Sapporo Live Cam

Capital of the mountainous northern Japanese island of Hokkaido


Sapporo is the largest city and capital of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. Its history dates back to the early 19th century when it was little more than a remote wilderness inhabited by the indigenous Ainu people.

Early History: Prior to the development of Sapporo, the region was known as "Ishikari Plain" and was primarily inhabited by the Ainu, an indigenous ethnic group. The Ainu had a distinct culture and lived in harmony with the natural environment, engaging in hunting, fishing, and gathering.

Development: The city's modern history began in 1868 during the Meiji era. The Japanese government aimed to develop Hokkaido to secure its northern territories and to foster economic growth. To this end, they launched the "Hokkaido Development Commission" and appointed a western-educated official named Kuroda Kiyotaka to lead the development efforts.

Founding of Sapporo: In 1869, Kuroda Kiyotaka selected the area of present-day Sapporo as the site for a new administrative center for Hokkaido. The city was strategically planned on a grid pattern, influenced by Western urban planning. The name "Sapporo" comes from the Ainu language and means "dry, great river," referring to the Toyohira River that flows through the city.

Influence of American Advisors: As part of the development efforts, the Japanese government sought advice from foreign experts, especially from the United States. Horace Capron, an American agricultural expert, was instrumental in introducing modern agricultural techniques to Hokkaido, which helped in its development.

Early Growth: Sapporo quickly grew as an administrative and economic center in Hokkaido. The city attracted many migrants from the main islands of Japan, including entrepreneurs, farmers, and merchants.

Sapporo Clock Tower: One of the iconic symbols of Sapporo's early development is the Sapporo Clock Tower, built in 1878. It served as a drill hall for the Sapporo Agricultural College (now Hokkaido University) and later became a symbol of the city's progress.

Education and Infrastructure: Sapporo's growth was further bolstered by the establishment of institutions like Sapporo Agricultural College (1876) and the development of railways, which improved transportation and connectivity to other parts of Hokkaido.

Winter Olympics: In 1972, Sapporo gained international recognition when it hosted the 11th Winter Olympic Games. The event showcased the city's winter sports potential and brought significant infrastructure development.

Modern Sapporo: Today, Sapporo is a vibrant and modern city, known for its beautiful parks, lively festivals, and excellent cuisine, including its famous Sapporo beer. It has become a popular destination for both domestic and international tourists, especially during the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, where impressive ice sculptures attract millions of visitors.

Throughout its history, Sapporo has transformed from a wild frontier into a thriving urban center, while still preserving some aspects of its Ainu heritage and natural beauty.

Top Tourist Attractions

Sapporo, as a vibrant city with a mix of modernity and natural beauty, offers a variety of tourist attractions. Here are some of the top attractions that visitors can enjoy:

  • Sapporo Odori Park: This long, tree-lined park stretches for about 1.5 kilometers through the city center. It is a popular spot for both locals and tourists to take leisurely walks, especially during the cherry blossom season in spring and the Sapporo Snow Festival in winter.
  • Sapporo TV Tower: Located in Odori Park, the Sapporo TV Tower offers panoramic views of the city from its observation deck. It's a great spot to get an overview of Sapporo's layout and the surrounding mountains.
  • Sapporo Clock Tower: As mentioned earlier, the Sapporo Clock Tower is an iconic symbol of the city and a historic site. Visitors can explore the interior to learn about the early history of Sapporo.
  • Hokkaido Shrine: This Shinto shrine is a peaceful oasis within the city. It offers beautiful traditional architecture, well-maintained gardens, and a serene atmosphere, making it a great place to experience some tranquility.
  • Former Hokkaido Government Building: Also known as the "Red Brick Office," this historic building is an excellent example of Western-influenced architecture in Sapporo. It now serves as a museum showcasing the history of Hokkaido.
  • Sapporo Beer Museum: Hokkaido is famous for its beer, and the Sapporo Beer Museum allows visitors to learn about the brewing process and the history of Sapporo beer. It's located in the Sapporo Beer Garden, where you can also enjoy some delicious local dishes.
  • Mt. Moiwa Ropeway: For stunning panoramic views of Sapporo and the surrounding landscape, visitors can take the ropeway to the top of Mount Moiwa. The view from the observation deck is particularly impressive during sunset and at night.
  • Shiroi Koibito Park: This theme park is dedicated to the Shiroi Koibito cookie, a popular Hokkaido confectionery. Visitors can tour the factory, learn about the cookie-making process, and enjoy the beautiful European-style architecture and gardens.
  • Maruyama Park: A spacious park known for its beautiful cherry blossoms in spring and colorful foliage in autumn. It's a great place for picnics, leisurely walks, and enjoying the natural beauty of Hokkaido.
  • Otaru Canal: While not in Sapporo itself, a short train ride away is the charming town of Otaru, famous for its historic canal area. Stroll along the canal, visit the nostalgic glass and music box shops, and enjoy the romantic atmosphere.

These are just a few of the many attractions that Sapporo and the surrounding region have to offer. Whether you're interested in history, nature, food, or cultural experiences, Sapporo has something to offer every traveler.


Sapporo experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by four distinct seasons with relatively cold winters and mild summers. Here's an overview of the climate in Sapporo throughout the year:

  • Winter (December to February): Winters in Sapporo are cold and snowy. Average temperatures during this season range from about -6°C to -1°C (21°F to 30°F). Snowfall is significant, and the city is covered in snow, creating a beautiful winter landscape. The Sapporo Snow Festival is held in February and attracts visitors from all over the world to marvel at the impressive snow sculptures.
  • Spring (March to May): Spring is a transitional season in Sapporo, with temperatures gradually warming up. However, it can still be chilly in March with average temperatures ranging from -2°C to 7°C (28°F to 45°F). As the season progresses, cherry blossoms bloom, typically peaking in late April to early May, attracting many visitors to enjoy the beautiful sakura.
  • Summer (June to August): Summers in Sapporo are generally mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 14°C to 25°C (57°F to 77°F). It is the most comfortable time to visit the city. However, occasional heatwaves may occur, bringing warmer temperatures for a few days. Summer is an ideal time for outdoor activities and festivals in and around the city.
  • Autumn (September to November): Autumn is a lovely time to visit Sapporo when the landscape is adorned with vibrant autumn foliage. The temperatures start to cool down gradually, with average highs ranging from 11°C to 20°C (52°F to 68°F). It's a popular season for nature walks and enjoying the stunning colors of the leaves.
  • It's important to note that Hokkaido, including Sapporo, can experience rapid weather changes, especially in spring and autumn. Visitors should be prepared for varying conditions and dress accordingly.

As with any destination, it's advisable to check the weather forecast and pack appropriate clothing based on the time of your visit to Sapporo. Whether you prefer the snowy wonderland of winter or the mild weather of summer, Sapporo has something to offer year-round.


It is situated on the southwestern part of the island, in the Ishikari Plain, which is a large and relatively flat area surrounded by mountains on three sides. Here are some key aspects of Sapporo's geography:

  • Ishikari Plain: The city of Sapporo is built on the Ishikari Plain, a fertile and expansive flatland that stretches across central Hokkaido. This plain is one of the most extensive lowland areas in Japan and is a crucial agricultural region for the country.
  • Mountains: Sapporo is surrounded by mountains on three sides, providing a picturesque backdrop to the city. The mountains not only contribute to the city's scenic beauty but also influence its climate. Notable mountain ranges nearby include the Taisetsu Mountain Range to the east and the Niseko Range to the west.
  • Rivers: The city is crossed by several rivers, the most significant of which is the Toyohira River. The Toyohira River flows through the heart of Sapporo and plays a vital role in the city's landscape and urban planning. Additionally, the Ishikari River, Hokkaido's largest river, flows to the north of Sapporo.
  • Coastline: Although Sapporo is not located directly on the coast, the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean are relatively close, with coastal areas accessible within a few hours by car or train.
  • Sapporo Satoland: To the southwest of the city center, there is an agricultural park called Sapporo Satoland, which provides visitors with the opportunity to experience and learn about agriculture in Hokkaido.
  • Sapporo Dome: Located in the northern part of Sapporo, the Sapporo Dome is a multipurpose stadium with a retractable roof. It is a notable landmark and has been used for various sporting events, including football and baseball games.

Overall, Sapporo's geographical setting combines the charm of a modern urban center with the natural beauty of Hokkaido's landscape. The city's location amid mountains, plains, and rivers makes it an attractive destination for both outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a metropolitan experience.