Japan is a country that many people dream of traveling to their entire lives. But there’s more to this incredible country than Tokyo and Kyoto. There are other marvelous destinations in this richly historic country, such as Hokkaido.
Out of Japan’s main islands, it is the furthest north and one of the most picturesque. There are a number of reasons to add this island to your Japanese itinerary. Even better, make it the focus of your entire trip and drink this place in at your leisure.
Sapporo is an incredible city
With a population of almost two million people, Sapporo is by far the biggest city on the island of Hokkaido. The construction of a canal in the region in the late 1800s spurred the development of a village that would eventually become a city.
Modern Sapporo is filled with stunning parks and wonderful museums. But two big things here are beer and chocolate. You can check out the history of beer at the Sapporo Beer Museum and pick up some chocolate at the Ishiya Chocolate Factory.
Several popular ski resorts
For people who know good skiing, Hokkaido is definitely a clutch travel destination. The winters on this island are borderline perfect, producing top-notch powder for avid skiers. On top of that, there are several marvelous ski resorts to choose from.
These spots run the gamut from being leisurely resorts with multiple amenities to being challenging destinations for expert skiers looking for gnarly runs. Regardless of the type of resort that fits your style, the skiing in Hokkaido is reputed to be some of the best in the world.
At the core of Hokkaido’s economy and its cuisine is seafood. The Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the North Pacific Ocean surround the island, providing ample opportunities to take advantage of fresh, delicious bounty all around it.
Crab is a huge deal in Hokkaido as are scallops, sea urchin, squid, and salmon roe. And that is only the tip of the proverbial seafood iceberg here. But if you’re not interested in seafood, this island is also famous in Japan for its unreal ramen.
Outstanding National Parks
Connecting with nature on a meaningful level is a huge deal in Japan as a whole. But it is especially important on Hokkaido, an island that has established six beautiful National Parks. Each one of them offers something special and unique to visitors.
Each park protects key ecosystems, environments, and natural features, all of them a draw in their own ways. Shiretoko National Park was even named a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 2005, though all of them are worth checking out.
Hokkaido’s many onsen
Onsen’s are hot springs fueled by Japan’s intense volcanic activities. Traditional baths and inns have been built around them for centuries, with some of them in operation for more than 1000 years. And Hokkaido is reputed to have some outstanding onsen.
While there are several to choose from, anyone interested in a truly life-changing experience has to swing by Noboribetsu Onsen. Not only is it popular with tourists, but it is also well-known and sought out by Japanese citizens, as well.