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Best Tourist Destinations in Hokkaido This Spring

An Original Coffee Coffee Blend to Bring Some Pep to Your Furano Trip

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Your trip to Furano doesn’t have to just be about the flower fields.

Enrich your time in this beautiful place by stopping to have a rich cup of coffee, or a bite of fresh-from-the-oven bread at this cozy farm-based café. The owners of “Kaneko Coffee Beans” are particular about offering a quality cup of coffee and like to make sure that every single aspect of the experience–from the water used for brewing, to the gorgeous interior of the café itself–are just right. A visit to this quaint shop guarantees you a memorable cafeeine fix made with fresh spring water from the nearby Daisetsuzan mountain range. 

The 1st floor sells baked goodies, while the 2nd floor boasts an eat-in space that looks out over rustic Furano. Its low-acid “Furano Blend “coffee is a definite must-try, but also be sure to check out their homemade baguette baked with Hokkaido wheat, milk and eggs, or their roasted pork starring Shiretoko Pork.

Kaneko Coffee Beans Kami-Furano Main Store
Address: 21-go Higashi 2-sen Kita, Kamifurano-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido
Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Closed on: Tuesdays
Access: about 8 minutes by car from JR Kami-Furano Station
Website: (some English)
Kami-Furano Main Store website: (Japanese only, so use a translation tool)

Touch Base with 60,000 White-Fronted Geese

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Miyajimanuma is a shallow swamp in Bibai City designated as a Ramsar Convention Wetland. The reason this spot is designated a conservation site by one of the world’s largest bird conservation groups is that it’s the main stopover site in Japan for over 60 thousand white-fronted geese from East Asia. The geese gather twice a year; during spring (from mid- to late-April) and autumn (from late-September to early-October).

It is truly a spectacle watching tens of thousands of migrant bird species take off in unison as a strategy to avoid being attacked by predators. Don’t leave without taking photos of the “negura-dachi” (group takeoff) in the early morning, or the “negura-iri” (group landing) during dusk hours, where these Japanese natural monuments create an unforgettable moment with the rising/setting sun in the background.

Miyajimanuma (Miyajima Marsh)
Address: Omagari, Nishibibai-cho, Bibai-shi, Hokkaido
Access: about 30 minutes by Nishi-bibai Shimin Bus from JR Bibai Station, alight at Miyajimanuma bus stop then walk for about 15 minutes
bibai color:

The Sight of Cherry and Plum Blossoms in Hokkaido’s Capital

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When you think of Japan, you probably think of the cherry blossoms, right? Plum blossoms also offer another incredible flower to witness in bloom, but they usually don’t blossom together.

Well, flower hunters look no further – Maruyama Park and the adjacent Hokkaido Jingu shrine will make all your flower dreams comes true. Take the 30 minute journey from Sapporo Station, and get overwhelmed by this “hanami” (flower-viewing) spot and its 1,400 cherry blossom trees and 250 plum blossom trees. But more than the numbers, in other parts of Japan, you usually can’t see these two flowers bloom together at once! Only here in Sapporo can you witness this incredible explosion of flowers.

Capture the breathtaking gradation of white, pink and red petals. And don’t forget about the food; the site is full of food stalls during flower season. Like we say in Japan “Food over flowers.”

Hokkaido Jingu
Address: 474 Miyagaoka, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
Jan Please refer to official schedule for New Year’s special schedule
February 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
March 7:00a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., 1 Apr – 31 October 
7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.,1 Nov – 31 December 
Access: about 15 minutes by walk from Sapporo Municipal Subway Maruyama Koen Station

Feast on the Freshest Horsehair Crab in Abashiri

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The Sea of Okhotsk in Hokkaido, while typically covered in drift ice during the winter, is a blessed breeding ground “kegani” (horsehair crabs).

When the drift ice melts and spring kicks in “mizuage no kani” (crabs fresh from the water) that land between mid-April and mid-June (also known as the Umi-ake period) are said to be of the highest quality. Thanks to swift currents and the nutritious plankton in the waters, horsehair crabs caught  in Abashiri are gifted with scarlet red shells, dense texture, sweet flavour and, most importantly, the creamy “kanimiso” (crab tomalley).

Molting season (before late-April) is said to be the height of the season, so come and feast on these high-quality regional delicacies prepared in various ways, such as boiled, grilled or sashimi. For an even greater culinary experience, head to Abashiri City during late-May for its “Haru Kani Gassenn” at Roadside Station Ryuhyo-Kaido Abashiri. Literally meaning “Spring Crab Fight,” the event draws crab lovers from all across the country and is packed with crab-related content!

Photo credit: Abashiri Tourism Association

Umi-ake Crabs
Hairy crabs:
Hokkaido gourmet:

The One and Only Place to Take in This Uniquely Japanese View in Hokkaido

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Matsumae Town is the northernmost castle town in Japan, and is often referred to as the “Little Kyoto of the North.”

The landmark of Matsumae Town, Matsumae Castle,  is listed as an Important Cultural Heritage Site, and the park is one of Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots. About 250 varieties of cherry blossom trees bloom within Matsumae Koen Park, framing the castle. With the Yoshino cherry marking the grand opening of the flower-viewing period from late March, and other late-blooming species closing it off at the end of May, tourists are sure to experience the beautiful collaboration of the white-walled old castle and pink petals for almost a whole month. The 300-year-old Kechimyaku-zakura tree is a must-see!

The Matsumae Sakura Festival is held from late-April to early-May each year. Honoured as the Village of Cherry Blossoms by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association, the site has pulls in about 180,000 tourists!

Matsumae Castle
Address: Matsumae-jo, Matsumae-cho, Matsumae-gun, Hokkaido
Period: 10 Apr – 10 Dec
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Matsumae Sakura Matsuri: from late-April to mid-May each year
Access: about 100 minutes by Hakodate Bus bound for Matumae Shucchojo from JR Kikonai Station, alight at Matsumae bus stop then walk for about 5 minutes. Or about 3 hours by Hakodate Bus from JR Hakodate Station
Matsumae Town:
Matsumae Tourism Association:

Outdoor Activities in Hokkaido

With the warm season just around the corner, it’s time to put our winter clothes away and go for some refreshing and rejuvenating activities.

Here’s our guide to the best outdoor getaways in springtime Hokkaido, to enjoy the lush greenery and fresh spring air. Maybe you want to wrap up your last moments of winter by going skiing, or greet the new season with something exciting like flying through forests by zip-line, or just chill and immerse yourself in idyllic nature on a leisurely bike ride. No matter what you’re looking for, Hokkaido has you covered with its scenic natural features. This spring, make your way to the North and get away from all the hustle and bustle of the big city!

Filming locations:
Skiing: Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort / Sapporo Teine Ski Resort
Zip-line: Niseko Village / Onuma Park
Canoeing: Lake Shikotsu / Kushiro Wetland and more
Cycling: Moere Marsh
Cruising: Otaru Ao no Dokutsu (Blue Cave)

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