Home DestinationsAsia 15 Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : Must-Visit Attraction & Activities

15 Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : Must-Visit Attraction & Activities

by Naoi Rei
15 Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : Must-Visit Attraction

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido :Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, is a treasure trove of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and delicious cuisine. From stunning landscapes to unique wildlife encounters, Hokkaido offers a wide range of activities for every type of traveler. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a food lover, or a history buff, here are the 15 best things to do in Hokkaido that should be on your must-visit list.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 1. Explore the Magnificent Shiretoko National Park

Shiretoko National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a paradise for nature lovers. With its rugged coastline, pristine lakes, and dense forests, this park offers breathtaking views and opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and boat tours. Don’t miss the chance to see the iconic Shiretoko Five Lakes and the majestic Shiretoko Goko Waterfall.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 2. Visit the Historic City of Otaru

Otaru, a charming port city, is known for its well-preserved historic buildings and picturesque canal. Take a stroll along the canal and admire the beautifully restored warehouses that now house shops, cafes, and museums. Don’t forget to try the famous Otaru sushi and indulge in some shopping for glassware and music boxes.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 3. Experience the Sapporo Snow Festival

The Sapporo Snow Festival is one of Japan’s most famous winter events, attracting millions of visitors every year. Marvel at the incredible snow and ice sculptures that line the streets of Sapporo, and enjoy various winter activities such as snowboarding, ice skating, and snow rafting. Warm up with a bowl of hot soup curry, a local specialty.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 4. Relax in the Hot Springs of Noboribetsu

Noboribetsu is home to some of the best hot springs in Japan, known for their healing properties. Soak in the mineral-rich waters of Jigokudani, also known as Hell Valley, and experience the rejuvenating effects on your body and mind. Don’t miss the chance to try the unique foot baths scattered throughout the town.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 5. Discover the Untouched Beauty of Furano

Furano, famous for its lavender fields, offers a picturesque countryside experience. Visit Farm Tomita, where you can stroll through colorful flower fields and learn about the lavender cultivation process. In winter, Furano transforms into a popular ski resort, attracting skiers and snowboarders from around the world.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 6. Witness the Magnificent Crane Dance in Kushiro

Kushiro is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, especially during the winter months when thousands of red-crowned cranes gather in the Kushiro Marshland. Witness their graceful dance and learn about conservation efforts at the Kushiro International Wetland Center. Take a boat tour to explore the marshland and spot other wildlife.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 7. Indulge in Fresh Seafood at Hakodate Morning Market

Hakodate Morning Market is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide variety of fresh seafood and local delicacies. Try the famous Hakodate squid, sea urchin, and crab dishes. Don’t miss the chance to visit the observation deck of Mount Hakodate for a panoramic view of the city.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 8. Ski or Snowboard in Niseko

Niseko is renowned for its world-class ski resorts and powder snow. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, Niseko offers a range of slopes for all skill levels. After a day on the slopes, relax in one of the many hot springs in the area and enjoy a traditional Japanese meal.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 9. Explore the Biei Blue Pond

The Biei Blue Pond is a natural wonder that captivates visitors with its vibrant blue color. Created by minerals dissolved in the water, this surreal pond offers a unique photo opportunity. Visit during different seasons to witness the changing colors and surrounding landscapes.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 10. Take a Scenic Train Ride on the Hokkaido Railway

The Hokkaido Railway, also known as the “Norokko Train,” offers a scenic journey through Hokkaido’s picturesque landscapes. Travel through tunnels, over bridges, and past charming towns while enjoying panoramic views of mountains and rivers. Don’t forget to try the local bento box on board.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 11. Visit the Historical Village of Hokkaido

The Historical Village of Hokkaido is an open-air museum that showcases traditional buildings from the Meiji and Taisho periods. Take a step back in time as you explore the village and learn about the history and culture of Hokkaido. Don’t miss the chance to try traditional crafts and activities.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 12. Enjoy a Relaxing Cruise on Lake Toya

Lake Toya, a volcanic caldera lake, offers stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere. Take a cruise around the lake and admire the surrounding mountains and the famous Nakajima Island. In the evening, witness the mesmerizing fireworks display over the lake during the summer months.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 13. Discover the Ainu Culture in Shiraoi

Shiraoi is home to the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido. Visit the Shiraoi Ainu Museum to learn about their rich culture, history, and traditional way of life. Participate in workshops and demonstrations to gain a deeper understanding of the Ainu people.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 14. Hike Mount Asahidake, the Highest Peak in Hokkaido

Mount Asahidake, located in Daisetsuzan National Park, is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys as you hike to the summit. In autumn, the mountain is adorned with vibrant colors, creating a breathtaking landscape.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : 15. Sample Delicious Ramen in Sapporo

No visit to Hokkaido is complete without trying Sapporo’s famous ramen. Sapporo is known for its rich and flavorful miso ramen, which originated in the city. Visit one of the many ramen shops and savor a bowl of piping hot noodles topped with succulent pork and fresh vegetables.

Best Things to Do in Hokkaido : Summary

Hokkaido offers a diverse range of attractions and activities that cater to every traveler’s interests. From exploring national parks and historic cities to indulging in delicious cuisine and experiencing unique cultural encounters, Hokkaido has something for everyone. Whether you are seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, a visit to Hokkaido will leave you with unforgettable memories.

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1. When is the best time to visit Hokkaido?

The best time to visit Hokkaido depends on your interests. If you want to experience winter activities and the Sapporo Snow Festival, visit between December and February. For flower fields and outdoor activities, visit during the summer months from June to August. Autumn, from September to November, offers stunning fall foliage.

2. How do I get to Hokkaido?

Hokkaido is accessible by air, train, and ferry. The most convenient way to reach Hokkaido is by flying into New Chitose Airport, which is well-connected to major cities in Japan and international destinations. From there, you can take a train or bus to your desired destination within Hokkaido.

3. Are there any unique souvenirs to buy in Hokkaido?

Hokkaido is known for its unique souvenirs. Some popular choices include local food products such as melon, cheese, and seafood. Hokkaido is also famous for its glassware, music boxes, and traditional crafts made by the Ainu people.

4. Can I see the Northern Lights in Hokkaido?

Yes, it is possible to see the Northern Lights in Hokkaido, especially in the northern regions such as Abashiri and Wakkanai. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Hokkaido is during the winter months when the nights are longer and darker.

5. Are there any cultural festivals in Hokkaido?

Hokkaido hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year. Apart from the Sapporo Snow Festival, other notable festivals include the Yosakoi Soran Festival in Sapporo, the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival, and the Furano Lavender Festival. These festivals showcase traditional music, dance, and local customs.

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