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When is the best season to travel in Hokkaido?
Generally, it has been said for a long time that the best season is early summer and mid-summer. However, recently the number of tourists has been increasing even in winter season because there are many attractive activities such as the events related to snow and ice, various kinds of snow sports, sightseeing for drift ice, and so on. The number of tourists decreases around the snow melting season which is from late Mar. to early Apr., and in Nov. which is the end of yellow leaf season and just prior to snow fall.
Where should I visit in Hokkaido?
In case of a short trip like 3 days, we recommend to limit the area to visit. If you would like to make a short stop on various sightseeing spots, Central Hokkaido is very convenient for you since the spots are located close to each other. Within a short-time period, you should be able to enjoy walking in town, hot springs, food and so on. If you would like to feel the grandeur of nature, you may want to visit Daisetsu, Tokachi, or Eastern Hokkaido.
How long does it take to go around Hokkaido along the coast?
By car, we recommend that you drive 6 hours, roughly 300km, a day. The circumference of Hokkaido is about 4,400km (including islands), so it would take more than 2 weeks. If you make stops for sightseeing during the drive, of course it would take longer.
What kind of clothes should we choose for the trip?
As Hokkaido is huge, weather varies according to the area. For all seasons, except mid-summer, you should bring a jacket. As for the winter clothes, you should not wear too much underneath the coat, but be sure to bundle up with outerwear. Try to stay warm by keeping the head, hands, feet and neck covered. For further information, please refer to Climate & Tips for Trip Preparation.
Is it difficult to drive on snowy roads?
In Hokkaido, snow tires (generally stud-less tires) are equipped in the winter season. So if you visit Hokkaido by ferry, please keep that in mind. In case you cross a mountain pass, please take snow chains just in case. Rental cars are equipped with snow tires in winter as well. Unknown snowy roads involve many unexpected dangers, so we recommend that you drive on a national highway even if it takes longer than local roads. For winter driving, please allow yourself more time for traveling compared to the summer season.
Where can I get nonskid shoe attachments for showy road?
Generally people in Hokkaido wear "winter shoes." (There are several types of winter shoes: Ones with grooves on the sole; ones on which nonskid material is used; and so on.) Convenient nonskid attachments for tourists are available at the airport or JR stations.There are some kinds of the attachments that are attached by band, or pasted on the sole, etc. The price of the attachments is around \500 to \1000. Also, you may be able to have shoe repair shops paste a better nonskid sole. For your reference, take a short step and trample the snow slowly in order not to fall down! (Even people in Hokkaido sometimes fall down….)
When does the snow start to melt?
It depends on the area. For example, around Sapporo City, the snow begins to melt in early March although snow still continues to fall and melt. Even in April, roads are not completely dried, however, nonskid equipment is not necessary. You have to be careful if you plan to drive through mountains. Even early May, we may have snow fall and roads may be frozen. If you plan to drive, please check road conditions carefully at Transportation & Access Information
When is the best season for eating crab? And where is the best place to eat?
We have various kinds of crab in Hokkaido such as hairy crab, king crab, blue king crab and so on. Blue king crab is caught around Nemuro. They are in season around May to September. Hairy crab and king crab seasons differ depending on the area. The number of hairy crabs generally begins to increase from early winter to spring on the Pacific Ocean side, such as Hidaka, Tokachi, and Kushiro. Also, on the Sea of Okhotsk side, such as Abashiri, the numbers increase from mid-winter to summer. Usually, people enjoy crabs at crab restaurants, or traditional Japanese restaurants which serve local dishes. However, also you can enjoy crabs at small restaurants close to fish markets, or at seasonal events such as Shukaku-Sai (Harvesting Festivals) held in the fall in areas all around Hokkaido. It is a unique way to enjoy crabs for tourists.