Activities in Hokkaido

Fun activities in Hokkaido

The Japanese associate Hokkaido with vast open spaces and wild nature. The far north of the island is a place where temperatures can drop to -30C (-22F) in winter but where lavender and sunflowers bloom in summer. A dichotomy that displays the great range of activities to experience in Hokkaido. 

Mountains, volcanoes, plains, lakes, rivers, marshes, hot springs, and magnificent national parks full of wildlife... 

Every year, Hokkaido offers many attractions and attracts thousands of visitors, especially in summer when temperatures are cooler than in the rest of Japan, and in winter to enjoy the delights of the snow.

As a spacious island with gorgeous scenery, many of the activities and attractions in Hokkaido are nature-centric, and they are experiences unlike any other in Japan. 

Shiretoko is a peninsula on the eastern coast of Hokkaido that is home to some of the most impressive wildlife on the archipelago. The Steller's Sea Eagle is an especially representative specimen from Shiretoko where the coastal environment is considered its home. Additionally, Shiretoko is famous for other forms of wildlife, especially the famous Ezo deer, sea lions, and red foxes. Take a tour around the peninsula to see these magnificent creatures!

Also famous in Shiretoko is the amazing scene of drift ice that compacts at the Sea of Ohkotsk. Don specialized dry suits that will allow participants to enter the water and see the ice structures firsthand. 

Kushiro is another marvel of nature on Hokkaido. The Kushiro Marsh is a scene out of this world, especially in winter in the early morning with the mist and fog emanating from the scenery. Kushiro is also a wildlife center with the majestic red-crowned cranes as the cornerstone. Crane watching is an especially popular activity in winter, when the stark white of snow accentuates the gorgeous silhouette and color of the birds. 


A unique climate 

Hokkaido, the northernmost main island of Japan, is famous for its varied climate. The region experiences harsh, snowy winters, perfect for winter sports and magical winter landscapes

Winter temperatures can drop to -15°C in the mountainous areas. Summer, on the other hand, is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 25°C, offering a refreshing escape from the intense heat of other parts of Japan. Spring and autumn are short but spectacular, with blankets of pink cherry blossoms and seas of vibrant autumn foliage.

History of Hokkaido

Originally inhabited by the Ainu, an indigenous people with distinct traditions, Hokkaido was once known as Ezochi. The Ainu lived off hunting, fishing, and gathering, with a culture closely tied to nature. 

Until the 19th century, Hokkaido was largely separate from Japan, but with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the Japanese government launched a comprehensive colonization campaign to develop the island, renamed Hokkaido in 1869. This initiative transformed the landscape and integrated the island into the national economy, often at the expense of the Ainu.

In the 20th century, Hokkaido emerged as a center of agricultural and industrial production, while also becoming famous for its winter landscapes and the Sapporo Snow Festival.