Hokkaido is the second biggest japanese island with a surface of 83.456 square kilometers, located in the northernmost part of Japan. It is at the same time a prefecture and a region, and counts more than 5 millions inhabitants, including a minority of Ainus, the aborigines of Japan. Sapporo is the main city, the political and economic center of the island.
Covered by forests on almost 75% of its territory, it is very appreciated by visitors for its skiing spots and magnificent natural parks. We can name Shiretoko and Daisetsuzan, loved for their fauna and flora, as well as for their sumptuous landscapes, on a background of mountainous peaks and volcanic lakes.
During summertime, the fresh climate appeals to the tourists running away from the heat and humidity of the other regions of Japan. There, they enjoy hiking and camping in the mountains, and also visiting the main touristic cities of the island: the southern entrance door of Hakodate, the capital Sapporo or the flowery cities of Furano and Biei.
The snow remains very abundant in winter and Hokkaido becomes an unavoidable place for ski and onsen lovers. Thermal cities such as Noboribetsu or Jozanki welcome sportsmen and women for a few days of relaxing break.
Reachable with the Shinkansen from Honshu, the railway network enables to easily join the other urban centers of Hokkaido. Renting a car could also be a good option to move around and in between the several national parks, or to go to the north of the island; however, pay attention to the weather conditions before going driving in the wildest region of Japan.
Things to do in Hokkaido
By plane -- Most of the visitors take one of the numerous domestic flights to Chitose airport:
- 1h30 from Tokyo-Haneda
- 1h50 from Osaka
By JR train -- About 4h30 by (direct) Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto
Official website (in English)
7 days = US$ 273
14 days = US$ 435