Reviewed on Apr. 3, 2021
Reviewed on Apr. 14, 2021
Reviewed on Jan. 5, 2021
Japan’s northern frontier is a captivating island of drift ice, ski resorts, thermal springs and volcanoes. Discover mouthwatering seafood and ancient Ainu culture. Bask in the outdoor adventures and spectacular natural beauty of Hokkaido. A former host of the Winter Olympics, the snowy island attracts visitors in search of superb skiing and the chance to observe drift ice from Russian seas. In summer Hokkaido excites with volcano treks and the breathtaking autumn colors that decorate the mountainous countryside.
Sapporo is the island capital and energetic heart of the Central Area (Douou), home to the Sapporo Beer Museum, Susukino entertainment district and Ramen Yokocho noodle alley. Snowy pursuits await powder hounds at ski resorts in Niseko and Rusutsu. Relax in bubbling hot springs in Noboribetsu and hike scenic trails in Noboribetsu Primeval Forest. Marvel at the piercing-blue caldera lakes of Shikotsu-Tōya National Park.
In the Northern Area (Douhoku), Furano dazzles with its multicolored dahlia, lavender and tulip fields between spring and autumn. Ride a gondola to the Unkai Terrace to watch a sea of clouds pour over tall cliffs. Tantalize your taste buds in Asahikawa, the island’s hub for ramen noodles, seafood and sake. Catch a ferry to Rishiri Island, where fishing villages sit beneath Mount Rishiri.
Mystical landscapes and wildlife define the remote Eastern Area (Doutou). Go ice-walking in Shiretoko National Park and see oceanic drifts that arrive from the Sea of Okhotsk. Spot brown bear while hiking in Daisetsuzan National Park and journey by cable car to the summit of Mount Asahidake. Kushiro Marsh is a natural habitat for the red-crowned Tancho crane. Find more hot springs scattered around the shores of Lake Kussharo.
With over the 350 stalls offering seafood delicacies, the Morning Market in Hakodate is a foodie’s paradise. This city in the Southern Area (Dounan) also has magnificent views from Mount Hakodate. Admire the coastal scenery at Cape Tachimachi, the final resting place of Takuboku Ishikawa, one of Japan’s most well-known tanka poets.
Reach Hokkaido by flying to New Chitose Airport or via a bullet train which travels from Aomori, on the northern tip of Honshu island, to Hakodate. Get around this enthralling island by affordable buses, express trains, bike and car.