Exciting two-day Sapporo tour: Carve up an urban snow resort and the dancefloor

  • : 2 days
  • Route:
    Day one|New Chitose Airport → Check in at a city center hotel→ Sapporo Beer Garden
    Day two|Sapporo Teine → Hit the town in central Sapporo
  • MAP

Sapporo is a rare gem of a city–a bustling urban center with a population of two million that also gets blanketed in five meters of high-quality snow every year. Add the stunning natural landscape right on the city’s doorstep to the mix, and you can go all out carving the slopes by day and still be back downtown in time to enjoy all the exciting nightlife the metropolis has to offer.

From beginner skiers and snowboarders to hardcore snow fanatics, we’ll show you how to enjoy the slopes and the apres-ski, making sure you get the quintessential Sapporo experience!

Arrival at New Chitose Airport and checking into a central Sapporo hotel

After arriving at New Chitose Airport—the gateway to Hokkaido—Sapporo is just a train ride away. Take the JR Rapid Airport service to reach the city center in as little as 37 minutes.

Sapporo Beer Garden
( : 2 hours)

Useful Info

  • To get to the Sapporo Beer Garden, take the Loop-line bus (循環88) from the bus stop at the entrance to the Tokyu Department Store, south of Sapporo Station.
  • Loop-line buses from the Tokyu Department Store to the Sapporo Beer Garden run every 30 minutes.

After arriving in Sapporo and checking into your hotel, it’s time to have a hearty meal ahead of a full day of skiing tomorrow. For the first day, take the short trip to the Sapporo Beer Garden, where you can enjoy one of Hokkaido’s classic dishes—Genghis Khan. To get there, take the Loop-line bus (循環88), which runs every 30 minutes from the bus stop at the entrance to the Tokyu Department Store.

Bus stop at the entrance to the Tokyu Department Store.

Genghis Khan is a local favorite consisting of mutton or lamb grilled on an iron skillet, then dipped into sauce served in a separate bowl. What’s more, it pairs perfectly with a refreshing glass of beer. If you have some time to spare, the museum next door is definitely worth a look too.

Click here for more details on the Sapporo Beer Garden

Day two
Sapporo Teine
( : 6 to 8 hours)

Useful Info

  • Sapporo Teine is open for skiing and snowboarding from about mid-November to early May.
  • To get to Sapporo Teine, take a train from the JR Sapporo Station to Teine Station (about ten minutes on a rapid train), then a bus to the Olympia Zone (16 minutes) or the Highland Zone (28 minutes). Click here for detailed information.
  • The convenient Bus & Lift Pass Pack includes a round trip bus from Sapporo’s main hotels to the snow resort and a lift ticket. Reservations must be made online in advance.
  • Sapporo Teine offers one-day passes and various other lift tickets that’ll grant you access to the lifts and the gondola. Click here for price information.
  • For beginners, lessons are available in English. Reservations must be made online in advance. There’s also a park where you can enjoy various snow activities beyond skiing and snowboarding, including sledding and snow tubing.
  • The rental store stocks standard skis and snowboards as well as high performance gear to help you get the most out of a variety of trails. If you plan to rent gear, pre-book online to make the process as smooth as possible.

Of the six snow resorts within the Sapporo city limits, Sapporo Teine’s proximity to downtown make it a natural choice for skiers and snowboarders who also want to make the most of the exciting nightlife after hitting the slopes. A former Olympic venue, its wealth of options has something for everyone, from beginners and those who just want to play in the snow to experienced riders and skiers who can’t wait to carve up exceptional powder snow.

There are many ways to get to Sapporo Teine, but the BIGRUNS Teine Line bus that connects hotels in Sapporo City with the snow resort is probably the most convenient. There’s one bus a day, starting its rounds of the hotels at 8:00 am before arriving at Sapporo Teine at around 9:30 am. The bus back leaves Sapporo Teine at around 4:30 pm and takes one or two hours to get to the hotels in the city.

If you’d rather be more flexible with your schedule, you can take a train and a public bus or hop in a taxi.

Sapporo Teine has 15 trails spread out over two large zones: the Olympia Zone near the base of the resort and the Highland Zone near the peak. The Highland Zone is great for intermediate to advanced skiers and riders. During the 1972 Sapporo Olympics, this zone was the venue for four technical skiing events in the alpine skiing competition: men’s and women’s giant slalom, and men’s and women’s slalom.

Among all the thrilling trails in the Highland Zone, if you’re really up for a challenge you mustn’t miss KITAKABE (North Face). This tree run boasts a maximum incline of 36 degrees and playful moguls in deep powder—it’s one of the most difficult courses in all of Japan. If you’re looking to get deep into some untouched, pristine nature, then Sapporo Teine has you covered too, with sections of tree runs called the “Nature Area.” There’s also a gate at the top of the mountain where you can pop into the backcountry. However, be aware that this area is outside the resort boundary, so you enter at your own risk.

During the season from late December to early April, there’s a terrain park boasting various features including kickers, boxes and rails. It’s groomed by specialists, so you can always expect the jumps and jibs to be in top condition.

For those newer to winter sports, Olympia Zone boasts fun features including a beginner trail with an average incline of 13 degrees called SHIRAKABA Sun Shine, a Kid’s Park and more. Ski or snowboard lessons in English (advance reservations required) are perfect for those looking for some guidance on the slopes, while the exciting area set up for winter activities is ideal for those who’d prefer to play around in the snow without strapping anything onto your feet.

When your legs start getting a little wobbly, why not take a load off at one of two rest houses within the resort? The Highland Ski Center also has a restaurant and a premium lounge, where you can add a little luxury to your skiing and snowboarding experience for an additional fee.

Sapporo Teine also has you covered for food. You’ll find restaurants in both the Highland Zone and Olympia Zone. At the SKADI restaurant in the Highland Zone, the ramen made with Hokkaido wheat noodles and homemade soup is not to be missed.

Sapporo Teine is not only known for its superior snow quality and variety of trails; it also boasts stunning scenery from the summit. From here, you’ll be treated to a sweeping view of Sapporo’s urban sprawl home to some two million people. On a clear day, you might even see the Daisetsuzan Mountain Range out on the horizon. It’s easy to lose yourself in exploring Sapporo Teine’s thrilling trails, but remember to look up and take in the views from time to time.

Click here for more details on Sapporo Teine

Day two
Hit the town in central Sapporo
( : 4 hours)

Useful Info

  • Susukino is packed with bars and restaurants, and is known as one of Japan’s “big three” major entertainment districts, alongside Kabukicho in Shinjuku, Tokyo and Nakasu in Fukuoka.
  • There are also many places to eat throughout Sapporo’s city center, including around Sapporo Station, Odori Park and the Tanuki Koji Shopping Street.

After getting in some serious laps at an urban snow resort, it’s time to hit the town and enjoy some genuine local cuisine to wrap up a full day encapsulating everything Sapporo has to offer.

This city is the ideal place to enjoy fresh seafood from all over Hokkaido, and you can’t go wrong with sushi or kaisendon (a rice bowl topped with fresh sashimi). If you’re looking for a grown-up beverage to pair your meal with, then be sure to check out the local izakaya—traditional Japanese pubs. Whatever you’re looking for, the numerous eateries stretching from Odori Park to downtown Susukino is sure to have you covered.

After filling up on a delicious meal, it’s time to explore Sapporo City’s exciting nightlife. Whether you’re looking for a bar, a nightclub or karaoke, you’ll be sure to find something that suits 

If you want to enjoy skiing or snowboarding even more

  • Sapporo City is home to six snow resorts. Each one has unique features, so it’s definitely worth checking out a few of them during your stay. Click here for more information on Sapporo’s snow resorts.
  • The city is also one of Hokkaido’s leading transport hubs, offering easy access to other resorts throughout the prefecture. This includes Niseko, Rusutsu and Kiroro, which are known as havens for those seeking the world-famous “JAPOW” (Japanese powder snow).
  • Niseko Village, one of the resort areas of Niseko, is accessible by JR train. Take the JR Airport Line to Otaru Station (about 35 minutes), then transfer to the train for Kutchan Station (about 90 minutes). Note that there are a limited number of trains between Otaru and Kutchan each day.
  • To get to Rusutsu Resort from central Sapporo, a free, reservation-only bus runs every day (about 120 minutes). Click here to reserve your seat.
  • To get to Kiroro Resort from Sapporo’s main hotels and the North Exit of the JR Sapporo Station, a reservation-only bus is available. The bus fare is 2,200 yen for adults or 1,400 yen for children, one-way. Click here to reserve your seat.