The largest entertainment district in Japan north of Tokyo, Susukino has admittedly been cleaning up its streets in recent years. With never-ending activity, today a wide range of entertainments venues can be found including bars, restaurants and shopping, along with famed Japanese hot spots like karaoke and pachinko.
Susukino is at its best in February, when the neighbourhood hosts the annual Snow Festival, anchored by an ice sculpture competition. Originating in 1950, the weeklong Snow Festival is one of Japan’s most beloved events. The 100 or so ice sculptures erected in Susukino are illuminated daily until the festival’s end. Sapporo is also quite famous for its ramen and Susukino offers many excellent examples of the traditional noodle dish on the aptly named Ramen Yokocho lane.
Susukino has no official borders. It’s a very roughly outlined neighbourhood but should be relatively easy for visitors to find thanks to the Susukino Station, which is served by both the Sapporo Street Car and the Sapporo Municipal Subway.
The neighbourhood first cropped up in the late 19th century, though it was admittedly “adults only”. By World War II, efforts to make the area a more general entertainment district succeeded with restaurants, cafes, and movie theatres opening and gaining more traction with every passing year. The popularisation of disco bars in the 1970s, and the addition of Susukino to the Snow Festival in the 1980s sealed the deal in making this an enjoyable destination for all types of traveller.