Sapporo Introduction

Publish Time:2016-10-09 10:23:08Source:WTCF

【Introduction】:As a metropolis in Japan’s Hokkaido region, Sapporo is the political, economic and cultural center of Hokkaido and also Japan’s fifth largest city.

City Introduction


As a metropolis in Japan’s Hokkaido region, Sapporo is the political, economic and cultural center of Hokkaido and also Japan’s fifth largest city. Sapporo is a tourist city with rich resources, beautiful scenery and four distinct seasons: blooming spring, tree-lined summer, colorful autumn and snowy winter. It was once rated as the No 1 in “Japan charming city ranking” for three years consecutively.

There are various theories on the origin of the word “Sapporo”. The leading theory is that it derivers from the Ainu (indigenous people of Japan) words “Sap (Dry) – Poro (Wide),” but another theory is that it derivers from “Sari (Wetland) -Poro (Wide) -Pe (River)” which describes the downstream basin of the Toyohira River. Until the end of the Edo Period (1603–1868), Sapporo was a trading post with the Ainu. In 1869, it was renamed Hokkaido and the Hokkaido Development Commission was sent and began to establish the head office in Sapporo. Yoshitake Shima, considered to be the pioneering father of Hokkaido, is said to have stood on the hills of Mt. Maruyama and elaborated on a plan for the city. The Hokkaido Development Commission organized Sapporo into a planned city modeled after Kyoto. Thus, Sapporo becomes known for its functional grid of streets and avenues. With the settlement of the Tondenhei (soldiers for developing and guarding Hokkaido), it became a large producing center for potatoes and onions. After the railroads were built, the beer, flour milling and paper making industries began to flourish and Sapporo became the political and economic center of Hokkaido.

Sapporo is a heaven of ice and snow sports in the world. It hosted the winter Olympic Games in 1972 which is also the first Olympic winter games held in Asia. And now it is actively bidding to host the 2026 winter Olympics. Sapporo is attracting much attention as city of tourism with attractions such as the “Sapporo Snow Festival” which began in 1950, the “YOSOKOI Soran Festival” which began in 1992 and the “Sapporo International Art Festival” took place in 2014.

Odori Park is the most famous attraction in Sapporo. It is called a park, but it’s really a street. Odori Park, which is usually a very calm and relaxed space, is also used for many of Hokkaido’s best-known seasonal events, such as the Lilac Festival in spring, YOSAKOI Soran Festival and beer garden in summer, and Food Festival in autumn and the Snow Festival in winter. It shows varied charming in every season. Besides, the Snow Festival held in early February every year, is the grandest festival in Sapporo. At that time, huge snow sculptures and ice sculptures are displayed in the venue of Odori Park, attracting more than 2 million visitors all over the world to come here.

Sapporo Clock Tower is a landmark of Sapporo. Built in 1878, it has a history of about 130 years until now. It is the field for practicing martial arts of Sapporo agricultural school — the predecessor of Hokkaido University. The ringing bell of hourly chime has been accompanying Sapporo citizens for more than one hundred years.

History and culture

In 1869, Japan renamed Ezo as Hokkaido, and set Hokkaido Development Commission to be responsible for the development of Hokkaido and began the construction of Sapporo. The judge, Shima Yoshitake planned totally new streets in the eastern of hills named Maruyama with modern urban planning concept, which formed the tidy blocks in Sapporo today. In 1875 the initial Tondenhei joined the ranks of development in Sapporo. Then, the pavement of railway, the development of industrial and commercial industry also successively began.

In 1882 Japan abolished Hokkaido Development Commission, and set Hakodate County, Sapporo County and Nemuro County according to the administrative division of other areas in Japan. In 1884, Sapporo District which originally belonged to Sapporo County was changed into Sapporo prefecture, and another sub- administrative district and City Office (District Office) was established with the same name Sapporo district in the center of the city. However, the county Hokkaido history was very short. In 1886, the three counties of Hokkaido were canceled, and Hokkaido was officially upgraded to the first level administrative region of Japan. The Office of Hokkaido was established, and Sapporo also became the location of Provincial Office (Provincial Government) while the historic building known as the “Former Hokkaido Government Office building” was completed and put into use in 1888.

In 1922, Japan began to implement the new system of local administrative divisions known as the “City system” and Sapporo was formally designated the city of Sapporo. After that, Sapporo expanded for several times in succession and the surrounding towns and villages were incorporated, and the population continued to increase. In 1947, the Local Autonomy Law of Japan was issued and Sapporo elected its mayor for the first time; in 1950, the first Sapporo Snow Festival was held. In 1970 the population of Sapporo exceeded a million. Only 102 years after the founding of this city in 1972, Sapporo officially became a designated city under government order and was divided into 7 districts. In the same year, the Sapporo Olympics (11th Winter Olympic Games) was held here.

Natural Environment

Sapporo City stretches along the river of plain which runs through the city center, and divides the city into the eastern and western areas. Many acacias are planted on the sidewalk, so Sapporo is also known as “Acacia Capital”. With tidy and Nordic style streets,the city has two wide roads crossing each other at a right angle, whose intersection is the center of Sapporo.


There is much snowfall in winter with the average annual snow accumulation at 600cm and snow covers the ground 132.4 days a year on average. However, with efficient measures for snow removal in place, there is minimum effect on daily life. The characteristics of the summer is that there is no rainy season and is not affected by Typhoon. The average temperature reaches 20℃(68°F) in July to August, but the humidity is low, the air is refreshing and the temperature is cool during the morning and evening.

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