Sapporo Factory is a massive shopping, dining, and entertainment complex in central Sapporo. The complex was built on the site of the historic Kaitakushi Brewery (a predecessor of Sapporo Breweries) and includes some of the old red-brick brewery buildings.
Altogether there are seven interlinked buildings in Sapporo Factory. Among them you will find over 160 different stores selling fashion, sports equipment, lifestyle and interior goods, restaurants, cafes, a cinema, a beer museum and a hotel. In this article we will give an overview of Sapporo Factory’s main facilities and introduce some of the highlights in each building.
The History of Sapporo Factory
The Kaitakushi Beer Brewery was opened on this site in 1876. This was one of the first beer breweries to open in Japan, and the predecessor of Sapporo Breweries which is the oldest brand of Japanese beer. The brewery buildings were first built of wood, but as the brewery expanded the brick buildings we can still see today were built. The brewery was privatized and the Sapporo Beer Company was established in 1887. This brewery continued to operate until 1965 after which the buildings were used as a museum. Sapporo Breweries moved their local brewery to the nearby city of Eniwa in 1989. After that, the site of the Kaitakushi Beer Brewery was developed as a commercial complex and this opened to the public in 1993.
There are 7 buildings in the Sapporo Factory Complex. However, these are gathered in three main groups. Two buildings, the Frontier Kan and the 1-jo Kan, are located together on the south side of Kita-2-jo Dori Avenue. Four more buildings are located on the north side of that avenue. These are the 2-jo Kan, the Atrium, the 3-jo Kan, and the Renga Kan buildings which are all closely connected and form the main part of the complex. Finally, the Nishi Kan building is located to the west of the Renga Kan, however, this last building does not contain any shops.
The Frontier Kan building is located on the south side of Sapporo Factory. This building has a large supermarket on the ground floor and a number of specialty stores on the 2nd floor which includes Sapporo Drug Store, Art Life Depot import store, and VICEVERSA interior and lifestyle store.
The 1-jo Kan building is connected directly to the Frontier Kan building by walkways on the 2nd floor. On the 1st floor you can find a large pet shop, the Gravity Research climbing gym, and the Karimoku furniture showroom. On the 2nd floor you can find the Seria 100 yen store, the Namco Amusement Arcade, and a branch of United Cinemas Hokkaido. This cinema has 11 screens and is the only IMAX digital movie theater in Hokkaido. On the 3rd floor you can find the Hokkaido Gas Showroom and the Kitagas Cooking School.
The 2-jo Kan building is separated from the 1-jo Kan at the ground level by Kita-2-jo Dori Avenue. However, the two buildings are connected by walkways at the basement (B1) and 2nd floor levels. Stores in the 2-jo Kan building mainly stock clothes and equipment for sporting and outdoor activities. Among the many stores in this building are the outdoor clothing store Woolrich on the B1 level, the sports apparel and footwear shop PNS on the 2nd floor, and the outdoor clothing and equipment store Mont-bell on the 3rd floor.
The Atrium is a huge glass-roofed interior garden space which is located between the 2-jo Kan and 3-jo Kan buildings. There are several restaurants, cafes, and eateries in the Atrium many of which have terrace dining and among them you can find pizza, pasta, tonkatsu pork cutlets, Chinese dumplings and steamed buns, Hokkaido-style ramen noodles, burgers, ice cream and Kentucky Fried Chicken. The Atrium also features an event stage, a huge TV screen, and a giant decorated Christmas tree in the winter season.
The 3-jo Kan building has more restaurants in its B1 basement level which include Japanese restaurants serving tempura, okonomiyaki pancakes and yaki-soba fried noodles as well as restaurants serving Chinese and Indian food.
On the 1st floor of the 3-jo Kan you can find service stores such as a Post Office, a 7-Eleven convenience store, a barber shop, a beauty salon, and a travel agency. On the 2nd and 3rd floors you will mostly find lifestyle, furniture, and interior goods stores.
The Renga Kan consists of the original brewery buildings (renga means “brick” in Japanese). On the 1st floor of the Renga Kan you can find three restaurants one of which is a large beer hall called Sapporo Kaitakushi Beer Keller. This beer hall has an extensive international food menu and serves 10 different types of draft beer which includes original Kaitakushi beer made on site. If you don’t want to sit down for a meal, there is also a small beer tasting bar on the 1st floor where you can order super cheap beers and simple snacks. The Kaitakushi Brewery Observation Hall is a small 2-story beer museum connected to the Renga Kan where you can view original brewery exhibits and watch the brewing process. On the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Renga Kan there are a variety of small arts and craft shops.
The Nishi Kan building is located on the west side of Sapporo Factory and is slightly separated from the rest of the buildings by a street. In the center of the Nishi-Kan is Hotel Clubby, an elegant hotel with spacious guest rooms, friendly multilingual staff, and fine dining facilities. On the building’s left flank is the members-only Sapporo Factory Fitness Club and on the right flank is Sapporo Factory Hall which is a multi-purpose event space.
Services & Facilities
You can find an Information Counter on the 1st floor of the 3-jo Kan building. This is a good spot to pick up a multi-lingual Floor Guide brochure, which will help you find your way around. The Floor Guide brochure is written in English, Chinese, and Korean and also has information on which shops offer Tax-Free discounts to shoppers from overseas. You can also borrow baby strollers and wheelchairs at the Information Counter.
Free Wi-Fi internet access is available throughout Sapporo Factory.
There is a Post Office on the 1st floor of the 3-jo Kan building which is open from 9.00 till 17.00, Monday to Friday. Post Office ATMs can be used from 9.00 till 19.00. There are also 7-Bank ATMs in the 1-jo Kan on the 2nd floor which are open 24 hours and in the 3-jo Kan on the 1st floor which are open from 7.00 till 22.00. Both Post Office and 7-Bank ATMs accept most major international bank cards and have English language guidance.
Nursing Rooms for mothers with babies are located in the B1 basement of the 2-jo Kan (open 10.00 till 20.00), the B1 basement of the 3-jo Kan (open 10.00 till 22.00) and on the 2nd floor of the 3-jo Kan (open 10.00 till 20.00).
Wheelchair accessible restrooms are located in the Frontier Kan (2F), the 1-jo Kan (3F), 2-jo Kan (1F – 4F), the Atrium (B1), 3-jo Kan (1F), and Renga Kan (1F & 2F).
A Prayer Room is located on the 3rd floor of the 3-jo Kan building and is open from 10.00 till 20.00.
Coin lockers can be found on the 1st floor of the 1-jo Kan, Renga Kan, and 3-jo Kan.
Sapporo Factory is a 15-minute walk from JR Sapporo Station and just 5 minutes from Bus Center-Mae Station on the Tozai Subway Line. Sapporo Factory is also on the route of Bus 88 (also called the “Sapporo Walk Bus”) which runs from near JR Sapporo Station and takes just 7 minutes to reach the complex. This bus also serves Sapporo Beer Museum. Bus 88 can be boarded at Bus Stop 3 which is located outside Tokyu Department Store on the south side of Sapporo Station.
Stores: 10.00 to 20.00
Restaurants: 11.00 to 22.00
Cinema: 9.00 to 22.00
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.