The heart of Sapporo has pleasant gridded streets, relaxed parks and handsome Western-style historic buildings. You can easily explore on foot from JR Sapporo Station in few hours.


(清華亭) Sapporo’s oldest existing Japanese-Western eclectic architecture, Seikatei (meaning pure and elegant) was built in 1880 as a resting place for the emperor Meiji. After visited the emperor Meiji, this building was also used as a residence and a traditional Japanese restaurant. The front garden was designed by German-American government advisor Louis Boehmer who introduced Western-style agriculture and farming in Hokkaido.

Opposite the Seikatei, the park of Kairaku-en (皆楽園) was constructed in 1871 and it is said Japan’s first city park. It was used as the government’s industrial exhibition center, such as an orchard, botanic garden, museum and trout hatchery.

This place was one of the headwaters of Sakushukotoni River and there was a pond here. But in the next year, the river has dried up by urban development.

Old Hokkaido Government Office Building

(北海道庁旧本庁舎) Sapporo’s largest Western-style architecture built in 1888, this American neo-baroque red brick building (also called Akarenga) was designed by Japanese railway engineer Hirai Seijiro who have studied in the United States. About 2.5 million red bricks are used this building. There are about a thousand trees stand in the front garden (open from 7am until 9pm). In old days, underground spring water from Toyohira River came out these ponds. This building may be closed for repairs until 2023.

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Opposite the main gate of the old government office, Kita-Sanjo Square (北3条広場) was completed in 2014 and paved red bricks made in Ebetsu. It is the birthplace of Sapporo’s first woodblock paved road completed in 1924. In the next year, Ginko trees were planted along the road. These trees are Hokkaido’s oldest roadside trees.

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Hokkaido University Botanic Garden

(北海道大学附属植物園) Established in 1886, the 13-hectare exterior garden contains samples of many Hokkaido, plant species in the calm forest. There are also historic sights in the garden. The Museum of National Treasures, Japan’s oldest museum architecture, displays stuffed specimens, such as Hokkaido’s extinct wolves and river otter. The Northern Peoples Museum has Ainu’s life tools and a traditional ceremony film. The garden is closed from mid November to mid April.

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Sapporo Clock Tower

(時計台) Built for a drill hall of Sapporo Agricultural School in 1878, this classically American-style wooden building (Tokeidai) is one of the most important landmarks of the city. The clock machine was introduced from Howard Watch Corporation in Boston. Some of the archives are displayed inside and a bell is ringing on the hour. You can take a good photo from the opposite building 2nd floor open-air deck.

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Getting There