Sapporo (Sah-ppoh-roh), a city of two million people, is located on Hokkaido, the northern most island in Japan. The only island that is one prefecture, Sapporo’s population is the fifth-largest in Japan and the third largest by geographic area. Also the capital of Hokkaido prefecture, Sapporo was originally occupied by the indigenous Ainu and is now considered a pioneer area with its Japanese history being relatively short compared to the rest of Japan. Sapporo City officially recognizes 1868 as its year of birth though it existed as a village before then.


Sapporo’s name was taken from the Ainu language. “Sat poro petsu” can be translated as “dry, great river”. The summers are indeed dry, but the 248 inches of snow each year make it one of the snowiest metropolises in the world. From December through March snow falls at least 25 days each month. It is truly a winter wonderland and each February more than two million tourists crowd into the city to attend the world known Sapporo Snow Festival with its beautifully carved ice sculptures.


When the Japanese came from the main islands to settle Hokkaido, they brought the Shinto and Buddhist religions with them. The Hokkaido Temple in Sapporo was established to help spread their beliefs. Less than 0.5 percent of the residents of Sapporo are Christian. Sapporo connects by train and highway to the rest of the island as well as by rail, ferry and air to Honshu, the main island of Japan, but there is still a feeling of isolation and separation.


The city is home to the Nippon Ham Fighters baseball team that was managed for five years by Trey Hillman, a Christian from the USA, who boldly shared his faith with both team and fans.


William Smith Clark, the former president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (now The U of MA, Amherst) became the founding vice-president of Sapporo Agricultural College, now Hokkaido University for eight months from 1876 to 1877. He taught academic subjects in science and lectured on the Bible as an “ethics” course, introducing Christian principles to the first entering class of the College. When he left he told his students, “Boys, be ambitious (for Christ)”.


Prayer Requests:

•   Pray for “ambitious” laborers who will go and tell those isolated from God who made and desires for them to hear the good news and be saved.
•   Pray that the people in Sapporo will open their hearts to the one who can make their hearts as white as the beautiful snow that covers their city.
•   Pray that churches in Sapporo will grow exponentially, as people become Christians and boldly share their faith in Christ.


Prayer Profile – Sapporo City (Downloadable PDF File)


Prayer for Sapporo and Hokkaido University

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