Arrival in Sapporo

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(Sept. 7) Train delays, quick overview of Sapporo, beer, lamb and a traffic accident.

Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido prefecture and the largest city on the island.

Stranded Passengers

Here’s a rare sight in Japan. Passengers waiting at the New Chitose Airport Station because the trains have been stopped due to flooding.

Stranded Passengers

They had the trains going again in less than an hour.

Sapporo Station

The Sapporo railway station.

JR Tower

Next to the Sapporo Station is the JR Tower, the tallest building in Sapporo.

JR Tower Observatory

The observatory level deck offers a commanding view of the city.

JR Tower East View

To the East the railway lines extend into the distant interior of the island.

JR Tower North View

To the North the ocean can be seen in the distance. On the right side you can see Hokkaido University with its lush Botanical Garden.

JR Tower West View

In the mountains to the West you can make out the ski jump used for the 1972 Olympics.

JR Tower South View

The center of the city is to the South. The red and white TV Tower is one of the major landmarks.

JR Tower Restroom

Restroom with a view.

Former Hokkaido Govt Building

The Old Hokkaido government building, constructed in 1888 to house the new prefectural government, and supposedly modeled after the Massachusetts State House. The red five-pointed star at the base of the dome represents the North Star, the symbol of Hokkaido. (It is also featured in the logo of Sapporo Beer.)


The original Sapporo brewery is now a beer museum, and includes a biergarten decorated with one of the original brewing vats. The most popular menu item is thin-sliced lamb that you can grill at your table. Lamb is a rare delicacy in Japan. Raising sheep takes a lot of space; anywhere but Hokkaido it just isn’t practical.

The Taxis Have Seatbelts. Use Them.

On our way back from the biergarten to ryokan, the taxi driver made a sudden left turn (equivalent to a right turn in America) and knocked down a pedestrian, a teenaged girl. She was in the crosswalk, crossing with the light, so it was obviously the driver’s fault.

I was sure that she must have been seriously injured, but she picked herself up and brushed herself off. I think she was struck on the hip by the outside rearview mirror, which was mounted on the left front fender. If she had been hit by the front bumper she would surely have suffered a broken leg.

The driver got out and gave her his card. Both the driver and the victim bowed many times and apologized profusely. The victim’s companion, another young woman, stood by silently and glared at him the whole time.

At that, as far as I know, was the end of the matter. Japan is not a litigious society.

All posts from this trip.