In September and October, Autumn hits Hokkaido and the trees are set ablaze with oranges and reds. Harvest also brings a cornucopia of delicious gourmet foods.
Feeling curious and hungry after taking in a bit of Rugby?
Eat and explore, my friend, eat and explore.
To all rugby fans,
I would like to graciously welcome you to Hokkaido. We are deeply honoured to have the city of Sapporo host two matches of the Rugby World Cup 2019™, the first to ever be held in Asia.
Autumn in Hokkaido is a time where the delectable flavours of the season and the breath-taking splendours of nature are out in full force. With so much to do and see here, we’re sure your time here will be that much more fulfilling.
We believe that Hokkaido is a special place that will leave you with memories that will far outlast your time here. We look forward to welcoming you here and helping you make those memories.
Naomichi Suzuki, Governor of Hokkaido
Hokkaido's Soul Food, Jingisukan
"Jingisukan" is the hometown favourite to pair with a cold beer. This saucy lamb and mutton barbecue dish named after the famous Mongolian conqueror is probably the one that Japanese people associate the most with Hokkaido. With two main styles of eating, one where the is sauce used as a marinade, and one where the sauce is used as a post-barbecue dip, there's a lot to love. Check out the Sapporo beer garden for fresh brews and sizzling jingisukan, a winning combo.
Hokkaido boasts over 250 onsen. Within this veritable onsen island, one spot in particular stands out above the rest. With 9 different types of natural springs, Noboribetsu Onsen is a rare treasure even within a country that boasts about its hot springs. Try a dip in the outside bath to feel immersed in the majestic Hokkaido greenery, or dip your weary feet in a flowing hot water stream and feel as your exhaustion leave you and flow down the river. This rustic, uniquely Japanese experience gives a new meaning to the expression "shinrin yoku," forest bathing.
The Otaru Canal
Otaru is like a slice of Europe in Japan's great north. From the mid-19th century to the beginning of the 20th, Otaru was a hotbed of naval trade, evidenced by its gorgeous avenues of canals. At night, the stone storehouses that line the canals are lit in the pale glow of gas lamps. It's a truly 19th century atmosphere and unlike anything else you're likely to see in other parts of Japan. Just a short trip from Sapporo with many buses and trains every day, it makes a convenient and romantic day trip.
Nightview from Mt. Hakodate
Built on a narrow strip of land between Hakodate Harbour to the west and the Tsugaru Strait to the east, Hakodate is the southern gateway to the island of Hokkaido. The view from Mt. Hakodate has been awarded the highest rating of three stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japon. The night view in particular was chosen as No.1 night view in Japan by TripAdvisor. You can just -feel- the ocean of lights below.
World Natural Heritage Site Shiretoko
An untouched natural landscape recognized by UNESCO as a worldwide heritage site. A mysterious land where rare and unique wildlife like the stellar's eagle make their home. With more hiking than you can shake a walking-stick at, why not get lost in this massive national park while you have the chance?
Kushiro Wetlands National Park
Japan's largest wetlands, Kushiro Wetlands National Park, is a natural treasure that is home to red-crowned cranes, which are designated as Special Natural Monuments, and primeval plants such as tussock that are unique to wetland areas. The area is also famous for a wide range of outdoor activities throughout each season such as canoeing, horse riding and smelt fishing.
Daisetsuzan National Park
Japan's largest national park and home to Mt. Asahidake, the tallest mountain in Hokkaido. These beautiful majestic mountains are also the natural habitat of a wide range of rare alpine plants which flourish during the short summer season, and animals such as the Northern Pika, a living fossil from the glacial age.
Arte Piazza Bibai
Just a short trip from Sapporo is a surreal blend of art and nature. The Arte Piazza Bibai is an installation of Bibai native Kan Yasuda's sculpted works. The exhibit is located in an old elementary school which brings the whole area a nostalgic and melancholic atmosphere that's somehow very relaxing. A must see for the art lover and anyone looking for something a bit different.
Jozankei Nature Luminarie "Secret Night Park"
A Must-See! Multicoloured Illuminations in Jozankei!
In Jozankei, a hot spring resort town in the Sapporo area, the night is aglow with the ethereal "Secret Night Park." Get transported to another world, a place of mysterious light deep within the heart of the forest. This gorgeous display of lighting runs the length of the walking path from Futami Park to the Futami suspension bridge. Make sure to put on your traditional yukata (Japanese bathrobe) when you go for this enchanting night stroll.
- June 1 - October 20, 2019
- Jozankei Onsen
- Approx. an hour by bus from Sapporo Bus Terminal
Sapporo Autumn Fest 2019
Be Among the 2 Million Attendees to One of Japan's Largest Gourmet Events!
This gourmet event that brings together the finest foods from all across the island. Visit the stalls to take in flavours (and interesting personalities) from all parts of Hokkaido and you might feel like you've taken a gourmet stroll to the distant corners of the prefecture. Best of all, this event offers the best wine and sake available from each area, served with Hokkaido cheese and sake paired skillfully with traditional Japanese hors d'oeuvres. It's the biggest food and drinks fest in Hokkaido, so don't miss your chance!
- September 6 - September 29, 2019
- Odori Park
- A quick subway ride to Odori station
Iwamizawa Hyappei Festival
Take Part in Making Mochi Rice Cakes with the World's Largest Rice-smashing Mallet!
Making mochi cakes with the biggest rice-smashing mallet in the world! The draw of this traditional festival is the world's largest "usu," a Japanese mortar, that's more than 2 meters in diameter and weighing in at 4 tons! Add to this beast a gigantic 200 kilogram mallet and around 200 people, and you have one of the most intense mochi-making sessions around. Feel free to jump in and join in on this larger-than-life take on a traditional Japanese festivity.
- September 14 - September 16, 2019
- Iwamizawa City
4 jonishi 2chome
- 40 minutes by JR train from Sapporo Station to Iwamizawa Station. 5 min. walk from there.
Lake Toya Long-run Fireworks Festival
See the Longest Running Fireworks Festival in All of Japan
Every evening, the night sky above Lake Toya is alive with vibrant bursts of light. For 20 minutes from 20:45 to 21:05, you are invited to come watch this very special fireworks display. Launched from boats that glide across the lake, these colourful fireworks are visible from the Toyako Onsen Lakeside. You can even watch them from the comfort of your hotel room! Or if you fancy a bit of a walk, why not follow along with the boats as they slowly skirt along the coastline and get to experience the fireworks up close and personal?
- April 28 - October 31, 2019
- Toyako Onsen
Town of Toyako
- Approx. 110 minute ride from Sapporo Station on the JR train to Toya Station. From Toya Station, either a 10 minute taxi ride or a 25 minute bus ride
Akan Yukar "Lost Kamuy"
Dive Into the Magical World of the Ainu
The culture of the Ainu, the aboriginal people of Hokkaido, that has been attracting so much attention both locally and abroad, is alive here in Lake Akan. In the Akan area, you have a rare opportunity to visit an Ainu kotan (village) and experience their culture first hand. The Ikor Ainu Theater is the only place like it in Japan; a theather where you can see the Ainu's traditional dance. "Lost Kamuy" is an event blending ancient traditions with modern technology to create a mystical space that will entrance and lead you into the world of an Ainu Legend. Not to be missed!
- 15:00 / 21:15 (2 performances)
- 2,200 yen for adults, 600 yen for children
- Akanko Onsen
Lake Aka Ainu Theatre "Ikor"
- Approx. a 45 minute flight from New Chitose Airport to Kushiro Airport. From Kushiro Airport, an approx. 110 minute bus ride (but trust us, it's worth the journey).
Mysteries in the Valley of Illusion
From Within the Darkness, Experience an Ethereal Netherworld
When you talk about onsen in Hokkaido, Noboribetsu is the first place that comes to mind. Noboribetsu's sulphuric and volcanic Hell Valley is always worth a visit during the day time. But in the evenings, the area turns into a strange netherworld faintly lit by the glows of sprites and will-'o-wisps. Take a night stroll in this mysterious volcanic realm of ethereal light.
- Every day
- Noboribetsu Hot Spring
Hell Valley Trail
- Approx. 110 minutes by bus from Sapporo Bus Terminal
Engaru Sun Hills Park, Rainbow Plaza
Witness the Blooming of More than 10 Million Cosmos?!
A hill set ablaze with the warm yellow tones of 10 million cosmos. It's no secret why this place is known as the hill of the sun. 10 hectares of gorgeous, fragrant flowers are waiting to greet you with a bright smile.
- Best time to visit: Middle of August - End of September
- Engaru Sun Hills Park, Rainbow Plaza
Town of Engaru
- A bit less than 3 hours by bus from Sapporo Bus Terminal. Or why not rent a car and save some time?
Lake Notoro Coral Grass
Be Enchanted by the Sheer Scale of this Mysterious and Gorgeous Aquatic Plant
A massive saltwater lake with a surface area of 580 000m² overlooks the Sea of Okhostk which it gently flows into it. When September hits, the lake is turned crimson by the growth of a strange aquatic plant that the locals call coral grass. The contrast between the ruby red of the coral grass against the sapphire blue of the lake will have your jaw-drop and your camera snapping. A wooden walking path runs right through the lake, so why not take a leisurely stroll through this incredible crimson phenomena of nature?
- Best time to visit: Middle of August - End of September
- Notoro Lakeside
- 30 minutes from Memanbetsu airport by car.