8 Must-Try Wintertime Activities Around Sapporo



8 Must-Try Wintertime Activities Around Sapporo


Hokkaido is a snow lover’s paradise. While hitting the slopes for some skiing is very popular, there are many other ways to enjoy wintertime fun in Hokkaido. From easy activities that are fun for the whole family to more adventurous challenges for outdoorsy types, here are eight things to try in Hokkaido this winter. 

1. Popular Spots for Free Snow Fun!

Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park

Every year the Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park is tremendously popular with both residents of Sapporo and tourists alike. In the winter, the park is open to the public for free and hosts a variety of winter activities like snow tubing, snowshoeing, skiing, and snowboarding! The park even provides visitors with rental tubes or plastic sleds free of charge. 

While all the activities are fun, you don’t want to miss the snow tubing. The park is home to the longest course in the country at 200 meters. Rushing down this impressive course is sure to make a lasting memory. What’s more, there’s even a free towing service so you can get back up to the starting point without breaking a sweat. 
Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park in winter

The park is also an excellent place for first-timers to try out skiing or snowboarding on slopes designed to be challenging yet beginner friendly. Rental skis are available for a fee and there's also a ski lift. 
Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park has beginner friendly ski and snowboard courses

If you’d like to take in the area’s majestic scenery, how about a snowshoe course? You can walk with ease on the fluffy snow using snowshoes as you enjoy one of three routes. 
Snowshoeing at Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park

For anyone interested in some casual wintertime fun, this is a great place to visit! 


Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park | 国営滝野すずらん丘陵公園
Address: 247 Takino, Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Hours: 9:00am~4:00pm (changes seasonally)
Event Period: December 23, 2016 ~ March 31, 2017
Closed April 1~19 and November 11 ~ December 22 
Entrance fee: free (during winter only)
Access: 35 min via the Hokkaido Chuo bus bound for Suzuran Park Higashi-guchi. Get off at the last stop. 
Website (auto translation available):
English and Chinese speaking staff available (irregular schedules) 
Written instructions available in English 
Activity Details 
■ Family Ski Lift Ticket 

1-Day Pass 
Weekdays: 820 yen 
Weekends and holidays: 1,540 yen 

4-Hour Pass
Weekends and holidays only: 1,030 yen 

■ Ski Rental 
Skis, poles, ski shoes: 2,570 yen 

■ Free Rental Items
Snow tubes

* No prior reservation required 
* Ski instruction available (Japanese only) 

2. Feast on Hokkaido Specialties in a Snow Fort

SnowLand rurumap

Want to try one of Hokkaido’s famous meals while enjoying the snow? In this surprising experience, you can dine on jingisukan-- a dish made of grilled mutton and vegetables-- inside a snow fort-like structure called a kamakura! 
A kamakura in Hokkaido where you can eat jingisukan

You can get an idea of what the experience is like from posts like this one from rurumap’s Facebook page. 

今月も残り約1週間です。 土日は市内や市外近郊からのお客様にお越し頂き、平日は国内、海外問わず観光のお客様にお越し頂いております。


るるまっぷ自然公園ふれらんどさんの投稿 2016年1月24日

You can also take a ride on a banana boat sled being pulled along by snowmobile! You can slip and slide over the snow on your giant piece of fruit as many times as you'd like during your allotted rental time.

If you're looking for some fun and unique winter experiences with a reasonable price tag, then rurumap is a great choice. 


SnowLand rurumap | スノーランドるるまっぷ
Address: 275 Nishi Shimamatsu, Eniwa-shi, Hokkaido
Hours: 9:00am~4:00pm (hours may differ by program) 
Event period: December 20, 2016 ~ March 12, 2017 
Closed December 30, 2016 ~ January 3, 2017 
Entry fee: free 
Access: 10 minutes by car from JR Shimamatsu Station 
Chinese and English-speaking staff available on weekends 
Activity Details 
■ Kamakura Jingisukan (lodge also available)
Jingisukan with vegetables, two onigiri, yakisoba/sausage set  2,500 yen per person 
■ Banana boat 1,500 yen 
■ Sledding/tubing (can switch within allotted time) 600 yen for 1 hour 
■ Additional rentals 
Snowsuit (top and bottom) 500 yen 
Additional items such as hats and gloves can be rented for 300 yen 
*Reservations are required for jingisukan meals and rentals 

3. Try Your Hand at Ice Fishing

Shinshinotsu Village Tappu no Tsuriba

Wakasaki or Japanese pond smelt are a local specialty of Hokkaido. What better way to enjoy them than by catching some for yourself at an ice fishing experience? You can choose to fish out in the open on the ice or from inside a vinyl tent in a style known as koyatsuri should you want a bit of shelter from the cold. 
Ice fishing at Shinshinotsu Village Tappu no Tsuriba

Here's what the vinyl tents look like. You sit on the benches inside and fish through the cut out in the floor. 
Inside a vinyl ice fishing tent at Shinshinotsu Village Tappu no Tsuriba

You can take the fish you catch to the restaurant next door where they'll turn them into delicious tempura or fry them for 500 yen. After, take a soak in the nearby onsen Tappu No Yu to warm up before heading home.


Shinshinotsu Village Tappu No Tsuriba | 新篠津村 たっぷの釣り場
Address: Kita 2, 45-sen, Shinshintotsu-mura, Ishikari-gun, Hokkaido
Reception hours:
Weekdays 7:00am~4:00pm 
Weekends and holidays: 6:30am~4:00pm 
Fishing season: late-December 2016 / early-January 2017 ~ early-March 2017 
Access: 30 minutes via the Shinshintotsu Kotsu bus bound for Shinshintotsu Onsen departing from Iwamizawa Station (JR Hakodate Main Line). The facility is located 7 minutes on foot from the last stop. 
Website (Japanese only):
Written information in English is available on-site
Activity Information 
■  Koyatsuri Fishing Hours 

Koyatsuri tents may be used for three hours at a time during the following time intervals: 
(A) 7:45am~ 10:45am    (B) 11:00am~2:00pm   (C) 2:15pm~sundown 

■  Ice fishing hours 
Please note that you cannot re-enter the area without paying the entry fee again. 

Koyatsuri Fishing 
Adults 2,500 yen (comes with ticket for Tappu No Yu Onsen)
Fee includes fishing pole, bait and tackle, heater, chair, and bucket 

Ice fishing 
Adults 2,000 yen (comes with ticket for Tappu No Yu Onsen)
Fee includes fishing pole, bait and tackle, chair, and bucket 

* Reservations are not needed for ice fishing but required for Koyatsuri 
* Night fishing available only for overnight guests (limit four areas) 

4. Take in the Scenery from New Heights

Classe Snow Park Chitose

If you're looking for some intense outdoor activities, then Classe Snow Park Chitose is the place for you. Not only is the facility easy to access thanks to the free shuttle bus from the station, their unique outdoor activities are certain to excite. Anyone up for parasailing? 

■ Parasail Flight 
Take to the skies this winter with a parasailing experience over the white snow of Hokkaido. Pulled along by snowmobile, you’ll feel like you’re flying over a winter wonderland.  Each ride lasts approximately 15 minutes. Participants must be aged 15 or older and weigh between 35 and 90kg. Reservations required. 
Parasailing over snow at Classe Snow Park Chitose

■ "Sleigh Cabin" Cruising  
You can also enjoy the beautiful scenery from inside this “sleigh cabin” on a 2km course. You’ll be pulled along at a comfortable speed for 15 minutes. The roof protects you from the cold winds so even those who aren’t fans of the cold can enjoy themselves. No reservations required. 
Sleigh Cabin Cruising at Classe Snow Park Chitose

Take an ATV out for a spin on the fresh powder snow following one of five circular courses. No reservations required. 
ATV riding at Classe Snow Park Chitose

There are also many family-friendly activities in addition to those listed above, so individuals accompanying small children can also have plenty of fun at Classe Snow Park.


Classe Snow Park Chitose | クラッセスノーパーク・千歳
Address: 316-1 Nakanosawa, Kitahiroshima-shi, Hokkaido 
Hours: 9:00am~5:00pm (hours may differ by program) 
Event period: December 17, 2016 ~ March 5, 2017 
Entry fee: free (program fees apply) 
Access: 8 minutes by car from JR Kitahiroshima Station (free shuttle bus available) 
Website (Japanese only):
Activity Information 
Activity Coupon Prices 
Book of 4 tickets 1,000 yen 

Each activity requires a set number of tickets. 
1 parasail ride = 15 tickets
1 “Sleigh Cabin” Cruise = 5 tickets
1 ATV ride = 4 tickets 
*Reservation required for parasailing. 

5. Slide Over the Snow on a Dogsled

North Safari Sapporo

Among the winter activities offered by North Safari Sapporo, dog sledding is particularly popular. During this experience, you’ll be pulled through the white landscape by a team of Huskies for either 150m on the long course or 70m on the short course. 
Dog sledding North Safari Sapporo


North Safari Park | ノースサファリサッポロ
Address: 469-1 Toyotaki, Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Hours: 9:00am~4:00pm (may change seasonally) 
Event period: January 7, 2016 ~ March 20, 2017 
Closed December 1, 2016 ~ January 5, March 21 ~ April 28 
Entrance fee: 1,100 yen 
Access: 32 minutes via Jotetsu Bus bound for Jozankei-shako-mae departing from Subway Makomanai Station. Get off at the Toyotaki Shogakko stop. Park is 5 minutes from stop via free shuttle bus. 
Website (Japanese only):
English speaking staff available only on weekends 
English written explanation 
Activity Information 
■ Dog Sledding 
Long course 1,500 yen 
Short course 700 yen 
* Reservation only required on weekdays 

6. Experience the Thrill of Snow Rafting

North Snow Land in Chitose

From riding a raft pulled along the snow by a snowmobile to riding horseback across the snow, there are plenty of activities to enjoy here! You can even try making snow sculptures! 

■ Snow Rafting 
Fly along the snow in a raft with up to four of your friends on this fun ride! There is staff who speak languages other than Japanese, so you can feel at ease participating. Each ride lasts for five to seven minutes and single riders may ride alone. 
Snow Rafting 
In addition to having written information in English, English speaking staff are always available to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to ask if you are in need of assistance!  


North Snow Land in Chitose | ノーススノーランドイン千歳
Address: 26 Rankoshi, Chitose-shi, Hokkaido
Hours: 9:00am~4:00pm (reception closes at 3:30pm)
Event period: December 27, 2016 ~ March 5, 2017 
Entrance fee: 300 yen 
Access: 10 minutes by car from JR Chitose Station (Shuttle bus runs five times per day.) 
English-speaking staff always available
Written English instruction also available
Activity Information 
■ Snow Rafting 
1 ride 700 yen 
* No reservations required 
* Up to four people can ride at one time. Single riders also OK.

7. Think Hokkaido, Think Skiing!

Sapporo Moiwayama Ski Area

This ski resort is the closest to the city of Sapporo. It has a total of ten different courses ranging from beginner to expert and those in between! It’s also popular for its nighttime skiing during which you can enjoy the night scenery as you slide down the slopes. You can rent everything you need to ski, meaning you don’t have to worry about bringing anything with you. This place is highly recommended for those who really want to get some time on the slopes in during their stay in Sapporo. 
Ski slope in Sapporo


Sapporo Moiwayama Ski Area| 札幌藻岩山スキー場
Address: 1991 Moiwashita, Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Weekdays 9:00am ~ 9:00pm 
Weekends and holidays 8:30am~9:00pm 
Event Period: December 17, 2016 ~ March 31, 2017 (planned) 
Access: 15 minutes from subway Makomanai Station vis the Jotetsu Basu bound for Moiwayama Ski-jo (operates only in winter). Take the bus to the Moiwayama Ski-jo-mae stop. Or, it’s a 15 minute drive from the station by car. 
Website (Japanese only):
Activity Information 
■ Lift Ticket Fees
7 hours 3,400 yen 
5 hours 2,900 yen 

■ Rentals 
Ski set (skis, boots, poles) 
5 hours 3,900 yen / 7 hours 4,200 yen 

■ Rental Ski Wear (hat, gloves, etc.) 
5 hours 3,300 yen / 7 hours 3,500 yen 
* No reservation needed for rentals 

■ Ski Lessons 
English instruction available. Reservation required. 

8. Paddle around in a clear-bottom kayak

Ocean Days(Lake Shikotsu)

Exploring Lake Shikotsu in a clear-bottomed kayak is a popular activity year-round. The water of the lake is especially clear during the winter, providing you with an exceptional, mysterious view of the lake. 
Clear bottom kayak experience at Lake Shikotsu
You can also enjoy the surrounding scenery as well. Foxes have been known to appear along the banks of the lake. The sight of the snow-covered mountains in the distance is also lovely. 

Dry suits are provided during the wintertime to keep participants warm, so there's nothing to stop you from spending a pleasant time out on the lake!


Ocean Days(Lake Shikotsu)|  オーシャンデイズ(支笏湖)
Address: Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose-shi, Hokkaido
Access: 44 minutes via Hokkaido Chuo Bus bound for Shikotsuko departing from JR Chitose Station. Get off at the last stop.
Website (Japanese only):
English speaking staff and written English instructions available
Activity Information 
■ Shikotsu Clear Kayak Tour 
Experience available year round (winter season Nov. ~ March)
Approx. tour length: 1.5 hours
Participation fee: 5,500 yen 
* Reservation required. To make a reservation, please visit the website below (Japanese only).

Get ready for a winter adventure of your own!

These activities are easily accessible to those coming from Sapporo or Chitose Airport and are the perfect way to make some incredible memories of wintertime fun in Hokkaido. 

Each activity mentioned above rents warm clothes or snow suits, but you will want to bring plenty of warm clothes with you if you're not a fan of the cold. You might also want to try some kairo, or disposable heat packs. They come in a variety of types including hand warmers to put in pockets or stick-on types. With a little preparation, you'll be able to enjoy whatever activity you choose! 
Note: the information used for this article was gathered December 26, 2016. Schedules and availability of activities may change based on weather conditions and snowfall. Please be sure to check in advance if your desired activity is running when making plans. 


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      Hi DigJapan, from Philippines here! So great to have your very useful article regarding Sapporo. I just would like to ask about the rate on the Classe Snow Park. Is the rate there for ATV and Sleigh Cabin ride for one person only? Or is it the rate for the activity, regardless of how many people will use it? Thank you :)

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