You are going to have to work a little to get to this park, but you will thank me when you get there. Trust me.
If you have been to Sapporo, or are thinking of coming to Sapporo, you have probably read that Mt. Moiwa is the place to be if you’re looking for views. Well, Moiwa is amazing, there is no denying that, but it is not cheap. It’s ¥1,700 per adult! What would you say if I told you that there were awesome views of Sapporo available for free? Or the price of a bus ticket if you’re not into walking.
Asahiyama Memorial Park (朝日山記念公園) was opened in 1970 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the city of Sapporo. It used to be a farm and the land was given to Sapporo in 1946. The park was rebuilt in 2004 and is now a wonderful place to sit and stare over Sapporo, a city which is always surprisingly much larger than you think it is.
There are five ways you can get to the park. You can drive. It will take you about ten minutes from the center of town and there is a large, free parking lot. You can take the bus. Look for bus number 13 and the bus stop is just outside Maruyama Park subway station. It will take about fifteen minutes. You can cycle. There are bikes to rent in the city and it will take you between thirty minutes and an hour, depending on how fit you are, or how much the three-year-old is rocking from side to side on the back of your bike. The last few hundred meters are particularly severe. You can walk. It will take you about an hour from the center of town or about twenty minutes from Maruyama Station. Or you can run. Halfway up the steep road you can turn into the park which is even more steep. Local sports clubs use it for sprint training.
Once you are at the top, head up these stairs and this is the view you will be faced with. However you chose to get here, isn’t it worth it? I like to just stand and take the whole scene in.
While you are up here, there are a few more things I would like to show you. There is a small shop that has drinks and ice cream.
There are benches and tables for picnics.
There are beautifully sculptured gardens.
There is a large fountain that children can play in.
And there are many paths that lead off into the forests. You can spend a while just wondering around.
If you have the time, and you can wake up early enough, I would recommend you come up here for the sunrise. Or, if you are having an exceptionally late night on the town, you can come up here before you go home. You will find you are not the only person.
Once you have taken in the view, had an ice cream and walked through the trees, it is time to go back down. Here’s where you’ll wish you’d run up. Sprinting back down the hill is a wonderful feeling and you can pretend you are as fast as the marathon runners (even though you are nowhere close). If you have come up in the evening there is a good yakiniku restaurant halfway up the road and, a little farther on next to a supermarket, is an Italian restaurant that has been on TV a few times. It's that good!
Anyway, it might not be the easiest of parks to get to, but you certainly won’t regret going.