The Sapporo Shiryokan Former Sapporo Court of Appeals is located in Block 13 of Odori Park and together with its flower gardens out front and wooded park behind makes up the western end of the park. It was built in 1926 to house the Sapporo Court of Appeals and later came to hold the Sapporo High Court. In 1973 it was reborn as the Sapporo Archives Museum, and is now designated as a National Cultural Property.
Admission is free, and it’s a nice place to visit after a stroll through Odori Park. Inside there are exhibits on Hokkaido’s art, culture and history, as well as a restored courtroom from the Court of Appeals era. The individual exhibits consist of: Hiroshi Ohba Memorial Room – displays works by this famous Sapporo-born illustrator City Planning History Exhibition – tells the story of how Odori Park was converted from a firebreak and vacant lots into the park. Law and Justice Exhibition – introduces Japan’s judicial system with a multimedia explanation of the new jury system introduced in 2009. Criminal Court Exhibition – mock sessions are periodically enacted in this restored criminal court complete with restored tables, chairs and other artifacts. Galleries – there are several galleries interspersed throughout the 1st and 2nd floors that feature works from local artists. Various exhibitions are held here. Odori Exchange Gallery – originally the reception room for the court of appeals, this is now an observation room with a nice view of Odori Park below.
En-yu Yagakko Memorial Room – this school was founded by the famous author Inazo Nitobe. Various photos and books are on display here.
There is also a gift shop on the 1st floor with local arts, crafts and other souvenirs available, displays of Aiinu history and culture, and a lounge area on the 2nd floor where one can relax and enjoy the view of the park. The flower garden and terrace outside features a bust of a blindfolded goddess with scales supported on both sides by swords, with carvings of two mirrors at the back. The goddess symbolizes the law, the scales impartiality, the swords justice, and the mirrors truth. In the rear of the building there is a small wooded park that has many trees native to Hokkaido that have been preserved. There are a few benches here and it’s a nice place to relax in summer.
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