Hokkaido is the northernmost region of the four major islands of Japan and also the least developed. It is the second largest island of Japan and known for its harsh winter weather and milder summers than the rest of the country.
Hokkaido contains many miles of unspoiled wilderness, making it a popular location for those who love the great outdoors. In the winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to Hokkaido, while the summer sees many hikers, cyclists, and campers come to the island.
In addition, Hokkaido is quite famous for its lavender fields, tulip parks, national parks, mountains, lakes, unspoiled nature, wildlife, summer hiking trails, autumn foliage, the last sakura viewing, new year sunrise, seafood, and ramen.
Sapporo is the largest city on Hokkaido. It is the fifth largest city in Japan and is also one of the youngest cities in the country. Unlike many other cities, Sapporo has a very North American layout, with rectangular city streets. The 1972 Winter Olympic Games were held here and many of the facilities still see use. the city is also famous for its ramen and beer. If you visit in February, Sapporo holds a wonderful snow festival, where artists craft large and intricate snow sculptures and many events occur, from parades to performances.
The most famous ski resort in Japan, Niseko, can be found here. it is well known for its powdery snow and spectacular backcountry trails. Many foreigners come here to enjoy the scenery and the snow. The area is especially popular with Australians, making Niseko very accessible and welcoming. Hirafu and the major resort found there, Grand Hirafu, is one of the most friendly places for skiers and snowboarders from around the world in Niseko.
In warmer months, it’s well worth a visit to Furano and Biei. These towns are famous for their beautiful rural landscapes and amazing July lavender blooms. If you are looking for a ski vacation, however, Furano is also a wonderful ski resort when the snow begins falling with trials for both downhill and cross-country skiing.
Noboribetsu is the most well-known hot spring resort town in Hokkaido. It is a great place to experience the onsen, or Japanese hot spring baths, which have been a major part of Japanese culture for centuries. There are many luxurious hotels, baths, and places to eat in town, while above it lies Jigokudani, “Hell Valley”, a volcanic area with many active steam vents, sulfur springs, and unique formations. Walking through this valley is an otherworldly experience and a great way to learn what processes create the hot spring water that allows Noboribetsu’s onsen to exist.
For the most historically minded, a visit to Matsumae is just the thing. Matsumae is the only castle town on Hokkaido and sits on the island’s southernmost point. This was Japan’s northern limit during the Edo Period and everything above it was wilderness. To protect the shipping interests that grew up around the town, Matsumae Castle was built. While the original structure was destroyed and rebuilt several times, the current castle was built in the 1960s and houses a history museum. There are many other historical sites and museums throughout Matsumae that are worth a visit.
Hokkaido is a very different region from the rest of Japan, with incredible modern resorts and an interesting history. If you get the chance to explore and you want to get out of the busy cities, give this northern region a try.
If you are adventurous and like to take challenge then Hokkaido’s attractive hiking trails would give you endless pleasure and discoveries. Here in this page, you are suggested to discover Hokkaido’s beautiful nature, suggested itineraries, winter festivals, local cuisine, impressive flower fields, wildlife and top tourist attractions and activities.
Largest city: Sapporo
Area: 83,453.57 km2