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GUIDEBOOK : Staying in Sapporo, Japan

November 18, 1990|MARGARET SHAPIRO

Getting there: The quickest way from Tokyo to Sapporo is to fly to Chitose in southwest Hokkaido. One-way fare for the 1 1/2-hour flight is about $170.

The train takes longer but is more scenic. Take a sleeper car through the mountainous orchards, rice paddies and towns of northern Honshu to Sapporo. With completion of the Seikan Tunnel--at 33 miles, the world's longest--under the rough Tsugaru Straits between Honshu and Hokkaido in 1988, the trip takes about 16 hours one way and costs about the same as flying.

From Chitose, rent a car or take a bus or train to Sapporo or Shikotsu-Toya National Park. It's 30 minutes by train, about $5 one way.

Where to stay: The Sapporo Grand Hotel (about $80 single and $130 double) and the Sapporo Royal Hotel ($95 single, $160 double) are good places, if not ritzy. Also in Sapporo, cheaper "business" hotels are about half the price.

Where to eat: Sapporo Biru En (Beer Garden) is most popular. Eat and drink as much as you want for two hours in the so-called "Genghis Khan" course for about $20. In Sapporo's Susukino section, dozens of small restaurants serve a variety of local dishes made with salmon, crab, corn and potato at a variety of prices. A tiny alley nearby called Ramen Yokocho (Noodle Alley) sells steaming bowls of ramen noodles, topped with meat and vegetables, from $4 to $7.

For more information: Contact the Japan National Tourist Organization, 624 S. Grand Ave., Suite 2640, Los Angeles 90017, (213) 623-1952.

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