There are many natural parks inside of Hokkaido like Shiretoko Peninsulawhich was registered to Unesco's World Natural Heritage in 2005, as well as the Kushiro Wetlands and 12 others are part of 37 wetlands throughout Japan that are registered under the Ramsar Convention. Even now there are areas where you will find forests and rivers in their primary state and cranes, eagles, owls, brown bears, and Ezo deer live within these forests and are protected and monitored according to species. The drift ice that can be seen between January and February are just another magnificent part of Hokkaido's winter beauty. The ice breaker cruises that move along breaking the drift ice are a popular ride. (Cruises depart from Abashiri and Monbetsu)
The trace the ice-breaker boat makes as it cuts its way through the pure white drift ice is a sight to behold
"Drift ice," is huge blocks of ice that cover the Sea of Okhotsk as they float with the current. This boat proceeds though the floes making a crunching noise as it breaks the ice. The "Aurora" boat operates from Abashiri, and the "Garinko Ⅱ" boat operates from Mombetsu.
Aurora / January 20th- Early April
Garinko Ⅱ / January 10th- March
- Kaiyo Koen 1-banchi, Mombetsu, Hokkaido
- By Car:Approx 10 minutes from Okhotsk Monbetsu Airport
- Minami 3-jo Higashi 4-5-1, Abashiri, Hokkaido
- By Bus：10 minutes by Abashiri bus from Abashiri Station.Get off at the stop "Aurora Broarding Place ".
Jewel of beautiful and brilliant ice “Jewelry Ice”
In Otsu, Toyokoro Town, the ice in Tokachi River flows into the Pacific Ocean and the coast of Otsu and is tossed up onto the beach in a variety of shapes during midwinter. This is called “Jewelry Ice” because the transparent ice shines brilliantly and looks like jewelry, reflecting the sunrise and sunset. You can see a variety shapes and size of ice. Many photographers come to take photos of this beautiful scenery.
season：Mid January - Mid February
Otsu Beach Jewelry Ice
- Motomachi otsu , Toyokoro-cho, Nakagawa-gun, Hokkaido
- By Car:70 minutes Toyokoro city from Obihiro city
A magnificent view of sapphire blue! The moment when Lake Mashu shines most mysteriously
Lake Mashu is the most transparent lake in the world. Its surface on a sunny day is called “Mashu Blue” after its beautiful deep blue color. Lake Mashu is also called “The Mist of Lake Mashu”, because it is filled with mist. It features a mysterious phenomenon: although no river flows to or from Lake Mashu, its water level never changes. It can be seen from 3 observatories and, on a clear day, you can watch the star-filled night sky that seems nearly close enough to touch. You can enjoy mysterious scenery called the “Lake of God (Kamuy-to)” in Ainu.
- By JR(Railway)：About 1 hour and 20 minutes by JR from JR Kushiro Station. Get off at JR Mashu Station.About 25 minutes by bus from JR Mashu Station.
Akan Tourism Association
Frost flowers blooming across the lake surface - an unforgettable winter scene Have you ever heard of frost flowers? These miraculous flowers only bloom on the very coldest morning. In deep winter at Lake Akan, this phenomenon can only be observed when specific conditions are met. When the three variables of snow, temperature, and wind align, and the whims of weather and nature cooperate, there is a chance of observing frost flowers. More delicate than the finest glass, each is a work of immaculate beauty... truly as if nature is creating art. Lake Akan offers better chances to encounter this miraculous moment.
- Three conditions for seeing Frost flowers
- Snow must not be accumulated on the frozen lake surface
- Temperatures must be intensely cold, below -15 °C
- Winds must be still or very minimal
season：December – March
Lake Akan Frost flowers
- Akanko Onsen, Akan-cho,Kushiro,Hokkaido
- By Bus:about 80minutes fromTancho Kushiro Airport
A world of white amid silence, where time stands still
Come winter, and the snow falls on the vast plains, quickly transforming the landscape to an impressive world of white. When conditions are right, you may even encounter "sun pillars".
The snow-covered fields of Biei
- By JR(Railway)：32 minutes by JR train from Asahikawa Station.Get off at the stop "BIEI".
The magnificent contrast of blue sky and white snow that appears in mid winter
Frost tree terrace, with its superb views created by minus temperatures. Spend mystical, tranquil time amid unforgettable sparkling white scenes.
Schedule：December - Early April
Hours：8:00 am - 15:00 pm
Hoshino Resorts Tomamu
- Nakatomamu, Shimukappu-mura, Yufutsu-gun, Hokkaido
- Take the ‘Rapid Airport’ bound for Sapporo or Otaru at New Chitose Airport to Minami-Chitose and change there to ‘Limited Express Super Ozora/Super Tokachi’ bound for Kushiro/Obihiro station.The ‘Rapid airport’ runs four times in an hour and it takes approximately 3 minutes from New Chitose Airport station to Minami-Chitose station.
This really is five star! Hakodate's star that shines on the land
Goryokaku was Japan's first Western-style fort. The grounds are currently open to the public as Goryokaku Park, which is famous for its floodlit moat in winter. The park is in the shape of a pentagram, or 5-pointed star, and when floodlit, it shines like one, too. Why not check out the shape from the top of the Goryokaku Tower?
Schedule:December - Early February
Hours:17:00 - 20:00
- 43-9 Goryokaku-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
- By Tram:Take the tram from Hakodate Station. Get off at the stop "Gotanda Park". approx 15 minutes on foot.
One of Japan' s top three nighttime views! Panoramic views of Sapporo, the metropolis of the north
The nighttime view from the top of Mt. Moiwa, located almost in the center of the city of Sapporo, has been selected as one of Japan's top three nighttime views. The summit can be reached via the ropeway and mini cable-car known as the Mo-risu Car.
Mt. Moiwa observation platform
- 5-3-7 Fushimi , Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
- By Car:Approx 30 minutes from Sapporo Station.