Popular with families and artists, Nakajima Park (中島公園) is the cultural heart of Sapporo since the 1880s. The design is by Japan’s first park master Nagaoka Yasuhei (1842-1925), who also designed Odori and Maruyama parks in Sapporo.
01 SCENIC PARK
1 Nakajima-koen, Chuo-ku / 24hrs / FREE / www.sapporo-park.or.jp/nakajima
This pleasant oasis of green has a sizable pond, Japanese garden, concert hall, literary museum, astronomical observatory, puppet theater and handsome historic buildings. If it is sunny and warm day, bring a picnic mat and relax on a wide grassy lawn near the concert hall. Look for the cherry trees in early May.
From January to March, you can rent cross-country ski gear from Nakajima Gymnasium (10am-4pm) for free. Solo female travelers avoid walking in the park at night.
02 HISTORIC BUILDING
豊平館 / 1-20 Nakajima-koen, Chuo-ku / 9am-5pm / Closed 2nd Tue of month / ¥300 / www.s-hoheikan.jp
The jewel of Nakajima Park, this ultramarine-blue wooden building was completed as a Western-style luxury hotel in 1881. The first guest was the emperor Meiji. Restored rooms have a fine Japanese celling decoration and Western interior. An on-site cafe makes a great stop for a cup of coffee or tea (¥300).
03 HISTORIC BUILDING & GARDEN
八窓庵 / Next to the Hoheikan / 9am-5pm May-Oct / FREE
Designed by the tea master Kobori Enshu in the 17th-century, the tea house of Hasso-an (eight-window arbor) was relocated in 1919 from Shiga Prefecture. It is situated in the city’s best Japanese Garden adjoining the Hoheikan. You can get a lovely look from outside the teahouse.
04 CLASSIC MUSIC
Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara
札幌コンサートホールキタラ / Tel 011-520-1234 / 1-15 Nakajima-koen, Chuo-ku / Tickets 10am-5.30pm or 7pm / www.kitara-sapporo.or.jp
Japan’s leading modern and graceful concert hall has a big French pipe organ and seating for 2008 people. It is not only the home base of Sapporo Symphony Orchestra but also hosts the PMF (Pacific Music Festival), international solists and school bands. Ticket can be purchased or booked at the box office. Check the schedule in English on the web.
05 LOCAL HISTORY
Hokkaido Museum of Literature
北海道立文学館 / 1-4 Nakajima-koen, Chuo-ku / 9.30am-5pm / Closed Mon, 28 Dec-4 Jan / Admission ¥500 / www.h-bungaku.or.jp
At the east side of Nakajima Park, this literary museum has collection of novelists and poets who were related to Hokkaido in one room, including letters, manuscripts and magazines. A small exhibition (admission varies) is also worth a visit.
Sapporo Gokoku Jinja
札幌護国神社 / 1-1 S15W5 Chuo-ku / 9am-5pm / FREE / s-gokoku-jinja.sakura.ne.jp
The city center’s grandest shrine established in 1879, Sapporo Gokoku Jinja dedicated to mourn the tonden-hei (Hokkaido’s agriculture soldiers) victims of the Seinan civil war (in Kyushu). On the shrine ground of Shotoku-en there is a large collection of memorials related to Japanese war victims. The shrine office serves matcha set for ¥500 (ask a staff).
幌平橋 / S16W1, Chuo-ku / 24hrs
Just a short walk from Horohira-bashi subway station at the southeast of Nakajima Park, this modern bridge across Toyohira-gawa has an arched pedestrian bridge (Closed in winter) with river and mountain views
Nakajima Park Map
Nakajima Park is directly connected to Nakajima-koen Station on the Nanboku subway line, three stops south of Sapporo Station.