“A Wild Sheep Chase” at Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

hitsujigaoka observation hill

Another recommended trip within the remarkably beautiful city of Sapporo is to head down south to Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill for three things- sheep, fresh air and a photo opportunity with teens on school trip imitating the statue of a man with hands outstretched and pointing at a distance.

If you don’t have time to visit the amazing scenery of Biei, Hitsujigaoka observation hill can offer a glimpse of what a typical Hokkaido landscape is – open, calm, green space.
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill

With an elevated and unobstructed view of central Sapporo and the Ishikari plain, a trip to the observation hill is highly recommended anytime of the day, though on my case I was there few minutes the last admission. I almost skipped the observation hill for some lazy reason but I’m glad I did not give into the temptation of just sitting at cafe somewhere around the JR station.

During my visit at Biei, I was hoping to see sheep, attributing my desires to the knowledge that Murakami’s “A Wild Sheep Chase” novel was inspired by Hokkaido, but I only saw cows and nothing else. So when I saw everyone running towards the fence, I ran as well and behold herd of cute sheep.

In 1919, sheep breeding was started at the hill by the Japanese government, with the intention of increasing the farmers income by increasing the number of sheep- sans the origin of the name of the hill “Hitsujigaoka” which means “hill of sheep”. Nowadays, not only the breeding program continues, the observation hill and the sheep became a famous tourist destination.
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill

What makes my afternoon more fun is the fact when I visited Hitsujigaoka there are buses of school teens on a field trip. Seeing them just having carefree laugh is quite energizing and the Japanese school uniform is always a treat to photograph, particularly when they are imitating the bronze statue of Dr.William Smith Clark.
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill

Clark was hired as a foreign adviser by the Japanese government and became the first president of Sapporo Agricultural College or now known as Hokkaido University. He is a famous figure in education/agricultural field in Hokkaido and the words he spoke to the student is one of the widely used and recognized term in Japan- “Boys, be ambitious!”
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill

Apart from the sheep and the statue, Hitsujigaoka Observation hill houses several facilities namely a small wedding chapel, a gift shop called “Austrian House”, a rest house serving Mongolian barbecue and the Sapporo Snow Festival Museum.
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill
hitsujigaoka observation hill

A few hours spent at Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill is another rewarding trip at Sapporo City, I would definitely recommend.

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12 thoughts on ““A Wild Sheep Chase” at Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

  1. We’re from North Wales where we have more sheep than people. Japanese sheep??? You learn something new every day ^_^ I really enjoyed the pictures of the kids on a field trip, too.

  2. Sensational post.Success has a price ,but its very sweet.Warm wishes.jalal

  3. Lovely place! I’m planning a trip to Hokkaido this year May and would like to visit this place too! Would you be able to share how did you travel over to the place? I’m relying really heavily on Google Maps to plan my trip but it tells me that there isn’t a public route over =( would be really very thankful if you can share how you got to the place ^^

    1. hi there, apologies for late reply.
      I will assume that you will be staying in Sapporo during your Hokkaido trip?if you are, then to go around the city is very convenient.
      For Hitsujigaoka, it is reachable by a local bus that you can take near train station, sorry cant remember the number. Nonetheless, the rest of tge touristy place can be explore by combinatio of local train + bus.
      There is a tourist info center at train station, they gave English speaking staff too, definitely will help you a lot !

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