HOKKAIDO

Hokkaido continues to represent the untamed wilderness with many great national parks. For many visitors the scenery resembles northern Europe, with rice paddies and concrete warrens replacing rolling fields and faux-German cottages. However, the ubquitous hotspring resorts in much of the island serve as a reminder that you are still in Japan.

One of Japan’s newest and nicest cities, Sapporo’s population has grown from seven in 1857 to nearly 2 million today. Being a new city, especially by Japanese standards, means it has little in the way of traditional architecture and the like of cities such as Kyoto. But what it lacks in “Japanese-ness” it makes up for with its lovely open, tree-filled boulevards to enjoy in summer and excellent snow (and facilities to cope with said snow) in the long winter.
…WikiTravel



Clock Tower (時計台 Tokeidai), (Close to Odori Station.). This rather diminutive building has become a symbol of Sapporo, mostly by being the oldest building still standing. It was constructed in 1878 for the Sapporo Agricultural College (now the Hokkaido University) and would not look out of place in “Smalltown U.S.A.” The inside has a small retrospective of its history. Visitor beware, as this is for some reason a mecca for Japanese tourists coming to Sapporo who feel that no trip to Sapporo would be complete without a photo in front of the Tokeidai, but was actually recently rated as Japan’s third “most disappointing” tourist attraction! ¥200.


Ishiya Chocolate Factory. The chocolate factory has an incredibly corny, but fun, tour building up to a view of the actual chocolate making floor, and ending with a random toy museum. Also there are two restaurants, a souvenir store, and an hourly robot show complete with annoying music. Famous for its white chocolate, which is sold under the brand “White Lovers” (白い恋人 shiroi koibito), and is only available in Hokkaido. There is also a cake buffet available at the restaurant on the top floor for “¥1,500” but reservations must be made 3 days in advance. ¥600.


Odori Park. Sapporo’s most famous park. It is in the center of town and is considered to be a symbol of Sapporo. Although quite narrow (one might argue that it is a nice boulevard), the park is quite long, stretching over fifteen blocks across downtown Sapporo. Filled with numerous flowers, trees, and fountains during the summer, Odori Park provides a welcome respite from the maddening crowds of the surrounding city.


Sapporo Snow Festival (雪祭り Yuki Matsuri). First week of Feb. This is Sapporo’s largest event. The festival is best known for the ice sculpture competition attracting artists from around the world, competing to create the largest and most elaborate artworks from ice and snow. The festival is focused on Odori Koen, in the centre of Sapporo. It consists of a combination of large-scale replicas and artistic sculptures; children-aimed attractions; and a separate section for world-wide competitors (where you can see a wide range of smaller artistic sculptures). The festival should be enjoyed both in the day — but particularly at night when the sculptures (especially the larger ones) are lit up. When the weather is warmer and there’s a bit of melting, the smaller sculptures are literally remade every night to ensure that they are in perfect condition the next day. Book accommodation early, because Sapporo gets booked out during the festival. …WikiTravel

HOKKAIDO NEWS

30 Mar

Japan confirmed 169 additional coronavirus infections on Sunday, the second largest single-day count following the 200 recorded on the previous day.
(NHK)

24 Mar

Japan is an interesting place if you are looking to place a wager. (newsonjapan.com)

20 Mar

A government panel of medical experts said Thursday that schools can reopen in areas without new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, proposing to relax the current nationwide approach to pre-empt a further spread. (Kyodo)

20 Mar

Japan has reported 47 more infections with the new coronavirus, bringing the total to 1,101 as of Sunday.
(NHK)

18 Mar

Japan has yet to reach a peak in coronavirus infections, with the number of new cases on a declining trend in Hokkaido but the number of infected people rising in Aichi and Hyogo prefectures, a Kyodo News study showed Tuesday. (Kyodo)

17 Mar

The number of coronavirus infections in Japan increased to 821 on Monday with 17 new cases confirmed. The data was compiled by local governments and the health ministry.
(NHK)

16 Mar

Health authorities in Japan reported 63 new cases of coronavirus infection on Saturday — the highest daily increase excluding those linked to the cruise ship Diamond Princess.
(NHK)

15 Mar

Health authorities in Japan reported 63 new cases of coronavirus infection on Saturday — the highest daily increase excluding those linked to the cruise ship Diamond Princess.
(NHK)

13 Mar

The number of coronavirus infections in Japan increased to 676 on Thursday with 56 new cases confirmed. The data was compiled by local governments and the health ministry.
(NHK)

11 Mar

The Japanese government is set to deny entry to visitors from the northern area of Italy which is the latest hot spot in the coronavirus crisis.
(NHK)

10 Mar

The health ministry said Monday it has urged local governments to prepare their hospitals for an influx of people infected with the new coronavirus, and has provided metrics that can be used to calculate the numbers expected at the outbreak’s peak. (Japan Times)

10 Mar

A Japanese government survey shows that business sentiment among workers sharply dropped in February due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
(NHK)

9 Mar

Travelers arriving to Japan from two neighboring countries are now facing stricter controls. The tight restrictions are part of the government’s efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus… but they’ve left some passengers confused.
(NHK)

4 Mar

Patients with mild symptoms are believed to be playing an important role in spreading the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a government panel of experts has said.
(Japan Times)

4 Mar

Seven new cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Japan on Tuesday, bringing the total to 987. That includes more than 700 from a quarantined cruise ship docked near Tokyo.
(NHK)

3 Mar

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed Monday to expedite the enactment of legislation needed to declare a state of emergency, in order to “minimize the impact on Japanese citizens’ livelihood” from the rapid spread of COVID-19.
(Japan Times)

2 Mar

A man in his 70s has died in Hokkaido, northern Japan, after being infected with the new coronavirus, the local government said Sunday, bringing the domestic death toll to 12. (Kyodo)

28 Feb

A man in his 80s who was infected with the new coronavirus died on Thursday in Japan’s northern prefecture of Hokkaido. Fifteen new cases of infection were reported there on the day.
(NHK)

27 Feb

The Japanese government is stepping up its protective measures, with a proposed pause on large public gatherings.
(NHK)

26 Feb

Chitetsu Watanabe, a 112-year-old who was recognized by Guinness World Records earlier this month as the world’s oldest living man, died Sunday at the nursing home where he resided, his family said. (Japan Times)

26 Feb

National and other public universities in Japan have begun staging their entrance exams, with precautions taken against the new coronavirus.
(NHK)

25 Feb

Twelve new cases of coronavirus infection were reported around Japan on Monday, bringing the total number of domestic infections, excluding people who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, to 159.
(Japan Times)

22 Feb

Nine new cases of coronavirus infection were reported in Japan on Friday. (NHK)

20 Feb

Authorities in some prefectures where people are confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus are providing multilingual information services for foreigners visiting or living in Japan.
(NHK)

20 Feb

Multinational companies are avoiding travel to and from Japan over fears the country could be the next hot spot in the coronavirus outbreak. (Nikkei)