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

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 breathtaking clear winter skies, and Hokkaido nights are no exception. Walk amidst Hokkaido’s abundant nature, under a gorgeous 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. Take your time and gaze up count the shooting stars as they whizz past. 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 might just become your most unforgettable memory of Hokkaido.

Activity Season:
Year Round
Activity Locations:
Teshikaga Town, and more
For Reservations and Further Information:

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. Igloos are built up with blocks of snow, forming a ‘kotan’ (the Ainu word for ‘village’) which become the venue for a number of long-running winter events. From the one-and-only ‘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 huge, single piece of ice, an ‘Ice Hotel’, ‘Ice SweetsShop’, and ‘Ice Slide’. Explore these mysterious worlds of ice!

Activity Season:
Shikaribetsu-ko Kotan January 25th – March 22nd, 2020
Tomamu Ice Village December 10th, 2019 – March 14th, 2020
Activity Locations:
Lake Shikaribetsu (Shikaoi Town), Hoshino Resorts Tomamu (Shimukappu Village)
Shikaribetsu-ko Kotan
Tomamu Ice Village

Look down upon a world of silvery snow! Try Flying in a Hot Air Balloon!

Hot air balloon free-flying requires vast amounts of flat land, and can therefore only be experienced in limited regions of Japan. Hokkaido is one of the rare locations you can enjoy free-flying.

Tours are held on mornings where the wind is calm. Come aboard a hot air balloon to soar above the amazing winter scenery. Flights last about 20 to 30 minutes and you can breathe in the fresh morning air like never before. The uninterrupted panoramas of Hokkaido’s vast land stretch out in all directions around you. Hot air balloons move together with the wind, so you might be surprised that you’re not as cold as you might expect. The balloons change altitude to find new wind currents and lead you on an unforgettable journey through the skies.

Activity Season:
Late December – Late March (depending on location)
Activity Locations:
Furano City, Kiyosato Town, Shikaoi Town, and more
Shiretoko Tourist (Japanese)
Furano Nature Club

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. Best of all, both activities are totally 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.

Activity Season:
December 22nd, 2019 – Mid March, 2020
Activity Locations:
Takino Suzuran Hillside Park (Sapporo City)