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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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Experience Japan arranged a trip to Japan for my three teenage children and me. It was the trip of a lifetime. Our coordinator, Amandine, was fantastic. Sh made excellent suggestions and arranged special outings for us that made the trip unforgettable. I was impressed with the value I received, with the guides, and especially with how well-organized and efficient the Experience Japan team was. If I had attempted to plan a trip like this on my own it would have been incredibly difficult and stressful. Experience Japan, with their excellent guides, carefully planned transportation arrangements, and meticulous attention to detail, allowed us to have a stress-free, thrilling adventure. My children and I got to experience a whole new land and culture, and it has been a life-changing experience. We WILL go back to Japan, and we WILL use Experience Japan again! I recommend them wholeheartedly. A private sushi-making lesson with a Master Sushi Chef. A stay in a traditional Ryokan in Hakone, with traditional lodging and hot spring mineral baths. Petting an owl in an Owl Cafe in Electric Town, Tokyo. Castles, temples, shrines, gardens...I can't even begin to list all the wonders we saw. Allow at least two weeks. We only had nine days, and there was so much more to see. But we'll just have to go back.... READ MORE

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