Christmas starts in Sapporo when the illuminations become visible, and the gigantic Christmas tree is lit up in the atrium of Sapporo Factory. From November until January the yearly traditional jumbo Christmas tree is lit up and graces the atrium of the Sapporo Factory shopping complex.
This 15m huge Christmas tree attracts a lot of visitors coming just to see or photograph the tree. It also gives shoppers something nice to admire between their shopping and dining activities, with the restaurant section of the shopping complex located on the first floor around the main part of atrium.
To find a tree this big to fit the atrium, a tree is especially brought in to Sapporo from Hiroo Town in the Tokachi area. Once set up, the tree is decorated in illuminations and ornaments. While lit up everyday between 16:00–22:00, shoppers and visitors can also enjoy a small five minute music and light show that is performed around the tree on every hour. Further away in the atrium, a stage for music is occupied with different performances at various times to get people in the Christmas mood.
Sapporo Factory was originally a beer brewery that operated under the name of “Hokkaido Development Commission Brewery” from 1876. It was also one of Japan’s first breweries, but was turned into a commercial shopping complex in 1993 with around 150 shops. Since then the first Christmas tree lighting every November, has become one of the most popular yearly events at the factory, attracting many visitors waiting to see the tree lit for the first time.
Photo by Miki Yoshihito on Flickr
Placed at the center of the atrium, the tree is not the only thing lighting up the big room. Big bright Christmas illuminations come hanging down from the ceiling, turning the busy beer factory-turned-shopping complex, into a beautiful space with lots of Christmas spirit. Also, during this season in the weeks leading up to Christmas, there are often Santa related activities for the children, as well as special discounted sales for visitors doing their Christmas shopping especially at Sapporo Factory.
How to Visit
If you are visiting Sapporo from November — January, we do recommend taking the trip to Sapporo Factory to view the beautiful gigantic tree before it gets taken down and put away until next November comes along. The tree is best enjoyed when the sun has gone down, as no bright daylight is coming down from the the open ceiling of the atrium of Sapporo Factory. This also gives the best photo opportunity to really catch the Christmas illuminations on camera.
Sapporo Factory is located close to the city center, a 15 minute walk from the TV Tower in Odori Park. It can be easily accessed by taking the underground walkway from Odori to Bus Center Mae stations.
From Odori Station walk to exit 27, follow the stairs down that lead to the walkway. Bus Center Mae station will be approximately 10 minutes by foot. Sapporo Factory can also be reached by riding the subway, taking the Tozai line to Bus Center Mae station. The exit closest to Sapporo Factory will then be exit 5.