The day I fell in love with Hokkaido was when I watched the movie Kita-Kita (I See You; キタ キタ). Kita Kita was a love story of a tour guide living in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan who lost her eyesight because of her fiancé’s infidelity. During the course of her blindness, a guy named Tonyo, befriended her. Lea shows Tonyo the beautiful places in Hokkaido, in particular, Sapporo and Otaru. And from that moment on, I knew that Hokkaido is on my bucket list of must-see places to visit.
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Beautiful places to visit in Hokkaido based from the movie Kita Kita
My husband and I planned a trip for our family of three to Hokkaido and retraced the movie locations Lea and Tonyo visited. This visit to Japan is something I can pin on my travel map again. From Tokyo we booked a flight to Hokkaido and landed in New Chitose Airport. A cab we rented through Viator took us to Hotel Mystays in Sapporo. What I love about Hotel MyStays Sapporo Station is that it is walking distance from the train station. When choosing a hotel, location is a very important factor to consider. Our hotel was strategically located at the heart of the city. The rooms are clean and the staff is accommodating.
When we settled in our hotel we planned the places we will visit for the next few days.
Here are the places that were featured in the movie Kita-Kita:
1. Sapporo Clock Tower (Sapporo Tokeidai)
Location: North 1 West 2, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Museum Hours: 8:45 a.m-5:00 p.m.
The clock tower is a symbolic landmark located at the heart of central Sapporo. This is one of the oldest structures in the city. It also houses a museum inside.
- Enjoy the highlights of Sapporo during this flexible insider’s tour through the city.
- Your own private tour guide will help you map out your itinerary.
- Take in top sights, from the bustling seafood market to the lush downtown park, while listening to the history and culture of Hokkaido.
- Hotel pickup is available
- Get an in-depth introduction to Sapporo’s sights and listen to the history of the Hokkaido region by an insider.
2. Former Hokkaido Government Office
Location: 6 Chrome, Kita 3 Jonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Museum Hours: 8:45 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Entrance Fee: FREE
This historical structure built in 1888 is also known as the “Red Brick Building”. It houses a museum and tourist information office.
- Explore Sapporo at your own pace and customize your itinerary to your own preferences on this full-day private guided tour.
- Walking tour of downtown area and visit TV Tower, Odori Park, and the former Hokkaido Government Office Building.
- Stop for lunch (own expense) at the Central Wholesale Market, famed for its seafood, then visit Hokkaido Shrine in Maruyama Park.
- Private tour exclusively for your party.
- Flexibility to customize the tour according to your interests.
- Get insights into local history and culture from your guide.
- Hassle-free hotel pickup and drop-off.
3. Sapporo T.V. Tower
Location: Odori Park, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Hours: 9:00 a.m-10:00 p.m.
This T.V. Tower located in Odori Park was built in 1957. When you enter the T.V Tower on the first floor, you will see a visitor information center. You can pay for tickets at the information booth if you want to go up the observation deck. The ground floor also houses a souvenir shop. The second floor is where the administration office is located. A restaurant and The Sky shop is located at the third floor. A lift will take you up the Observation Deck that is 90 meters high. From here, you will have a bird’s eye view of Sapporo City.
From the observation deck you also have a spectacular view of Odori Park, Mount Okura, and Maruyama. A photo booth is also located in the observation deck where you can have a souvenir photo and the background can be fully customized according to your choice.
- Hit the heights of the Sapporo TV Tower with a prebooked entry ticket and enjoy sweeping views over the city of Sapporo and Ishikari countryside.
- The observation deck can be visited at any time during the public opening hours; check it out in the daytime and you might be lucky enough to see as far as the sea, or visit in the evening to see the tower illuminated against the night sky.
- Book a ticket online and waste no time when you enter the Sapporo TV Tower.
- Take the elevator and ride to a height of 295 feet (90 meters) in just 60 seconds.
- Capture the bird’s eye views of Sapporo and Odori Park.
- Browse the Sky Shop for observation deck souvenirs.
4. Odori Park
Location: Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
After your visit to the T.V. Tower you can take a leisurely stroll at Odori Park. Odori means “large street” in Japanese. It spans about 1.5 kilometers. Originally it was supposed to be a main street but it eventually became a park. It is a clean and well-maintained park where children can run and play.
Events such as Sapporo Lilac Festival and Sapporo Snow Festival are held here. Unfortunately we came in April, a little too early for summer events and a little too late for the Snow Festival. At the time of our visit it was an empty park but it was nonetheless beautiful.
Odori Park has four water fountains but at the time of our visit the water fountains were closed. These fountains are closed from November to April due to winter season.
5. Train Ride to Otaru From Sapporo
If you are already in Sapporo, you should also visit the city of Otaru. You can take a quick day trip to the romantic city of Otaru, which is 31 kilometers away from Sapporo. There are various ways to go to Otaru. You can take a train, ride a bus, or drive. The train ride going to Otaru can take as long as 1 hour or as little as 35 minutes if you take the rapid train. From Sapporo Station ride a train going to Minami-Otaru.
6. The City of Otaru
Otaru is a port-town, northwest of Sapporo. The name Otaru means “river running through the sandy beach”. This city is well known for its beer, fresh sushi, glass crafts, glass jewelry, and musical boxes.
We tried the sushi here and it is indeed the freshest we have tried—ever! I also enjoyed shopping for glass jewelry in this place. Each of the beads were carefully hand-crafted by Japanese locals and they look gorgeous! You will enjoy strolling around Sakaimachi Street. Venetian art can be seen at the Venetian Museum of Art.
Our main reason for coming to Hokkaido is to visit the places where Lea and Tonyo went in the movie Kita-Kita. Therefore, our target places to do are the following: visit Otaru canal, take the Otaru Cruise, and go to the music box museum.
- Discover the best of the seaside city of Otaru in a day on this action-packed tour.
- Private transfers in a comfortable vehicle from Sapporo is included.
- Yoichi Distillery
- At the Sakaimachi shopping street, see its glassworks and music boxes.
- Otaru canal
- Tengu Mountain
- Hassle-free day, as all activities are included.
- See multiple Otaru highlights in a day.
- Delicious seafood lunch is included.
7. Otaru Canal
When you arrive at the Otaru Train Station, you can take a 15-minute walk going to the Canal. Upon reaching the canal, you will see artists presenting their works to tourists. At night the lamps are lit and it provides a romantic ambience.
The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival is held in February usually at the same time as Sapporo Snow Festival. The canal lights up with lanterns floating.
8. Otaru Canal Cruise
Otaru is known as the “Venice of Japan” so it really makes sense to experience the Otaru Canal Cruise. This cruise takes about 40 minutes. It departs from Chuobashi Bridge and the highlights of the tour include the North Canal, Otaru’s Port, South Canal, and Historic Structures. For more information you can visit the Otaru Canal Cruise Website.
9. Music Box Museum (Otaru Orgel Doh)
Location: 4-1 Sumiyoshicho, Otaru, 047-0015, Hokkaido
Hours: 9:00 a.m-6:00 p.m.
This museum was built in 1912 and is located at the end of Sakaimachi Street. But be prepared that this place is filled with tourists so therefore it can be crowded.
At the entrance there is a huge steam clock that is hard to miss. A lot of tourists take pictures and videos of this steam clock. When I entered the museum I was in awe of the vast music box displays.
This music box museum is a must visit place when you are in Otaru. It showcases a variety of dainty music boxes of small, medium, and large sizes. You can also have your own music box customized.
The first thing my husband looked for was “The Lucky Cat” statue. This where the characters Lea and Tonyo had a scene where they were tinkering with a music box. We also bought the same music box the characters bought.
- Visit Otaru Canal and enjoy the historical buildings and beautiful scenery!
- Lunch buffet in Western and Chinese style with dessert
- Visit Glass Studio & Otaru Music Box Museum for shopping.
- From Tenguyama Otaru, you can ride on the ropeway. Once you arrive at the peak station, you can also see beautiful scenery included Otaru Harbor and Ishikari Bay.
After our day trip to Otaru we went back to Sapporo also by train.
10. Fushimi Inari Jinjya Shrine
This place was a challenge to go to because there was no train available going here. So we took a walk up the hill with toddler in tow in a stroller. Fortunately the road was paved and smooth so it was not too difficult. We knew it was the Shrine when we saw the Torii gates.
Torii Gates are present in Japanese Shinto Shrines. These gates are a sign that you are entering a sacred ground.
11. Furano-Biei Area
Located outside of Sapporo, Furano and Biei area are known for their picturesque flower fields. The best time to visit is in the months of July-September when the flowers and the lavender fields are in full bloom.
Another beautiful scene in the movie was when Lea and Tonyo went to the Furano-Biei area and took a stroll at the flower fields. When we came in April, the flowers were not in bloom yet. But my friend Shella shared with me her pictures when she went into the Furano Biei area during the flower blooming season. The view was spectacular!
Furano and Biei Area Tours
- Transportation to Asahiyama Zoo, Biei and Furano area en route back to Sapporo.
- Close encounter with animals at Ashiyama Zoo.
- Visit Hokkaido’s flower fields.
- A closer look at the sublime Blue Pond (Aoi-Ike).
- Go to Ninguru Terrace
- Direct and hassle-free transportation to Asahiyama Zoo, Biei and Furano area en route back to Sapporo.
- This trip includes the iconic spots of Hokkaido and cannot be missed for first-time visitors, Hokkaido idyllic landscape seekers, and outdoor excursion lovers.
- This course is operated with a multilingual audio guidance system (Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean).
- Grasp Hokkaido’s seasonal beauty on the undulating flowery slope and feel jovial breathing the fresh air on this vast land.
- Various flowers such as rosa rugosa (aka Japanese roses), peony or lavender can be viewed in different seasons, making it your wonderful excursion with glamorous colors under the azure sky!
- Lunch menu consists of Furano Wine House famous “Petite Fondue + Hamburger Steak + Rice + Coffee or Tea.
12. Moerenuema Park
Location: 1-1 Moerenumakoen, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 007-0011, Japan
Park Hours: 7:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
Park Entrance Fee: FREE
Glass Pyramid Hours: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Entrance Fee: FREE
Moereneuma Park opened in 2005. It used to be a sanitary landfill since 1979. The striking landmark in Moereneuma Park is a glass pyramid, which is nicknamed as “Hidamari” means “sunny spot” in Japanese. Japanese-American Isamu Noguchi designed this beautiful glass pyramid.
The pyramid has an air-conditioning system during the summer and it also has a heating system during the winter. We went there at the end of the winter season and it was still chilling outside the park. The heated glass pyramid was a welcome relief from the icy cold weather outside.
Inside “Hidamari” are the following: a restaurant, vendo machines, an atrium, information center, museum shop, and gallery space in honor of its designer Isamu Noguchi. As trivia, Mr. Noguchi passed away before the completion of his project but the Japanese Government finished it nonetheless.
13. Mount Moiwa
Location: 5 Chrome-3-7-Fushimi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0942, Japan
Hours: 10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
Mount Moiwa is another must place to visit in Sapporo. This place opened in 1958. To go there, you have to take the Mt. Moiwa Ropeway that climbs up the mountain. There are two cable cars going up which also requires two separate tickets. When we reached the view deck, it was one of the coldest spots we visited in the whole of Sapporo. If you go there during the winter season, make sure to bring extra layers of clothing for protection from the cold.
Of course, our family took a picture under the Bell of Happiness as this highlights our trip to Hokkaido.
Lea and Tonyo danced the night away at this location wearing their Banana and Heart costumes. We felt accomplished that we have visited almost all of the places they visited in Hokkaido and it did not disappoint us.
There are a lot of places to visit here and time is a limiting factor for us. We would really love to come back here to feature this place again.
- Come along on this tour for a mesmerizing view of Sapporo’s sparkling city lights.
- Head up to Mt. Moiwa for a vast look over the beautiful Sapporo nightscape.
- Take in the view over Odori park from the top of the famous TV Tower.
- Have drinks and dinner for some relaxed conversation to enjoy the rest of the evening.
OUR TRAVEL TIPS
- If you are travelling with a toddler or an infant, bring a stroller.
Have a reliable data or Wi-Fi on your phone. This is a lifesaver when you are lost in unknown territory. Google maps can be very handy if you can connect to the internet. We got our reliable data from Klook.
- Book a hotel near the train station. We love the location of Hotel MyStays Sapporo Station.
- Download a phone app that can help you translate. It is a challenge when you cannot understand the language of a country you are visiting.
- Sapporo has a Visitor Information Center that is located at the Sapporo JR Station.The staff was very accommodating and answered all our questions about the places we wanted to visit in Sapporo. They also offer tickets and tour packages at reasonable prices.
- And of course, you have to try the famous Hokkaido Ramen. It is so delicious!
And if you want to see more of our Hokkaido trip, you can check out our You Tube Video of Sapporo and Otaru Tour with some scenes from the movie Kita-Kita.