Most travellers would argue that the best time to book flights to Sapporo is during the summer months of June to August, to make the most of the warm weather. Travel during this time is likely to be more expensive than during off-peak seasons, though. In more recent years, Sapporo has become home to some exciting winter activities and vibrant festivals that make the most of the snow and ice of these cold months. For seven wonderful days in February, Sapporo transforms into a winter wonderland of crystal like ice and white snow to host one of Japan’s largest winter snow festival events. The festival dazzles over two million visitors from Japan and abroad every year with a display of magical snow and ice sculptures and statues. Visitors not only come to enjoy the sights, but also to participate in the sculpture contests against other teams from around the world.
If you are able to find cheap flights to Sapporo during the winter, make sure you bring warm clothes as well as some non-skid shoes and special snow tyres for the car (these can be bought in the city) to help you through the beautiful but sometimes challenging weather conditions.
An elegant and modern city, Sapporo is also famous for its great natural beauty. Head out to Mt Moiwa to enjoy unsurpassed views over the city streets. Or, take a look at the observatory on Mt Okura: a wonderful place for visitors of all ages. Sapporo is also home to some great museums, many of which are free to enter. The small but fascinating Hokkaido University Museum is free and a brilliant place to look at some stunning art works and artifacts. One of the star attractions of this city is the Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park, which is a riot of floral colour in the spring and summer months and a lovely place to take a walk at any time of year. Maruyama Zoo is another interesting place to visit whilst you are in Sapporo. Here, you can see both native flora and fauna, and animals that hail from all five continents.
Sapporo is very easy to explore on foot: it has a rectangular layout and blocks named and numbered according to compass points. So if you like, you can see most of the main sights as a pedestrian. However, there is also an efficient public bus service you can use, as well as several specialist tour bus operators. This city also has metro service of three lines which will get you to your destination in no time by taking a more direct route than walking might.
International flights to Sapporo are handled by New Chitose Airport (CTS), which is open 24 hours a day (the first airport to be open 24 hours in Japan). If you like, you can get an onward commuter flight from here to Sapporo Okadama Airport (OKD), which is in the centre of town. Or, you can take advantage of the hire car, taxi, and shuttle bus services which are plentifully available at New Chitose Airport to get you to the hotel when your flight arrives. The best option, though, is to hop on the train, which takes 35 minutes to reach the town centre.