So we’ve finally seen the first snowfall of the year in Sapporo, but it seems to be the slowest first snowfall since 128 years ago, 23 days later than the average year! While the snow is falling it is a good idea to walk in small steps like a penguin so that you do not slip over on the slippery ice. Sapporo residents shuffle slowly along the streets while be conscious of their surroundings, placing the entire sole of the shoe on the ground. While you should be careful of sloping terrain, there is also slippery ice hidden beneath the snow, so please watch your step.
Sapporo residents have separate shoes for summer and winter. If you are travelling to Sapporo from New Chitose Airport, it is possible to take the JR train without having to walk outside. However, you should definitely purchase some winter shoes at Sapporo station, or in the underground shopping passage around the Odori area. Non-slip cleats are also available in convenience stores which you can stick or clip onto your shoes.
If you are driving a car you should be aware of bumpy tracks left behind by snow ploughs. Also, not everything that looks like a road is one. High pressure snow ploughs will leave tracks when they push the snow into empty lots on the side of the road. A ravine full of snow can look like solid ground and if you fall through, there may not be a way to get back out. Please take no unknown shortcuts!
With these tips in mind let's enjoy the long winter of Hokkaido!