Nakajima Park is the largest park in Sapporo and is located on the south side of Ekimae-dori Avenue. 21 hectares in size, the park told the story of Sapporo’s time. In 1874, the park was used as a lumber yard to store timber transported from Otomo moat (now Sosegawa River) to the provinces.
From there, time passed and the site became a wasteland. In 1897, the people who lived there transformed it into an amusement park through their strong enthusiasm, and it remained a small amusement park until the mid-1990s, when it was torn down and replaced by the current Kitara Concert Hall.
There is a pond in Nakajima Park, and the park is surrounded by the Kamo River and a portion of the lower Toyohira River, lined with thousands of trees. Black acacias, ginkgo trees, and cherry trees fill the entire park with color. Cherry blossoms bloom in early May, wisteria in early June, acacia and iris in mid-June, and colorful roses in July.
Nakajima Park is the largest park in Sapporo and can be reached by walking straight down Ekimae-dori Avenue in the direction of Odori. It is easily accessible from Susukino or a short walk from Nakajima Koen Station on the Namboku Municipal Subway Line.
As you enter the park, you will see a large pond with carp and ducks swimming gracefully in it. If you want to enjoy the whole park, we recommend renting a boat. It is more than enough for a relaxing time with your children or even a date! There is also a small café on the east side of the park where you can relax after a long day.
Hokkaido Literature Museum
If you walk around the pond in a clockwise direction, you will see the Hokkaido Literature Museum. Various exhibits are on display, and you can also learn about the history of Hokkaido, including the Ainu people. According to the receptionist, international students can view the permanent exhibits for free, so bring someone from overseas to learn about Hokkaido’s history!
Nakajima Sports Center
Walking south from the Hokkaido Literature Museum through the park, the Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center comes into view. Inside there are courts for basketball, badminton, and other sports, as well as a small but well-equipped room for aerobic exercise and training. There is also a tatami room where martial arts such as judo and karate can be practiced. The Nakajima Physical Education Center offers a variety of classes, all at reasonable prices. In winter, visitors can rent walking skis and enjoy the park.
Kitara Concert Hall
The Kitara Concert Hall can be found walking west from the Nakajima Sports Center through the park. The Kitara Concert Hall, home to the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, is the center of live concerts in Sapporo.
It has two concert halls, a large hall and a small hall, where music can be enjoyed all year round. Kitara is equipped with a restaurant, a relaxing courtyard, and so that you can relax and enjoy the time before the concert.
Sapporo Astronomical Observatory
The Sapporo Astronomical Observatory is located directly across the street from the Concert Hall. During the daytime, visitors can observe the movement of the sun through a plate attached to a telescope, and the staff will give you detailed information about the sun, including sunspots, which is something you can rarely experience.
The telescope is very popular during events such as total solar eclipses, so be sure to visit. At night, you can look through a telescope and see constellations and galaxies, making it a great date spot! Everything is free, so it’s a good deal.
Passing through the observatory to the north, you will see the Toyohirakan, which was built in the 1800s. It was built as a hotel in 1880, and the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa Emperors have all stayed here. The Western wooden structure, which was rare even in that era, enveloped visitors with a sense of luxury and wonder. In recent years, Toyohirakan has been used as a wedding hall and concert hall.
Nakajima Park Japanese Garden
Right next to the Toyohirakan is a Japanese garden, and inside there is a building that was set up to hold tea ceremonies, and it is still used as a place to hold tea ceremonies.
Nakajima Park is also equipped with places to rest and relax. There are two gazebos, benches here and there, and a plain where you can enjoy a picnic! There is a cherry blossom tree in the middle of the park, and it is delicious to enjoy beer and drinks while admiring the cherry blossoms.
The Sapporo Festival is held every year from June 14 to 16, and many events are held in and around Nakajima Park, so be sure to check it out! The festival is a grand affair with stalls lining the streets, food, toys, and a comfortable atmosphere for everyone from children to the elderly. The atmosphere is filled with people wearing yukata (light cotton kimono) and the festival is spreading throughout Sapporo. The portable shrines that make the festival so much fun continue from Nakajima Park to the Hokkaido Shrine, and the sidewalks are filled with people, which is a sight to behold!