Hokkaido

With its rolling hills, wide open spaces, lakes, rivers and nature reserves, Hokkaido is a haven for wildlife and natural scenery.

Whether you're visiting in the middle of summer for walking and hiking, or in the depths of winter to see the breathtaking ice floes and the huge sea eagles that make this rugged landscape their own, Hokkaido offers those who make the journey north a unique experience of Japan.

Sapporo, the island's capital, is a cosmopolitan city of two million residents, with a vibrant cultural and economic life and of course, delicious local dishes of the best locally caught seafood, Hokkaido cheeses and the famous Genghis Khan lamb barbecue.

  • Rugged and remote, in Hokkaido you really get a sense of being somewhere completely different - it doesn't even feel like Japan, until you come across a roadside vending machine to remind you that you're still in civilisation!
    Tom Weston - InsideAsia Division Director
  • Asahikawa

    Asahikawa is Hokkaido's second-largest city and sits in the middle of Japan's main northern island. Home to 350 thousand people, this is a very pleasant little city with the mountains and forests of Daisetsu-zan national park (Japan's largest national park) providing a stunning backdrop.

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  • Abashiri

    Abashiri, the largest town on the Okhostk Coast of northeastern Hokkaido, is predominantly a fishing town. As well as an abundance of fresh seafood available throughout the year, it is also blessed with natural beauty such as primeval flower gardens, lakes and in winter, the dramatic ice floes.

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  • Rausu

    The Shiretoko Peninsula sticks out like an angry finger into the icy waters of the Sea of Okhotsk. But what exactly is it pointing at? Perhaps at Russia, who has occupied the nearby Kuril Islands, also claimed by Japan, since World War 2.

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  • Lake Shikotsu

    Lake Shikotsu is Japan's second-deepest lake at over 360 metres; and is surrounded on all sides by high mountain peaks, which provide some great hiking opportunities, in turn providing fantastic panoramic views over the lake.

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  • Noboribetsu

    The most popular hot spring resort in Hokkaido, Noboribetsu Onsen is nestled amongst the lush green mountain slopes and contrasting volcanic landscapes of the Toya-ko national park.

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  • Hakodate

    Situated in the far south-west corner of Hokkaido island, Hakodate is the laidback gateway to the far north of Japan. As one of the first ports in Japan to open up to foreign traders, the city has a unique notable influence from overseas and a distinctive blend of Japanese and Western architecture.

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  • Wakkanai

    Closer to Russia than to Tokyo, in Wakkanai it's easy to forget that you're in Japan at all. With deep, cold winters and mild summers, Japan's northernmost city makes the perfect base from which to explore the stunning islands of Rebun and Rishiri.

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  • Toya Onsen

    Toya Onsen, located in southwest Hokkaido, is a popular getaway for Japanese urbanites - offering hiking, fishing, watersports and hot spring baths in a beautiful lakeside setting surrounded by mountains.

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  • Niseko

    Powder hunters from all over the world flock to the northern island of Hokkaido each winter in search of spectacular deep powder, off-piste runs and challenging terrain.

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  • Sapporo

    Renowned for its snow festival and summer beer gardens, its relaxed air, its green parks, and its tree lined boulevards, Sapporo is a modern Japanese city quite unlike any other.

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  • Tsurui

    Tsurui is a tiny village located around 30minutes by car from Kushiro Airport. This is very much remote Japan yet every year thousands of visitors head here to see one of the world's rarest birds, the red-crowned crane, which has its breeding grounds in close to the village.

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  • Biei

    Biei is the name of a small town, but it is the rural scenery that surrounds the town that gives it its fame. In contrast to the flat plains of rice fields and steep mountain ranges that cover much of Japan, Biei is surrounding by fields and rolling hills.

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  • Kushiro

    Kushiro is the largest city in Eastern Hokkaido and is home to Japan's largest marshland - making it a popular stop for birdwatchers who come in search of the Japanese crane and other species.

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