPY (9.7 USD)
  • Capsule Inn Sapporo: 2-night stay (click here to book)
    • Hostel room type: Capsule Type Bed
    • Hostel rate: 2,500 JPY (23 USD) per night
    • Important: This hostel is for MEN only

NOTE: There were no private bathrooms in the hostel, only the so-called indoor ONSEN. As a foreigner, it was a bit strange for me to strip off naked and bathe side by side with other people. But at the end of the day, it was a unique yet memorable experience I would treasure! Don’t worry, cameras are not allowed inside the onsen bathroom. Keep in mind also the Onsen etiquette in the photo below.

Bathing etiquette at Capsule Inn Hostel | Dantravels.org

You can book a room at any Sapporo hotel through Agoda or Booking.com. I usually book my room accommodations through booking.com. Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.

Use my link to book your hostel and you’ll get 10% of your booking back after your stay. Click this link to get that discount.

If Sapporo hostel isn’t to your liking, try AirBnb. Airbnbs are immersed in neighborhoods, condos, and townhomes. There is a feeling you get when you stay in an Airbnb that makes you feel like you belong in that city or town. Since it is someone’s home, there is a certain amount of pride you feel while staying there. I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!

If you’re new to AirBnB, then you can get up to 42 USD free travel credit by signing up via this link.

MY 2-DAY SAPPORO ITINERARY

DAY 1:

1st Stop: SUSUKINO

Susukino is a vibrant and busy pocket of Sapporo. This is also called the downtown of Sapporo. Around Susukino, there are plenty of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and shopping centers. There is a subway stop here and an underground passageway connecting you to Odori Park and other parts of the city. I spent most of my time in this area since it is closed to my hostel, Odori park, and the TV tower.

At Susukino taken from McDonalds' | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 2 hours
    • Nearest train / tram station: Susukino station

2nd Stop: Tanukikoji Shopping Street

Located between Odori Park and Susukino, this above-ground but covered shopping street is a number of blocks long. So if you’re going to Odori Park from Susukino by foot as I did, you’ll pass Tanukikoji Shopping Street. This place is full of bars, food shops, game arcades, souviner shop, animal cafe, drugstores, and everything! Perfect to buy some cheap souvenirs haha!

Tanukikuji Shopping Centers | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 2 hours
    • Nearest train / tram station: Tanukikoji station

3rd Stop: Odori Park

In summer, this park is very beautifully decorated with flowers and water in fountains. In winter, it’s spectacular because of YUKI MATSURI, the festival of snow and ice. But when I went there in late February, the festival has just ended and there was nothing special. The park was full of snow so it is a little bit pity.

    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1 hour
    • Nearest train station: Odori Station

4th Stop: Sapporo TV Tower

You must definitely visit this TV tower as it is one of the main landmarks in Sapporo. The tower is located along Odori Park. From its observatory deck,  you will enjoy looking around Sapporo City and Odori Park. You can buy the ticket here in advance.

Overlooking Sapporo TV Tower at Odori Park | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1 hour
    • Nearest train / tram station: Odori station

DAY 2:

5th Stop: Sapporo Tram RIDE

The tram ride in Sapporo was interesting as Japan doesn’t have one back in Tokyo. The streetcar gives you a view of the sights, sounds, and scenes instead of the sightless subway. The ticket price was reasonable at 200 Yen. The tram’s circular loop brought me around Sapporo and to my next destination – Fushimi Inari Shrine

NOTE: On weekends and holidays, they also have the special Dosanko Pass that gives you unlimited rides for a day for 360 Yen and children can ride free with an adult carrying a pass

An inside look of one of the trams in Sapporo | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1 hour

6th Stop: Fushimi Inari Shrine

When visiting this Shrine, you need to hike up a bit from the tram stop nearby. The area of the shrine was nice to walk around and admire the scenery, especially during winter, as the falling snow created its own aesthetic. The long row of torii gates at the entrance was an especially memorable sight to see and gave me many valuable photo opportunities.

Fushimi Inari Shrine | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 2 hours
    • Nearest train station: Nishisen juroku jo station

7th Stop: SAPPORO CLOCK TOWER

I was told by a Japanese friend that this Clock Tower is Hokkaido’s most famous landmark as it is one of the oldest structure in Sapporo (and the entirety of Hokkaido Island). The building was constructed during the early period of Sapporo’s development in 1878. So I had to go and checked it out. This famous landmark in Sapporo is about 200 meters from Odori Park. There is an entrance fee but I did not go inside. I think a good picture together with the clock tower will do! =)

Sapporo Clock Tower | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 1 hour
    • Nearest train station: Odori station

8th Stop: MT. MOIWA

The viewpoint at Mt. Moiwa offers you an amazing view of Sapporo city and Ishikari bay. This is something you should not miss when you’re in Sapporo. By using Google Map directions, you can hike up slightly more than an hour (from Ropeway Iriguchi station) on a well-marked and well-traveled trail, past many Buddhist statues and also local residents hiking. However, be cautious when hiking during winter as the trail could get really filled with snow. If you opt not to hike, you can go by bus. From Ropeway Iriguchi tram stop, you need to walk about 3 minutes to the free shuttle bus going to the cable car station. Then, it takes two cable cars – one to take you to the halfway point, where there’s a gift shop, and then another car to take you to the top (where there are a viewing observatory and cafe).

You can also book a Sapporo Night tour here.

The snowy city of Sapporo taken from Mt. Moiwa's viewpoint | Dantravels.org
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): 3-4 hours
    • Nearest tram station: Ropeway Iriguchi station

What do you think of this 2-DAY SAPPORO itinerary?

I hope that you find this 2-DAY SAPPORO ITINERARY useful!

There are other awesome (and cheap!) Sapporo tours you can find at Viator Sapporo.

If you have more days to spend in Sapporo, you can include these cool places in your Sapporo itinerary:

  • Hokkaidō Shrine
  • Jozankei Onsen Hot Spring
  • Maruyama-koen Park
  • Shikotsu-Tōya National Park
  • Moerenuma Park
  • Sapporo Beer Museum

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section below.

BOOKING ESSENTIALS

  • Hotel / Hostel
    • Booking.com. I usually book my hostel accommodation at booking.com. Thus, I recommend you guys trying it as well for your Sapporo Itinerary.  Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.

Use my link to book your hostel and you’ll get 10% of your booking back after your stay. Click this link to get that discount.

    • Airbnb. Try Airbnb in finding comfy and cozy rooms for your Sapporo itinerary! I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!

Have you tried Airbnb? Sign up with my link and you will get up to 42 USD (2,200 Php) off your first stay. Click this link to get that discount.

  • Flights
    • KAYAK. All of my flight bookings are all from KAYAK. Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel search engines and searches hundreds of travel sites.

I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.

  •  Sapporo Package tours
    • Viator. Viator is the world’s leading resource for researching, finding and booking the best travel experiences worldwide.

Click here to find the best Viator deals in Sapporo!

  • Travel Insurance
    • World Nomads. If you don’t have travel insurance when times get tough, basically you are screwed. Traveling always comes with inherent risks attached. Whether you are trekking in the Japanese mountains or wandering the snowy streets of Sapporo, unforeseen events can suddenly upend your world. Generally speaking, travel insurance covers you for the following: Medical Costs – hospital visits, emergencies, evacuations; Property Loss – luggage and their contents; Travel Issues – accommodation and transportation expenses. Thus, I highly recommend you guys getting a travel insurance. I bought one from the World Nomads (available in 130+ countries) where most travelers get their travel insurances.

Go to this link to get to your World Nomads travel insurance.

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