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Sapporo in western Hokkaido is the largest city on the island. The 1972 Winter Olympic Games were held here and nowadays the nearby Niseko is a popular destination for Australian skiers. Sapporo is well known for its annual Snow Festival, ramen and beer.
Shuzenji: Hot Spring Ryokan
Madeleine Stratton slips into the simple, austere style of luxury that is what traditional, high-end Japanese guesthouses are all about. That, and the extraordinary food.
Moerenuma Park, surrounded by a marsh, has a circumference of about four kilometers and a sculpture on a grand scale with installations including a glass pyramid where performances are held.
Odori Park, which stretches about a kilometer and a half in the centre of the city and is filled with flowers, trees and fountains, provides welcome respite from the crowds.
Sapporo Beer Museum
The Sapporo Beer Museum gives visitors a guide through the process and history of beer making in Hokkaido, as well as the opportunity to taste a variety of beers.
Sapporo Snow Festival
See delightful collections of intricate illuminated snow statues in Odori Park in Sapporo City during this festival, which is visited by about two million people.
Close to Sapporo the resorts of Niseko and Furano offer excellent skiing, with 15 metres of dry, powder snow falling on Niseko each year.