Hokkaido is a place where visitors can enjoy the true essence of the outdoors through various activities. As such, here is the best place for Adventure Travelers.
In Hokkaido, the scenery and animals you may meet differ from place to place and season to season. To actively enjoy Hokkaido’s rich natural setting, why not experience outdoor activities to savor the feeling of oneness with nature? That treasured moment when your curiosity is stimulated and you feel united with the natural world awaits you. Below, we introduce you to six activities that will let you actively appreciate the natural world. We invite every one of every age to enjoy some of Hokkaido’s unique activities!
The hot-air balloon experience: your very own 360⁰ panorama
This hot-air balloon ride, which reveals the vast natural landscapes covering Hokkaido, can be enjoyed even by young children, and so is extremely popular among family groups. As the hot-air balloon floats gently into the sky, it reveals a 360⁰ panorama, allowing you to relax and enjoy the vast scenery that expands almost infinitely across Hokkaido. Hot-air balloons are easily influenced by the wind, so they are flown mainly in the evening and morning when the wind is relatively gentle. Won’t you take a trip in the sky to create memories that your entire family will keep forever?
Major hot-air balloon spots: Tokachigawa Hot Spring, Furano, Niseko
Period of operation: April to September (varies between areas, check each location)
Float freely upon crystal clear lakes! Canoe experience
If you’re looking forward to the leisurely enjoyment of nature, we recommend a canoe. You can find places perfect for canoeing throughout Hokkaido: the Kushiro wetlands that are Japan’s widest wetlands, Lake Toya surrounded by beautiful mountains, Onuma Marsh dotted with islands of every size, and many others! So many that you will struggle to choose your favorite! You can enjoy river kayaking in Kushiro or Chitose, sea-kayaking in Shakotan, or lake-kayaking on Lake Toya or Lake Shikotsu. We promise that you will savor a level of excitement with the splendor of nature only possible when you are paddling a canoe as you marvel at the clarity of the water and delight in close encounters with the local wildlife! On top of that, during the summer, you can canoe in light clothing. It is a great way to relax.
Major canoeing regions: Kushiro, Lake Toya, Lake Shikotsu, Onuma Marsh, Lake Kanayama
Main season: April to October
Horse Trekking. Enjoy the feeling of being at one with your horse.
Horse Trekking: riding a horse through the vast natural world of Hokkaido. There is nothing like the feeling of freedom you will enjoy as you view the vast landscapes while rocking gently on the back of your horse. You can find a place to enjoy riding in every corner of Hokkaido, including the famous race-horse breeding region of Hidaka, Sapporo, Niseko, and many others. Never ridden a horse in your life? Don’t worry, because you will be taught basic riding skills before you set out. As you begin to feel you are one with your horse, you will be overwhelmed by the strange sensation that you are now part of the natural world.
Major horse-trekking regions: Hidaka Area, Sapporo, Otaru, Lake Kussharo, etc.
Major period: April to November (varies between areas, check each location)
Trekking. Many famous peaks where you can delight in Hokkaido’s vast scenery!
Mt. Asahidake, Mt. Kurodake is called the roof of Hokkaido, and Mt. Rishiri is only a few of the many mountains that provide broad spacious vistas of Hokkaido’s superb scenery. Mt. Asahidake and Mt. Kurodake are becoming particularly popular as places where visitors can see Japan’s earliest autumn colors and its first snowfalls. Japan’s northernmost isolated island, Rebun Island, is a popular sightseers’ destination. On its hilly land surrounding Mt. Rebun, mountain vegetation such as Rebun Lady’s Slipper orchids can be seen everywhere from June to August. Hot springs dot the foothills of many of these mountains, so you can look forward to quietly easing your sore muscles in a hot bath after your descent.
Major trekking areas: Mt. Kurodake, Mr. Asahidake, Rebun Island, Rishiri Island, Mt. Yotei, and many others
Major period: Varies between areas, check each location.
Nature cruise. Fully savor a world natural heritage site and an impressive animal paradise!
Located in the Shiretoko Peninsula, a Natural World Heritage Site, Rausu Town is a treasure house of wildlife visited by whales and birds distinct to each season of the year. The Shiretoko Peninsula was designated as a Natural World Heritage Site because it clearly reveals an ecosystem that unites the land and sea. You can take a sightseeing boat from Rausu to meet whales, dolphins, orca, and other marine life. You can enjoy whale and bird-watching from May to the middle of October. It is reported that orca appears particularly often in June. And because they are wild animals, you can never be 100% sure of seeing them, so actually seeing them adds to your excitement.
The thrill of seeing a star-filled night sky! Starry-sky viewing
Enjoying the vast natural resources of Hokkaido is more than just a daytime experience. Hokkaido, where almost nothing obscures the view of the night sky, is a fantastic place to see the stars. As you gaze at a 360⁰ panorama of the night sky, you will surely be deeply moved by the sight of the brilliant stars that seem to pour down to the earth. We recommend that to enjoy a leisurely view of the starry sky of Hokkaido, you should visit Mysterious Lake Mashu in Eastern Hokkaido where the view of the stars is so beautiful that star-viewing tours are conducted.
Major areas: Lake Mashu
Major period: Year-round