Hokkaido is the second-largest island of Japan, and the northernmost prefecture in the country. It is the most unspoiled of Japan’s four main islands, and as such, attracts many nature-lovers with its clean air, pure blue skies, colorful flowers, rolling hills, and majestic mountains.
Hokkaido experiences mild summers, with low levels of humidity. Winter brings heavy snowfall and average temperatures of below zero degrees Celsius. Autumn comes to Hokkaido earlier than anywhere else in Japan, and brings with it a tapestry of colorful leaves. On the other hand, spring comes late, offering views of cherry blossoms long after they’ve disappeared from other regions. Each season brings new and delightful natural wonders for visitors to explore, from walkable frozen drift ice and snow-capped peaks, to fields upon fields of multicolored flowers. The people of Hokkaido have a lot of pride in their wild island, often comparing these iconic landscapes to painted works of art.
The Ainu, Hokkaido’s indigenous people, have also had an important impact on the island’s cultural identity. Their unique traditions, language, art, and culture have been preserved in a number of ways across the island. There are many facilities that have been established with the express purpose of preserving the heritage of the Ainu, and passing it down to future generations.
Hokkaido wouldn’t be what it is today without the efforts of a number of special initiatives and endeavors to preserve its natural beauty. Home to a wide variety of natural landscapes including the Natural World Heritage site of Shiretoko, globally recognized geoparks and Ramsar Convention wetlands, as well as six national parks each featuring unique flora and fauna, and numerous volcanic mountain ranges, Hokkaido’s great outdoors is just waiting to be explored!