Over the next few months, I’ll be writing about the various host cities for the Rugby World Cup 2019, exploring what they have to offer and what to see.
This week I’m looking at Sapporo, which is the largest city in the northernmost main island of Hokkaido, with a population of 1.9 million.
The city hosts uniquely local cultural events such as the annual Sapporo Snow Festival with its gigantic ice sculptures, culinary delights ranging from ramen and Genghis Khan lamb barbecue to the fresh seafood from local waters, and the natural scenic beauty of Hokkaido and its wide plains, mountains and coastlines.
Sapporo has played host to such international sports events as the 1972 Winter Olympics and the 2002 FIFA World Cup, as well as being the home city to professional baseball and soccer teams.
Places to visit, what to eat and events to see…
Odori Park and Sapporo TV Tower
Odori Park serves as an oasis for its citizens, and as the face of Sapporo, is always crowded with many people. Located in the heart of the city, this park is blessed with lush greenery and various events are held throughout the year, highlighting each four seasons distinctly.
The Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri)
The biggest event in winter, the Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri) began in 1950, and attracts more than 2 million visitors from both within Japan and abroad.
Snow and ice sculptures in varying sizes are constructed over several weeks at Odori Park and lit up during the event.
Sapporo ramen is a local delicacy that is representative of the present and also Japan. This dish traditionally uses a miso-based soup with medium-width curly noodles and is eaten with bean sprouts and onions. Sapporo is the birthplace of “miso ramen” which first came about in 1958.
So, that’s Sapporo. We don’t yet know which teams will be based there, but we do know it will be a fantastic place to visit for whichever lucky team and supporters.