Studying in Sapporo
International students and their families will find the comfortable, appealing living environment extremely satisfying
Sapporo is a place in which the bustling city and abundant natural environment can both be enjoyed. In the city center there are numerous commercial facilities in which clothing and sundries stores can be found, as well as a wide range of bars and eateries. Here, the latest fashion and culture can be enjoyed, and delicious food can be savored at stylish restaurants and cafés. On the other hand, there are many parks within the city boundary and expansive countryside on the outskirts, where outdoor activities and hot springs can be enjoyed on holidays. In this way, Sapporo offers a unique and enjoyable lifestyle in which food, leisure and nature can all be enjoyed.
Sapporo is free from the crowded complexity of Tokyo, but has no shortage of shopping facilities and transportation functions for a convenient lifestyle. The downtown area, planned and maintained in a grid pattern, offers beautiful, fresh urban streetscapes, and the wide streets make for congestion-free commuting to work and school. The city’s extensive public transportation system provides convenient access to the city center, where underground shopping malls and walkways allow people to shop and move from place to place, unaffected by the rain or snow. In a local government opinion poll, over 80% of the residents responded that they “want to continue living in Sapporo” – proof that the city is indeed a great place to live.
Housing costs in Hokkaido can be kept low compared with those in places like Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi and Fukuoka. The cost of renting space the equivalent of one tatami mat’s size in Hokkaido is less than half of that in Tokyo, and approximately 60% of that in other areas of Japan. What’s more, according to the Regional Difference Index of Consumer Prices, food prices in Hokkaido are also lower than those in the Tokyo metropolitan area. In this way, Sapporo’s housing and food costs can be kept low, leaving more money to spend on academic life and hobbies.
One of the greatest appeals of Sapporo is the delicious food, made with the freshest products from Hokkaido’s land and seas. Hokkaido is Japan’s most prolific food producing region, with a food self-sufficiency rate that exceeds 200%. Sapporo is where Hokkaido’s abundant ingredients are all gathered, and where reasonably priced cuisine made with fresh ingredients is highly acclaimed, both at home and abroad. The city’s rich, unique food culture, which includes Sapporo ramen, soup curry, jingisukan, Sapporo sweets and the like, is another of the city’s charms.
It is important for international students studying Japanese to be able to hear the language they have learned, and language that is understood anywhere in Japan. The Japanese used in Sapporo is pretty standard, and distinctive regional Hokkaido accents are gradually disappearing. Being able to learn Japanese that is very close to standard Japanese despite being in a regional city is also one of the merits of studying in Sapporo.