As in most large Japanese cities, shopping malls are the most popular places to shop in Sapporo. You'll find all manner of goods inside, from souvenirs and bargains, to exclusive, designer goods. There's no such thing as a typical mall, however, and the range of items in many can be mind boggling. Happily, almost all malls have leisure facilities, wheelchair access, and a good choice of restaurants and cafés.

    Sapporo has a lot of snow, so shoppers visiting during the winter will greatly benefit from the shelter and warmth inside malls. Although most of the major department stores and underground shopping options are located around Odori and Sapporo Station, shopping, dining and movies can be also be enjoyed under one roof at Sapporo Factory, just east of the downtown area.

    1

    Sapporo Stellar Place

    Among Sapporo’s largest shopping complexes

    Sapporo Stellar Place is a sprawling shopping complex directly connected to the city's JR train station. The huge mall houses shops selling men and women's fashion, cosmetics, accessories, household goods, music, books and toys, as well as a variety of dining options and a cinema.

    Split over 2 wings – East and Central – the multilevelled complex is largely populated by high-street retail giants, including Gap, HMV and Disney Store, as well as local favourites Muji and ABC Mart. There's tax-free shopping for overseas visitors, and free Wi-Fi throughout. It's easy to while away the hours in this vast retail labyrinth, and the impressive food court should provide ample sustenance to fuel your bargain-hunting escapades.

    Location: 2 Chome Kita 5 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0005, Japan

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)1-12095100

    Map

    photo by Braveheart (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    2

    Tanuki Koji shopping arcade

    Tanuki Koji shopping arcade, close to the Susukino train station, is amongst the largest and most historic shopping areas in Sapporo. You’ll find more than 200 individual stores along this covered shopping street, along with a great and varied choice of food choices. Browse the shops selling kimonos, tea or incense, scattered between modern stores specialising in computers and software or state-of -the-art electronics and digital cameras – all of which lends it a bazaar-like quality. Some items for sale here are even cheaper than in the 100-yen shops. Tanuki Koji is a popular spot to pick up some cheap souvenirs.

    Open: Most shops are open daily from 10 am to 8 pm

    Map

    photo by Wing1990hk (CC BY 3.0) modified

    3

    Parco

    This fashionable shopping complex in downtown Sapporo is the best place for designer fashion. Parco is especially good for young ladies’ clothes and cosmetics although there are also whole floors dedicated to men’s and children’s clothing. Western-style boutiques such as Pour Les Hommes, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood Red Label, Comme des garcons are all available, alongside plenty of Japanese brands. And if you feel like a coffee break or a bite to eat then you’ll not have far to look. The seventh floor comprises a lifestyle centre and eighth floor is the place to go if you’re hungry as it houses a collection of restaurants. Parco Sapporo is next to Odori subway station.

    Location: 3 Chome−3, Minami 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-8502, Japan

    Open: Daily from 10am to 8pm (until 8.30pm on Saturdays)

    Phone: +81 (0)11 214 2111

    Map

    photo by 663highland (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    4

    Marui Imai department store

    Marui Imai is a giant-sized department store selling everything from jewellery to power tools to home furnishings. Perhaps more of a ‘mall experience’ than a tangible shopping destination, it’s not to be missed. Smack-bang in downtown Sapporo, you’re never far from the action at Marui Imai and if you’re hungry there are plenty of food outlets. For larger items, it’s possible to mail them back home from the Post Office located on the 9th floor of the nearby Ichijo Building. Major credit cards accepted.

    Location: 2 Chome Minami 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-8667, Japan

    Open: Daily from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)11-205-1151

    Map

    photo by J o (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    5

    Nijo Market

    Nijo Ichiba is a famous fish market in the city centre. The market is located near Tanuki Koji shopping arcade and is arranged into crowded alleyways. Here you’ll find over 50 different vendors selling everything from fresh fish to sea urchins to salmon roe to truly impressive giant Hokkaido crabs.

    The market also has a hole-in-the-wall food stalls that serve the freshest food in the area – it’s a great place for a sashimi breakfast. Among the most popular menu items for starting the day here is uni ikura donburi (sea urchin and salmon eggs on rice). Nijo market also sells seasonal fruits and even Japanese chocolate. Light bargaining is expected here.

    Location: 1 Chome Minami 3 Johigashi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0053, Japan

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 6 pm (varies by store)

    Phone: +81 (0)11-222-5308

    Map

    photo by Wing1990hk (CC BY 3.0) modified

    6

    Sapporo Factory

    Sapporo Factory is a grand shopping centre constructed on the former site of a Sapporo brewery. The complex includes over 100 shops, restaurants, a hotel and a fitness centre within a group of historic redbrick buildings. The main building has an imposing glass atrium which adds to the pleasant experience.  

    Items for sale here include clothes, home furnishings and household goods, souvenirs and craft shops. In the atrium, the centre-piece of the Factory complex, there’s a stage with regular live performances. The Sapporo Meissen Porcelain Museum is on the 4th floor.

    Location: 4 Chome Kita 2 Johigashi, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0032, Japan

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 8 pm

    Map

    photo by Daigaku2051 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    7

    Bic Camera

    Bic Camera is a major electronics chain store dealing in the latest type of electrical appliances, IT-related-goods and cool gadgets, all at good prices. The camera section, along with the mobile phones section and games displays are always crowded with customers. In the basement there’s a food-hall and a 100-yen shop, while the upper floors are for clothing, general goods, toys, baby goods, a pet shop and a craft shop. Bic Camera Sapporo is next to JR Sapporo station.

    Location: ESTA Building JR Tower, 2 Chome−1, Kita 5 Jonishi, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0005, Japan

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)11 261 1111

    Map

    photo by (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    8

    Ario Sapporo

    Enjoy spa time in between souvenir shopping

    Ario Sapporo is a child-friendly shopping centre and a popular place for souvenir hunting. The main attraction here is the wonderful Ario Mall – complete with its Spa & Leisure Building and fitness and entertainments facilities. The Ito-Yokado supermarket is a great place to buy locally produced food, and its seafood section is a particular draw for local shoppers.

    The entire Ario Sapporo complex goes to great lengths to ensure families are well catered for, with children's bathrooms on-site and strollers and high chairs available on request. Next to the famous Sapporo Beer Garden, there's also a large outdoor park adjacent to the mall – a great place to breathe some fresh air between your shopping rounds (weather permitting).

    Location: 9 Chome-2-20 Kita 7 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 065-8518, Japan

    Open: Daily 10 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)1-17231111

    Map

    photo by モンモン (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    Pole Town

    Underground shopping housed inside a Sapporo transport hub

    Pole Town is an underground shopping centre lined with fashion stores, cafes, and restaurants. Located in central Sapporo, the curiously named Pole Town passage extends about 400 metres between the city's Odori and Susukino subway stations. Its convenient location makes it a great place to grab a coffee or kill a little time in between train journeys.

    Thanks to its subterranean position, the temperature-controlled complex is especially busy during the cold winter months when Sapporo is generally covered in a thick blanket of snow. Its flat, level pathways make it easy to explore for visitors using wheelchairs or prams.

    Location: 4 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042, Japan

    Open: Daily 10 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)1-12517600

    Map
    10

    100-yen shops

    100-yen shops ("hyaku-en shoppu" in Japanese) sell a wide range of products for 108 yen per item (100 yen plus 8% tax). This corresponds to roughly US$1 per item, making these shops a trusty friend to thrifty travellers. There are thousands of 100-yen shops across Japan, from multi-storey department setups, to small corners in shopping malls.

    Market leader, Daiso, operates over 2,000 stores nationwide – including 8 in Sapporo – and pursues an aggressive expansion policy. By cleverly purchasing products in huge quantities and at big discounts from countries with low production and labour costs, 100-yen shops are able to offer an astonishing range of products at prices often below the products’ actual value. Popular things to buy include tableware, tools, and simple household goods.

    photo by Guilhem Vellut (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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