Hokkaido is one of the most popular tourist destinations amongst local Japanese. An island prefecture located in Northern Japan, Hokkaido is famous for skiing and snowboarding in the winter. During the summer, Japanese tourists flock to Hokkaido for its beautiful flower fields. This island is also SUPER popular during the summer, as it is significantly cooler than Tokyo and Kyoto during the warmer months. To help inspire others and to introduce you to Hokkaido, I’ve put together a list of 9 things to you can do on your trip to Hokkaido.
Hopefully, after reading this you’ll have a nice long list of things to do in Hokkaido!
So here are 9 things to do in Hokkaido, Japan:
1. Eat your way through Sapporo
Hokkaido is famous for its food, especially fresh dairy and seafood. There are many farms you can visit for fresh produce (more on that later), but if you’re in Sapporo you need to try some fresh seafood!
Make sure when you’re in Sapporo to try some sushi. Our favorite was a restaurant called Hanamaru Sapporo. There was a SUPER long line while we were there (for some reason sushi at 2 pm is popular??) But trust me when I say the wait in line was worth it! The sushi was fresh and delicious.
One of my favorite experiences in Sapporo
2. Get a drink at one of Sapporo’s beer gardens
We came across Sapporo’s beer gardens when we were walking through the city. It does feel a little strange to come across a German-style beer garden when you’re in Japan, but the atmosphere makes up for it! Grab a glass local Sapporo beer and sit down with some friends!
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3. Visit Mt. Hakodate to see the night view
The night view from Mt. Hakodate is one of Japan’s most famous. People come from all over the world to photograph this view… There’s something incredibly magical about it!
The Hakadote Ropeway is open to 9 pm during fall and winter and till 10 pm during the summer/spring. Make sure to check out their website for the last departure time to the mountaintop, so you don’t miss out!
Night time view from Mt. Hakodate
4. Visit Unkai Terrace, Hoshino Resorts Tomamu
Unkai means “sea of clouds” in Japanse, and visiting this terrace can make you feel like you’re above the clouds in some kind of magical wonderland.
The terrace is part of the Hoshino Resorts Tomamu, where most visitors visit due to the ski slopes. If you want to see the magical cloud view, make sure to look up the best time to visit, as they only appear in the morning under special atmospheric conditions.
5. Go sightseeing at Shakotan Peninsula
Shakotan is especially popular during the summer. Shakotan Penninsula is made of 3 spots: Cape Shakotan , Cape Kamui, and Cape Ogon. They all offer beautiful views, and the Shakotan Peninsula is surrounded by beautiful blue water – perfect for the photography lovers out there!
Beautiful views from Cape Kamui
For more inspiration on beautiful spots to visit in Japan, check out this blog post:
6. Visit a flower field in Furano
The flower and lavender fields in Furano are especially popular during summer.
If you’re looking for ideas of things to do in Hokkaido, you can’t miss Furano! There are two major flower farms in Furano – Farm Tomita which is more touristy (and can get pretty crazy in the summer) or Shikisai no Oka, which gets less busy.
If you’re planning on seeing lavender, make sure you plan ahead- lavender is seasonal, though if you visit during the summer, you will be lucky enough to see some beautiful flower fields anyway!
Flower fields at Shikisai no Oka
7. Visit the Blue Pond, Biei
This is one of the most popular spots to visit in Biei and is famous for the color of the pond here.
If you want to visit, you’ll need to either drive or organize a trip with one of the local tour guides. Public transport out here is practically non-existent, but the effort is well worth it!
8. Rent a bicycle or drive around Biei and visit some of the flower fields and famous trees along the way.
From this entire list of things to do in Hokkaido, this has to be my favorite! We learned the hard way that you need to bring your International Driver’s Licence when renting a car in Japan (alas, we had left ours in Tokyo!) so instead, we had to take the bus and train everywhere. That meant when it came to exploring Biei; we rented bikes instead of driving. This was a blessing in disguise, as it is much easier to pull over on the side of the road with a bike rather than a car!
Why should you visit Biei? The area is famous not only for flower fields but there are also specific trees made famous in Japanese and Korean TV commercials! As someone who didn’t know the commercials, I didn’t always understand the context, but the area is beautiful anyway (there’s a reason why TV commercials are filmed here). This would be a great activity to add to your list of things to do in Hokkaido, especially if you are a photography lover.
An added benefit of traveling around Biei? You can also stop by some of the adorable farms and eat fresh ice cream or cheese. We loved stopping for matcha flavored ice cream after riding our bikes around all morning (what a reward!)
One of the many fields in Biei
These trees are famous in Japan – they’re featured in local commercials!
9. Go hiking at Daisetsuzan National Park
Daisetsuzan is Hokkaido’s largest national park and is heaven for hikers and outdoor lovers. It’s also home to deer and brown bears (!!) When visiting; we took the ropeway up Mt Ashidake, which is also the highest mountain in Hokkaido.
From here we did a 1hr loop walk (another option is to hike further up Mt Ashidake, but if you want to do this make sure you do your research in advance!) before hiking back down. For those who love hiking and being outdoors, Daisetsuzan National Park is a must-visit.
Views when hiking down from the ropeway at Mt Ashidake
Hokkaido was one of my favorite prefectures in Japan, and is a fun place to visit, especially if you love road trips and being outdoors. I highly recommend Hokkaido during the summer, and it’s a great place to visit if you want to escape the summer heat of Tokyo.
I’d love to hear from you!
What does your list of things to do in Hokkaido look like?
Or have you been to Hokkaido? What was your favorite place to visit there?
Leave a comment below and let me know!
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