[Okurayama Observation Deck in Sapporo] Ski Jumping and Superb Views of Sapporo Can Be Enjoyed in Winter and Summer
June 18th, 2017
Mt. Okura (大倉山) is a small mountain with 307 m elevation in Chuo ward, Sapporo city, and is relatively near Maruyama Park (円山公園). It is well-known for Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium (大倉山ジャンプ競技場) built at the slope of the mountain, and has a viewing point at the top of the ski jump stand. Very good views from Okurayama Observation Deck (大倉山展望台) are very popular, and the Okurayama Observation Deck was ranked 5th in Tripadvisor "20 Best View Spots 2016 in Japan (行ってよかった！日本の展望スポット 2016)". Overseas tourists gave high praise, and I was surprised that the rank was higher than Tokyo Tower (東京タワー) and Tokyo Sky Tree (東京スカイツリー). In addition, it is famous as a good place to see a night view, but it can be seen within short business hour in the evening. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge.
Mr. Kishichiro Okura (大倉喜七郎), the second-generation sosui of Okura Zaibatsu (大倉財閥) that established Hotel Okura, built Okura Schanze (大倉シャンツェ) in 1931, so the mountain was named after his family name. The mountain used to be nameless mountain. The Okura Schanze was renamed to the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium when it was repaired as a venue of SAPPORO 1972 Winter Olympic Games. In a summer, summer ski jump tournaments are held, and ski jump tournaments are held in a winter. In Hokkaido, FIS (International Ski Federation) Ski Jumping is held only in the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, and this stadium has one of best ski jump facilities in Japan. Miyanomori Ski Jump Stadium (宮の森ジャンプ競技場) and Araiyama Ski Jump Stadium (荒井山ジャンプ競技場) is also nearby here.
Red Bull 400 is held only in a day, mid May. It looks tough.
Maruyama (円山) is a mountain at an altitude of 226 m in the westrn part of Chuo Ward, Sapporo city, and used to be called "Mt. Moiwa (モイワ山)". It means "A small mountain" in Ainu language. Mr. Michitoshi Iwamura (岩村通俊), a chief of Hokkaido Development Commission, named this neighborhood as Maruyama Village after Maruyama in Kyoto in 1872, and the mountain has been called "Mt. Maruyama" before people knows it. Around the foot of the Mt. Mauyama is called "Maruyama Park" at present, and it is a place of recreation and relaxation for Sapporo citizen. The large area is about 70 ha, and Hokkaido-jingu Shrine (北海道神宮), Maruyama Athletic Field (円山総合運動場) and Maruyama Zoo (円山動物園) are built on the site, and Maruyama Virgin Forest (円山原始林) grows, too, and this park has rich nature. It is well-known for a place famous for cherry blossoms and fall foliage, and a lot of tourists come. In addition, the Mt. Maruyama can be hiked, too, and trails are built for about 3 km in total length, and the time it takes to hike the mountain is around 1 hour. Article is here
Sapporo (札幌) that about 1,960,000 people live is the largest city in Hokkaido. Although there are various theories, its origin of the name is "Dry Big River (乾いた大きな川)" in Ainu language. A population of the Sapporo is the 4th largest city after Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya in japan, and the population accounts for 36 % of Hokkaido's population! So the Sapporo has been flourished as the center of the Hokkaido. The area of the Sapporo is 1,121.26 km2, and is about as big as Hong Kong, and is the 7th largest city in the Hokkaido. The Sapporo is also famous as a tourist city, and about 15 million people come. As for a climate, it is hot that temperature rises to nearly 25 degrees in a summer, but it is easy to live without moisture. I always feel a little cool. It is cold that temperature falls to nearly -10 degrees in a winter, and amount of snowfall sometimes has more than 1 m. Article is here
Ski Jumping is one of nordic skiing using skiis without fixing the heel, and was born in Telemark, Norway in 1808. Ski jumpers compete with a flying distance and a beauty flying posture. Winter Olympic Game and World Cup are also held, the Ski Jumping is one of the most famous winter sports. Article is here
Mt. Okura in Summer and Winter
Sapporo Olympic Museum (札幌オリンピックミュージアム) and Crystal House (クリスタルハウス) are built at the site, too. The Sapporo Olympic Museum is charged. A lot of tourists go up the mountain by a ski lift, but visitors can go up a trail, and it takes about 20 minutes on foot. I have never known the trail before coming here. Elementary school students went up or down the mountain as an excursion when I visited here.
|Admission fee||Free of charge *A ski lift fee is JPY 500|
|Parking lot||Free parking is provided (113 Cars)|
|Business hours||Open 24 hours * The business hours of ski lift is from 09:00 to 17:00 (it changes depending on the season)|
|Regular closing day||Irregular closing day|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||9 485 072*50|
Okurayama Observation Deck
The ski lifts run from the foot of the mountain to the mountaintop. It takes about 5 minutes, and costs JPY 500 round trip.
Lookout Lounge (展望ラウンジ) is built beside the ski lift station on the mountaintop, and its rooftop is an observation platform, and Mt. Maruyama (円山), Mt. Sankakuyama (三角山), Sapporo Dome (札幌ドーム), Odori Park (大通公園) and Sapporo Station (札幌駅) come into sight. Most of landmarks of the Sapporo can be seen. Views are great, so the visitors can know that the Sapporo is very large. It is no wonder that the Okurayama Observation Deck has become extremely popular.
Okurayama Lookout Lounge Shop (大倉山展望ラウンジ売店) and a restroom are at the building. Since I had come to the Okurayama Observation Deck, I planned to eat a Mt. Okura specially made soft serve ice cream. I ordered a Swirl Soft Serve Ice Cream with Yubari Melon Flavor and Vanila Flavor (夕張メロンとバニラのミックス). The price was JPY 350. That was good sweet. By the way, customers are not alloed to take pictures to inside of the shop. Beware of crows when you eat it outside. They attack you to eat foods.
Atmosphere of Okurayama Observation Deck Can Be Watched on Youtube
Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium
Most of ski jump tournaments are charged. A parking lot is not provided for common visitors during the ski jump tournaments, so the common visitors use a taxi or a bus. Ski jumping can be watched around landing Bahn and from ski jump watching place beside the ski jump stand. A jumper can be watched from the side at the watching place beside the ski jump stand, so it is exciting. But the distance is a little far away from the foot of the mountain, and it is cold. The visitors had better wear warm clothes. By the way, when the ski jump tournaments are not held, common tourists can also visit the Okurayama Observation Deck in the winter.
Packers tread snow down with their skis on a steep slope to the jumping hill before the jumpers fly. Meanwhile, they arrange bamboo grasses used for lines, and make the lines with a spray. Because I wondered at using the bamboo grass, I asked an old man nearby me, and he replied me that the ski jumping in Europe used the bamboo grass for lines. Afterwards, test jumpers take off, and they confirm a condition of the jumping hill. Finally, the jumper take off. Because it was not broadcasted the process of the ski jumping on TV, I knew it only after I watched it live. I knew that many stagehands supported the ski jumping.
Atmosphere of Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium Can Be Watched on Youtube
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations near the Mt. Okura. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
|Sapporo Maruyama Guest House Tsumuri-an(札幌円山ゲストハウス つむり庵)||
|Weekly Hotel Sanden(ウィークリーホテルさんでん)||
|Hotel Hamilton Sapporo(ホテル ハミルトン札幌)|
A page of Sapporo is here