Find a Snow and Ice Paradise in Hokkaido
Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost island and is a snow-lovers dream, famous for its large ski fields and dry powder snow. Popular ski and snowboard resorts include Niseko, Furano and Rusutsu. These resorts are unmatched for their quality and quantity of snow, off-piste tree runs and lack of crowds.
For animal enthusiasts, Asahiyama Zoo is a must-see destination for rare and magnificent snow creatures such as polar bears, arctic foxes and wolves. Hokkaido also hosts the world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival in February. Thousands of people flock to Odori Park to see ice and snow sculptures alongside food stalls, ice slides and music performances.
Outside of winter, Hokkaido is still a place of natural beauty, from impressive mountains to open lavender fields and rugged coastlines. It is a top destination for hikers, cyclists and campers because of its beautiful, and largely unspoiled, natural sights. Shiretoko National Park is said to be one of Japan’s most beautiful national parks.
The strong Japanese culture is another winning aspect of Hokkaido, and you can enjoy fantastic traditional foods such as Ishikari-nabe (salmon hot pot), ramen, sushi and lots of fresh seafood. Beer is also famous in Hokkaido and one of Japan’s first and most popular beer brands, Sapporo Beer, was founded in the prefecture.
For a truly unique cultural experience, a trip to the natural hot springs is in order. Hot springs are a part of the Japanese lifestyle and are said to promote good health. Outdoor hot springs in Hokkaido’s mountains, such as Noboribetsu Onsen or Jozankei Onsen, are particularly stunning and often provide a welcome relief for sore skiers and snowboarders.