A friend and I took a girls trip up to Sapporo for a few days without kids. Traveling without kids was an amazing feeling. Except, it.was.cold. Next girls getaway will be in the tropics. Mulled wine and hot sake definitely saved the day.
We stayed at the Hotel Emisia, which used to be a Sheraton. It’s located right outside the Shinsapporo station and has an easy express train to and from the New Chitose Airport. We flew Jetstar from Narita. Another regional carrier would be Vanilla Air.
Our first night we arrived early evening to RAIN. Who would have guessed it would be warm enough at the snow and ice festival for rain. So next year, if you plan on going, learn from our mistake! Go at the beginning of the festival. By the time we got there the rain had eaten away at many of the smaller sculptures and even some of the ice sculptures had fallen down. We were bummed. The larger sculptures were still standing strong though.
The Snow “Star Wars”. This thing was huge! I think about 50ft tall. Created by the Japanese Army and 3,500 tons of snow.
One of the weirdest sites to see was a seemingly popular boy band dressed in skirts and leggings performing for the crowd. A few blocks away was the Susukino Ice Festival. The next day we we had a cold blast set in and all those wet sidewalks turned to ice. We toured around Sapporo and visited the Chocolate Factory (which smelled liked heaven).
We also made it to the town of Otaru after a scenic train ride along the coast. I was stunned to see surfers out in the ocean. It was freezing. I think I actually experienced what it would feel like to “freeze your face off” in Otaru. Seriously. I thought the cold wind was just going to peel it away. Otaru was beautiful lit up at night though.
After the trip I was so thankful we didn’t bring the kids along. Sapporo is very kid friendly though. We never even made it to the Tsudome Site with all the ice slides. If you have more time than we did, friends also suggested taking a bus tour over to the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival.
Also learned on this trip was the correct way to pronounce Sapporo. I was always emphasizing the Sap-POR-o. They pronounce it SAP-po-ro.