Sports and Tourism

Whilst undertaking an online course of Diploma in Tourism Studies, I learned that attending a sport event was one of reasons why people travelled. I remembered about the fact while making my own reports on visiting tourist attractions here in Sapporo, Japan. Then I decided to write about sports and tourism for the Footy Almanac.

AFL Grand Final is a massive sport event in Melbourne and one of national big events in Australia. Atmosphere at MCG on a Grand Final day is priceless. The event boosts economy in the tourism and hospitality industry. In 2013, Fremantle Footy Club organised Freo Express Bus for Docker fans who were struggled with getting a flight to and from Melbourne. Not only a bus company gained profit but also media got attentions.

If I lived somewhere outside Melbourne and decided to watch the Grand Final at MCG where St Kilda would involve, I would do something else in Melbourne as well. These activities would be a Yarra River cruise, cycling to St Kilda Beach, visiting art galleries and shopping at Queen Victoria Market and more which I will pick by visiting Melbourne’s tourism sites and reading Lonely Planet.

New Zealand’s National Museum, Te Papa in Wellington is a unique and interesting museum and I have been several times. I do not hesitate to visit there again when I go back to Wellington for a St Kilda’s Anzac Day match. Of course, I would visit other places in the region and go back to the Wairarapa Region where I used to work.

Then what about Sapporo?

Sorry to say, but I do not think we have big sport events so often here. And even Japan Baseball Series would not attract many spectators as does AFL Grand Final if a Sapporo based team hosts (unlikely to footy, final baseball games are held at home stadiums of teams who play and the final series have seven matches).

But, concerts performed by famous Japanese musicians attract people from other parts of Hokkaido and even from Honshu (mainland). However world famous musicians such as Ellie Goulding and Paul McCartney only hold concerts in Tokyo and Osaka.

Then Japanese audience from outside Sapporo visit tourist attractions around Sapporo before and/or after the events. Tourism and Hospitality industry can gain profits thanks to events.

Recent years, numbers of Australians come to Japan for skiing and snowboarding. Nisko Region, two hours away from Sapporo City Centre, is famous and popular for Aussies.

I am very happy to have Australians here, not only for economy, but also to exchange cultures.

However I heard that Australian tourists tend to go to ski resorts straight from the airport and just stay at resorts rather than also going on a tour to surrounding areas, although some of them are coming to Sapporo for the world famous annual snow festival.

As tourists have limited time to do skiing and/or snowboarding, I understand about their trends focusing on winter sports on their summer (winter here) holidays. However I also learned that some people take their annual holidays both in summer and winter for different reasons.

I hope nice and friendly Australians visit Sapporo in their winter and our summer to see different scenery from the winter (here; their summer) although I reckon they spend a lot of dollars on ski/snowboard holidays.

We offer beautiful scenery as well as displaying history (especially modern development in the late 19th Century and early 20th century) at museums. However I learned that travellers tend to go on holidays to see things that are different to their home. Then Hokkaido is a young land like Australia, so westerners tend to visit cities in Honshu, such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Hiroshima.

If you love beer, why not visiting Sapporo Beer Museum, just a few kilometres away from the central railway station (JR Sapporo Station)? It is a small museum but you can learn history of Sapporo Beer and enjoy beer tasting at a bar. But it is very sad to say that details of exhibitions are only shown in Japanese. I wish I can translate into English for you!

However you might think visiting such a place is an adventure. What is your opinion?

Just in my opinion, we should appeal attractive tourist attractions (even I can call them treasures) to western people. And English information should be provided in many tourist attractions here in Sapporo.

I am sorry to talk a lot of tourism most time, but wish sport events and tourism connect well to improve economy situations and bring more communication between various types of people. I do like both travelling and sports.

As always, thank you for reading my articles. You are great and generous members and readers in the wonderful community here.

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Good on you, Yoshi. Greatly enjoy your contributions. And gee, you have a great feel for the cadences of our language. Your pieces have a lovely rhythm for someone new to English.

  2. G’day T-Bone,

    Thanks for your compliment on my articles. Your positive comment gains self-esteem. I wish I have more vocabularies to write more interesting articles.

    Cheers :)


  3. Yoshi, please excuse my slow response, but I had been meaning to write to you on this one. Sports tourism is a concept close to my heart, having followed the Eagles, Wallabies and the Aussie cricket team to far flung places over the years. I love going to see my team play in a different venue and atmosphere, and to use it as a chance to take in some different sights along the way. Some places are more conducive to the tourist experience than others… the memories of following the Eagles to Tasmania and the Gold Coast are a bit fonder than the trip to Blacktown, for instance (a 100-point win notwithstanding). Ditto in the cricket world, Barbados & Cape Town are magnificent, but I won’t be hurrying back to Chennai.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed Sapporo, and I did go to the brewery/museum a few years ago, on the end of a ski trip to Niseko. Whilst you’re quite right that the language challenge prevented me brother and I from fully understanding all the exhibits, we made sense of some of it, and the beer-tasting experience certainly transcends such barriers… I agree, it is highly recommended for anyone that visits the lovely island of Hokkaido.

    Was there much excitement in Sapporo with the recent baseball series between Japan and the US major league all-stars? I saw that Sapporo hosted 1 game in the series, but unfortunately the series didn’t get much media attention over here in the US (I guess just smothered by the NFL and the fact that the NBA & NHL seasons had just got underway). A pity, because I imagine it would have been a great spectacle, and (ironically) it is the true ‘world series’.

  4. G’day Brad,

    Thanks for your comment on my article and no apology for the delay is needed. Instead I appreciate you for showing your passion and thoughts with more details. It is always good to see other people’s thoughts from the heart.

    Are you watching Eagles and Wallabies games over in the US? An Australian pub here in Sapporo offers live coverage of footy games, but I feel I must make a way to Melbourne watching a St Kilda game at Docklands (Etihad) or MCG to feel atmosphere and sense of the sport. Travelling somewhere to watch your club’s away game and to see around is good, isn’t it? Thanks for telling us your such experience.

    Also I’m glad to see your story having visited here in Sapporo and to hear that you and your brother enjoyed beer tasting at the beer museum. I guess that you enjoyed skiing in Niseko too. Are you planning to come back here in the near future?

    I’m afraid to say that baseball is no longer fancy for me. I think local people were excited to see the international baseball match. Your point of view that Americans are more passion of NFL, NBA and NHL is understandable. Also I agree with you that that International Baseball Match Series are actual World Series more. Baseball World Cup should be called World Series, I reckon.

    All the best.


  5. Yoshi-san, the time-zone is not favourable for Australian winter sports here in the US, so it’s not really conducive for pubs or sports-bars. I wrote up a game in this year’s Almanac about rolling over in bed at 4am and checking the scores on my iPhone (that was actually a bit of a regular occurrence through the season). Streaming a game over the internet at home is probably the more practical option.

    Now that daylight saving has swung back in Australia’s favour, the hours aren’t so bad for summer sports. I’m currently trying to check if I can stream the cricket tests, which will begin at about 6pm (previous evening) here. We’ll likely host a few other Aussie expats for xmas dinner with the Boxing Day Test on live.

    I should clarify, baseball is every bit as big as the other sports here, but the domestic seasons are staggered such that you don’t have all 4 running concurrently. The recent series in Japan went up against all of the other 3 (plus there was that same time-zone issue), so it got lost amongst the wealth of other events here, unfortunately.

    And yes, Niseko was magnificent. We had 40cm of fresh powder fall every night whilst we were there, and it’s a lovely village with a range of traditional Japanese and Western food options. Highly recommended for any Aussie looking for a great ski trip / cultural experience.

  6. HI Brad again,

    Thanks for your explanation of watching Australian sports and baseball games.

    I agree with you that time difference is the issue to watch international sports. I understand that people outside Australia can watch live footy matches and replays if they subscribe AFL Global Package provided by AFL Media. That’s why an Australian pub here in Sapporo has live coverage of footy matches.

    Also Americans’ passion of baseball has been my knowledge. I sometimes talk about baseball with Americans even if I don’t watch so much these days.

    Thanks for your suggestions on Niseko and Hokkaido. I want to see more western people here. My Australian mates always feel disappointed seeing many modern apartment style accommodation in Niseko. What do you think about it? They always stay nights in Japanese style accommodation when they come to Niseko for snowboarding. But I agree with you that the region offers wide range of cuisines. It’s brilliant!



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