8 Beautiful Parks and Gardens in Sapporo

Sapporo Beautiful Parks and Gardens

Nakajima Park by redlegsfan21 via Wikimedia cc

Best Parks and Gardens to Visit in Sapporo, Hokkaido

Sapporo is one of the largest cities in Hokkaido, with long winters that coat the landscape in powder white snow and stunning springs that explode in pale pink petals. Sapporo is an excellent destination that pairs nature and relaxation well. Below is a list of Sapporo’s most beautiful parks and gardens where major festivals are held, and gardens are built to commemorate the partnership with a sister city.

The Odori Park

Odori park, Sapporo Hokkaido Japan
Odori park, Sapporo Hokkaido Japan

Odori Park, possibly the most famous in Hokkaido, sits directly in the city’s center, dividing the metropolis into North and South. Odori Park was first constructed as a firebreak in 1871 and was called Shiribeshi Dori before it was renamed in 1881 to Odori, meaning “big street,” then officially became a park in 1909. Today, the park is a popular leisure spot where 4,700 trees, including maples, zelkova, and elm, and flowering trees, like cherry blossoms, lilacs, and azaleas, of different varieties, are planted. The park is also the site of major events in Sapporo, such as the Sapporo Lilac Festival, Yosakoi Soran Festival, Sapporo Summer Festival, Sapporo Autumn Festival, Sapporo Snow Festival, and the Sapporo White Illumination.

Park Hours: 24/7
Park Entrance Fee: Free

The Nakajima Park

Nakajima Park by redlegsfan21 via Wikimedia cc
Nakajima Park by redlegsfan21 via Wikimedia cc

One of the three main parks in Sapporo, Nakajima Park, is located next to the Susukino shopping district and used to operate as a lumber yard until it turned into a park in 1887. The park covers 21 hectares of land with 5,000 trees, including Japanese red spruce, elms, maples, ginkgos, wisteria, and cherry blossom. Nakajima Park is a popular winter destination where a cross-country skiing course is set up. In the springtime, thousands of cherry trees bloom. During summertime, the Hokkaido Shrine Festival is held in Nakajima Park, where stalls and game stands line the walkways.

Park Hours: 24/7
Park Entrance Fee: Free

The Maruyama Park

Monument of Shima-Hangan in Maruyama Park in Sapporo photo via Wikimedia cc
Monument of Shima-Hangan in Maruyama Park in Sapporo photo via Wikimedia cc

The Maruyama Park is a year-round destination where cherry trees bloom in the spring, maple trees change their leaves in the autumn, and snow carpets the park in the winter. The park occupies 68 hectares of land with 1,700 wild cherry and maple trees planted and is where the Maruyama Zoo and Maruyama Baseball Stadium are found. Maruyama Park was completed in 1957 and is home to several different shrines, including the Hokkaido Shrine, one of the largest and most popular in Sapporo. The shrines, cherry and maple trees, and zoo can be visited by following the stone stairways. In the springtime, locals flock to the park to enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Park Hours: 24/7
Park Entrance Fee: Free

The Moerenuma Park

Moerenuma Park by t-konno via Wikimedia cc
Moerenuma Park by t-konno via Wikimedia cc

Moerenuma Park began construction in 1982 with the design concept created by Isamu Noguchi and opened to the public in 2005. The park’s most prominent landmarks are the Sea Fountain, which operates from April 29 – October 20, and the Glass Pyramid, which opens every first Monday between April 29 – November 03 and every Monday of November 04 – April 28. Another park highlight is the Forest of Cherry Trees, with play equipment for children. Other park features include the Play Mountain with magnificent views of the park and the Music Shell, where musical performances are held. Moerenuma Park pairs Noguchi’s geometric installations and the natural landscape of Sapporo, which can be enjoyed in any season. The Forest of Cherry Trees blooms in the spring while the hills can be enjoyed for skiing in the winter.

Park Hours: 7AM to 9PM, Daily
Park Entrance Fee: Free

The Nishioka Park

Nishioka Park by t-konno via Wikipedia cc
Nishioka Park by t-konno via Wikipedia cc

Nishioka Park is located southwest of Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill, consisting of the Tsukisamu River, its upper river basin, a forest, and a marshland. The main attraction of Nishioka Park is the center pond constructed in the Meiji era as a water supply facility for the Imperial Army. Overlooking the center pond is an intake tower that has become a popular pictorial site in the park.

The park also serves as a habitat for different species of wild and migratory birds in Hokkaido, which can be observed along the paths over the marshlands. Other areas around the park can be explored via the raised paths. The paths lead to an observation deck and community center dotted by pine trees and cherry blossoms framed by running streams and camping grounds.

Park Hours: 9AM to 5PM, Daily
Park Entrance Fee: Free

The Asahiyama Memorial Park

Asahiyama Memorial Park photo via Wikimedia cc
Asahiyama Memorial Park photo via Wikimedia cc

The Asahiyama Memorial Park was established in 1970 to celebrate Sapporo’s centennial anniversary. The Park is known for the sweeping views of Sapporo, especially at nighttime when the park fountain is illuminated, and the city is lit up, creating a romantic atmosphere. The park has ample play area for children and well-lit walking paths for a quiet stroll where owners can bring their dogs. The park also offers a hanging bridge, a rest house, and hiking trails that loop around the park to the southwest of Mount Moiwa.

Park Hours: 10AM to 5PM, Daily
Park Entrance Fee: Free

The Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens and The Chizaki Rose Garden

Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens by 663highland via Wikipedia cc
Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens by 663highland via Wikipedia cc

The Botanical Gardens of Hokkaido University opened to the public in 1886 and operates as a research facility of Hokkaido University for botanical research and education. The Botanical Gardens has a greenhouse, memorial building, a collection of early Hokkaido homes, and a natural history museum built in 1884. Another feature of the Botanical Gardens is the Chizaki Rose Garden, with hundreds of bushes of different varieties. Old cultivars and wild Japanese rose trees are planted around a water lily pond. The roses at the Chizaki Rose Garden bloom from late June to September. Other themed gardens in the Botanical Gardens are the Alpine Plants Rock Garden with over 600 species of alpine plants from Japan, the Canadian Rock Garden, which was opened to honor the partnership between Hokkaido University and the University of British Colombia, and the Natural Woodland which shows Sapporo’s original landscape before the urban development.

Park Hours: 9AM to 4PM, Tuesdays to Sundays of November through April; Closed on Mondays
Park Entrance Fee: ¥ 420 Adults, ¥ 300 Children between 15 and 7 years, FREE for Children 6 and below

The Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill

Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill by Webb Chung via Wikipedia cc
Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill by Webb Chung via Wikipedia cc

The Sapporo Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill, which means “hill of sheep,” is an observation hill that looks over a sheep farm and downtown Sapporo. Atop the Hill is a statue of Dr. William S. Clark, which marks Dr. Clark’s centennial arrival in Hokkaido. The statue was built to replace the original bust in Hokkaido University as it attracted too many tourists to the campus.

The Observation Hill used to be a research center where the sheep were kept for the Hokkaido National Agriculture Research facility and operated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. After the war, tourists flocked to the Hill, and, as a result, it interfered with research that the Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill was built on the other side of the research center.

When visiting the popular scenic spot, don’t forget to take a photo with the statue of Dr. Clark! Visitors can see the sheep get their wools sheared or take photos with the lavender field every spring.

Park Hours: 9AM to 5PM, Daily
Park Entrance Fee: ¥ 530 Adults, ¥ 300 Junior High School and Elementary School Students

One of the best ways to travel around the city is by taking the train via the Sapporo Municipal Subway, the tram via Sapporo Streetcar, or the taxi and bus via the Sapporo Station. Some of the parks are located uphill, so taking a private car may be more convenient. Visit the parks from early May to early June to see the cherry blossoms.

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