From the moment you arrive in Moerenuma Park, you’ll appreciate that it is not just a field with a little bit of playground equipment in it. It has playground equipment, and lots of it, but the park is special for its design by famed Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. He envisioned it as the keystone of Sapporo’s land-reclamation project, which sought to create public space where there had once been marshland. Unfortunately he passed away before it was completed. Get a sense of the artist’s vision with a visit in summer or winter.
To orient your visit of the park, start at the glass pyramid, nicknamed “Hidamari” or “sunny spot.” Admire its architecture and get information, food and even an education in Noguchi’s artwork across its three floors. Then set out across the lawns in search of adventure.
Climb to the top of artificial Mount Moere, whose 203-foot (62-meter) peak provides views of the whole park. Alternatively, climb the winding path up Play Mountain, half as tall. Watch the timed water shows at the Sea Fountain or cool off on hot days in the waters of Moere Beach.
A full tour of the park is available no matter the weather. In summer, rent a bicycle and careen down the well-paved paths. In winter, rent a pair of cross-country skis and set off down the well-maintained ski trails designed to bring visitors past each of the sculptures and landscape additions Noguchi designed.
Moerenuma Park is located in Sapporo’s Higashi Ward, northeast of the city center and not far from the Toyohira River. Ride the bus from Kanjodori-higashi subway station in about 25 minutes to the park’s east entrance. Drive or take a taxi from downtown Sapporo in about 30 minutes or ride the subway to the closest subway station, Sakaemachi, in about 20 minutes.
The east entrance is open year round, but other entrances close in winter. Free parking is available on site. Pay additional fees to rent bicycles or skis.