This is so Hokkaido!

Our top 10 must-try winter activities in Hokkaido[Second part]

The extreme cold of Hokkaido’s winter creates magical scenes of snow-covered beauty, unlike any other!

Activities to enjoy Hokkaido’s winter to the fullest

Catch photos of one-in-the-world “ice gemstones” as they sparkle in the seas. Experience jewelry ice!

‘Jewelry ice’ is found from mid January to late February in Toyohira, Hokkaido, along Otsu shore of the Pacific Ocean. These clusters of perfectly clear ice are strikingly beautiful. Polished into perfectly round beads by the waves, each glistens in the sun as if by magic. Named “jewelry ice” for its beauty, this natural phenomenon has become famous the world over. As the time of day changes, so do the breathtaking patterns of each icy jewel: dark blue before dawn, red and orange as the sun comes up, blue at noon… One tip for amazing photographs is to align the sun so it appears to be within the ice, but there are countless ways to try.

  • Activity Season:
    Mid January to Late February
  • Activity Locations:
    Otsu Shore (Toyokoro Town)
  • For Reservations and Further Information:

A night sky filled with dazzling stars! Try starry sky tours and night walking!

Hokkaido is known for its breathtakingly clear winter skies, and the nights are no exception. Walk amidst Hokkaido’s abundant nature, under a clarion sky full of sparkling stars.

Far enough to escape from the artificial lights of the city, put on snowshoes and embark on a journey surrounded by darkness under the star-filled sky. Each twinkling star will fill your heart with wonder and comfort. Take your time and gaze into the skies, counting shooting stars. Deep knowledge of constellations and celestial bodies is not required. These activities simply celebrate the natural beauty and undescribable majesty of Hokkaido’s starry skies. This perfect moment under the stars will become your most unforgettable memory of Hokkaido.

Experience mysterious villages, unique to Hokkaido’s winter!

Winter covers Hokkaido in snow and ice. Did you know that there are mysterious villages which only appear in winter?

‘Shikaribetsu-ko Kotan’ is a mysterious village which appears only in deep winter atop the completely frozen surface of Lake Shikaribetsu, heralding a number of exciting events. Buildings called igloos are built up with blocks of snow, forming a ‘kotan’ (the word for ‘village’ in the Ainu language) which will be the venue for a number of long-running winter events. From the one-in-the-world ‘Frozen Laketop Open-Air Natural Hot Spring’ to the ‘Ice Lodge’ where you can actually spend the night, and the ‘Ice Bar’ where you can enjoy drinks served in glasses made of ice, Shikaribetsu-ko Kotan is full of unique Hokkaido experiences! Meanwhile, the ‘Ice Village’ which appears at night in Tomamu includes impressive structures such as the ‘Ice Chapel’ made from a single piece of ice, an ‘Ice Hotel’, ‘Ice SweetsShop’, and ‘Ice Slide’. Explore these mysterious worlds of ice!

Look down upon a world of silvery snow! Try a Hot Air Balloon Free Flight!

Hot air balloon free flights require vast amounts of flat land, and so can only be experienced in limited regions of Japan. Hokkaido is one of these rare locations to enjoy free flights.

Tours are held on mornings with calm winds. Come on board a hot air balloon to experience amazing winter scenery. Flights last about 20 to 30 minutes. While enjoying the fresh morning air, you will experience uninterrupted panoramas of Hokkaido’s vast land in all directions. Hot air balloons move together with the wind, so are surprisingly not as cold as you would expect. The balloon changes altitude to find new wind currents, leading you on an unforgettable journey through the skies.

Play in the snow to your heart’s content! Visit Takino Suzuran Hillside Park!

As winter sets in, snow-filled areas throughout Hokkaido turn into winter playgrounds. Vast parks and golf courses come to life as venues for various snow activities.

In winter, the 400-hectare ‘Takino Suzuran Hillside Park’ transforms into ‘Takino Snow World’, where you can experience a wide variety of wintertime fun. Of the many activities, snow tubing is the most popular. The 200-meter-long course is one of Japan’s longest, reaching thrilling speeds on the way down. Many visitors from overseas enjoy exploring the forests on snowshoes. Both activities are free of charge. Throughout Hokkaido, you will find many other locations to try rewarding wintertime outdoor activities, such as snow rafting, snowmobiling, and horseback riding across snowy terrain.