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This bustling metropolis was once nothing but a quiet hunting and fishing town in the Ishikari Plain of Hokkaidō, settled by the Ainu. They were left alone until 1821, when the Tokugawa Shōgunate created an official trading post in what would eventually become Sapporo. The city was declared the capital of Hokkaidō in 1868, and – unlike much of mainland Japan – its growth was carefully planned. In 1880 Japan’s third major railway was constructed, which linked Sapporo and the port city of Otaru.

In the 20th century Sapporo emerged as a major producer of agricultural products. Sapporo Beer, the country’s first, was founded in 1876 and quickly became synonymous with the city itself. In 1972 Sapporo hosted the Winter Olympics, and it continues to attract visitors from around the world.

In addition to beer, Sapporo is also famous for its particular style of rāmen noodles, which rank among the best.