Summer is a wonderful time to visit Hokkaido and it makes a thrilling summer trip. It is one of the top summer holiday destinations in Japan. I guess it must be among your wish list. Indeed, Hokkaido is a beautiful place to visit any time of year, but it’s truly at its best during the summer months. With its diverse and breathtaking landscape, mouthwatering foods, enchanting summer festivals, attractive hiking trails, heavenly flower fields, and all kinds of fun outdoor summer activities, it could be difficult to decide where to begin when planning a trip to Hokkaido. Unlike Tokyo, Hokkaido’s summer weather is pretty cool and there you hardly experience a hot and humid weather.

A delightful dance performance of the Yosakoi Soran Festival. Usually the festival is held in Early June in Odori Park, Sapporo. Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito at Flickr.

Many foreign tourists believe that Hokkaido is best known for its exciting winter activities and is sealed as a perfect winter holiday destination in Japan. That’s true, but don’t you forget that Hokkaido offers a full package for a wonderful summer holiday. No matter where you come from, you would be delighted experiencing a wide range of fun summer activities on the island. If you are serious and planning a trip to Hokkaido this summer, then you have come to the right spot. Here, I have put together your ultimate Hokkaido summer bucket list. I hope you enjoy reading it.

1) Stumble on the Vividly Colorful Flower Fields and Gardens

Rainbow flower field of Farm Tomita, Furano. Photo Credit: James.Kirk at Flickr.

I can guarantee that you will have a memorable visit, if you take a trip to Hokkaido’s most popular flower fields during the summer months. This is where the flowers grow in great abundance with superb rainbow flower fields. Mid-July is definitely the best time to enjoy flower viewing in Hokkaido. When people think of uncovering the mystic beauty of various kinds of summer flowers in Japan, they first think of Hokkaido. That’s the truth you should know before visiting this incredible destination!

Flowers at Shikisai no Oka during summer. Photo Credit: James.Kirk at Flickr.

Go flower viewing at most of the beautiful flower farms located across Furano and Biei area. These two areas are said to have the famous and wonderful flower farms you could ever witness in the country. Every flower farm in the areas allows you to discover different colored flowers in abundance. If possible try visiting most of the flower farms including Farm Tomita, Shikisai no Oka, Flower Land Kamifurano, Saika no Sato, Kanno Farm, Hill of Zerubu & Hill of Atoms to name a few.

Sunflower field in Hokuryu, Hokkaido. Photo Credit: portal.hokuryu.info

Every year, the Hokuryu Sunflower Festival is held from mid-July to mid-August. This is an exciting flower festival where nearly 1.5 million sunflowers can be discovered and they would make you leave speechless for sure. Either you rent a bike or hop on the touring car to roam around the sunflower fields in Hokuryu; you will experience a great joy and satisfaction. Please note that it is the biggest sunflower festival you could admire in Japan.

2) Go Explore the Mystic Lakes

Lake Akan with Mount Oakan in Kushiro. Photo Credit: Makoto Nakashima at Flickr.

Hokkaido is known for its unspoiled nature and diverse wildlife. It attracts millions of outdoor explorers who know the perfect way to admire its cool & tranquil nature. Most of the lakes located throughout Hokkaido are incredible to visit. Summer is an ideal time to visit them as the weather turns out to be just fine, while you have a great opportunity not just to gaze at the crystal clear surface of the lakes but also enjoy the natural surroundings. If you want to get the most out of your trip, a visit to one of the following lakes would be very inspiring.

The beauty of Lake Mashu! Photo Credit: Hajime NAKANO at Flickr.

Hokkaido showcases some of the coolest lakes in the world such as Lake Shikotsuko, Lake Toya, Shiretoko Five Lakes, Lake Mashu, Lake Akan, and Lake Kussharo. All of these lakes are abundant in diverse nature and wildlife! In search of the most beautiful caldera lake in Japan, you head towards Lake Akan, located in Akan National Park. While one on the other hand, if you want to discover the facts why Lake Mashu is considered to be Japan’s clearest lakes of all, then just don’t forget to pay a visit to this gorgeous lake.

3) Enjoy the Summer Festivals and Have Lots of Fun

Dancing with joy during the Yosakoi Soran Festival in Sapporo. Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito at Flickr.

Japan is often called as the land of festivals and celebrations. Do you agree with it? Hokkaido offers a number of festivals & events to celebrate and enjoy in the summertime like other of the parts of the country. Hokkaido Shrine Festival, Sapporo Summer Festival, Shiretoko-Shari Neputa Festival, Kachimai Fireworks Displays, Sapporo Beer Festival, Yosakoi Soran Festival, and Hokkai Heso Festival are just a few examples of the famous summer festivals to celebrate during summer.

The parade of the festival starts at Hokkaido Shrine. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The locals like to party and enjoy the festivals as long as possible. They wear colorful outfits, join the parade, together they dance, and increase the feeling of excitement of the spectators. You can join in the dancing and make your trip full of excitement. How cool is that! If you have an interest in exploring the fascinating culture and traditions of Hokkaido should set aside some time to explore the above mentioned festivals. In addition, I recommended you to taste the local foods you surprisingly find out on the festival venues.

4) Embark on a Cycling Tour through Beautiful Surroundings

This truly a fabulous scenery out there in Biei! Photo Credit: Guided Cycling Tour Biei.

There are many good reasons to visit Hokkaido in summer. One of the very good reasons could be enjoying a pleasant bike ride through beautiful surroundings to see a different side of Hokkaido. It has smooth roads with very little traffic, and spectacular scenery everywhere you go. Seriously, you can have one of your most memorable days in your life just by riding a bike along the designated cycle routes in Hokkaido. I absolutely adore this idea that makes me enjoy the gorgeous outdoor surroundings and fall in love with them.

I like the summer atmosphere both in Furano and Biei as most of the areas there look pretty impressive with the flower fields and gently rolling hills. The joy of riding bike either in Biei or Furano area will make you come back there over and over again. Believe me you will be thinking like that. If you think that a journey to discover Hokkaido’s most impressive natural beauty by bike is the best possible way to reveal attractions, stunning countryside and natural wonders, don’t you forget to add this exclusive idea to your travel bucket list!

Enjoying the beautiful surroundings while riding bicycle. Photo Credit: Guided Cycling Tour Biei.

There is an exclusive guided cycling tour program operated by Guided Cycling Tour Biei. Their dedicated team members know all the hotspots to make your cycling-tour a great adventure, so give it a try and I am sure you get the most out of your trip. Please always follow your guide and his/her instructions to enjoy the trip. There are other well organized organizations that offer visitors guided cycling tour programs throughout the Hokkaido region. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any question regarding this matter.

5) Go Hiking to Explore the Unspoiled Wilderness and Stunning Mountain Summit Views

Daisetsuzan National Park in Autumn. Photo Credit: Dimitry B. at Flickr.

Hokkaido is probably one of the best places to do some hiking and mountain climbing in Japan, not only in summer, but also in autumn too. It is said that a person who loves outdoor adventures should explore Hokkaido in summer and autumn. It showcases many gorgeous hiking trails running through the designated National Parks or along mountain ridges.

Most of the National Parks in Hokkaido preserve mountainous areas of unspoiled nature. If you determine to discover its unspoiled wilderness, embark on a trip to one of the National parks, it could be Akan National Park, Daisetsuzan National Park, Onuma Quasi National Park, Shiretoko National Park, Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park, or Kushiro-shitsugen National Park. Hikers who take a trip to these national parks would always enjoy outstanding panoramic views along much of the routes.

Mount Yotei – Looking similar to iconic Mt Fuji! Photo Credit: Craig Stanfill at Flickr.

There is a little secret I want to reveal here with you that all of these national parks offer you to enjoy the stunning mountain summit views of Mount Asahi, Mount Tokachi, Mount Yotei, Mount Hakodake, Mount Rausu, and many more. For example, when you hike through the designated hiking trails in the Daisetsuzan National Park, you would be amazed to see the summit of incredible Mount Asahi. Hike up to the top if the weather lets you to do so! Please note that you may encounter the giant Hokkaido Brown Bear – Beware of it!

6) Discover the Hot Spring Resort Towns

Jozankei Onsen (hot spring resort town). Photo Credit: Jozankei Tourist Association.

A visit to Hokkaido is not complete if you don’t attend one of the famous hot spring (onsen) resort towns located across the region. In Japan, there are many touristy hot spring resort towns; they usually consist of private and public hot spring bath, restaurants, hotels, shopping stores, and ryokans (traditional inns to stay overnight) with beautiful picturesque landscapes surround nearby. You can take a stroll down the streets in a hot spring resort town wearing summer yukata, which will be a truly great outdoor adventure. I guess it is a peaceful way to roam around the area and spot the hidden discoveries.

Ansei Crater! It is located not far away from Tokachidake Onsen. Photo Credit: Henrik Moltke at Flickr.

You can visit Sounkyo Onsen, Jozankei Onsen, Toyako Onsen, Tokachidake Onsen, Asahidake Onsen, Noboribetsu Onsen, and Asarigawa Onsen (hot spring resorts) to relax in inside and outside hot spring baths, stay overnight in superb inns, buy some cute souvenirs that represent Japan and its culture, and satisfy your empty stomach by eating the local specialties at one of the restaurants.

Do you wish to celebrate your summer holiday like never before? Then visit Hokkaido this summer and its fantastic outdoor activities would just leave you speechless. If you are a lavender aficionado like me, there is nothing I could say except “come and get some.”