City of Sapporo > General Overview of Sapporo

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Update:January 1, 2011

General Overview of Sapporo


Location of Sapporo

Sapporo is located in the southwest corner of Hokkaido's Ishikari Plain.

Total Area / 1,121.12km2

Longest distance from east to west / 42.30km
Longest distance from north to south / 45.40km

Latitude & Longitude

  • East: 141 degrees 30' E. long.(Momijidai Minami 7, Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo)
  • West: 140 degrees 59' E. long.(National forest, Jozankei Minami-ku, Sapporo)
  • South: 42 degrees 46' N. lat. (National forest, Jozankei Minami-ku, Sapporo)
  • North: 43 degrees 11' N. lat. (Shinoro-cho Takuhoku, Kita-ku, Sapporo)
  • Highest & Lowest Points
  • Highest: Jozankei, Minami-ku, Sapporo(Mt. Yoichi)1,488.1m
  • Lowest: Nishi-barato, Kita-ku, Sapporo(around old Hassamu River)1.8m

Access to Sapporo

For access from outside of Hokkaido, travel by air is most common. The New Chitose airport is connected to a network of airports throughout Japan, including Tokyo (Haneda and Narita), Nagoya, and Osaka (Itami and Kansai).

The main air routes and the approximate flight times

Sendai - Sapporo


Nagoya - Sapporo


Tokyo(Haneda) - Sapporo


Osaka(Itami) - Sapporo


Niigata - Sapporo


Fukuoka - Sapporo


Above-mentioned "Sapporo" is "New Chitose airport".The time required may vary according to flight.

Trains and buses connect the New Chitose airport with Sapporo. The rapid-transit train operated by Japan Railways departs New Chitose airport station every 15 minutes, and the commute to JR Sapporo station takes 36 minutes. By bus, even the center of downtown Sapporo is only about 60 minutes away via expressway.

There is also an overnight sleeper train that runs from Osaka station and Ueno station (Tokyo) to Sapporo, operated by Japan Railways. Ferries are regularly operated between outside of Hokkaido and the ports of Tomakomai, Otaru.


Sapporo is characterized by four distinct seasons, including a cool summer and cold, snowy winter.

Beautiful days continue from April to June, when the city is filled with lush, green vegetation and blooming flowers. Although it becomes hotter in the daytime from late June, Hokkaido has no rainy season, unlike elsewhere in Japan. The height of summer is between July and August, with average temperatures sometimes exceeding 20 degrees.

In September, temperatures drop with each rainfall and the precipitation increases as autumn deepens. The leaves begin to change color in October and the temperature sometimes approaches 0 degrees. The first snowfall usually occurs in late October. From early December onward, the ground is continuously covered with snow.

The maximum snow depth between December and February can reach up to approximately 1 m, and the annual cumulative snowfall is about 5 m. The average temperature in January is -3 degrees. It becomes warmer in March and the average temperature exceeds 0 degrees around the time of the Vernal Equinox. Ice and snow covering the ground typically begins to melt in early April.

Sapporo's average temperature is about 8.5 degrees and the annual precipitation is about 1,100 mm.


The population of Sapporo has been growing since 1869, and is about 1,890,000. It is about one-third of that of Hokkaido. Now Sapporo has the 5th largest population in Japan.

Origin of City's Name

The name of Sapporo is said to be derived from Ainu language "Sari-Poro-Pet" (River lined with large reed bed) or "Sat-Poro-Pet" (Large dried-up river).


  • 1869 Start of construction of town in Sapporo
  • 1878 Construction of the Clock Tower completed
  • 1922 Enforcement of municipal organization
  • 1970 Population exceeds one million people
  • 1971 Municipal management subway opens for business
  • 1972 1972 Winter Olympic Games held (shift to government-designated city)
  • 1984 Population exceeds 1.5 million people
  • 2002 Hosting of the 2002 FIFA World Cup
  • 2006 Hosting of the 2006 FIBA World Championship games
  • 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Sapporo 2007 held


Sapporo has 10 wards (in Japanese, "ku").

Chuo-ku, Kita-ku, Higashi-ku, Shiroishi-ku, Atsubetsu-ku, Toyohira-ku, Kiyota-ku, Minami-ku, Nishi-ku, Teine-ku

City symbols - emblem, flower, tree, bird

Emblem of city

Lily of the valley



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