By: Jason A. Martin
I don't know about you, but when I hear about Sapporo, the first thing that comes to mind is beer. I'm a long time Sushi eater and Sapporo is my beer of choice when eating. What you might have not known is that there's an actual city in Japan called Sapporo. In fact, that's where the beer comes from. Sapporo is a perfect place for making beer. The hops are excellent and it's cold.
Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido Island—located in the West. It's the fastest growing city in Japan. At last check, there were more than two million living in Sapporo. It is the 5th largest city in Japan.
When many think of Japan, they think of the over crowded life in Tokyo. Life in Sapporo is much different. First of all, the island of Hokkaido is covered with forests. Many Japanese escape to the island and Hokkaido attracts millions of visitors annually. The summer is the peak time.
Earlier I mentioned the beer they make here. Sapporo has been making beer since 1891. If you visit Sapporo, you can take a tour of the facility. It's one of those must-see attractions. There's nothing like a fresh Sapporo beer.
Sapporo is also famous for its snow festival, Yuki Matsuri. It takes place for one week each year in February. It continues to grow each year. It started out as a couple of snow sculptures and has now grown to a main event held at multiple sites. Many come for the international snow sculpture competition.
Perhaps the most interest aspect of the Yuki Matsuri is the community effort given to one giant statue each year. If you arrive in Sapporo just before the festival, you can participate in the creating of this statue. It's advised that you book your stay ahead too. More than two million tourists flood into Sapporo for the Yuki Matsuri.
Another aspect I find interesting about Sapporo, as someone that doesn't speak fluent Japanese, is the fact that the tourist information centers are English-friendly. They are always staffed with personnel that speak English well. At the International Information Corner, they have maps and information handouts in English. This makes any English-speaking traveler—that doesn't speak Japanese—at home.
Another great first stop is the Sapporo International Communications Plaza. It's just across the street from the Tokeidai Clocktower and right by City Hall. It has more literature in English, including newspapers and magazines. You are bound to meet Japanese people there who know English as well. There is so much more to talk about, but this article was meant to wet your whistle for Sapporo, Japan.
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