places to go in hokkaido

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, don’t miss out on Hokkaido, the country’s northernmost island and a paradise for nature lovers, foodies, and culture enthusiasts. Hokkaido is famous for its stunning landscapes, hot springs, winter sports, and delicious cuisine, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a unique travel experience.

In this travel guide, we’ll introduce you to the best places to visit in Hokkaido, from its vibrant cities to its untouched natural beauty. Get ready to explore Hokkaido’s top attractions and hidden gems, and create unforgettable memories in this enchanting part of Japan.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hokkaido is a popular travel destination in Japan, known for its natural beauty, winter sports, and delicious cuisine.
  • From stunning national parks to vibrant cities, there is a wide range of attractions and experiences in Hokkaido.
  • Whether you’re a nature lover, foodie, or culture enthusiast, Hokkaido has something for everyone.
  • Don’t miss out on exploring Hokkaido’s hidden gems and experiencing its unique cultural heritage.
  • Plan your visit to Hokkaido and discover the best places to visit in this northern paradise.

Explore Vibrant Cities in Hokkaido

If you’re looking for a mix of modern attractions and rich cultural heritage, Hokkaido’s vibrant cities are a must-visit. Sapporo, Hakodate, and Otaru offer a great insight into Japanese city life, while maintaining their unique character and charm.


Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital, is a bustling metropolis famous for its beer, food, and snow festival. Stroll along Odori Park, the heart of Sapporo, and visit the Sapporo TV Tower for a panoramic view of the city. Shop at the Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade, known for its traditional souvenirs and seafood markets. Don’t miss out on Sapporo’s famous ramen, a local specialty.


Hakodate, a port city located in southern Hokkaido, offers a glimpse into Japan’s early interactions with the West. Visit Goryokaku Fort, an impressive star-shaped Western-style fortification, which played a significant role in Japan’s history. Take a cable car to the top of Mount Hakodate for a spectacular view of the city at night. Sample Hakodate’s delicious seafood, particularly its squid and ikura (salmon roe).


Otaru, a quaint coastal town near Sapporo, is known for its romantic atmosphere, canals, and glasswork. Visit the Otaru Canal for a picturesque view, and explore the town’s glass factories, where you can watch craftsmen at work and purchase souvenirs. Sample Otaru’s fresh seafood and sushi, and don’t forget to try their famous milk pudding.

These cities are just a glimpse of what Hokkaido has to offer. Check out our Hokkaido travel guide for more top tourist spots in Hokkaido.

Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of Hokkaido’s Nature

Hokkaido is a nature lover’s paradise, with stunning landscapes that will take your breath away. From the towering peaks of the Daisetsuzan National Park to the crystal-clear waters of Lake Akan Mashu, there are countless must-visit destinations in Hokkaido for those seeking natural beauty.

If you’re looking for a pristine wilderness experience, head to Shiretoko National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers unparalleled views of Hokkaido’s rugged coastline, deep forests, and incredible wildlife. Here, you can spot brown bears, red foxes, and Steller’s sea eagles in their natural habitat.

Experience Hokkaido’s Famous Flower Fields

If you’re visiting Hokkaido in the summer, be sure to check out the famous flower fields of Furano and Biei. These picturesque towns offer stunning vistas of vibrant colors, including lavender, sunflowers, and poppies. Take a stroll through the fields, snap some photos, and enjoy the fresh air and stunning views.

Relax in Hokkaido’s Hot Springs

One of the best ways to unwind and recharge is by visiting one of Hokkaido’s many hot springs. The Akan Mashu National Park is famous for its natural hot springs, where you can soak in the warm water and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings. After a long day of sightseeing, there’s nothing better than a relaxing soak in the hot springs.

Other popular hot spring destinations in Hokkaido include Noboribetsu, Jozankei, and Toyako. Each of these locations offers a unique hot spring experience, with different mineral compositions and healing properties.

Explore Hokkaido’s Winter Wonderland

Hokkaido is famous for its winter wonderland, with world-class skiing opportunities, snowshoeing, and sledding. The Niseko Ski Resort is one of the most popular ski destinations in Hokkaido, offering a range of slopes for all skill levels. For a more intimate and unique skiing experience, head to the Asahidake Ski Resort in the Daisetsuzan National Park, where you can enjoy a natural outdoor onsen hot spring in-between runs.

If skiing isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Hokkaido’s winter festivals offer a range of activities for both locals and visitors. The Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the most famous festivals in Japan, featuring intricate snow sculptures, ice skating rinks, and snow slides. For a more traditional experience, check out the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival, where you can stroll the streets of Otaru and admire the snow lanterns and illuminations.

With so many incredible natural wonders to see and activities to do, it’s no wonder that Hokkaido is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Japan. Take the time to explore and immerse yourself in the beauty of Hokkaido’s nature, for an unforgettable experience.

Experience Hokkaido’s Famous Snow Festivals

If you’re looking for exciting things to do in Hokkaido during the winter season, be sure to check out the region’s famous snow festivals. These annual events are held in major cities like Sapporo, Asahikawa, and Otaru, and draw in visitors from all over the world.

The Sapporo Snow Festival, held in early February, is the largest and most well-known snow festival in Hokkaido. You can marvel at the spectacular snow sculptures, try out winter sports like skiing and ice skating, and indulge in delicious local food and drinks. The festival also features concerts, fireworks, and other fun activities for the whole family.

The Asahikawa Winter Festival, held in mid-February, is another popular snow festival in Hokkaido. The festival features a massive snow sculpture competition, where artists from all over the world showcase their creativity and talent. Other attractions include ice slides, snow rafting, and food stalls offering local delicacies.

The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival, held in early February, offers a romantic and magical atmosphere with its intricate snow lanterns lining the canal and streets. You can explore the charming town of Otaru, enjoy traditional performances, and sample local food and drink.

Whether you’re a fan of winter sports, artistic displays, or festive atmosphere, these snow festivals are a must-visit attraction in Hokkaido. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience Hokkaido’s famous snow festivals and create unforgettable memories.

Indulge in Hokkaido’s Delicious Cuisine

Hokkaido is truly a food lover’s paradise, with a diverse range of dishes and ingredients unique to the region. From fresh seafood to creamy dairy products and hearty meat dishes, there’s something for every palate to enjoy.

One of Hokkaido’s most famous dishes is the seafood bowl, overflowing with a variety of freshly caught seafood like uni, ikura, and scallops. Savor the taste of Hokkaido’s delicious sushi, known for its melt-in-your-mouth texture and delicate flavors. And don’t forget to try the famous Jingisukan, a grilled lamb dish named after the Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan.

But Hokkaido’s culinary delights don’t stop there. The region is also known for its creamy dairy desserts like ice cream and cheesecake, thanks to the high-quality milk produced by local cows. And for those seeking a spicy kick, be sure to try Hokkaido’s unique specialty, soup curry, a fragrant curry soup served with vegetables and chicken or seafood.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, be sure to explore Hokkaido’s hidden gems in the local food scene. Sample Hokkaido’s specialty ramen in Sapporo’s Ramen Alley, or try the unique soft serve flavors at Milk Kobo in Otaru.

Whatever your taste preferences, Hokkaido’s culinary offerings are sure to leave you satisfied and craving more. Don’t miss out on the delicious cuisine this region has to offer.

Exploring the Mesmerizing Hsinbyume Pagoda

Uncover Hokkaido’s Historical and Cultural Sites

While Hokkaido may be known for its stunning natural beauty and delicious cuisine, the region also has a rich history and cultural heritage waiting to be explored. Visitors can immerse themselves in the past and learn about the indigenous culture of Hokkaido by visiting must-see destinations.

Goryokaku Fort

The Goryokaku Fort in Hakodate is a star-shaped fortress and a symbol of Japan’s modernization during the Meiji era. Visitors can wander through the beautiful grounds, take in the panoramic views from the observation tower, and learn about the fort’s history at the Goryokaku Tower.

Hokkaido Ainu Museum

The Hokkaido Ainu Museum in Shiraoi is a museum dedicated to the Ainu, Hokkaido’s indigenous people. Visitors can learn about the Ainu’s way of life, traditions, and culture through interactive exhibits, workshops, and performances.

Hokkaido Shrine

The Hokkaido Shrine in Sapporo is a Shinto shrine that honors the deities who protect Hokkaido. Visitors can explore the shrine’s beautiful grounds, take part in traditional ceremonies, and learn about the customs and beliefs of Shintoism.

These are just a few examples of Hokkaido’s rich cultural heritage. By visiting these must-see destinations, travelers can gain a deeper understanding of the region’s history and indigenous culture.

  • Discover the best sights and sounds of Hokkaido with our curated travel guide.
  • Plan your Hokkaido sightseeing itinerary today and explore the must-visit destinations in Hokkaido.

Discover Hokkaido’s Lesser-Known Gems

While Hokkaido has plenty of popular attractions, there are also hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Here are some of the best hidden spots in Hokkaido:

The Colorful Fields of Biei

Biei is a small town in the center of Hokkaido that is famous for its stunningly colorful flower fields. In summer, the hills are covered in a rainbow of vibrant hues, making it the perfect place for nature photography.

Lake Toya

Lake Toya is a tranquil lake located in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. It is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Visitors can take a relaxing dip in the nearby hot springs and enjoy the magnificent view of the lake.

The Art City of Asahikawa

Asahikawa is an art city located in the center of Hokkaido. It is home to several museums and galleries that showcase unique and unconventional art installations. From the Asahikawa Ramen Village to the Asahikawa Winter Festival, the city has something to offer all year round.

Don’t miss out on these hidden gems in Hokkaido. They are perfect for travelers who want to experience something new and unique. Whether you’re looking for natural beauty, artistic flair, or serene landscapes, Hokkaido has it all.


Hokkaido is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Japan. This beautiful region offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences, from vibrant cities to untouched natural beauty and delicious cuisine.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, you’re sure to find it in Hokkaido. From exploring the stunning parks like Daisetsuzan and Shiretoko to wandering through the bustling streets of Sapporo, Hakodate, and Otaru, there’s something for everyone.

Don’t miss out on Hokkaido’s famous snow festivals, where you can admire impressive snow sculptures, enjoy winter activities, and savor local delicacies. And of course, no visit to Hokkaido would be complete without indulging in the region’s delicious cuisine, like seafood bowls, sushi, dairy desserts, and local specialties like Jingisukan and soup curry.

Plan Your Visit to Hokkaido Today

With its stunning natural beauty, vibrant cities, and unique culinary scene, Hokkaido is a truly unforgettable destination. Start planning your trip today and discover everything this northern paradise has to offer.

Discover the Charm of Jiufen Amei Tea House – A Must-Visit!


Q: What are the best places to visit in Hokkaido?

A: Hokkaido offers a range of attractions, but some of the best places to visit include Sapporo, Hakodate, Otaru, Daisetsuzan National Park, and Shiretoko National Park.

Q: What can I do in Hokkaido’s vibrant cities?

A: In Hokkaido’s vibrant cities like Sapporo, Hakodate, and Otaru, you can explore unique architecture, indulge in local cuisine, visit shopping districts, and experience the lively city life.

Q: What are the must-visit natural destinations in Hokkaido?

A: Hokkaido is home to stunning natural landscapes. Must-visit destinations include Daisetsuzan National Park, Shiretoko National Park, Akan Mashu National Park, and hot springs.

Q: Can I experience snow festivals in Hokkaido?

A: Yes, Hokkaido is famous for its snow festivals. You can join the festivities at the Sapporo Snow Festival, Asahikawa Winter Festival, and Otaru Snow Light Path Festival, where you can admire snow sculptures, enjoy winter activities, and savor local delicacies.

Q: What kind of cuisine can I try in Hokkaido?

A: Hokkaido is known for its fresh seafood, dairy products, and unique dishes. Don’t miss out on trying seafood bowls, sushi, dairy desserts, Jingisukan (grilled lamb), and soup curry.

Q: Are there any historical and cultural sites to visit in Hokkaido?

A: Yes, Hokkaido has historical and cultural sites like Goryokaku Fort in Hakodate, Hokkaido Ainu Museum in Shiraoi, and Hokkaido Shrine in Sapporo, where you can learn about the region’s past and indigenous culture.

Q: Are there any hidden gems in Hokkaido?

A: Apart from the popular tourist spots, Hokkaido has hidden gems like the colorful fields of Biei, the tranquil beauty of Lake Toya, and the unique art installations in Asahikawa city.


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