Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, is known for its volcanoes, natural hot springs (onsen) and ski areas. Rugged Daisetsuzan National Park is home to steaming, volcanic Mount Asahi. Shikotsu-Tōya National Park contains caldera lakes, geothermal springs and a Mount Fuji look-alike, Mount Yōtei. Popular ski resorts include Rusutsu, Furano and Niseko.
Niseko also offers fishing, biking and rafting in the summertime. Forested Akan National Park is known for its fog-covered lakes, and nearby Kushiro Shitsugen National Park is a wetland haven for white cranes and sea eagles. The city of Furano is famous for its lavender farms that bloom in summer. Hakodate, one of Japan’s first ports to open to foreign trade in the 19th century, has Motomachi, a hillside neighborhood of Western-style wooden buildings from that era. Hokkaido’s modern capital, Sapporo, once hosted the Winter Olympics and now hosts a yearly snow festival with intricate ice sculpture competitions.
Things to do
Sapporo Odori Park
Leafy green space with year-round events
Restored canal in a scenic historic area
Shirogane Blue Pond
Brown bear, killer whale, nature, lake, and whale watching