Established in 1876 as Sapporo Agricultural College, Hokkaido University (北海道大学: simply called Hokudai in Japanese) lie in spacious leafy grounds near JR Sapporo Station north gate. The grounds are open to all, and you will find a wide variety of historic buildings, as well as scenic places. Allow an hour or two to wander the campus.
Bust of Dr William Smith Clark
クラーク胸像 / N8W5, Chuo-ku / 24hrs
A few minutes’ walk along the picturesque Central Lawn from the Elm-no-mori Information Center facing the Main Gate, you will find the bronze bust of Dr William Smith Clark, who was the first president of Sapporo Agriculture College. ‘Boys, be ambitious!’ is a famous his motto all over Japan.
02 HISTORIC BUILDINGS
北海道大学の歴史的建物群 / N9W7-N9W9
Around the bust of Clark, there are several historic buildings in the trees. Among the best are the Western-style Furukawa Memorial Hall (1909) and the Faculty of Agriculture (1935) with a clock tower.
Between these two, the Entomology and Sericulture Hall (1901) making it the oldest existing school building on campus. These buildings themselves are not open to the public, but there are good English information boards.
03 GENERAL MUSEUM
Hokkaido University Museum
北海道大学博物館 / N10W8 / 10am-5pm, to 9pm Fri Jun-Oct / Closed Mon & 28 Dec-4 Jan / FREE / www.museum.hokudai.ac.jp
Housed in an old graduate school of science built in 1929, this museum has a wide range collection of specimens and materials since the Agricultural College, including a number of minerals, fossils, archaeological finds and rare moulages (wax molds that simulate skin diseases). Another well-stocked collection traces the history, faculties and research of the university. There are also lovely artefacts of indigenous people from Hokkaido to Sakha Republic (in Russia). The souvenir shop has some science kits and Ainu traditional cloths.
Hokkaido University Archives
北海道大学文書館 / Bunsho-kan / 9.30am-4.30pm weekday / FREE / www.hokudai.ac.jp/bunsyo
This modest archives has several permanent and rotating exhibits ranging from student life photos to documents.
05 SCENIC VIEWPOINT
ポプラ並木 / N16W12
One of the most scenic places in the university, populars were first planted in 1903 as a research for windbreak forest and imported from the United States. In 2004, a typhoon destroyed half of populars, but trees were restored in a few years.
06 SCENIC VIEWPOINT
イチョウ並木 / N13S5 / Late Oct-early Nov
The iconic symbol of the university, there are 70 gingko trees lie along Kita-jusanjo-dori. Ginko were planted in 1939 and the trees turn brilliant yellow from late October to early November.
Hokkaido University Map
The university’s Main Gate (正門) is a 7-minute walk north of JR Sapporo Station along Tarukawa-dori
Kita-junijo Station on the Nanboku subway line is about 300m southeast of the Gingko Avenue
The Second Farm is about 600m west of Kita-juhachijo Station, one stop north of Kita-junijo