Boasting of picturesque beauty, Hokkaido sweeps visitors off their traveling feet with breath-taking panoramas and artistic hotspots. When traveling into the uppermost part of Japan, travelers can revel in its natural treasures, which have stayed unimpaired by metropolitan cities’ sprawling structures.
Planning for the Trip
Whether by air, land, or sea, travelers can always use a bit of help in planning a holiday trip or weekend getaway into one of the biggest islands in Japan.
Climate. Before booking a ticket, decide on the activities you want, usually based on the seasons in this island. Due to its location, Hokkaido typically stays cool even in summer. So if you are eager to ride a hot air balloon, bike your way to explore, or climb its famous mountains, then get on the road around June to September.
But if your goal is to indulge in the thrills of skiing, snowboarding or witnessing innocent ice drift apart, make your trip from October to March. Just remember to bring sheets of clothing since its winter is considered the harshest in the country.
Places to visit in Hokkaido
- Hakodate-Yama: The night views of Hakodate-Yama is spectacular. Plan your trip to Hakodate for sunset or after dark: what’s fascinating is seeing the lit-up peninsula against the pitch-black waters. In addition to the parking area and viewing platform, those seeking will find the remains of an old fort behind the buildings, with impressive foundations intact. There are a few ways to get to Hakodate-Yama: by bus, car, foot, or ropeway.
- Sapporo Beer Museum: A beer Museum? Classic Japan. The Sapporo Beer Museum is located in the Sapporo Garden Park in Higashi-Ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido. This traditional Sapporo attraction is the first Sapporo Beer brewery, a beautiful, ivy-covered stone building. There are plenty of English explanations throughout. In the end, there’s a tasting hall where you can match Sapporo’s signature Black Label with Sapporo Classic and Kaitakushi Pilsner, an evolved revival of the original recipe.
- Mashū-ko: Considered by many to be Japan’s most beautiful lake, Mashū-ko once holds numerous records for water clarity. The Ainu knew the island in the middle as the Isle of the Gods. A road runs along the western edge. You can’t get down to lake level, but there are two approved viewing points called Viewpoint one and Viewpoint three.
- Ōdōri-kōen: This haven in the center of the city is entirely 1.5km long, with the TV Tower at its east end. Among the lush lawns and flower gardens are fountains, benches, and sculptures; don’t miss Noguchi Isamu’s elegant Black Slide Mantra. This is also where many of the town’s festivals and important events take place.
- Asahiyama Zoo: Asahiyama Zoo is a famous zoological park situated outside of Asahikawa City. The zoo displays of numerous animals, including local wildlife from Hokkaido, such as eagles, deer and red foxes and animals from around the world, such as polar bears, penguins, leopard, tiger, lion, giraffes and more.
Things to try in Hokkaido
- Sapporo Snow Festival: Sapporo Snow Festival is the largest winter festival in Japan and one of the world’s most dramatic snow festivals. Every year, in February, hundreds of ice sculptures and snow statues are displayed at several venues in this festival.
- Seafood: Thanks to the plankton-rich Sea of Japan, seafood is highly abundant in Hokkaido’s waters. The high-quality crabs are particularly worth a try. There are four types to choose from: horsehair, king, horsehair, hanasaki queen, and snow.
- Snowboarding and Skiing: Hokkaido gets a bunch of dusty snow in the winter, making it one of the best stops for snowboarders and skiers. There are numerous ski resorts to choose from: don’t forget to book them in advance.