Right around the beginning of November, the Sapporo Underground Walkway becomes part of the overall event that celebrates the local art scene of the city/prefecture. November 3 in Japan is officially Bunka no Hi (文化の日), translated as Culture Day into English.
This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the many forms of art. The Underground Walkway provides a wonderful background to showcase some of the visual artists of the area.
Sapporo Underground Walkway, or Chikagai, connects the two main hubs of the city from Sapporo Station to Odori Station. The kanji characters are 地下and 街, which means underground and town. It’s quite lively as everyone has to kind of keep on moving from destination to destination. Of course, there’s places to eat, rest, and shop around underground. But the people’s main purpose is the shortcut/easier access to the buildings and areas in city center.
This walkway only opened up a few years ago, but it has made such a major impact in our lives. Walking from station to station is sometimes faster than changing trains from the orange line to the green line. It amounts to about the same time. The timing of waiting for the train and changing lines usually takes ten minutes. Walking the same path is about the same. Sometimes it is even more direct because you don’t have to navigate the complicated passageways that takes you to the station platforms and exits. You just walk the path and you’re at the hotel or office.
There’s usually something going on underground, as it’s a nice open area to hold events. Even if you’re just passing through, trying to get to one station to the other, it makes the walk more interesting. Sometimes there are markets, with different vendor carts selling all kind of goods like fruits and vegetables, coffee, bread, handmade crafts, or clothing. Sometimes there’ll be different companies hawking their services or wares.
In November, however, the area comes alive with different artwork. This past week, I had the opportunity to walk around and see what was on display.
Most of the artwork were by students from the different art schools all across Hokkaido.
I love art, so I am usually look forward to this event. There have been some really interesting displays over the years and they are always different. I love seeing the creativity–and sometimes the madness–that people can create.
If you have lots of time and are interested, the event is still ongoing at the underground walkway Sapporo. The area closer to Sapporo Station has an open space where some street performers are showcasing their talents.
Walking towards Odori Station and towards the park, you’ll see a lot more of the visual displays.
If not, you can still take the walkway from station to station and stay away from the cold weather or the heat in the summer. Or, there are some nice areas to just sit and rest. Some benches and tables are spread out all over. The only thing is, you might have to fight others for a seat.