What to do in Hokkaido – Japan Travel Guide

As one of Japan’s prefectures, Hokkaido is a popular tourist destination for many.

From its natural landscape to its unique culture, there are plenty of things to do in Hokkaido.

Here are just a few ideas to start your trip planning.

Visit Sapporo

As the capital city of Hokkaido, Sapporo is a must-see when visiting the prefecture. Check out some of the city’s most popular attractions, such as the Sapporo Snow Festival, the TV Tower, and Odori Park.

For those interested in Japan’s rich history, the Hokkaido Heritage Museum is also worth visiting.

Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. It is also the largest city on the island, with over 1.9 million people. Sapporo is a popular tourist destination known for ski resorts, snow festivals, and beer. The city also has many museums and parks and a lively nightlife scene.

There are many things to do in Sapporo, whether you’re interested in outdoor activities or cultural attractions. In the winter, Sapporo’s most popular tourist activity is skiing or snowboarding at one of the many nearby ski resorts. The Sapporo Snow Festival is another big draw in the winter, attracting over 2 million visitors worldwide.

Sapporo is a great place to enjoy the outdoors, hiking, camping, and kayaking, all popular activities in the summer.

The city also has many parks and gardens to explore. There are many museums and art galleries in Sapporo and a lively nightlife scene for culture lovers.

Check out the Lavender Fields in Furano

If you find yourself in Hokkaido during the summer months, be sure to take a trip out to Furano to see the beautiful lavender fields.

Every year from late June to early August, the fields are in full bloom and make for a stunning sight. You can even pick your lavender at some of the farms!

Lavender isn’t the only thing Furano is known for, though. The area is also popular for its wide-open spaces, making it an excellent place for hiking or mountain biking. There are also several ski resorts nearby that are worth checking out if you’re visiting in winter.

Explore Nature

Hokkaido is home to some of Japan’s most stunning natural scenery. There are plenty of outdoor activities from the mountains to the sea.

For a truly unique experience, head to Shikotsu-Toya National Park, where you can find hot springs, volcanoes, and pristine lakes.

Outdoorsy types will love hiking or skiing in one of Hokkaido’s many national parks. Daisetsuzan National Park is the largest island home to mountains, forests, hot springs, and wildlife.

Many smaller parks are worth exploring, such as Shikotsu-Toya National Park with volcanoes and lakes or Akan National Park with beautiful lakes and marshes.

View of Japanese

Indulge in Delicious Food

Hokkaido is known for its fresh seafood and dairy products. Try some local specialties, such as crab, salmon roe, and buttery ice cream.

There are also many restaurants and cafes serving delicious dishes from all over Japan.

Hokkaido is an excellent destination for any traveler with so much to see and do. Start planning your trip today, and you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Take a dip in the Onsens in Noboribetsu

Noboribetsu is one of Hokkaido’s most popular tourist destinations, and its onsens are a big part of why. The town is home to many different onsens, each with its unique attractions.

The Oyunuma Onsen is one of the most popular due to its stunning views of Mt. Yotei. The water here also has therapeutic properties that can help with fatigue and muscle aches.

Another popular onsen in Noboribetsu is the Jigokudani Onsen, known for its bubbling hot water. This onsen is located next to a forest Park, making it the perfect place to relax and take in the natural beauty of Hokkaido.

The last onsen we’ll recommend is the Taisho-Kan Onsen, which is located in a historic building once used as a hospital. This onsen has many different pools with different temperatures to find one perfect for you.

If you’re looking to relax and soak in some of Hokkaido’s stunning scenery, then be sure to check out these onsens in Noboribetsu.

Taste the Fresh Seafood in Hakodate

If you’re a fan of seafood, Hakodate is your place. The city is famous for its fresh and delicious seafood, and there are plenty of restaurants and markets to choose from.

Try the Tsukiji fish market, where you can find everything from sushi to sashimi.

You can also find some great seafood at the Hakodate Morning Market, where fresh fish, squid, and crabs can be bought.

If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, check out one of the city’s many seafood restaurants. Regardless of where you eat, you’re sure to enjoy the fresh seafood in Hakodate.

Marvel at the Autumn Leaves in Daisetsuzan National Park

Autumn in Hokkaido is a special time of year. The leaves change color, and the air gets crisp, making it the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors.

Daisetsuzan National Park is one of the best places to see autumn foliage in all of Japan. Its mountains, forests, and hiking trails are a nature lover’s paradise.

A trip to Daisetsuzan is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated.

Take a Ride on the Toya Lake Steam Train

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, take a ride on the Toya

Lake Steam Train. This train runs along the shores of Lake Toya and offers spectacular views of the lake and the mountains beyond.

The train has been in operation since 1919 and is one of only a handful of steam trains still in operation in Japan.

It’s a great way to relax and take in the scenery of Hokkaido.

Visit Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum

Okhotsk Ryuhyo is a type of drift ice found off the coast of Hokkaido. It’s a beautiful sight, and at the Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum, you can learn all about this phenomenon. The museum has a variety of interactive exhibits, and you can even go out on the deck and see the drift ice up close.

Enjoy the Views from Mount Hakodate

Mount Hakodate is one of the best places in Hokkaido to get a panoramic view of the city. Several observation decks are located at different levels, so you can choose how high up you want to go. The views from the top are stunning, and you’ll be able to see for miles in every direction. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Visit Biei to see the Beautiful Rolling Hills

If you’re looking for a breathtaking natural landscape, Biei is your place. The rolling hills and valleys are unlike anything else in Hokkaido and make for a perfect day trip from Sapporo. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in one of the many scenic spots!

See the Deer in Shiretoko

Shiretoko is a World Heritage Site located at the northern tip of Hokkaido. It is home to many animals, including deer, which are friendly and used to being around people. You can get close to them and even feed them.

Visit Lake Akan

Lake Akan is a beautiful lake located in Eastern Hokkaido. It is known for its hot springs and crystal clear water. There are also many different activities in the area, such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

Go Skiing or Snowboarding

Hokkaido is one of the best places in Japan for skiing and snowboarding, with its many resorts and powdery snow. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry – there are plenty of lessons and slopes for all levels.

Try the Local Food

Hokkaido is known for its fresh seafood, dairy products, and produce. Try some of the local specialties like sushi, sashimi, grilled crab, and cheesecake.

Shop Till you Drop

Hokkaido has many shopping districts with everything from department stores to local markets. You can find anything you’re looking for, and maybe even some things you didn’t know you wanted!

Best Seasons to Visit Hokkaido


From late March to early May, the island is blanketed in a colorful array of flowers.


June to August is the peak season on Hokkaido, with warm weather perfect for outdoor activities.


Mid September to early November sees the leaves change color, making for beautiful scenery.


December to February brings cold weather and lots of snow, which is ideal for winter sports.

How to get to Hokkaido from Tokyo

There are many ways to get from Tokyo to Hokkaido. You can take a plane, train, bus, or even a ferry.

The most popular option is to take a plane because it is the fastest way to travel between the two regions.

There are several airports in Hokkaido that you can fly to, such as New Chitose Airport and Hakodate Airport.

If you want to take a train, the bullet train is a good option. It takes about six hours to get from Tokyo to Sapporo, which is the capital of Hokkaido. The scenery along the way is also very beautiful.

You can also take a bus from Tokyo to Hokkaido. This option is usually cheaper than taking a plane or train, but it takes longer. It takes about 12 hours to get from Tokyo to Sapporo by bus.

If you are taking a ferry, the journey will take even longer. The ferry ride from Tokyo to Hokkaido takes about 18 hours. But, the ferry ride is very scenic, and you will be able to see a lot of different islands along the way.

Thoughts and Conclusion

There are plenty of things to do in Hokkaido, from visiting the capital city of Sapporo to exploring the prefecture’s stunning natural scenery.

Try some local specialties, such as crab, salmon roe, and buttery ice cream.

Hokkaido is an excellent destination for any traveler with so much to see and do. Start planning your trip today, and you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

If you’re traveling around Japan, check out some of the top places in Tokyo and best things to do in Okinawa.

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