Sapporo Station is the transportation nucleus of Sapporo for rail, subway, bus and taxi. Whether arriving or departing Sapporo there’s a good chance that you’ll be passing through Sapporo Station, and with the construction of Stellar Place, Daimaru and the JR Tower complex in 2003 Sapporo Station has also become one of the main shopping centers of Sapporo.
Sapporo Station is located at North 5, West 2 at the head of Sapporo’s main street Ekimae Dori (literally Station Front Street). It marks the north end of Sapporo’s downtown core and somewhat anchors the city. Ekimae Dori runs south from the station to Odori Park, the Odori shopping area, Susukino entertainment district, and ends at Nakajima Park, which marks the south end of the downtown core. Connected to Sapporo Station and running underneath Ekimae Dori is the Chikaho underground walkway, which connects the shopping centers at Sapporo Station to the underground shopping centers of Poletown and Aurora Town. Most hotels, shopping and dining can be reached by walking from Sapporo Station or by taking a short taxi ride.
The JR (Japan Rail) main line intersects Sapporo Station running east-west. The JR train platforms are located at the center of the station, with the ticket gates on the first floor and the platforms on the second. Regular trains run from the station to all major points in Hokkaido, including the Airporter which runs about every 30 minutes to Sapporo’s main airport, Chitose International Airport.
Surrounding the station are the shopping areas of Stellar Place, Paseo, Apia, Daimaru and Esta, as well as JR Tower and the JR Nikko Hotel. There’s also a tourism information center with a help desk, multilingual tourism information, and internet access stations (paid) across from the east gates at the north side of the station.
In the basement are the gates for the Sapporo Subway with entrances for the Namboku line (green line) and Toho line (blue line). The Sapporo Station Bus Terminal (not to be confused with the Sapporo Bus Terminal) is located on the east side of the station underneath Esta, with berths for both Donan Bus and Chuo Bus. In addition, there is a taxi stand in front of Sapporo Station with dozens of taxis available at any time. With the wide range of transportation options it is possible to get to virtually any point in Sapporo or Hokkaido by starting from Sapporo Station, though it may be necessary to transfer trains or take both train and bus.
The station itself is very clean, modern and efficient. It can get very crowded at peak times though, so it’s best to arrive early for your train or bus. It’s also a very large complex which can be quite confusing to navigate at first, so it’s best to ask for assistance at the information desk by the south entrance if you get lost, or at the tourism information center across from the east gates on the south side of the station. Multilingual assistance is available at this desk and also at the ticket sales counter across from the east gates, and the automated ticket sales machines have English guidance. However, most JR staff speak only Japanese, so you may have to search for someone who can help with other languages.
This post is also available in: Japanese