I always wanted to shoot Japan during the winter when it was snowing, and earlier this year I got the chance when I headed to Sapporo—the biggest city in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. This city is seriously underrated for street photography.
Everyone goes to Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto, but Sapporo offers some unique scenes especially in winter time. If you like snow, you get plenty of it during December, and especially January and February. Of course, the city isn’t as big and doesn’t get as many tourists as Tokyo, which means no one speaks English, but also that AirBnb’s and hotels are significantly cheaper.
Below, I’ll share some of my favorite shots from my 2 weeks in Sapporo:
It snowed on 70% of the days that I spent there, often for hours at a time.
A few times I even got caught in blizzard-like conditions with extremely high wind and snow. Shooting in conditions like these is quite challenging. I had an umbrella to protect my camera and face from snow and wind, a thick layer of clothing, special touch screen gloves, and heat packs strapped to my chest. And yet, I still didn’t last more than 45 minutes in these kind of extreme conditions before I had to go inside and unfreeze.
If you’ve never been to a cold country before, make sure you’re well prepared.
Despite the cold though, I loved shooting here. It was perfect for dark scenes like this, made it possible to shoot exactly the kind of images that I love the most.
Scenes from a bus stop around the city center.
I spent most of my time wandering around Susukino, which is the city’s main nightlife and entertainment district, making it ideal for photos.
Apparently a lot of people saw Gus Fring in this image. Maybe he faked his death and became a taxi driver.
A few of the days, the temperature would sometimes increase above 0°C. Also, some of the Susukino sidewalks are heated. This means that they’re slippery and wet, so if you’re wearing regular sneakers or any non-winter shoe, be careful. I saw plenty of people tumble and fall. Fortunately, I didn’t.
Hope you enjoyed these. For more of my photography, you can also find me on Instagram.
Bonus: Here’s I video I shot while there:
About the author: Teemu Jarvinen is an urban street photographer based in Dubai. To see more of his work or follow along on his travels, visit his website, subscribe to his YouTube channel, or give him a follow on Instagram. This post was also published here, and is being republished with permission.