After studying international relations with a focus on Japanese culture at Florida State University, Kaley Portier knew she had to spend more than just a vacation in the Asian island nation.

So when the company she worked for asked her to move to Sapporo, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, she jumped at the chance. “The native Floridian in me was scared at the prospect of living in one of the snowiest places on Earth,” she says. “But this city showed me that the best things in life are those that you don’t expect.” Plus, she adds, “the people are the nicest you’ll meet in Japan.”

Here are a few of Kaley’s favorite things about the city she’s proud to call home.

Follow Kaley’s adventures in travel on Twitter and Instagram and on her blog, Communication is Difficult

Sapporo Is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is to 19th-century Odori Park in Sapporo’s city center.

Sapporo TV Tower, Odori Park, Hokkaido (Photograph by dgmckelvey, flickr)
Odori Park is home to the Sapporo TV Tower (back right). (Photograph by dgmckelvey, flickr)

Summer is the best time to visit my city because that’s when Sapporo’s beer gardens are in full swing.

You can see my city best from the JR Tower.

Locals know to skip the Tanuki Koji shopping arcade and check out Maruyama Park in the city’s western suburbs instead.

Chi-Ka-Ho, Sapporo’s underground walkway, is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

In the past, notable people like novelist Takeo Arishima, playwright Hiro Kanagawa, and actor Masayuki Mori have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is the Sapporo Art Park because you can visit a museum, encounter local artists selling their goods, and experience a large sculpture garden for a reasonable price.

The Sapporo Art Park in Sapporo, Japan (Photograph by mujitra, flickr)
Best museum: The Sapporo Art (Read more...)

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