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  • Winter is an incredible time to visit Japan.

  • And no place in Japan does the season quite like Hokkaido, Japan's rugged north island.

  • Sapporo is the energetic capital of Hokkaido and a great destination on its own.

  • And in winter, this place really comes to life.

  • Hosting the world-renowned Sapporo Snow Festival in February, its own galaxy of hot winter cuisine, and offering easy access to fantastic side-trip destinations, including some of Japan's very best world-class ski resorts, winter is where it's at in Sapporo.

  • I'm Joe Mignano, web designer and staff writer at japan-guide dot com, and here is a two-day trip we've crafted to get the most out of Sapporo in winter.

  • Here's the plan.

  • We fly into Hokkaido and take a short train ride into the city.

  • From Sapporo station we'll take the subway one stop straight to Odori Park where we'll spend our first day taking in the Sapporo Snow Festival.

  • On Day 2, we head to Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort on the outskirts of the city for a day on the slopes, followed by a night at a traditional inn in the nearby hot spring town Jozankei.

  • So, follow along as we go on a whirlwind two-day winter trip in Sapporo.

  • Day 1

  • The flight from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to Shin-Chitose Airport in Sapporo takes about 90 minutes and is one of the busiest air routes in the world.

  • I'm in Odori Park at the Sapporo Snow Festival.

  • So, the festival has three event sites, but Odori Park is where the main events are held including the really big snow sculptures.

  • So let's go check it out.

  • The Sapporo Snow Festival held during the first half of February each year for about a week.

  • The Snow Festival has three main sites: Odori Park for snow sculptures, Susukino for ice sculptures, and Tsu Dome for snow activities.

  • You can't come to Sapporo and not try ramen.

  • A classic place to grab a bowl is right here at Ramen Yokocho.

  • (Japanese)

  • The Sapporo TV Tower is one of the best places to observe Odori Park. During the Snow Festival it stays open late, providing excellent night views as well.

  • The Sapporo Beer Garden's most famous dish is a barbecued mutton and vegetable meal called "Genghis Khan" after the Mongolian ruler.

  • At night the main road in Susukino is closed to car traffic so pedestrian can enjoy the ice sculptures up close.

  • Day 2

  • The drive from central Sapporo to the Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort takes about an hour.

  • At most ski resorts in Japan it's possible to rent everything from skis and snowboards to snow pants, jackets, gloves, and hats.

  • Japan is one of the foremost winter sport destinations in the world.

  • And in particular Hokkaido is a Mecca for people looking for great powder snow.

  • There are many resorts within easy access of Sapporo, and we're at one today, and I can't wait to get on the slopes so let's go.

  • In most ski lodge cafeterias it's common to pay for meals at a meal ticket vending machine.

  • After snowboarding there's nothing better than staying the night at a ryokan in an onsen town, which is exactly what we're doing tonight.

  • I'm looking forward to taking a bath.

  • Jozankei is a mountain valley town famous for its hot springs and quaint Japanese style inns.

  • Multi-course "kaiseki" meals at Japanese inns usually feature local specialty dishes and ingredients.

  • This trip was just one of many ways to experience Sapporo, but we hope this video gives you some ideas when planning a trip of your own.

  • For more information or to watch another video, click the links on the screen now or head over to japan-guide dot com, your comprehensive up to date travel guide first hand from Japan.

  • Thanks for watching, and be sure to subscribe for more videos about Japan.

  • Happy travels.

Winter is an incredible time to visit Japan.

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