Though many tourists opt to visit Kyoto, Okinawa, or Tokyo, you should definitely consider a trip to Hokkaido. As the second largest island in Japan as well as the center of agriculture and aquaculture, the area has a lot to offer visitors, too. With its lush forests, traditional villages, and gorgeous parks, you won’t run out of places to explore. If you’re still not convinced, here are a few compelling reasons why you should book a flight to Hokkaido for your next holiday.
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Go on a Skiing Adventure
If you want white slopes with the finest powdery snow, then visit the Kiroro Resort, located in Akaigawa, Hokkaido. Every year, Kiroro receives an average snowfall of 21 meters, making it a fantastic place to go skiing. It’s also a great option in case When planning your trip, it’s best to go anywhere from December to March. You may want to avoid going there during the Christmas and New Year period, though, as accommodations become more expensive at that time. You’ll also have to deal with sharing the resort with a much bigger crowd than usual, which could put a hamper on your experience. If it’s your first time to try this sport, we recommend renting some high-quality skiing equipment instead of buying your own. It will not only cost you much less money, but you also won’t have to bring your gear with you during transit.
Marvel at the Sapporo Snow Festival
Every February, Sapporo holds the weeklong Yuki Matsuri or Snow Festival, which draws a crowd of over two million visitors each year. There, you’ll see hundreds of amazing sculptures made out of snow, depicting cartoon characters, celebrities, famous monuments, and even temples. There are so many sculptures that the event often takes up three entire venues just to display everything! You’ll also be able to enjoy other activities, such as ice-skating, snowmobiling, and ice-sliding. There’s also tons of great food for you to try out, in case you get hungry while marveling at the snow artwork. If you don’t want to contend with huge crowds during the festival itself, you fly to Sapporo a few weeks before the festival begins. That way, you can watch as the artists create the sculptures from scratch, something that many other people won’t witness during the actual event. You can also drop by the city’s other great tourist spots, such as the Beer Museum and the Historical Museum.
Take in the Wonders of Nature
For nature lovers, Hokkaido may seem like paradise. There are six national parks for you to visit, all with trails that you can explore to your heart’s content. At Shiretoko National Park, you’ll be able to see drift ice as well as the higuma or brown bears. If you want to see Japan’s largest marshland and wetland, drop by the Kushiro-shitsugen National Park. There, you’ll also be able to observe and feed the Japanese crane, one of many endangered species. For those who love hiking, you’ll enjoy trekking up to the top of Mount Yotei. Just keep in mind that it may take you at least ten hours to reach the summit. If you’re up for a challenge, you could try to conquer Mount Asahi, the tallest mountain on the island at 2290 meters above sea level.
Sit Back and Relax in the Hot Springs
Want to take a break from the cold climate? There are many types of onsen or hot spring baths for you to choose from. You could opt for onsen from a fancy resort, or you could go deep into the mountains to experience natural hot spring pools. It is believed that different types of hot springs contain various types of minerals that can provide many health benefits. The rust-colored waters of iron hot springs, for instance, are said to help people who suffer from anemia. Hydrogen carbonate hot springs, on the other hand, may lower your blood pressure. Some places you should try include the Marukoma Onsen Ryokan in western Hokkaido, which can give you a great view of Jake Shikotsu. Another great option is the Yawaraginosato Hoheikyo Onsen, which can be found an hour away from Sapporo. There, you’ll be able to soak in the hot spring while enjoying a breathtaking view of the surrounding hills. Should you feel hungry after taking a dip in the hot springs, you can also try out their tasty dishes. Many tourists highly recommend their curry and soba meals. Their food is so good that some bikers even drop by the resort just to have lunch.
Feast on Tons of Fish and Seafood
Hokkaido has coastlines on the Sea of Japan, the Pacific Ocean, and the Sea of Okhotsk. Because of this, the island offers what is arguably some of the best seafood you’ll ever taste in your life. Hokkaido’s many specialties include sake (salmon), ikura (salmon roe), kani (crab), uni (sea urchin), ika (squid), and hotategai (scallop sushi). For the best experience, head on over to the port of Otaru and choose any of the eateries on Sushiya-dori or “Sushi Shop Street.” Make sure to order a kaisen donburi, a rice bowl topped with tons of freshly caught seafood. You can even tell them what specific types of seafood you want in your bowl. Once you dig in, you’ll find yourself asking for more.
If you decide to spend your vacation in Hokkaido, the possibilities are endless. No matter what time of the year you decide to go there, you’ll surely find something interesting to do. Just make sure that you prepare for your trip well in advance. By doing your research ahead of time, you won’t have a hard time finding your way around this beautiful island. You’ll also have much more time to enjoy the scenery and forget about all your worries back at home or at work. Make sure to add Hokkaido to your list of places to visit. After you’ve seen everything the island has to offer, you’ll be glad you did.