It is a land of very plain homes especially in the countryside. Woodpiles for winter heating are evident along with presence of double paned windows and a substantial number of homes with chimneys which I have seen elsewhere in Japan. The farmlands are on a much larger scale than the rest of Japan with fields that tend to be more regular in shape when allowed by the mountains.
Although only a narrow strip of ocean separates Hokkaido from Honshu, at times the temperatures on Hokkaido can be ten degrees cooler than Ibaraki where Yayoi and I are currently doing a meltdown like butter. At 28°C we feel cool.
It is a very industrious area and there appear to be a variety of people here, probably as the result of pioneering by people from various parts of Japan further south.
Sapporo is one of the larger cities in Japan, but unlike cities such as Tokyo it gives the impression of design or organization. The streets are generally wide and some have central boulevards. An interesting feature of Sapporo along with a number of other cities such as Kagoshima and Hakodate is the presence of streetcars. These were phased out in Winnipeg in the 1950's, but I suspect they may still be a good idea.
It is a cosmopolitan city with the visible presence of foreigners and a significant non-Japanese Asian population.
It appears to be a new vibrant city. It is irregular in shape conforming to depressions between mountains. The suburban areas with single family homes that tend to predominate in most Canadian cities are not that evident here.
Click on Hokkaido And Sapporo to see photographs on Picasa.