A prime gathering spot and beloved symbol of Sapporo, the Sapporo Clock Tower is a favorite attraction for both locals and tourists. Located in the heart of the city, this iconic structure has a rich history and serves as a testament to the city’s heritage.
The Sapporo Clock Tower was built in 1878 and was originally intended to be used as a drill hall for the Sapporo Agricultural School, which later became the Hokkaido University. Designed by the American architect William Wheeler, the tower is a beautiful example of Western-style architecture and stands as a reminder of Sapporo’s early development.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Sapporo Clock Tower is its clock mechanism. Installed in 1881, the clock is powered solely by the force of gravity. Two weights hung at the bottom of the clock wind the gears and keep the clock ticking. These weights are wooden boxes filled with small stones, with a 50-kilo one for clock ticking and a 150-kilo one for ringing a bell. It takes about four days for the weight to reach the bottom, and then it is wound back up by a crank handle.
The clock itself was commissioned and purchased from the E. Howard Watch & Clock Company of Boston. It is a weight-driven mechanism, which was a popular type of clock mechanism during that time. The clock face is adorned with Roman numerals and elegant hour and minute hands. Visitors to the tower can witness the clock in action and marvel at the precision and craftsmanship of this historic timepiece.
The Sapporo Clock Tower has undergone several transformations over the years. During World War II, it served as a military training facility for the Japanese army. After the war, it was converted into a library, and finally, it became a museum and event space. Today, the tower houses a small museum and gallery on the ground floor dedicated to its own history and the accomplishments of graduates and teachers of Sapporo Agricultural College. The second floor is mainly used as a presentation and event space, hosting various exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year.
Visiting the Sapporo Clock Tower is a must for anyone interested in the history and culture of Sapporo. The museum and gallery on the ground floor offer a fascinating insight into the tower’s past and its significance to the city. Visitors can learn about the architectural design, the clock mechanism, and the various uses the tower has served over the years.
In addition to its historical and cultural significance, the Sapporo Clock Tower is also a popular gathering spot. Located just a 10-minute walk from the south exit of Sapporo Station, it is easily accessible for both locals and tourists. The tower is also just five minutes away from Odori Park, a beautiful green space in the city center. Many visitors combine a visit to the tower with a leisurely stroll through the park, enjoying the picturesque scenery and seasonal events.
The Sapporo Clock Tower is not only a landmark but also a symbol of Sapporo’s past and present. It represents the city’s growth and development, from a small agricultural school to a thriving metropolis. Whether you are interested in history, architecture, or simply want to experience a piece of Sapporo’s heritage, a visit to the Sapporo Clock Tower is highly recommended.
In conclusion, the Sapporo Clock Tower is a prime gathering spot and beloved symbol of Sapporo. Its rich history, architectural beauty, and unique clock mechanism make it a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting the city. Whether you are interested in history, culture, or simply want to experience the charm of Sapporo, a visit to the Sapporo Clock Tower is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Address And Maps Location:
2 Chome, Kita 1 Jonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido