Monday, April 9, 2012

The Sapporo Dome Tour

There is a lot to do in Sapporo, but I had been there many times before and didn't want to revisit any attractions that I have seen previously. So on the day between games, I headed back to the Sapporo Dome, this time to take the behind-the-scenes tour.

Tickets for this tour are 1,000 yen and can be picked up at the North Gate box office. Tours are held on the hour from 10 am to 4 pm on non-game days. If there is an event, the hours will vary or there may be no tours at all, you'll need to check their home page (Japanese) to confirm.

For 50 minutes, you are led around by a young woman who spends a lot of time walking backwards while explaining the various facets of the venue. It's all in Japanese, however, even neophytes will quickly learn the phrase for "Please watch your step" as it seems like every single staircase warrants a warning. There is a brochure with a bit of English that explains some of the details. Frankly, most of it is pretty mundane stuff, such as the stats on how big the place is (second largest dome behind Fukuoka's) but you do get to go next to the field, and see the visitor's locker room and even their bullpen. You can even try throwing a baseball from the bullpen mound, so warm up before you get there.

There is a 3-minute video showing the field being converted from baseball to soccer, which is interesting. I had seen the Fighters game the night before and when I arrived the next day, the soccer pitch was already in place.

You might get lucky and see the process in action, but I believe this is quite rare as it is usually done when the place is closed to the public.

For an extra 200 yen, you can venture to the observatory 53 meters above the field. This spot offers unique views of a domed stadium, with the north side looking out over Sapporo. If you avoid the tour, you can head up here for 500 yen.

The escalators that take you up and down are held by wires from the roof, something that you don't see every day. There's a few mementos up here as well.

The observatory is small and 15 minutes is more than enough. You can take some cool shots of the seats from an unusual angle (below) but it is not worth coming all the way just for that.

I'm glad I went, but I don't think it is a must-see for everyone. If you've never been to Sapporo, you are probably better off spending time at the Beer Hall or Clock Tower than humping all the way back to the Dome for a tour.



1 comment:

  1. Nice, thanks for the tip as I have also seen most of the usual hot spots in Sapporo.