5 min read

Sapporo Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Sapporo, Japan in 2024?

Planning a trip to Japan and concerned about safety? Sapporo, Hokkaido's capital, is known for its excellent safety record, welcoming global visitors.

Tobi Miles
March 31, 2024
Sapporo Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Sapporo, Japan in 2024?

With its vibrant festivals, delicious cuisine, and picturesque landscapes, Sapporo offers an unforgettable experience. But it's not just the attractions that make it stand out; the city's low crime rates and friendly locals contribute to a sense of security that's hard to find elsewhere. Let's dive into what makes Sapporo a safe haven for tourists.

Key Takeaways

  • Sapporo's Low Crime Rate: Sapporo stands out as a safe city for travelers, with significantly lower crime rates in theft, assault, and burglary compared to cities like Tokyo and New York City, making it a secure destination for tourists.
  • Community and Policing: The sense of community and the visible, engaged local police force in Sapporo play a crucial role in maintaining safety, with locals known for their friendliness and willingness to assist visitors.
  • Safety Measures for Tourists: Staying safe in Sapporo involves practical measures such as keeping belongings secure, understanding local laws and customs, preparing for emergencies, and considering travel insurance for a worry-free visit.
  • Efficient Emergency Services: Sapporo's emergency services, including medical, fire, and police, boast quick response times and accessibility, with support available in multiple languages, ensuring tourists' well-being during their stay.
  • Cultural Factors Enhancing Safety: The city's collectivist culture, respect for community, strict laws, and community policing contribute significantly to making Sapporo a safe environment for both residents and international visitors.
  • Personal Responsibility in Safety: While Sapporo is remarkably safe, travelers are advised to follow standard travel safety practices, such as being aware of their surroundings and not leaving belongings unattended, to ensure their visit is as enjoyable as it is safe.

Low Crime Rates in Sapporo

When exploring the safety of Sapporo for travelers, low crime rates stand out as a significant factor contributing to its secure environment. Unlike many large cities where crowds and anonymity can lead to higher crime rates, Sapporo maintains a remarkably low level of criminal activity, making it an ideal destination for those concerned about safety.

Data reveals that Sapporo's crime rates are impressively low compared to other major cities, both within Japan and globally. Here's a brief overview:

Crime Type



New York City






Very Low






Very High

This table illustrates how Sapporo's crime rates in key categories like theft, assault, and burglary are significantly lower than in cities such as Tokyo and New York City. It's apparent that Sapporo offers a safer experience, fostering a sense of security that's hard to find in bustling metropolises.

One of the reasons behind these low crime rates is the strong sense of community and the efficient local law enforcement in Sapporo. The city's police force is highly visible and actively engaged in community affairs, providing a deterrent against potential criminal activity. Additionally, the locals in Sapporo are known for their friendliness and willingness to help, which further contributes to the overall safety.

Visitors to Sapporo can enjoy the vibrant festivals, delicious cuisine, and breathtaking landscapes without the constant worry of safety that might overshadow travels to other destinations. Whether you're wandering through the serene parks, exploring the historic streets, or enjoying the snowy mountains, Sapporo's low crime rates mean you can focus on creating memorable experiences with peace of mind.

By keeping your wits about you and following standard travel safety advice, such as not leaving belongings unattended and being aware of your surroundings, your visit to Sapporo is likely to be as safe as it is enjoyable.

Safety Measures for Tourists

When you're planning a trip to Sapporo, it's not just about the places you'll visit but also how you'll stay safe. While Sapporo is renowned for its low crime rates, being prepared and aware of safety measures can make your trip even smoother and more enjoyable.

Personal Safety Practices are paramount. Always keep your belongings close, especially in crowded places like festivals or public transport. Though incidents of theft are rare, it's better to be safe than sorry. It's also wise to share your travel itinerary with someone you trust back home, providing them with details about where you'll be staying and the places you plan to visit.

Understanding Local Laws and Customs plays a significant role in not just your safety but also your enjoyment of Sapporo. Be mindful of local regulations, especially those concerning public behavior and alcohol consumption. Respecting local customs not only ensures your safety but also enhances your relationship with locals, making your experience more authentic.

Emergency Preparedness is crucial. Familiarize yourself with the emergency contact numbers in Sapporo. The general emergency number in Japan is 110 for police and 119 for fire and ambulance. Knowing the location and contact details of your country's embassy or consulate can also provide an extra layer of security during unforeseen situations.

Here's a quick reference table for essential emergency numbers:


Emergency Number



Fire & Ambulance


Your Embassy/Consulate


Lastly, consider investing in Travel Insurance that covers not just health emergencies but also theft and loss of personal items. Check for policies that offer 24-hour assistance and have a comprehensive coverage plan that suits your travel needs.

Adopting these safety measures will not only ensure your trip to Sapporo remains a memorable adventure but also a safe one. Stay informed, stay alert, and immerse yourself fully in the experience Sapporo has to offer.

Emergency Services Availability

When traveling to Sapporo, it's crucial to know about the emergency services available to ensure you're prepared for any situation. Sapporo, with its well-established infrastructure, offers efficient and accessible emergency services that tourists can rely on in times of need.

Quick Response Times

Emergency response times in Sapporo are impressive, ensuring swift assistance. The city has a network of emergency services including medical, fire, and police support that are well-coordinated to respond promptly.

Service Type

Average Response Time (Minutes)







Remember, these are averages, and response times can vary based on the incident's location and severity.


Emergency services in Sapporo are highly accessible. You can dial 119 for fire and ambulance services and 110 for the police. These numbers are toll-free and available 24/7, ensuring you're never left without help when you need it most. For non-Japanese speakers, there's support available in multiple languages, making it easier for tourists to communicate their emergencies.

Preparedness and Efficiency

Sapporo's emergency services are not just accessible; they're efficient and well-prepared. The city's disaster management initiatives are top-notch, with regular drills and the latest technology in place to handle emergencies, ranging from natural disasters to personal medical emergencies. This preparedness is a testament to the city's commitment to safety and assures tourists that they're in good hands.

Knowing how to access and utilize these services can significantly impact your safety and wellbeing while in Sapporo. Ensure you have these emergency numbers saved on your phone and familiarize yourself with basic Japanese phrases for emergencies, although language assistance is available. This knowledge empowers you to enjoy your visit to Sapporo with the confidence that help is just a call away, should you ever need it.

Cultural Aspects Contributing to Safety

When considering safety in Sapporo, it's crucial to delve into the cultural dynamics that play a significant role in fostering a secure environment for both locals and tourists. Japan, and Sapporo by extension, is renowned for its collectivist culture, which emphasizes group harmony and social cohesion. This cultural orientation significantly impacts the level of safety in the city, as people tend to look out for one another, creating a community-minded atmosphere where safety is everyone's concern.

A key factor contributing to the safety in Sapporo is the low crime rate compared to other global cities. Japan's strict gun control laws and the effective legal system play pivotal roles. But beyond legislation, it's the societal norms and values that dictate behavior. Respect for others, property, and community spaces is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. Instances of theft, vandalism, or public disturbances are rare, making Sapporo a city where you can feel secure at all hours.

The approach to policing in Sapporo is another cultural aspect worth noting. Community policing is at the heart of their strategy, with officers known as Koban (police boxes) stationed throughout the city. These officers are not just enforcers of law but also community members who offer help, directions, and sometimes even language assistance to tourists. This approachable aspect of the police force enhances the overall feeling of safety and security in Sapporo.

Public behavior in Sapporo further reflects the cultural commitment to safety and order. It's common to observe locals engaging in practices that prioritize communal well-being over individual convenience. For example, cars and cyclists yield to pedestrians, and people queue orderly for public services, showcasing a deep-rooted respect for shared spaces and mutual safety.

Exploring Sapporo, you'll quickly notice the proactive measures taken to ensure safety, from well-maintained public spaces to clear signage and public announcements. These are not just functional necessities but also manifestations of cultural values that prioritize harmony, respect, and collective safety.

Understanding these cultural nuances gives you not just a glimpse into why Sapporo is considered safe but also how such safety is a lived, communal reality, deeply embedded in the everyday life of its residents.


Sapporo's safety isn't just a happy coincidence. It's deeply rooted in Japan's collective culture, where respect, harmony, and community well-being are paramount. The city's low crime rate, stringent gun control, and the presence of Koban officers all contribute to a secure environment. Moreover, the attention to maintaining public spaces and ensuring clear signage goes beyond mere functionality—it's a reflection of the cultural values that prioritize collective safety. As you've seen, understanding these cultural aspects offers a comprehensive view of why Sapporo stands out as a safe haven. It's clear that in Sapporo, safety is more than a policy; it's a way of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Japan's collectivist culture contribute to safety in Sapporo?

Japan's collectivist culture emphasizes mutual respect and community well-being, which significantly contributes to creating a secure environment in Sapporo. The emphasis on group harmony and community responsibility naturally fosters an environment where safety and respect for others are prioritized.

What role do Koban officers play in Sapporo's safety?

Koban officers, who operate out of small neighborhood police boxes, play a crucial role in enhancing Sapporo's safety. They are not just law enforcers but also community liaisons, contributing to a feeling of security by being approachable and present within neighborhoods.

How do strict gun control laws affect safety in Sapporo?

Strict gun control laws in Japan lead to a very low incidence of gun-related crimes, directly contributing to the overall safety in Sapporo. These laws ensure that firearms are scarcely available, making gun violence extremely rare.

Why are Sapporo's public spaces considered safe?

Sapporo's public spaces are well-maintained, with clear signage and proactive safety measures, reflecting the cultural values of harmony and collective well-being. These factors not only serve functional purposes but also contribute significantly to the city's overall safety by promoting a clean and orderly environment.

Can the article's insights explain why Sapporo is considered safe?

Yes, the article's insights into the cultural aspects, such as the collectivist mindset, strict regulations like gun control, the role of Koban officers, and the maintenance of public spaces, provide a comprehensive understanding of why Sapporo is considered a safe city and how safety is ingrained in the daily lives of its residents.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 31, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
Find me on Twitter

Win a $500 Flight!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
*Terms apply. To participate, enter your email to sign up for the newsletter . You must be 18+ and be a resident of the US. No purchase necessary. Begins January 1st  and ends February 28th, 2024. Winner announced on March 31st. For full rules and regulations, visit our Terms & Conditions page. Data  processed according to our Privacy Policy.
Enter Sweepstakes

You may also like...


Win a $500 Flight!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
*Terms apply. To participate, enter your email to sign up for the newsletter . You must be 18+ and be a resident of the US. No purchase necessary. Begins January 1st  and ends February 28th, 2024. Winner announced on March 31st. For full rules and regulations, visit our Terms & Conditions page. Data  processed according to our Privacy Policy.
Enter Sweepstakes