Tanuki Koji as it’s commonly known is Sapporo’s oldest shopping area, dating from the late 1800′s. Some shops here have been in business for 100 years.
It consists of a long street that runs all the way from West 1 at the Soseigawa River Park to West 7, which is closed to vehicle traffic and covered by an awning. Every block is intersected by a north to south running road with vehicle traffic, controlled by a traffic light and zebra crossing for pedestrians. The effect is one long shopping community with a great variety of shops, restaurants and hotels all lined up together. The shops here really band together with a feeling of community spirit, and they proudly maintain their heritage and local customs. There are several festivals and events throughout the year, which make for a real spectacle if you’re lucky enough to visit while they’re on.
Tanuki Koji is very popular for groups of tourists, and there are souvenir shops selling Hokkaido delicacies and locally made gift items at every block. There are also several drugstores and cosmetic stores which are especially popular for Asian tour groups. Because there are so many shopping and dining options all in one space it’s the main stop for many tour companies, and on any given day you can see buses dropping off groups of tourists, primarily from around Asia, who then spend a few hours shopping and eating throughout the arcade. When their shopping is completed they line up outside of the souvenir shops to arrange for shipping of their purchases back home, with most of the shops offering direct international shipping services to your doorstep.
It’s also home to a few of Sapporo’s most popular international bars, a few highlights of which are TK6 (at Tanuki Koji Block 6), Jersey Bar, Bar on 5, Cam Cam’s and the Phone Booth which are just outside of Tanuki Koji Block 7 to the north, and Pete’s Bar which is just south of Block 1. On any given night it’s common to see groups of revelers making their way through the arcade back to their hotel or to catch the last subway home.
Tanuki Koji intersects Sapporo’s Main Street Ekimae Dori between Blocks 3 and 4.
At the East side of this intersection with an entrance opening directly onto the arcade is the Don Qixote department store, which offers an incredible array of duty free shopping items. There is an entrance here to the Chikaho underground walkway, from which you can walk to Odori Subway station in about 3 minutes or Sapporo Station in about 7 minutes. In fact, with the covered awning it’s possible to shop the entire area from Sapporo Station, through the Chikaho underground walkway to Poletown and Aurora Town, and into Tanuki Koji without ever being exposed to t he elements. This is a great bonus in Sapporo’s snowy winter. In the summertime skylights in the awning are opened up to let in the sunlight and fresh air. Tanuki Koji runs parallel to Odori Park a couple of blocks to the south, and is just north of the Susukino entertainment district.
With its central location, array of shopping and dining options, and various festivals and events throughout the year, Tanuki Koji is a great place to start and end your visit to Sapporo.
This post is also available in: Japanese