As the cultural, political and economic hub of Hokkaido island, Sapporo has much to see and enjoy beyond its snow festival. In its short history, this capital city has grown from a modest agricultural settlement to a vital metropolis of 1.5 million.
Basically, the city is divided into three sections: the financial and political area with its banks, government buildings and hotels; the shopping and restaurant district; and the nationally famous entertainment quarter of Susukino, where neon lights illuminate dozens of nightclubs, eateries, theaters and cinemas. With its convenient street-numbering system and well-developed subway, streetcar and bus networks, getting around town is a snap. Immaculate taxis, driven by courteous, white-gloved chauffeurs, are readily available.
Staying in Sapporo: Among the city's wide selection of hotels are the Keio Plaza Hotel, Hotel Alpha, Sapporo Grand Hotel, Hotel New Otani and Sapporo Korakuen Hotel. While the number of hotels rooms has increased greatly over the last decade, the growing popularity of the Sapporo Snow Festival makes it advisable to book reservations well in advance if a visit to the city is planned around that event.