Thursday 1 March 2018

Hokkaido Pt 9: Sapporo Sightseeing I

Sapporo may be Hokkaido's largest city but it is not scarily large as its major landmarks and places of interest are well connected by an efficient system of subway lines and bus transportation. It is modern in every way with blocks of high rises, and state of- the-art underground shopping arcades but it is not congested and has lovely parks in the midst of these concrete structures. To feel the heartbeat of Sapporo a good starting point would be Odori Park. Exploring the city on foot from there we discovered it does have a fair bit of attractions! 

Odori Park
Odori Park is an elongated park stretching 1.5km from east to west. It was originally meant to be a street but was turned into a park. The two nearest subway station to access this park are Odori Station and Sapporo Station. 
The park features a few interesting monuments, sculptures, fountain and flower beds but in winter the ground is mostly covered with snow. Odori Park is the chosen venue for the annual snow festivals in Sapporo. My visit was just a few days before the 69th Sapporo Snow Festival and preparation for the festival was ongoing. Some of the snow sculptures were ready but some were still being touched up. 
These snow sculptures are a great display of ice carving skill but are transient as they will ultimately melt away. The only way to remember them is to take photos of each piece.

Sapporo TV Tower
Odori Park is bordered on both ends by famous landmarks. On its eastern end is Sapporo TV Tower, a monument built in 1957 which rises to 147.2 meters. It has an observation deck which is open to the public for a fee (¥720). From this deck you can get a good view of the length of Odori Park.

Sapporo City Archive Museum
Sapporo is generally a modern city with very few heritage buildings. This archive museum is one of the few heritage buildings you can see in the city's hub. This famous building marks the western border of Odori Park. 
Sapporo City Archive Museum was the former Hokkaido Government Office Building. Also known as the 'red brick office' the building was constructed in 1888 of American neo-baroque architecture. Today it is a public museum that exhibits documents and records of the history of Hokkaido Government. Admission is free but the the exhibits are not that interesting (picture below).

The compound of Sapporo Archive Museum was covered with thick snow in winter. Seen here are its beautiful trees with heapings of snow.

As I was walking along the road outside the park, I couldn't help but noticed the naked trees lining its path,  a very charming sight indeed.

Soseigawa Park
Heading southward from Sapporo TV Tower you will pass through a few blocks of buildings. In the midst of these is another elongated park built along a narrow tunnel. This is Soseigawa Park.

There are scupltures and bridges at intermittent length and most of the park are covered with snow. The canal is not all frozen though!
We saw cute toddlers playing and rolling in the snow at the park. This appeared like an activity organised by a group of day care staffs.

Nijo Market
There is a small market in the hub of Sapporo. Nijo market which existed since the Meiji Era (1868-1912) is located south and about three blocks away from the TV tower. This market has a blue roof and occupies a square block with about 50 stalls. 
Nijo is a place where you can get fresh seafood like salmon, oysters, scallops and lots of giant crabs! There are also eateries within the market which can cook up a fresh seafood meal for you.
You can get other stuffs like fruits, preserved seafood, etc but nothing is cheap here.
And this is a cute statue at the edge of the market.

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