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
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.
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 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:
Hokkaido Destinations & Experiences (Featured Posts)
Selected posts about destinations in Hokkaido:
- The Ainu – Japan’s Forgotten People
- How To Cruise An Icebreaker Ship In Hokkaido
- Japan Travel Tips: A Journey Into The Real Japan
- Moerenuma Park: Discover Sapporo’s Incredible Sculptural Playground
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.
Further quick guides and checklists are available in our Store.
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Japan Island Guides
To see all of my Japan Island Guides CLICK HERE.