This 2000-hectare sprawling lowland forest (野幌森林公園), extends from Eastern Sapporo to Ebetsu, has been preserved from the late 19th-century. There are 14 gentle walks crisscross the park. Hiking season is from late April to early November. A large number of birds and insects inhabit among the trees. The Park is home to the general museum and historical village of Hokkaido.
We recommend eating a boxed lunch on the lawn around the 100m-high Orthanc-shaped 1970 Hokkaido Centennial Memorial Tower (北海道百年記念塔: Hyakunen Kinento). The observation deck is currently closed and it will be demolished near future because of ageing.
The most popular hike is a 30-minute walk from the memorial tower to the Mizuho-no-ike (瑞穂池) reservoir completed in 1928. This path is continue to the historical village.
(北海道博物館) If you want to know more about Hokkaido’s history and nature, this red brick museum (also called the Mori-no-Charenga) should be your first stop. Explores from 1.2 million years ago to the frontier history to the modern day, with valuable collection, photos, bird-eye’s view and diorama of ecosystem. The Ainu culture hall has a thatched house, cloths, tools and exhibitions of their history. You can rent an audio guide (¥280).
A dual purpose ticket (¥1200) valid for this museum and the Historical Village. JR Bus 22 from Shin-Sapporo Station stops here. More info www.hm.pref.hokkaido.lg.jp
Historical Village of Hokkaido
(北海道開拓の村) In the attractive village of Kaitaku-no-mura is a fine open-air museum. It boasts the Meiji and Taisho periods’s 53 historic buildings that were moved (or restored) here from all over Hokkaido, including halls, schools, houses, shops and factories. Experience-based events and historic performances are held on weekend. At least two hours for explore the village.
You can making traditional toys at the Experiential Training Building (9.30am-4pm; closed 11.30am-1pm weekday; free) near the Children’s Plaza. A horsecar (mid Apr-Nov) or a horse sleigh (Sat, Sun & holiday Dec-Mar) runs in the main street (adult ¥250; child ¥100). More info www.kaitaku.or.jp
Nopporo Forest Park Visitor’s Center
A short walk from Osawa Gate, this visitor’s center has small displays on flora and fauna, hiking maps, information and binoculars. It also has picnic tables, free Wi-Fi (ask for staff) and toilets. Five pleasant paths start here. More info www.kaitaku.or.jp/nfpvc.htm
The main gateway to the forest park, Kinento-guchi (記念塔口) is about a 15-minute walk uphill from JR Shinrinkoen Station (森林公園駅) on the JR Hakodate Line, four stops east of Sapporo Station by local train (13min; ¥340). Osawa Gate is about a 30-minute walk from JR Oasa Station south gate.
JR Bus 22 leaves from Shin-Sapporo Station stop 10 to Kaitaku-no-mura (Historical Village) every 30 minutes from 10am to 3pm (flat ¥210), stopping at JR Shinrinkoen Station (east gate), Nopporo Forest Park in front of Kinento-guchi and Hokkaido Museum. The last bus from Kaitaku-no-mura back to Shin-Sapporo is at 5.40pm.