When to travel?

Hokkaido is said to have a different weather from the mainland Japan.  The summer is short and the winter is long and harsh, so it is necessary to well-prepare for the travel.

Best season: May-Sep (June is relatively more comfortable than in mainland, as it comes without heavy rain.)
Winter activities: Jan-Apr
Cherry blossoms: early May
Foliage: Oct-Nov

Events / Festivals

Feb: Sapporo snow festival (札幌雪祭り), Sapporo
Apr-May: Cherry blossom festival (桜まつり), Hakodate 函館
May-June: Higashimokoto (ひがしもこと) creeping phlox Festival, Ozora cho大空町
June: YOSAKOI soran festival (よさこいソーラン祭り), Sapporo
June: Hokkaido Shrine festival (北海道神宮祭), Sapporo
June-Aug: Lavender fields (ラベンダー畑) Furano, 富良野
Aug:  Hell Festival (地獄祭り), Noboribetsu 登別

Touristic spots

Capital city: Sapporo (札幌)

1 hour from the main biggest airport, New Chitose Airport.  Some regional flights within Hokkaido is also available from Okadama(丘珠) airport, which is located in the Sapporo city.  It is said that there is no other city in the world that has as much snow as in Sapporo with nearly 2 million of population.

Odori park(大通公園)
Night view from Mt. Moiwayama(藻岩山)
Mt. Moere (モエレ山)
Hitsujigaoka observatory (羊ケ丘展望台)
Hokkaido university foliage (北海道大学)

Otaru (小樽)

This city was developed as a financial capital in Hokkaido, and this is the reason why we can still see some Japanese traditional buildings in this city, which is not very usual in Hokkaido.

The city is only 50 minutes away from Sapporo station, which is a direct train to/from New Chitose Airport, too.  The city has beautiful canal and the nostalgic and it is a perfect destination for your short trip in Hokkaido.

Otaru canal (小樽運河)
Blue cave tour near Otaru.

Hakodate (函館)

The biggest city located at the south of Hokkaido, Hakodate, had been the base for the Japanese government when they started developing this huge island.  Historically, there were not only Ainu indigenous people but also Japanese residents.  The city is so touristic, just like Otaru.  The most visited place may be Goryokaku(五稜郭), a star-shaped castle which was used to fight against government in Meiji Era.

The place is also famous for cherry blossoms and canals, and the view from Mt. Hakodate (函館山) is one of the three night-views in Japan.

Hakodate Goryokaku castle (函館五稜郭).
Night view from Mt. Hakodate.
Kanamori warehouse (金森倉庫).


Did you know that you can see a Japanese castle in Hokkaido, too?  Matsumae is a small city located between Hakodate and Niseko, however, because this place had been part of Japanese territory, we can still see Japanese castle.

If you do not have enough time to visit mainland Japan to see the traditional Japanese buildings, then consider going to this place.  The site is also famous for its cherry blossoms.

Matsumae castle (松前城) with cherry blossom trees.


The Hokkaido’s second biggest city, located 150km away from Sapporo.  Asahiyama Zoo(旭山動物園) is one of the top three zoos in Japan, with more than 3 million visitors. The zoo endeavors to show animals as if they are in the nature habitat.  You can see Polar bear, penguins and other animals which can be found only in the cold places.

The place is famous for Ramen noodles, too. There are some halal certified restaurants in the city, which is a great news for Muslim travelers.

Asahiyama zoo, polar bear
Tenninkyo gorge (天人峡), can be accessed from Asahikawa.


Furano has the most iconic scenery of Hokkaido.  Their pale purple lavender fields attract millions of tourists every year in July.  You may also enjoy the colorful borders made with flowers in this area.

Mysterious Blue pond (青の池) and a vast farming scenery in Biei (美瑛) are also accessible from Furano and this is considered as a golden travel route in summer Hokkaido.

Lavender field in Furano.
Colorful borders of flowers(四季彩の丘).
Blue Pond(青の池)
Biei in autumn.


The world’s most prominent ski resort.  Their snow is as light as powder.  This is a reason why Niseko is visited by millions of foreign tourists, especially by Australians. English is spoken at daily basis, and many say that the ambiance here is not Japan but more like in a foreign country.

The cost of travel is pricier than normal ski resort, but this is also the reason why rich and luxurious stay can be enjoyed in this place.

Mt. Yotei (羊蹄山), as known as Ezo Fuji, an old name of Hokkaido.
Ostrich farm.


It is a very small town; however, the Nacional Museum of Ainu (ウポポイ民族共生象徴空間) has opened in 2020.  Ainu, the indigenous people in Hokkaido, has a unique culture and you may feel how they have survived the harsh environment in Hokkaido for ages.

If you are an Otaku or a geek, who is into Japanese Anime, you may be delighted to see the stage of Golden Kamui (ゴールデンカムイ).

Indigenous lady playing the musical instrument.
Museum is called Upopoi (ウポポイ).