Discover Hokkaido: 5 Must-Visit Cultural Spots with Unique Themed Museums and Beautiful Parks

On this page, we introduce a selection of spots where you can learn about Hokkaido’s history and culture, as well as spots with spectacular views of Hokkaido’s natural beauty! We also feature spots where you can learn about the history of the famous Sapporo Beer, the Ainu culture, Hokkaido’s indigenous people, and the only museum in Japan with a prison theme. Deepening your understanding of the history and culture of the area will surely enrich your travel experience✨ Enjoy Hokkaido’s attractions to the fullest!


Upopoy/National Ainu Museum and Park (ウポポイ/民族共生象徴空間)

Upopoy Logo

National Ainu Museum and Park also known as Upopoy opened in Shiraoi Town, Hokkaido. Shiraoi Town is located in the southwestern part of Hokkaido, with Noboribetsu City, famous for Noboribetsu Hot Springs, to the west and Chitose City, home of the New Chitose Airport, to the north. It is said that there have been Ainu village in Shiraoi Town since ancient times.

Traditional Performing Arts of the Ainu People

Upopoy is a facility dedicated to learning about and passing on to the future the traditions and culture of the Ainu people, the indigenous people of Hokkaido. Recently, Ainu people have been featured as the subject of popular Japanese manga and TV dramas as well. You can reach Upopoy by an hour’s drive from Sapporo Station, or you can also access it by train.

Sapporo Beer Museum (サッポロビール博物館)

The Sapporo Beer Museum is located in the Sapporo Beer Garden, where you can taste fresh draft beer and Jingisukan (Lamb and Mutton BBQ), and it introduces the history of Sapporo Beer, a source of pride for the people of Hokkaido since 1876, along with the beer industry, beer making, and the development of Sapporo in a fun and easy-to-understand way.

In the paid premium tours, brand communicators will guide you through the history of Hokkaido’s historical figures and beer industry in a fascinating and fun way. As a special offer of the paid tour, you can learn the historical story in a powerful 6K theater, and after the tour, you can enjoy a tasting of Sapporo Draft Beer Kuro Label, which recreates one of the original brews from the founding days. Enjoy learning about the history of Sapporo Beer and taste the beer.

*Advance reservations are required for premium tours. Please make reservations through the tour booking page on the official website.

*Please note that premium tours are conducted in Japanese.

Official website:

Abashiri Prison Museum (博物館網走監獄)

It is the only prison museum in Japan where visitors can learn about the life of prisoners in those days in Abashiri City, located in eastern Hokkaido. It is an outdoor history museum that preserves and exhibits buildings from the Meiji era (1868-1912) that were actually used in the former Abashiri Prison. The vast grounds are dotted with buildings designated as Important Cultural Properties or Registered Tangible Cultural Properties, making it a spot of great historical value. One of the main features of the museum is that it is the only one in Japan that exhibits documents related to the execution of prisoners. Visitors can also enter the cells where prisoners had lived and try prison meals in the restaurant, which is a reproduction of what inmates eat in Abashiri Prison today.

Moerenuma Park (モエレ沼公園)

Moerenuma Park is a unique large-scale park that combines “art” and “nature” in Sapporo. The basic design of the park was undertaken by renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi. The magnificent grounds of Moerenuma Park are home to innovative and well-designed works of art that cannot be found in any other park. The fusion of nature and artwork, such as cherry blossoms and autumn leaves, is truly a “part of arts”.

The park is equipped with an outdoor stage and sports facilities in addition to art works. All of these facilities have interesting and unique designs that match the nature, and are said to directly express the theme of Sapporo City, Environment and Culture.

Okurayama Observatory (大倉山展望台)

The Sapporo Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, once a venue for the 1972 Winter Olympics, now features an observatory atop Mt. Okura. This popular spot offers a 133.6-meter-high view of the entire city, including Odori Park, Sapporo Dome, and other landmarks, as well as the surrounding nature throughout all four seasons.

night view
You can take the lift to the top of the mountain.

Not only is the view great, but also the lift to the top of the mountain is a great way to get there. The natural beauty of Mt. Okura spread out below the lift is outstandingly spectacular. It is recommended that you also enjoy the scenery on the way to the summit. The Miyanomori Ski Jump Stadium can be seen at the right rear of the observatory, and you can experience the scenery that skiers actually see.

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