You want to taste the legendary powder snow of Japan but have only a limited time? Base yourself in Sapporo and enjoy Teine's deeep snow -only 30 minutes from the city. Ready to discover another winter wonderland in Hokkaido?
So I think this is it: every time we go in Japan, we fall in love with the country even more. Day after day in the season, the snow is getting deeper, the landscapes whiter and the city increasingly beautiful with her thick white coat. Sapporo is the most convenient destination for a 4 days trip in Hokkaido: there is obviously the snow nearby, plus a great food scene, nightlife and plenty to do.
Let's carry on our road trip in Hokkaido -after a first stop in Otaru, Kiroro & Kokusai under the snow, destination Sapporo & Teine!
Sapporo|the heart of hokkaido
When you hear Sapporo, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is a fresh pint of Sapporo beer -but this city is much more than that. Ideally situated between the sea and the mountains, the capital of Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan is famous for its beer (indeed!), its delicious crab, but also skiing and the annual Snow Festival featuring huge ice sculptures (every year in Feb/March). An excellent base for striking out into the deep pow!
what to do in sapporo (when not skiing/snowboarding) ?
We were happily surprised to see how vibrant Sapporo is! For a start, we wanted to get an overview of the city, so we've headed up to the 38th floor of the JR Tower, where the observatory offers a great panoramic view of the surroundings -from Mt Teine to the Sea of Japan. Breathtaking -especially when the ground beneath our feet starts shaking and vibrating : first earthquake experience in Japan! Afterwards, we went from a stroll, discovering the city, from the lovely Hokkaido Government Office building, Odori Park to Sapporo Factory, to spend the night in the lively Susukino district.
The food and bar scene in Sapporo
I don't know if we get lucky each time we look for a place to eat in Japan, or if the food is delicious EVERYWHERE in that country. Seriously, every meal was a real feast during our stay in Sapporo! Starting by some of the best sushis we had so far at Sushizanmai near Sapporo station, and great local craft beers in Hokkaido Bar. Another must is Ramen Yokocho, a narrow alley lined with shops serving ramen -perfect to warm you up for the day!
From Sapporo to Teine highland ski resort
Renting a car is the most comfortable option for a road trip in Hokkaido, nevertheless, public transport is well organized in Japan, and really convenient from Sapporo. You can go pretty much anywhere in the island (all informations are available at the Information Center in Sapporo Station). To get to Teine ski resort, catch a train to Teine, then a bus to either Teine Highland or Olympia.
Teine Resort|SNOW PARADISE 30 MINUTES FROM THE CITY
Teine ski resort has two particularities: the steepest slopes in Hokkaido + stunning views over the city and the sea. If it get packed during the weekend (it's all relative of course, compared to big resorts in Europe), it's really nice and relax during the week. Fun fact: in 1972, Mt Teine was the site of the first Winter Olympic in Asia.
The course layout is awesome for both intermediate and advanced levels, less good for intermediate-beginner snowboarders, as you pretty much have the choice between (too) steep black runs or flat and boring green ones.
This winter, we've decided to spend as much time as possible in Japow -which means every time we get some time off, we hop on a flight to Hokkaido. That second trip of the season was a great opportunity to discover Sapporo, eat some delicious Japanese food and explore another ski resort. Sapporo Teine surely is a powder paradise for advanced riders.
Next stop on our Hokkaido road trip: Jozankei, one of the most popular hot spring town in Hokkaido. Get ready to get NAKED IN THE SNOW!