Five blocks south of Sapporo Station, opposite the Sapporo International Communication Plaza, is the Tokeidai (時計台), Kita 1, Nishi 2, a wooden clock tower that’s one of the city’s key landmarks. You’d be right in thinking that this wood-clad building would look more at home somewhere like Boston, because that’s where it was made in 1878; inside is an uninspiring exhibition on the building’s history. One block south lies Ōdōri-kōen and the contrasting 147m red steel Sapporo TV Tower at Ōdōri Nishi 1. During the snow festival, the viewing platform provides a lovely vista down the park, particularly at night.

The neon-illuminated excess of Susukino (すすきの), the largest area of bars, restaurants and nightclubs north of Tokyo, begins on the southern side of Ōdōri-kōen, and is best explored at night. If you’re here during the day, you could follow the covered shopping arcade Tanuki-kōji to its eastern end where you’ll find the lively Nijō Fish Market (二条市場), Minami 3, Higashi 1-2, ideal for lunch or a fresh sushi breakfast.

Four blocks west of the end of Ōdōri-kōen, the large, white Hokkaidō Museum of Modern Art (北海道立近代美術館), Kita 1, Nishi 17, holds a modest but absorbing collection of paintings and sculptures, some by Japanese artists. The nearest subway station is Nishi Juhatchōme, on the Tozai line.

If you’ve not yet had your fill of parks, Nakajima-kōen (中島公園), Minami 9, Nishi 4, is the third of central Sapporo’s large-scale green spots and is worth visiting to see the Hasso-an, an early Edo-period teahouse.

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