NEW! Discover Hokkaido

Japan's northern most and second largest island is also the country's national park. It's also a sanctuary for wildlife, including the rare red-crowned Japanese crane.

This mountainous land of wilderness, located south of Siberia, is the coldest part of Japan. It offers adventure hounds some of the finest power snow found anywhere in the world, and yet is also home to the Ainu - Japan's little-known indigenous people.

The capital city of Sapporo plays host to the annual Sapporo Snow Festival over seven days each February.

Discover Hokkaido travel guide The Real Japan

Discover Hokkaido - Travel Guide

by Rob Dyer

Where is Hokkaido?

Hokkaido, the northernmost and second largest of Japan's four main islands, sits between the Sea of Japan to the west, the Sea of Okhotsk to the northeast and the Pacific Ocean to the southeast. It sits at the northern tip of Japan's main island Honshu, and just below the Russian island of Sakhalin at its northern point and mainland Russia to the west.

Hokkaido is connected to Honshu by the undersea Seikan railway tunnel.

Location Map

Introducing Hokkaido

Japan's most northerly island is still largely untamed and wild. It’s also the harshest and coldest part of Japan, with average January temperatures ranging from −12 to −4 °C (10.4 to 24.8 °F).

While it isn't often included in the itineraries of people visiting Japan for the first time, it perhaps ought to be. Hokkaido offers the explorer many opportunities for adventure and experiences that will get you closer to Japan’s natural landscape.

Hokkaido Facts & Figures

The Climate in Hokkaido



Popular Hokkaido Sights

If you're looking for the must-see sights of Hokkaido here's a list of some of the top attractions, man-made or made by nature...

Furano's lavender and flower fields

Hanahata summer Hokkaido travel guide The Real Japan

Hanahata means 'flower garden' or 'flower bed' and the landscape surrounding Furano city, in central Hokkaido, is famous for its hanahata, large rolling fields of lavender and multicoloured flower displays.

Every year more than 1 million nature lovers flock to the region to take in the dramatic floral displays. A variety of different flowers are grown here, with displays peaking throughout the year, from May through to October.

Lupines and tulips peak in May, followed in June by blue salvia and poppies. Mid-July is the peak for the famous lavender (although the early varieties start to appear in late June). Sunflowers and cosmos are up next in August, with yellow mustard and dahlias ushering in the autumn between September and October.

Among the locations to view the seasonal blooms are:

  • Farm Tomita
  • Hinode Park Lavender Garden
  • Nakafurano Choei Lavender Garden
  • Nanaka no Hanahata
  • Saika no Sato

Hokkaido Destinations & Experiences (Featured Posts)

Selected posts about destinations in Hokkaido:

Hokkaido YouTube Video Playlist

You can view our YouTube video playlist dedicated to Hokkaido HERE.

Things To Do In Hokkaido

Hokkaido Travel Planning Services

Have some questions about exploring Hokkaido? Want help planning a Hokkaido itinerary? I offer a couple of services that you might like to take a look at.

My Travel Planning Calls are ideal if you have a few unanswered questions about a trip you are planning, or would like feedback and suggestions on an itinerary you are building.  Learn More HERE.

If you'd rather hand over all the hard work for planning an entire trip to me then my complete Travel Planning Service is tailor-made for you. Learn More HERE.

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Discover Hokkaido travel guide The Real Japan

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