THE OTHER JAPAN
The northern city of Sapporo is home to about 2 million people, but it is one of Japan’s youngest major urban centers.
In just 150 years, with some early help by experts from Europe and the United States, this area has transformed from an untamed wilderness inhabited by several indigenous Ainu settlements to a remarkable city existing in harmony with its natural surroundings.
Sapporo, which has an average annual snowfall of about 6 meters, is a planned city that has successfully woven a harsh environment into the culture and daily lives of its residents. Sapporo’s average temperature in January is -7 C and in August it’s 26.4 C.
The summers are free of the humidity that most parts of Japan experience, and typhoons rarely affect this region. Snow that blankets nearby mountains until summer feeds some of the world’s most pristine subsoil water, which has become an integral element of the local food. The natural environment plays a vital role in the city’s urban functions.
In her first visit to Sapporo, California-born Roza Akino explores the charms of this city’s unique development as epitomized by its art and food culture.