On the last weekend of January, I went to see a performance of the opera Carmen at the Sapporo Cultural Arts Community Center (SCARTS).
The day was cold and snowy, but inside the facilities, it was beautiful, clear, and bright.
SCARTS is part library, part community center, part event hall, and part lounge. It is located inside the newly built Sapporo Sosei Square Building, which houses many offices of various Japanese companies and the Hokkaido Television Broadcasting (HTB). The theater within is known as hitaru.
If you have a few minutes to spare, this place is located in between Sapporo and Odori Stations. On the first floor, right next to the information center is a space that holds lot of local events. It’s good walking distance, maybe ten minutes, to either station. On a good day, you might be able to go see the Sosei River Park area to soak in some man-made nature.
The first floor has a Tully’s Coffee for a good break. There is also Morihico Coffee Shop and Dafne on the second floor. Dafne is a casual French restaurant that has gotten some rave reviews for its excellent food. I’ve not been there yet, but one of these days, I hope to make it in for some lunch. Morihico Coffee company is famous in Sapporo. Their flagship coffee shop is located in the upscale Maruyama area, which means that their shops offer its customers a higher class cafe experience.
However, if you prefer more budget-friendly food, you can always grab some at the 7-11 convenience store located right on the first floor. You can find benches to sit on and eat it there. Or, if you’re lucky and fast enough, you can go up to the second floor where there is more seating available. There are some booth-like areas with proper tables and chairs available, but a lot of students usually get there first. The good thing is, it’s all free. You can even bring in your own packed bentos, as some of the office workers around the area do, and eat it there. You just have to be quick to grab these seats.
The main draw for me has always been the theater/concert hall, located in the higher levels. You usually take the escalators up to the fourth and fifth floors to attend a musical or a concert. Last year, I got to see the musical Les Miserables (in Japanese, of course) in September. This year, I went to see Carmen. In the summer, Miss Saigon is going to be performed. Tickets are already on sale for this musical.
The acoustics in the concert hall is amazing. Both times I went, the orchestra sounded spectacularly impressive. It’s made me want to attend more concerts–if only I can afford the time and money.
If you’re just looking for a spot to stay warm in the winter or stay cool in the summer, this might be a good place to stop by. Again, though, you might be lucky to catch some local events like small craft fairs, free musical concerts, or some art exhibits. Be sure to check the website if you’re interested in seeing this place.