It is a short drive from the airport to the Sapporo Prince hotel located in the heart of Sapporo. Compared to other cities, there are fewer hotel options, but this one is a popular choice.
It’s not the most modern or stylish, and it’s slightly dated, but it’s clean and comfortable, with good service, friendly staff, and fantastic views.
The 587 rooms spread over 28 floors have free wifi, a flat-screen TV, a safe, room service, air conditioning and non-smoking rooms are available. An outdoor hot spring bath and spa are also available. For a scenic backdrop of the mountains, aim for the upper floors, especially on snowy winter days.
The hotel aims to use sustainable local products from Hokkaido. We enjoyed an a la carte meal at the hotel’s French restaurant Le Trianon with a delicious appetizer called Gifts from the Sea which included Pacific bala with eggplant, squid with seaweed and squid ink, squid fries and mussels with cream and saffron.
The Sapporo Prince Hotel is home to a number of restaurants and the Sky Lounge, where you can enjoy a drink while watching the sunset over the cityscape. There is a cocktail bar, an elegant restaurant, a champagne terrace and a tea room.
Royal Floor Suite occupants have exclusive access to the 28th Floor Breakfast Room where Japanese and Western dishes are served; it is quieter and there are no large groups to face.
Depart from the hotel’s onsen and head to Aburiya, an izakaya (informal Japanese pub-style) restaurant serving Hokkaido seafood for Â£ 26 per person.
Head to Kitanoryoba Restaurant at Curb Morning Market, which specializes in Hokkaido seafood and local produce, for local domburi breakfast dishes – seafood served over rice. The Prince Hotel works closely with the market to provide its guests with an authentic experience and offers a free shuttle service to and from the hotel.
For motorists there is a reasonably priced underground car park. For those on foot, there is a regular shuttle bus to the nearby train station. Guests have access to the hotel’s hot spring bath for Â£ 3.40 per night, as well as the Sapporo Wellness Club for Â£ 14.85.
Worth getting out of bed for
The former Hokkaido government office building is an essential starting point for understanding the history, art, and cultural significance of this important city.
Hokkaido is famous for being the birthplace of Japanese beer. Sapporo Beer, one of the oldest and most popular brands, has been brewed in Sapporo since 1876. The Sapporo Beer Museum introduces visitors to the history of the drink with a free 20-minute tour.
Soar to the top of the Sapporo TV Tower which is inside Odori Park, famous for its Snow Festival in February.
Susukino is Japan’s largest entertainment district north of Tokyo and, packed with shops, bars, restaurants, karaoke shops, and pachinko (game) lounges, is fun to explore. Or head to Tanukikoji, a kilometer-long covered arcade with around 200 stores stretching east to west in downtown Sapporo.
If you’re a rugby fan, visit the Sapporo Dome Stadium, where England will play Tonga in their Rugby World Cup debut on September 22.
Step back in time through a historic torii gate to 1871, in the footsteps of Emperor Meiji, at the Hokkaido Jingu Shinto Shrine.
The Prince Hotel has fantastic rooms with excellent views of Sapporo. Close to many restaurants, shops and Odori Park, the staff are helpful despite the language differences.
Sapporo Prince Hotel, Nishi 11-Chrome, Minami 2-jo, chuo-ky, Sapporo, 060-8615 Hokkaido. Standard Double Rooms start from Â£ 83 and Deluxe Double Rooms from Â£ 248, based on two people sharing (+81 11 241 1111, email: princehotels.com, www.princehotels.com) .
All Nippon Airways offers direct flights in economy class from Â£ 856; premium economy return from Â£ 1,639; round trip business class from Â£ 3,547 (www.ana.co.jp)