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Trip Ideas

Hokkaido

Trip Idea japan Hokkaido

Notable for its refreshing air, beautiful mountains, pristine lakes, lush forests, snowy winters, and temperate summers, Hokkaido attracts many outdoor lovers. The island’s cold waters support a large variety of fresh seafood. Explore its national parks and relax in the many hot springs found on this charming island.

You should first visit the capital of Hokkaido, Sapporo, the fifth largest city in Japan and best known for its delicious ramen, beer, and its annual snow festival. In winter, you should definitely visit the Sapporo Snow Festival which displays impressive ice sculptures, and visit the ski resorts which have the best powdered snow. When it warms up you can experience Sapporo’s beer gardens and relaxing strolls in its lovely parks. Visit hundreds of bars and restaurants and try Sapporo’s mouthwatering foods.

Next, pay a visit to Otaru, a beautifully preserved harbor town well-known for its romantic canal accentuated with nostalgic buildings, warehouses, and former office buildings. Many of these buildings have been converted to shops, restaurants, and glass workshops. Stop by the nearby Nikka Whiskey Distillery, Sakaimachi Street, the Herring Mansion, and the renowned Otaru Snow Light Path in which a winter festival illuminates the city with small snow statues.

Our next stop lies in the center of Hokkaido, Furano & Biei. This region’s most popular attraction is the Furano Flower Fields. In full bloom, the attractive lavender farms and various flowers make this a top destination in the summer. Along the way is Biei, a picturesque small town with rolling hills and rural landscapes.

Home to brown bears, deer, foxes, and white-tailed sea eagles, Shiretoko is renowned for its beautiful and untouched national parks. Its peninsula has even been classified as a world heritage site because of its preserved ecosystem and biodiversity. Shiretoko has been called a “waterfall kingdom” due to the spectacular views of beautiful waterfalls. There are also the notable Five Lakes and Shiretoko’s drift ice (an ice walk tour) to visit and experience.

Now, let’s visit one of the oldest national parks in Hokkaido. Akan National Park consists of a group of volcanoes surrounded by 3 well known lakes: Lake Akan, Lake Mashu, and Lake Kussharo. These beautiful lakes are notable for having some of the clearest water in the world. The mountainous Akan National Park is popular for its picturesque views and many hot spring baths. You can also enjoy other outdoor activities including canoeing, bike tours, and camping.

Journey to Noboribetsu, popular for being one of Hokkaido’s most famous hot spring resorts and the impressive Jigokudani (Hell Valley). Surrounded by rich forests, the Noboribetsu hot spring has 9 different mineral-contained waters, making it one of the most exceptional spas in the world. Jigokudani displays volcanic activity, including hot steam vents and sulfurous streams. It is appropriately named as the seeping volcanic gas and strong smell of sulfur give the image of it being “hell”.

Interested in active volcanoes? Lake Toya features beautiful hot springs and one of the most active volcanoes in Japan, Mt. Usu. The Volcano Science Museum in Lake Toya contains informative displays about the 1977 and 2000 eruptions of Mt. Usu. The hot spring itself is one of the best resorts in Hokkaido. Lake Toya is an ice-free lake, so it can be admired during any time of the year.

Finally, take in a spectacular night view from Mt. Hakodate and delicious seafood in Hakodate, the third largest city in Hokkaido. Points of interest include Fort Goryokaku, a Western style stronghold famous for its star-shaped layout, which is now a public park. Check out the Morning Market, where you can enjoy fresh seafood for breakfast. Visit Motomachi, a former residential area for foreigners, or relax at the Yunokawa hot springs. Whether it’s experiencing the Bay Area or Onuma Park, Hakodate holds points of interests to ensure a great time.