Odori Park(大通公園) – right in the center of Sapporo, stretching east to west.
This park is one of the best places to visit in Hokkaido, and is known for its relaxing atmosphere. Odori Park is loved by many people as an oasis in the city.
The park is about one mile long; the east end has the Sapporo TV Tower and the west end has the Sapporo Shiryokan (Former Sapporo Court of Appeals)
The park has so many things to do –well known tasty corn-on-the-cobs, sculptures, dazzling fountains and much more.
It is also used as a venue for many events. The Sapporo Snow Festival that attracts over 2,000,000 visitors and the Sapporo Autumn Fest are among them. Odori Park is just like a fun entertainment park. Let’s explore the park to see how much you can enjoy!
Odori Park: different area & different atmosphere
Odori Park is a long strip that runs through the center of Sapporo. There are 4,700 trees within the strip, and about 92 different kinds of trees. Some of them are the Japanese zelkova trees that are over 100 years old and Sapporo’s city trees called “lilac trees.” The sight of these trees will soothe your eyes and heal your heart.
This long strip park has five different zones. Each zone has a distinctive atmosphere. The 1st and 2nd blocks are busy with people walking along, called the “Koryu (Exchange)” –an international exchange zone. You can see a water fountain donated by the city of Portland, Sapporo’s sister city in this area.
The area from 3rd block to 5th block is the “Oasis” –a zone of water & light. There are very beautiful fountains and in this zone you can take excellent pictures.
The zone between 6th block and 9th block is called the “Tsudoi (Gathering) “–a play & event zone. This zone has an outdoor stage and playground equipment for families to share fun times together.
The zone from 10th block to 11th block is the “Frontier” –a history and culture zone. You’ll see a bronze statue of Mr. Kiyotaka Kuroda, a leader of Hokkaido Development.
The west end of the park is from 12th block to 13th block and this zone is called the “Hana (Flower)” –a sunk garden zone and it has a canal in the center. The garden will be filled with beautiful roses during the flower season. Strolling around the park and being surrounded by the different themes may give you a different impression of the park.
Must eat! –Hot and Juicy CORN-ON-THE-COB
If you ask me what the specialty of this park, it is definitely the corn-on-the-cob. Hokkaido’s fresh corn is boiled and barbecued on the spot.
The vendor gives you a freshly cooked corn-on-the-cob. It is so hot! Blow on it to cool it down. Surprisingly sweet and juicy, the corn’s aroma will spread in your mouth as you take a bite. Be careful not to burn your mouth!
Around the end of every April, the snow starts to disappear and the wagons start to appear, selling these well-known tasty corn-on-the-cobs until the end of October. About the end of July, they start selling fresh Hokkaido corn. At the bottom of Sapporo TV Tower, you see the wagon staff husking corn; a common seasonal sight known only to a few.
Attractions in Odori Park
Odori Park is one of the best tourist attractions in Hokkaido. There are two more famous tourist attractions inside the park itself –one is the Sapporo TV Tower.
The Sapporo TV Tower is on the east end of the park and has a great view of Sapporo city. At night the TV tower is lighted up and shows a different face from the daytime. When you look up at it at night, you feel its majestic beauty.
The other tourist attraction is the Sapporo Shiryokan (museum) on the west end of the park, which is the Former Sapporo Court of Appeals built in the Taisho Era (1912-1926). This magnificent building made with Sapporo freestone is designated as a tangible cultural asset of Japan.
The museum has a recreated courtroom of the past, a freestone building material exhibition and a gallery of the local artist Mr. Hiroshi Oba.
This place is rather low-key but it is actually very interesting to browse.
Odori Park as a little museum
There are close to 20 different works of art dotted around Odori Park and the park looks like a little museum. Many of those artworks are created by famous artists.
For example. “Izumi no Zo (Statue of Fountain)” near the large fountain is a bronze statue done by the sculptor Mr. Shin Hongo. You can closely see the work of another sculptor, Mr. Churyo Sato and there is also the work of art created by the world famous artist Mr. Isamu Noguchi; you can actually play inside!
“Black Slide Mantra” is really a slide. This piece of work is right in the middle of 8th and 9th blocks of the park where a street is supposed to be. Mr. Noguchi wanted this area in between 2 blocks to be “a space where children can freely play.” The city of Sapporo respected his wish and decided to cut a part of the street through and connect two areas. Just as he wished for, there is always children’s joyful laughter in and around the slide.
Famous Hokkaido events in the park.
The park is big enough to hold various events. The Sapporo Snow Festival in winter and The Sapporo Odori Beer Garden during the summer are especially famous events. The Sapporo Autumn Fest is held at the beginning of autumn as well. This one-month long event has a lot of food booths of well-established stores and popular restaurants in Sapporo and gourmet foods from all over Hokkaido. You can enjoy their special foods and dishes.
The Fest has been getting more popular and attracting more people from other parts of Japan.
The Lilac Festival is held during the best season of lilac flowers and you can experience German Christmas at the Munich Christmas Market. Each festival completely turns the usually quiet park into a very vibrant place.
Odori Park changes its face depending on when and which area you visit. See as many expressions of the park as possible and feel its charm to the fullest!
- Baby stroller rental, accessible bathroom and smoking place in the greenery “Smoking site” are some examples of this people-friendly park.
- Don’t miss the upcoming events. Check out the website first to enjoy more of the park.
- The park has a lot of good photo-shooting points. Wander around the park and find the best one.
There are many benches in the park. When it is sunny and warm, have lunch out on the bench. If you are a flower and plant lover, make sure you walk all the12 blocks to enjoy different flowers in season.
- Spot name(Ja)
- 1 to 12 Odori-nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-City, Hokkaido
- 011-251-0438 (Odori Park office)
- HP: http://www.sapporo-park.or.jp/odori/