The time has finally come to share about our fabulous Winter Wonderland trip to Sapporo and Nagano. We decided to attend the Sapporo Snow Festival, and while we were at it, visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park to see the famous snow monkeys of Japan! First things first… SAPPORO!
We arrived to Sapporo at night.. so on our first full day in the city we explored some of the most touristy places like the Former Hokkaido Government Building, the Sapporo Beer Museum, the Sapporo TV Tower, and we also got a little peek at the Snow Festival festivities located at Odori Park.
Our first stop was the Former Hokkaido Government Building which has a very American-esque architecture thanks to Horace Capron, an American advisor working for the Hokkaido Development Commission. It was built in 1873 and was one of the tallest buildings in Japan at the time. The building is open for visitors and has a few exhibition rooms you can walk through. Like many old historical buildings in Japan it was destroyed by fire (TWICE!) and later restored.
The exhibition where these paper cranes lie talks about the Karafuto Prefecture or South Sakhalin, which was the northernmost part of Japan from 1905 to 1945. When Japan was defeated in WWII Soviet troops occupied the area, and after 1951 it became official part of Sakhalin Oblast, a federal subject of Russia. The senbazuru (thousand paper cranes held together by string) were made by a local from Hokkaido, her one wish being that the northern territories be together again one day.
Former Hokkaido Government Building
Address: 6 Chome Kita 3 Jōnishi, Chūō-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaidō 060-8588
Hours: 8:45AM–5:30PM (Closed Saturday and Sunday)
More Sapporo posts: Sapporo Beer Museum, Sapporo TV Tower + Odori Park, Hokkaido Shrine, Mt. Moiwa Ropeway, Sapporo Snow Festival: Part 1, Sapporo Snow Festival: Part 2, 10 Tips for visiting Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival