Located on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan, known for its annual Snow Festival, top-notch Ramen, and eponymous beer. The city hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics. Originally an indigenous Ainu settlement, Sapporo sits along the plain of the Toyohira River at the base of Mt. Moiwa. The well-organized layout showcases a variety of parks that offer great running in Sapporo year-round, from the colorful Gingko leaves of fall to the cherry blossoms of spring. Note: Sapporo is one of the snowiest major cities in the world, averaging 235 inches annually. Plan accordingly!
The most popular place to run in Sapporo is the long paved path along the Toyohira River, namely the sections through Nakajima and Makominai parks. Other favorite spots include the airy campus of Hokkaido University, downtown’s Odori Park, and Moerenuma Park north of the city (acclaimed for its landscape architecture and sculptures). Asahiyama Memorial Park, Nopporo Forest Park, and Maruyama Park have a good combination of easier paths and hillier tracks good for trail running. For longer, flat runs, there are river paths along the Shin and its tributaries. We’ve also included two routes in Otaru, the port city adjacent to Sapporo.
The Sapporo city subway is the best method for traveling between Sapporo running routes. The three transit lines have stops at or near most of our running route locations, and there is a discounted day-pass option. There are also several reliable bus lines. Some can be tricky for those who don’t speak Japanese, but Sapporo is generally compact and easy to navigate.