Go to Hokkaido in Japan

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Hokkaido in Japan is an unique place in the world. On this Japanese island you have a chance to see whales, bears, the amazing sea eagle and many more spectacular wildlife. Also you can take beautiful walks through remote nature reserves with mountains and waterfalls. In this article you'll read everything you need to know for a visit to Hokkaido.
Hokkaido is the second largest island in Japan and is located in the most northern part of the country. It has for its huge size very few inhabitants, only six million. Yet there is plenty to do. For example the Daisetsu-zan National Park; home to rare flora and fauna. And the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, with its magical volcanoes and lakes. There are also plenty of hot springs (onsen) in places such as Noboribetsu, Jozan kei and Sounkyo. Onsen are the place to be if you like to relax and enjoy the Japanese-style bathing in hot spring water.

Ski in Niseko

Niseko is the place to be for ski enthusiasts in Japan. More than 800 hectares of ski area can be found here. The nightlife is also perfectly attuned, you have plenty of places where you can relax with a Sapporo beer. Every year thousands of foreign tourists travel to Niseko to enjoy the soft snow and high slopes. The Japanese themselves are also big fans of Niseko, many Japanese have their second home in this ski area.

How to get there

Hokkaido is accessible by plane, boat and train. Due to our current climate crisis we recommend to always travel by train. It takes a bit longer but you will see a lot more and taking a train in Japan is a super relaxed experience. Take the JR Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (4 hours) and transfer to the Hokuto limited express to Sapporo (3.5 hours). The entire one way trip costs around 27,000 yen (280 usd) and takes around eight hours. It is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass and JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass and it's an amazing journey.

Where to stay

If you are looking for an amazing place to stay on this island and you are not on a budget we recommend the Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort Spa Mizu no Uta. The hotel itself is beautiful and the location next to lake Shikotsu is super quiet and peaceful. “Mizu no Uta” focuses on water, the source of life, and produces total health and beauty experience.

The onsen baths are very incredible. A super spacious place with plenty of options to bath. It has three indoor onsen baths and a beautiful outdoor onsen. You will never want to leave this place. On booking.com they get an average rating of 9.0.

Best time to visit

Hokkaido is an island of extremes: in the summer it is warm and green, but in winter Hokkaido is very cold and white. Especially in the north of Hokkaido it can snow heavily and even the sea freezes during winter. In summer it is very pleasant to be here because of the low humidity, while in the rest of Japan the rainy season arrives.

Hokkaido has no problems with typhoons. From September to October, Hokkaido is immersed in all colors of the rainbow because of Autumn. Click here for more climate information about Hokkaido.

This article was last updated on January 14, 2023.