Pristine Sapporo, Japan is wonderful to visit with children any time of year, however winter holds special charm and different experiences. Take in Japan’s 4th largest city with kids and realize a rich history and proud tradition as you enjoy festive activities and beautiful snowy vistas. There is great skiing nearby so consider taking a powdery vacation and enjoying this day of downtime off the slopes to recharge you mid-stay.
Address: 50-1 Atsubetsucho | Konopporo, Sapporo, Hokkaido 004-0006, Japan
Phone: +81 11-898-2692
Hours: Winter (October – April) 9 AM – 4 PM, Closed Mondays. Consult website for summer hours and holidays.
Admission: Winter, Adults 680 Yen, High School/College Students 550 Yen (Approx $6 and $5 as of the date of this publication) Seniors and children free. Website has slightly higher summer prices.
This open air museum faithfully recreates a Japanese village from the turn of the 20th century with authentic buildings and exhibits. The facility has everything, from family homes to a sleigh factory. A horse drawn carriage ferries visitors down main street as they explore Japanese farming culture and frontier life. Most of the placards are in Japanese, but staff are warm and friendly and happy to explain things to you. The village takes on a different feel in snowy winter as you pace through this idyllic spot removed from the city and really have a chance to take in the Japanese countryside and appreciate the beauty of nature.
Address: 1274 Miyanomori, Sapporo, 064-0958, Japan
Phone: +81 011-641–8585
Hours: Winter Hours (November – April) 9:30 AM – 5 PM, Daily. Consult Website for Summer Hours.
Getting There: A 40 minute drive from the last stop, or about an hour by public transit
Admission: 600 Yen (approximately $5 as of the date of this publication)
Take in an array of spectacles related to winter sports like skiing, curling, ice skating and more at this unique museum. Built at the base of a massive ski jump, visitors can enjoy taking a chairlift up to the top to admire the incredible height and chilling proposition of flying down at fantastic speeds. Back at the base, a realistic simulator provides a safe way to experience the thrill and see how you’d fare at this incredible feat. The displays are interesting even to non-athletes and you’ll learn as you marvel at the amazing feats winter athletes perform. This is extra exciting if you incorporate skiing into your vacation before or after this day.
Address: Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Getting There: 15 minutes by car or 30 minutes by public transportation from last stop
This famous entertainment district frequented by tourists and locals alike. There is some great shopping here, as well as a ton of wonderful restaurants and noodle bars. Enjoy some of the Miso-rich Ramen the area is famous for, which is even better enjoyed during chilly winter months. After warming your body with a hearty soup and noodle meal, try your hand at the local pastime of choice in a pachinko parlor. Pachinko is a sort of cross between pinball and slot machines that children and adults can enjoy for a few minutes, with its flashing lights and whistling bells.
Seasonal Note: Sapporo Snow Festival
If you can, try to visit during the annual Sapporo Snow Festival (February 5–11 in 2015). Over 2 million people from around the globe flock to the city to see amazing ice sculptures and snow creations amassed in local Odori Park. This is a special time of year and a very exciting and festive atmosphere permeates the beautiful ice art.