Sapporo's Odori Park (Odori Kouen) *Map Link Here
(BGM: m-flo "Come Again" )
|A moody late September's evening in Odori Park|
|Sapporo City Archive Museum|
|Sapporo Terebi Tou (TV Tower)|
|Smiles as great as the food!|
I would come out here to do homework, make private phone calls, drink in the scent of roses and watch the strawberry soda-colored sunsets until the mosquitoes came out to chase me away. In autumn, the park is awash in lavish golds and reds, the leaves of gingko and Japanese maple trees fluttering like tiny fans. Sometimes, the annual Chrysanthemum Festival is held here, where professionals and amateurs alike prune and pluck their prize giant chrysanthemums for the judges, training each petal with special tools to bring out their classic firework shape. But all year round, the cornucopia of Odori Park's ever changing flower-scape is a feast for the eyes.
|The Chrysanthemum's toothy grin|
The name Odori can literally be translated to mean "large street." But in Japanese, it also sounds like the words for "big dance." Every June, Odori Park holds Hokkaido's largest dance festival called Soran Yosakoi Matsuri, where teams from across Japan (and now all over the world), gather to compete with their own interpretations of the yosakoi soran bushi dance. The dance motions are based on traditional fishing movements like pitching fish and hauling in heavy nets. The festival with its nationally-televised climactic parade is ear-shatteringly loud, crowded and vibrant. You can feel the pulsating rhyths taking over your own heartbeat with every snap of the dancers' wooden naruko clappers and droning bass from the sub-woofer speakers resting on the many stages erected down the center of the entire park. The atmosphere is overwhelmingly joyful. (Wearing earplugs to this event is highly recommended!)
|"A dokasho dokasho! A soran soran! A dokasho dokasho!"|
|A Kirin stout and pad thai noodles!|
Winter brings with it the delights of light-play upon gossamer sheathes of snow and ice. In chilly November, just after the snow starts flying, Odori Park comes to life with sparkling Christmas trees and light sculptures in the shapes of Hokkaido's official flowers, lilac and lily of the valley, at the Sapporo White Illumination. Best to come out here with a friend or significant other, however, as the sight of hundreds of young couples in love strolling hand-in-hand can otherwise cause severe depression for the single. You can see more of my photos of Sapporo White Illumination here).
|Terebi Tou with Tree Thingie|
|I'm pretty sure this didn't win anything.|
Odori Park has so many delightful events, colors and tastes to enjoy throughout the season that there's always something to look forward to, whether it be a spontaneous flea market, a music festival, or a celebration party after a victorious game at Sapporo Dome. Some events grace the park on an annual basis as weather allows. Other events come and go. (Here is a month-by-month listing of events around Sapporo). But for me, Odori Park never disappoints. I'm pretty sure that if I ever get the chance to return to Hokkaido, right after leaving Sapporo Station, instead of making a beeline for my hotel, this is the first place I will go to stop, savor the welcoming scent of roses, chow on an ear of juicy sweet soy-sauce corn, and feel my heart resonate with the soul of Sapporo once again.
Copyright 2013 Genkilee, Gen. All rights reserved. No part of this blog (written or photo content) may be reproduced or reprinted without the expressed permission of the author.