On an action-packed visit to Sapporo, Odori Park is both a destination and a space for relaxation. Stretched out over 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) or 12 city blocks down the center of the city, the park separates the northern administrative districts from the southern, residential and commercial districts. Stop here for a picnic lunch amid its 92 types of trees while visiting the city or come for one of the many festivals that set up on the plazas any time of the year. The famous Sapporo Snow Festival is one popular example.
Start at the eastern end, where the Sapporo TV Tower presides. Walk slowly toward the west, stopping in the so-called Oasis Zone, filled with fountains. Watch the coordinated light and water shows that entertain passersby.
Let kids run loose in the playground or watch them careen down the enormous stone slide designed by famed sculptor Isamu Noguchi. See how the curves of the dark granite evoke nearby mountains, meant to be a celebration of the natural beauty of Hokkaido.
At the other end is the Sapporo City Museum. In front of this building are flowerbeds that bloom in brilliant color from spring to fall. Watch for the blooming lilacs, whose light purple flowers fill the air with a sweet scent. In the hot summer months, take refuge from the sun under the stands of elms. Any time of year, visit the stalls and art installations that celebrate different aspects of Sapporo’s community, from ice sculpting to food and beer festivals.
Odori Park is one of Sapporo’s main wayfinding points, cutting the city almost perfectly in half. All three of Sapporo’s subway lines arrive at the nearby station. Alternatively, walk from JR Sapporo Station in about 10 minutes. Take a taxi from the station in a couple minutes. No parking is available on the street, but there are a few metered parking garages in the vicinity.
The park is open to visitors from morning to late at night the information center and shop is open from mid-morning to evening. Hours for stalls during festivals vary, so check online.