Best Late Winter Destinations in Hokkaido – HOKKAIDO LOVE!

Admiring the first sunrise behind Ezo Fuji

Admiring the hatsu hinode (first sunrise) on New Year’s Day is a long-practiced tradition in Japan. It is believed that the toshigami (god of the new year) blesses the harvest and brings fortune at dawn. Among all the sunrise viewing points in Hokkaido, Mount Yotei is the most famous because its silhouette is reminiscent of Mount Fuji.
Nicknamed Ezo Fuji (after Hokkaido’s former name), Mount Yotei is designated one of Japan’s 100 Most Famous Mountains and is a landmark of Hokkaido. Watching the sunrise behind this incredible mountain is the perfect way to start your new year.

Kutchan-cho / Kimobetsu-cho / Kyogoku-cho / Makkari-mura / Niseko-cho, Hokkaido
About 40 minutes by Donan Bus from JR Kutchan Station

The fireworks display warm you up this winter

Fuyu hanabi (Winter-Beauty Fireworks) is a fireworks display launched from the frozen surface of Lake Akan.
The nightly month-long event begins on the 1st of February. After you’ve gotten your fill of daytime winter activities like snowmobiling, banana boarding, and pond-smelt fishing, visit the area after dark for a display of over 300 fireworks launched from 8:10 p.m. every night with an icy sky in sub-zero weather as the backdrop. Witness the fiery hues and mesmerizing lights over the frozen lake is an overwhelming experience sure to warm you up. Or, if you don’t feel confident you can beat the extreme cold, consider viewing the colorful lights from one of the hotels/inns scattered across the hot spring town.
We recommend the 300 yen Otanoshimi ticket set that includes a stamped certificate proving you braved the sub-zero temperatures that day, amazake (a warm drink made from fermented rice), hot milk, or wakasagi tempura (breaded fresh-water smelt).

Akanko Onsen, Akan-cho, Kushiro-shi, Hokkaido
1 February 2020 – 2 March 2020
From 7:30 pm (firework displays from 8:10 pm)
About 2 hours by Akan Bus from JR Kushiro Station

Challenge yourself to winter activities at one of the best views in Japan

Onuma Quasi-National Park boasts three major lakes and 126 small islands. In Japan, it is referred to as one of the “3 New Best Views of Japan”.
In contrast to the lush greenery of summer, the park turns into a snow paradise during the winter months. On the surface of the frozen lake, both kids and grown-ups can enjoy a diverse range of outdoor activities like pond-smelt fishing, swan watching, and snowshoe and snow sled tours. And you don’t even need a driving license for adrenaline-pumping thrills like snowmobiling! Or maybe banana boarding is more your speed? With so much variety, Onuma is one of the best places for winter-leisure beginners and all generations.
From Hakodate to Onuma Quasi-National Park just takes you a 30-minute train ride. So look no further for a better family-friendly place to have some fun in the snow.

Nanae-cho, Kameda-gun, Hokkaido
Onuma Park Square opens 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, event period depends on the tour
Swan watching: late December – early March
Pond-smelt fishing: early January – early March
Snowshoe tour: late December – mid-March
Snowmobiling / Snow-sled tour: late January – early March(depending on the condition of the ice)
About 5 minutes by walk from JR Onuma-koen Station

The scenery of Tsugara straits from Hakodate

The seaside city of Hakodate is located right next to the mainland of Japan. When you’re in town, why not give Café LAMINAIRE a visit? The ocean view through the massive windows offers an almost 360° ocean view of the Tsugaru Straits.
The café offers weekly lunch plates and handmade desserts for customers to indulge in its resort-like ambiance. With Mount Hakodate to the right and Yunokawa onsen on the left, you can expect a glittering ocean view in the daytime or a crimson painting at sunset. Hop on the Hakodate City Tram to get easy access to this beautiful location.

14-31 Horaicho, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido
11 am – 6 pm, closed on Thursdays
About 3 minutes by walk from Hakodate City Tram Horaicho stop

Crack open some uni

If you plan to try all the must-eat delicacies of Hokkaido, uni (sea urchin) will likely rank near the top of your list. Among the various kinds, Ezo bafun uni (short-spined sea urchin) has an especially high reputation thanks to its rich flavor, and the ones from Shiretoko Rausu are said to be the best.
Between February and May each year, Shiretoko Rausu Hamada Shoten holds a hands-on Uni Opening class (by reservation) supervised by Shiretoko Rausu Lincle. Aside from getting to crack open and devour Ezo bafun uni that has fed on Rausu konbu, one of the most high-quality kelps, participants will also be treated to seafood treats like crabs, scallops, salmon, and many more.

365-1 Rebun-cho, Rausu-cho, Menashi-gun, Hokkaido
8 am – 5 pm
Period of Sea Urchin Opening Experience: from 1st February to 31st May
Hours of Sea Urchin Opening Experience: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
About 45 minutes by car from Nakashibetsu Airport (Japanese only)
Reservation page: (Japanese Only)


Hokkaido from the sky

A never-before-seen side of Hokkaido! Lavender fields, the Niseko Panorama Line, the Moai Heads, and Buddha Statue in Makomanai Takino Cemetery… Hokkaido always has a lot to offer, including magnificent nature or awe-inspiring moments. You may have visited some top-rated tourist spots, but have you seen a bird’s-eye view of the landscape?
Familiar attractions look entirely different when viewed from another perspective. For those who are heading to Hokkaido soon look no further – let’s kick-start your 2020 with our EXCLUSIVE drone footage!

Filming locations
– Niseko Panorama Line
– Lavender fields in Furano
– Makomanai Takino Cemetery(Moai Heads/Buddha Statue)
– Shiretoko-toge Pass
– Shujitsu no Oka Hill
– Lake Onneto
– Mikuni-toge Pass
– Mount Yotei
– Icebreaking Ship Aurora
– Mild Seven no Oka Hill
– White birch colonnade
– Road to Heaven
– Chikyu-misaki Cape
– Kamui-misaki Cape
– Notoro-misaki Cape

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