- About Hokkaido
- Basic Information
Wonderful! Beautiful! Hokkaido - Meet Your Expectation
Japan has distinctive change of seasons and the seasonal changes add more beauty to Hokkaido. Clean air,blue sky,colorful flowers,undulating hills and the majesty of the mountains...there is so much more and cannot all mention here! In the spring, all the flowers start to grow and the hibernating animals wake up and get ready to be active again. In the summer, Hokkaido is rather dry with low humidity, and the weather is usually very pleasant. In the autumn, while many delicious seasonal food becomes available, the breathtaking autumn colors mountains are seen . In the winter, white snow covers the ground as far as the eye can see. This is Hokkaido where such four seasonal differences are gathered in one place. Hokkaido has a lot more to offer to visitors than its scenery,you can also try various activities to communicate with nature! There is no other place like Hokkaido, where you can do sightseeing, eating, playing and your will be satisfied to the fullest!
Hokkaido in Japan
Hokkaido is an island in the northernmost of Japan and its area is 83,456.58km2 consisting of the 22% of the total land area of the country. As an island, Hokkaido is currently being the 21th largest islands in the world. There are many attractions of Hokkaido including four distinctive seasons, untouched majestic nature, and plenty of great food. Each season has its different characteristics, offering various scenery, activities and food, which have been drawing large number of visitors every year from both domestically and internationally ,particularly from the neighboring Asian countries. More Information regarding climate and attractions in each area of Hokkaido will be talked about later on. Everywhere you visit in Hokkaido, you will be able to experience attractions of the Island and if you have a chance to go around Hokkaido, then you will like it even better. Japanese people are proud of the big island, where nature blends in with people's lives so well. People in Hokkaido are all looking forward to welcoming you.
Sapporo, with the 5th largest population in Japan, is the political and economic center of Hokkaido. Despite it's size, Sapporo has a mix of natural and urban surroundings which create an open feel. There are many shopping areas so you are sure not to get bored.
The Central Area includes Sapporo, the biggest city in Hokkaido. Even though the region has the largest city close by, it also has Idyllic hill zones only 90 minutes drive away by car. Nature blends beautifully with the city function and the area is full of excitement and many leisure activities including shopping.
Southern Area (Donan)
Donan area is on the Southern part of Hokkaido. This area is a very appealing area, as it is historical, rich in nature and has distinct changes of seasons. There are many things to see in the area including its exotic town-scape or various faces of the four seasons and it is also blessed with an abundance of seafood. The popular city Hakodate is the center of the Southern Area.
Eastern Area (Doto)
There are still much untouched wilderness in the Eastern Area. Shiretoko has been registered as the World Heritage site and the region has also gained much attention recently as a popular Chinese film location. Being helped by the mysterious atmosphere the area has, you will be able to enjoy a splendid view of Hokkaido.
Northern Area (Dohoku)
If you want to feel pure Hokkaido nature, the Northern Area is the for you to visit. Its majestic mountains, rugged coastline, and beautiful flowers will welcome you with many faces. The Area takes advantage of hard winter and hold many unique events to attract visitors.
Everywhere You See, It is Just Like a Painting.
The nature of Hokkaido has many different faces depending on places and seasons. Just a few days of staying, you should be able to come across many nature's faces. What is appealing about Hokkaido is not just the specious land, but also its fascinating scenery. you may call it an art work created by rich nature. From the hills decorated with various colorful flowers to natural wonders that makes you feel as if time had stopped a long time ago, fantastic hills veiled in the morning haze, and a breathtaking sunset over the shoreline. Every nature's face is seen in Hokkaido and there is NO natural scenery cannot be found.
Getting to Hokkaido
New Chitose Airport is the gateway to Hokkaido and each day several international direct flights arrive and depart. If there is no direct flight from your country, you can get to New Chitose Airport by way of Tokyo Haneda or Narita International Airports. You can also take trains(JR) to get around in Japan, as railways in Japan are well developed and this is one of the easiest way to travel through Japan. Bullet trains(The Shinkansen), Japanese high speed railway lines, guarantee you a comfortable travel. Seikan Tunnel, the longest undersea tunnel in the world, connects Hokkaido and mainland Japan. Ferries and cars are other options you have,so find the best and the most suitable way to get to Hokkaido!
One Land Two Seasons to Enjoy
Are you planning to visit Hokkaido in summer or winter? Well, you can enjoy both seasons equally! During summertime, you can enjoy driving to the foothills filed with beautiful flora, or go trekking to the mountains and enjoy alpine plants only seen in Hokkaido. For those who are interested in getting more active, river rafting, and paragliding in the sky are some of the great options for you. During wintertime, it is highly recommended to experience outdoor activities on snow. Skiing and snowboarding on excellent powder snow are must do's, plus snowboarding on the snowfield and banana-boat on the frozen lake are assures you to have great fun. If you want to explore nature's wonders, going on a sightseeing ice breaker vessel, which sailing through the drift ice is for you. You cannot miss taking a bath in an outdoor hot-spring and enjoy very Japanese atmosphere while you are in Hokkaido. These are only some of the things you can do in Hokkaido, and remember that Hokkaido has a lot more to offer and will never ever make you bored!
Beautiful Natural Scenery Creates Beautiful Cities
If you think that the attraction of Hokkaido is just its magnificent nature, just go visit major cities like Sapporo! Every city in Hokkaido is designed in an articulate manner so that nature and the cities function harmoniously. Especially, Sapporo is the biggest city of all the cities in the Northern part of Japan after Tokyo whose population marks over 1.8 million. You will be surprised to learn its cutting-edge culture and to find many inspirations as well as plenty of nature in the heart of Sapporo city. Also, both Hakodate and Otaru, cities located in the South of Hokkaido and North of Sapporo, have a somewhat nostalgic atmosphere because of Western culture brought into the cities more than 100 years ago. Those two cities are definitely worth dropping by when you visit Hokkaido!
Climate / Temperature
Japan has four distinctive seasons. Hokkaido is one of the places, where you can see and feel the changes clearly. Throughout the year, Hokkaido is relatively cool and has low humidity. Summer in Hokkaido is milder and can be the most comfortable place among the rest of Japan. However, autumn comes early and it gets pretty chilly after the sunset from around mid-September. In some areas, such as the Northern cities, Asahikawa or Wakkanai, snow starts to fall and gradually covers the mountains around mid-November. The average winter temperature in Hokkaido varies place to place, however it is not a surprise to see places where the temperature falls to below zero. So, make sure to bring warm winter clothes. Spring usually comes in early May and wild flowers start to bloom in Hokkaido.
Bringing appropriate clothes depending on your time of visit is an important key to enjoy traveling in Hokkaido. In July-August, wearing a t-shirt, a short-sleeved shirt, or dress should be fine. If you go to the mountains or near water, bringing a cardigan or a long-sleeved shirt is highly recommended. In the winter, a thick winter coat or jacket(e.g.a down-jacket with hood), a hat, scarves, gloves, and ear covers are must wear items. As for footwear,it is recommended to wear winter shoes with anti-skid devices because the road gets icy and slippery. It is dangerous to wear high heals or footwear without nonslip safety soles. In both spring and autumn, a jacket or a hoodie can keep you nice and warm after the sunset when temperature drops.
Hokkaido is vast in size, so it is sometimes divided into four areas and the downtown Sapporo for convenience. [Click the button below for more detail.] Each area has a variety of attractions including spectacular scenery, beautiful flowers and activities. Attending local events and festivals is a great opportunity for you to enjoy tasting seasonal food harvested in each area, or to get to know traditions. Those events and festivals have been enhancing the attractiveness of Hokkaido.
In this section, the overview of Japanese traffic rules is briefly introduced. It is important to know the rules when you drive in Japan. Even if you are not planning to drive in Japan,it will be useful to have some idea. First things first, drive on the left side, check signs for speed limit or parking prohibition area as you drive. As for pedestrians, they need to walk on the sidewalk and be sure to obey the traffic lights at pedestrian crossings. For those planning to drive in Japan, read the traffic regulations for more detail. Both driving under the influence and illegal parking are strictly prohibited in Japan like many other countries in the world. Japanese police often enforce the traffic rules on the roads, so while you are driving, keep your mind on your driving and drive carefully.
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Like other countries, Japan also has weekends and public holidays. Public transport service schedule changes for weekends and holidays and many public institutions including banks and schools and companies are also closed. Japanese public holidays are listed as follow; If you want to know Japanese public holidays(also Sundays) are, just find dates printed in red in calendars, or alternatively you can just ask the service staff at your accommodation.