Autumn Hokkaido Travel Guide

What to do in Hokkaido in September

Are you planning to visit Hokkaido in September this year? Is it a good time to visit the island? Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan is one of the best places to visit in Japan where you will be amazed to see flower fields and fall foliage in September.

Probably you may think that it is too early to see fall foliage and too late to see breathtaking summer flower fields. That assumption is not 100% correct! There are still a plenty of things to see and do for you including flower viewing and leaf peeping.

Here’s a guide to planning a trip in Hokkaido in September!

Blue Pond, Biei – an incredible place to see in Hokkaido!

This travel guide shares the best places, and events you should experience in Hokkaido in early autumn. Please note that in central Hokkaido, the fall foliage season usually happens around mid-September, especially at the higher elevations.

If you are planning to go on a hike in a designated area, especially Daisetsuzan National Park, then you may witness some brilliant fall colors.

The surrounding mountain views in the park are highly admired by many nature lovers who particularly like walking in the woods.

Let’s find out the things that you could do and see in Hokkaido in September.

1) Explore the attractions in Biei

Flowers of Shikisai-no Oka, Biei. Photo Credit: t-konno at Wikimedia Commons.

One of the most beautiful towns in Hokkaido is arguably Biei. This picturesque little town in central part of Hokkaido can make you fall in love with it. How?! I can answer you, so now let me introduce you some of its popular attractions.

If you like nature and fond of taking picture of beautiful landscape of gently rolling hills, and vast fields, seriously you must get to Biei. Shikisai no Oka, a garden of beautiful flowers where you can spend hours after hours walking into it and staring at the impressive mountains in the distance.

This is one of the most popular attractions in the area. A verity of seasonal flowers at Shikisai no Oka can be observed till early October. Therefore, if you pay a visit to the garden in September, you will be delighted to see tons of flowers with spectacular panoramic scenery.

Farm-stay in Biei is not just a great idea, but also a hilarious experience that you won’t easily forget. You will definitely remember your time that you spend in a farmhouse in the town.

Take note most of the farmhouses in the area are surrounded by stunning views. This also allows you to experience traditional looking landscape of Biei, rural lifestyle of the locals and their customs.

Cycling on this road in Biei will be a great adventure. Photo Credit: T.Kiya at Flickr.

Shirahige Onsen, sits at the foot of Mt. Tokachi-dake is a popular hot spring resort in Biei. Visit Shirahige falls, and the Blue Pond alongside taking a relaxing bath at one of the hot springs.

The Blue Pond, a place of scenic beauty has become a quite popular place to visit in Biei for tourists. There is nothing much to do except enjoying its marvelous seasonal vistas, though I believe nobody could get bored of.

Indeed, travelers can spend a lovely day exploring Biei’s top attractions by bike. In fact, cycling on the road in Biei is a must-do outdoor activity.

The area provides wonderful cycling routes for bikers and often I can’t resist myself considering it as one of the best places for cycling in Japan. You must go for it, if you want to think yourself adventurous!

2) Visit Furano to see its Flower Farms and Stunning Landscape

Flowers at Farm Tomita in September. Photo Credit: lienyuan lee at Wikimedia Commons.

Even though most visitors want to visit the area during lavender season in July, Furano still worth a visit in September! Visitors can still find lots of late blooming summer flowers in the field out there though lavender will be harvested by that time.

If you are thinking about viewing lavender in Furano during September, I have to tell you that you can’t see them. But there is a greenhouse at Farm Tomita, where visitors can see some lavender.

Flower land Kamifurano is considered one of the top sights to explore in Furano in September. Summer flowers are gone, but what left are early blooming autumn flowers, including picturesque views of the Tokachi mountain range in the background. The surrounding landscapes that you see from the flower farm look very appealing and interesting.

Thus, sometimes I have to ask myself “Why bother with a sight when I don’t see summer flowers here?” Moreover, visitors are offered to experience craft making projects, and visiting the souvenirs shops at the farm is highly recommended as you can find different kinds of gift items to collect.

A drive from Biei town to Furano is said to be one of the perfect gateways of enjoying a self-drive in central Hokkaido. The route is absolutely full of surprises and blessed with breathtaking scenery.

3) Visit Hoshino Tomamu Resort to see the Sea of Clouds

Sea of Clouds (Unkai). Photo Credit: Kentaro Ohno at Wikimedia Commons.

Sometimes people have to be lucky enough to get what they wish for. I am telling you this because you are suggested to visit Unkai Terrace (Sea of Clouds), located in Hoshino Tomamu Resort. If the weather is rainy or cloudy, there is no chance of seeing this incredible sight created by Mother Nature. I hope the weather would be good on the day you go to the Terrace.

The best time to experience unkai is in the early morning. So, visitors are highly encouraged to stay a night at the resorts. Be sure to bring warm clothes (winter jacket) as it tends to be cold in the morning. If you don’t want to bring it over, just rent one.

With ski slopes, and the Ice Village, Hoshino Tomamu Resort is considered a popular winter destination in Hokkaido. Before winter arrives, visitors to the resort enjoy a number of outdoor activities ranging from trekking to rafting and picnicking.

Above all, most of the visitors there want to see Unkai from the terrace. Want to know how to get to the terrace? You are to reach at the top of the mountain by gondola, and from there enjoy the spectacular surrounding vistas that are in fact unforgettable.

4) Attend the Sapporo Autumn Fest in Odori Park

Food stalls during Sapporo Autumn Fest!

Needless to say, Sapporo Autumn Fest is the biggest food festival in Japan. It should be at the top of your list of festival foods. People who are always looking for something unique while traveling around would love to attend this food fest.

Eating a number of Hokkaido’s famous dishes is the main reason why you should go there, and you can even bring the whole family or a group of friends to enjoy food, drinks and the atmosphere.

At the festival venue, you can taste these 10 famous Hokkaido foods along with other local dishes. Miso Ramen is my favorite ramen dish among other ramen varieties. Take note Hokkaido is well-known for different types of ramen.

If ramen is on your must-eat list for your trip to Hokkaido, then try Miso ramen, it tastes good! In addition, abundance of seafood and dairy products can be found, and you can buy them from the food stalls.

Since the food festival is divided into various sections in Odori Park, you are advised to start off your food trip from Odori 1-chome to Odori 11-chome. Enjoy the food, and have fun!

5) Climbing Mt. Asahi (Asahidake) in Daisetsuzan National Park

Mt Asahi in September. Photo Credit: Noriyoshi Emura at Wikimedia Commons.

Daisetsuzan National Park is the first place in Japan to see the arrival of autumn and snow each year. If you are going to visit the park in mid September, you will be able to see fall colors through hiking Mount Asahi.

If climbing mountain is one of your passions, and you like experiencing outdoor activities of different kinds, then a visit to Daisetsuzan National Park would be once-in-a-lifetime experience for you.

Please note that Asahidake is the highest mountain in Hokkaido, and considered one of the best places to witness the wilderness of Hokkaido. The best time to climb the mountain is from June to October.

Asahidake Ropeway. Photo Credit: WAKASARESORT Co., Ltd.

You can enjoy incredible views while taking a walk along the hiking trails of Asahidake. Most hikers prefer beginning their hiking trip from the base of the mountain.

To reach there, you have to take the gondola up from the village (Asahidake Onsen) to the top gondola station. There you can find an observation deck to enjoy the surrounding vistas. Indeed views are incredible from there.

If you don’t want to summit, just take the loop trail at base of the mountain and yet you will see great views! On the other hand, if you want to ascend the mountain, take the trail that leads you to the peak.

It will take a few hours to reach the top, though it depends on the backpack you are going to carry. As the weather changes rapidly, you should be aware of its condition while climbing the mountain.

When you get off at JR Asahikawa Station, get to the bus stop to reach Asahidake Onsen. An overnight stay at the village is highly recommended because it’s always better to start your hiking expedition in the early morning.

6) Lake Toya Fireworks

Fireworks display, Lake Toya. Photo Credit: Nuttapol Sangthongchay at Flickr.

While most of the popular summer fireworks display events in other parts of Japan say Goodbye at the end of August each year, yet you could watch some amazing night fireworks shows on the lakeshore of Lake Toya (Toyako Onsen).

Part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, this popular hot spring resort town is seated at foot of Mount Usu offering year-round activities for everyone. Please note Lake Toya is considered one of the most beautiful caldera lakes in Japan.

In general, the Lake Toya fireworks event takes place from late April to late October every year. If you are planning to visit Hokkaido in September, this is one of the must-see events that you can’t miss. The show begins at 8:45 pm, and lasts about 15-20 minutes.

Every night, fireworks light up the evening skies making you feel like you are in a dreamland spending your holiday to the fullest. Fireworks can be seen from every corner of the lake as they are launched from a moving boat. In addition, you can take a cruise from where you can enjoy spectacular fireworks display.

7) Visit Cape Chikyu for Breathtaking Ocean Views

Lighthouse of Cape Chikyu, Muroran. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hokkaido is an island, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, and the Sea of Okhotsk. If you are a person with a passion for exploring beautiful ocean views, make your way to Cape Chikyu, located in Muroran.

At Cape Chikyu, you don’t only see incredible ocean view, but also a lighthouse, and mountains in the distance.

Anyone who likes walking can easily enjoy a stroll to Cape Chikyu from downtown Muroran. When you are at Cape Chikyu, make sure you first visit its observation deck. This is where most of its visitors pay a visit to.

From the observatory, you can see Cape Chikyu with a little lighthouse and the ocean in the background. Moreover, you would also enjoy the view of the mountains and the city of Muroran.

Don’t just stick in it, instead take a walk around the area and find some good spots to take some beautiful ocean photographs. If you are going to stay a night in the city, then watching the sunset at Cape Chikyu would be phenomenal.

8) Stay 3 Nights in Sapporo

A view from Sapporo TV Tower observation deck. Can you spots the mountains? Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Sapporo, magical capital city of the Hokkaido region is blessed with a number of famous attractions and events. The city is probably best known for its iconic winter festival takes place in February, ramen noodles, and Yosakoi Soran Festival, an amazing dance festival held in summer.

In the city, no matter where you go, each part has its own unique charm to delight you. I suggest you to stay three nights in Sapporo because I believe if you stay less than 3 days in the city, you will miss something that are worth visiting and experiencing.

You can also take day trips from the city to the Otaru, Jozankei, Asahikawa, Noboribetsu, and Chitose. And there are some awesome places on the outskirts of Sapporo that are waiting for you to discover such as Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park, The Historical Village of Hokkaido, Moerenuma Park and etc.

Whether you are visiting the city on business or pleasure, you have got to take a day trip to some places around the city which in fact are quite popular to locals and tourist alike. It’s not a daunting task visiting Odori Park, Former Hokkaido Government Office Building, Suskino, Maruyama Park, Nakajima Koen, Hokkaido University Campus, Mt Moiwa Ropeway and so on.

Exploring Sapporo either by bike or on foot is a good idea than relying on its public transport. Needless to say, I enjoy walking across the city and I absolutely love it. You can do it too!

There is no shortage of area where you can’t find a place to shop in Sapporo. The surrounding area of JR Sapporo Station is packed with a number of shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and bars. There is nothing interesting than relaxing in Odori Park. No, there is no hot spring in the park, but its lively atmospheres always catch my heart.

You could enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of Sapporo city from Sapporo TV Tower’s observation deck. The observatory also lets you see the mountains in the distance that I believe is a remarkable thing to experience.

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