Japan // Hokkaido //

Maruyama-koen and around

The upscale suburb of Maruyama-kōen is where you’ll find the island’s principal Shinto shrine Hokkaidō Jingū (北海道神宮) amid a leafy park where 1400 cherry trees break into spectacular blossom each May.

From Maruyama-kōen subway station hop on bus #14 to reach the fun Sapporo Winter Sports Museum. Occupying the Ski Jump Stadium at Okurayama (大倉山) built for the 1972 Winter Olympics, the museum’s highlight is a ski jump simulator that gives you an idea of what it’s like to participate in this daring winter sport. There are also simulations for bobsledding, cross-country skiing and speed skating, among other things – it’s all a hoot, and afterwards you can ride the passenger lift (¥500 return) to the top of the ski jump to see the view for real. From the bus stop the museum is about ten minutes’ walk uphill; a taxi from Maruyama-kōen station is around ¥1000.