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.

This pleasant oasis of green has a sizable pond, Japanese garden, concert hall, literary museum, astronomical observatory, puppet theater and handsome historic buildings.

More info www.sapporo-park.or.jp/nakajima

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.


Hoheikan

(豊平館) 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).

More info www.s-hoheikan.jp


Hasso-an

(八窓庵) 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.


Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara

(札幌コンサートホールキタラ) 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.

More info www.kitara-sapporo.or.jp


Hokkaido Museum of Literature

(北海道立文学館) 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.

More info www.h-bungaku.or.jp


Getting There

Nakajima Park is directly connected to Nakajima-koen Station on the Nanboku subway line, three stops south of Sapporo Station.