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Sapporo (Hokkaido)

Japan's fifth-largest city, and the prefectural capital of Hokkaido, Sapporo is a surprisingly dynamic and cosmopolitan urban centre that pulses with energy. Designed by European and American architects in the late 19th century, Sapporo is shaped by its wide grid of tree-lined streets and ample public parks, which contribute to the city's surprising level of liveability. After a day of exploring the city you can get your energy back over a hot meal, a great proposition given Sapporo's wholly deserved gastronomic reputation. As the island's main access point and transport hub, Sapporo serves as an excellent base for striking out into the wilds. But make sure you leave enough time to see Sapporo itself. Sapporo is a major tourist destination in itself, especially for those partial to the delicious liquid gold that is Sapporo beer. If you're planning long periods of time hiking in isolation, you might want to first indulge in a bit of the raucous nightlife of the Susukino district. And, of course, if you come in February, don't miss out on the Sapporo Snow Festival (Yuki Matsuri), a winter carnival highlighted by frozen sculptures of everything from brown bears and tanuki (racoon dogs) to Godzilla and Doraemon.

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The trip was very well organized and a great introduction to Japanese culture as well as local living by getting exposure to modes of public transportation. We ere able to gain knowledge that gave us independence and a thorough appreciation of the subtleties of the culture. The guides were very helpful, although we didn't get to learn more of the language from them directly. We were VERY well fed and given hospitality everywhere we went, including the shops! Scott Kent planned everything out and organized everything in advance to make this a pretty smooth experience overall. Looking forward to coming back for more!... READ MORE

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