HOKKAIDO – Detailed information

General information

Located at the most northern part of Japan, Hokkaido is an ideal place not only for those who are fascinated with winter sceneries but also for the people who want to escape from an extreme heat during summer time.  Hokkaido is a popular touristic place for Japanese travelers, too.

With the largest size of the land among 47 prefectures in Japan, Hokkaido is also known for their agricultural and farm production, their quality is believed to be the best in Japan, so that “Hokkaido brand” is somehow what calls people’s attention and many people cannot help buying Hokkaido products. You may enjoy gourmet with fresh ingredients like diaries, vegetables and potatoes, meat and seafood.  An indigenous ethnic group called “Ainu” also thrives to protect their own culture, and they will offer you an excellent cultural experience as well.

World Heritage Sites

Shiretoko peninsula (知床半島)

Also nominated as the national park, Shiretoko is known as “the end of the world” by the local indigenous Ainu people, the area with wild bear and animals, even whales.  The area has a very limited access as the development is kept minimal; either a cruising boat or from a boat, unless you a hiker.  The highlight of the Shiretoko peninsula may be Shiretoko-goko Nature trail (知床五湖), which you can only enjoy from late April until November.

Wild bears catching fish.
Don’t feed wild animals.

Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan (北海道・北東北の縄文遺跡群)

Jomon (縄文) is the name of the prehistoric era in Japan, which is believed to have started around 15,000 years ago.  In Northern Japan (Hokkaido and Tohoku), there are so many ruins where we can feel how the human being cultivated their life.

In Hokkaido, we can find ruins in Hakodate (函館), Chitose (千歳) and Muroran (室蘭).

Kushiro (釧路), Hokuto ruins (北斗遺跡).

National Parks

Daisetuzan National Park (大雪山国立公園)

Located at the center of Hokkaido, Daisetsuzan is the biggest national park in Japan which is about 2300 sqkm.  The area includes the highest mountain of Hokkaido called Asahidake(旭岳), with so many touristic sites like hot springs, Sounkyo valley(層雲峡), river cruise, hiking, lakes and forests.

Asahi dake (旭岳).

Akan National Park (阿寒国立公園)

Akan as well as Mashu lakes (阿寒・摩周湖) are located within the Akan National Park and they are the highlights of the park.  These lakes were created after the volcanic action and the caldera remarks an amazing view.  When the fog is around it makes the scenery even more mysterious.  In wintertime, you may enjoy fishing on the lake, too.

Mashu Lake in the morning.
Fishing on the frozen lake.

Rishiri-Rebun Sarobetsu National Park (利尻礼文サロベツ国立公園)

Floating on the northern sea called Okhotsk, Rishiri and Rebun islands (利尻礼文島) maintain its pristine beauty.  Rishiri island is famous for volcanic mountain which is called as Rishiri Fuji, while Rebun island is known as flower island.  These two islands are accessible by ferry from Wakkanai city (稚内).

Rishiri Fuji (利尻富士).
Northern canary park (北のカナリアパーク) in Rishiri island, where a famous movie was filmed.
Sea Urchin is their specialty.

Kushiro wetland National Park (釧路湿原国立公園)

7 years after being listed in the Ramsar Convention list, Kushiro wetland also became Japanese National Park in 1987.  As most of the area in the wetland is preserved as national treasure, access to the park is strictly limited.  Japanese crane birds and other valuable animals are seen in this area.

Overview of Kushiro wetland.
Shikotsuko Lake (支笏湖).
Jozankei(定山渓)Hot spring, in Sapporo city.

Advice for Muslims

Hokkaido would not be a very difficult spots for Muslims to travel to, as it is already very touristic with so many foreign travelers, especially Malaysian and Indonesians.  There are a few Halal restaurants in Sapporo and Asahikawa, and there are some in medium-sized cities like Otaru and Hakodate.  If you cannot find Halal restaurants, then try their popular and famous local food like salmon, seafood, or lamb meat.

Muslim-friendly local meal

・Genghis Khan(ジンギスカン)
・Seafood Sushi (海鮮丼&寿司)
・Soup curry(スープカレー)
Description available in each page.

How is the access?

From Tokyo / Osaka
Take airplane to New Chitose Airport (CTS), 2-2.5 hours.

From neighboring prefectures
There is a bullet train from Aomori prefecture to Hakodate city, and then take JR train to travel around Hokkaido.  There is also a ferry service.

Access within the area
Railway is not as convenient as other destinations, and no Shinkansen bullet train is available (except for the route between Aomori-Hakodate).  The main transportation will be bus or car.