10 Wonderful Things To Do In Hokkaido For Nature Lovers!

Things To Do In Hokkaido-Ling

Although Hokkaido is not as popular as cities like Tokyo or Kyoto for foreign tourists, it’s worth visiting to see Japan’s natural beauty!

If you’re a nature lover, Hokkaido offers endless opportunities to enjoy nature, hike, and observe Japanese wildlife. You’ll be amazed by the beautiful landscapes and won’t regret visiting the island. In this Hokkaido guide, I’ve listed the top 10 things to do in Hokkaido for you!

Things To Do In Hokkaido

Below, I’ve listed different things to do and places to see in Hokkaido, from Central Hokkaido to remote national parks. But before we get down to it, I have a pro tip for you: Learn at least basic Japanese phrases to get by because not everyone speaks English well.

You can use the Ling app to learn Japanese and prepare before traveling. It’s available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and if you download it today, you can get a free 7-day trial!

Furano meadows-Things To Do In Hokkaido-Ling

1. Take A Walk In The Colorful Meadows Of Furano

Furano is like a heaven for nature lovers. You can enjoy beautiful landscape views, from lavender to tulip fields, which are a feast for the eyes. In summer, the meadows of Furano look like a rainbow made of colorful flowers.

In addition, Furano is home to the famous Tomita Farm, which stretches over an incredible 20 hectares of land with lavender fields. You can experience outdoor activities like mountain biking, canyoning, and rafting in the Furano province.

Hokkaido Nature Trail-Things To Do In Hokkaido-Ling

2. Hike The Hokkaido Nature Trail

Hiker travelers will love the Hokkaido Nature Trail, which is one of the most beautiful secret hiking trails in Japan. It has 2849 miles (4,585 km) of trail in total, and during your hike you will walk past lakes, forests, and volcanoes. It’s also a perfect place for trekking in summer, thanks to the mild climate of the island. So, if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-track experience with stunning views, Hokkaido has it!

Sapporo Snow Festival-Things To Do In Hokkaido-Ling

3. Visit The Sapporo Snow Festival In Winter

If you’re visiting Hokkaido in winter, you should join the Sapporo Snow Festival! It’s an annual winter festival that takes place in February. Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido, turns into a literal winter wonderland with around 250 snow and ice sculptures on display. It’s a famous event that draws visitors from other countries as well.

Otaru-Things To Do In Hokkaido-Ling

4. Explore Otaru District

Otaru is a beautiful port town only 30 minutes away from Sapporo by train. You can explore canals, old warehouses, sushi bars, and sake distilleries. Wandering in the streets of Otaru makes you feel like you’re in a time machine and traveled back to old Japan. Since it’s a seaside town, you can try activities like snorkeling and kayaking to discover the Otaru Caves. You can even see some sea lions if you’re lucky!

Shiretoko National Park-Things To Do In Hokkaido-Ling

5. Observe Wildlife In Shiretoko National Park

Shiretoko National Park is a wilderness of forests, waterfalls, and wild coastlines bursting with nature, which makes it heaven on earth for wildlife enthusiasts! You can spot migratory birds, brown bears, red foxes, and sika deer everywhere in the park, and when you get down to the coastline, you can see various marine animals like whales, dolphins, and seabirds. Here is a little fun fact: the name of this national park comes from the indigenous Ainu language, and it means “the end of the world.”

Unkai-Things To Do In Hokkaido-Ling

6. Get On The Unkai Terrace To Watch The Clouds

Unkai Terrace offers a unique experience above the clouds, especially in the early morning. The terrace is located at 1,088 m above sea level, giving you an unforgettable view. When you climb up, you can see the clouds created by trade winds roll in over the mountains below.

BLue Pond-Things To Do In Hokkaido-Ling

7. See The Blue Pond In Biei

No wonder the Blue Pond (Aoiike) has become a popular tourist spot in recent years! It looks like a water pond created in the heavens and placed on Earth, all because of its vibrant blue color! In addition to that, there are hundreds of tall and bare Japanese branch trees half-sunk in the water. It’s a great spot for nature photographers.

Sapporo TV Tower-Things To Do In Hokkaido-Ling

8. Visit The Sapporo TV Tower

The Sapporo TV Tower, located in the east of Odori Park, is an iconic landmark of the city. This 483-foot (147-meter) tall TV tower has an observation deck on top with 360-degree views of the city, so you can take great pictures. When it comes to the lower floors, there are shops and restaurants along with an information center. The tower is also connected to a shopping center on the basement floor.

Here is a small tip: you can save time at the entrance of the tower if you purchase a ticket to the observation deck online in advance!

Asahiyama Zoo-Things To Do In Hokkaido-Ling

9. Visit The Asahiyama Zoo

The Asahiyama Zoo is known for its natural habitat designs and for displaying natural animal behavior. It’s one of the most famous attractions in Hokkaido, getting millions of visitors each year. The zoo is home to more than 800 animals and more than 25 exhibits. You can see penguins swimming over your head while you walk through the underwater glass tunnel. And there’s more, you can also watch seals and polar bears diving into the water thanks to a vertical underwater tank.

Takino Buddist Cemetery-Things To Do In Hokkaido-Ling

10. Visit Makomanai Takino Buddist Cemetery

Makomanai Takino is a peaceful Buddhist cemetery about one and a half hours away from Sapporo. The cemetery has a gigantic Buddha statue together with 33 reproductions of world-famous Moai statues and a replica of Stonehenge. The cemetery is surrounded by large lavender fields, which makes you feel so serene and calm.

Things To Know About Hokkaido

Here are some commonly asked questions regarding the region.

What Is Hokkaido Famous For?

For the winter season, Hokkaido is famous for its ski fields and snow festival. When it comes to the spring-summer season, it’s best known for other attractions and experiences like the Asahiyama Zoo, the lavender fields of Furano, Sapporo Beer, and the indigenous Ainu culture and people.

How Many Days In Hokkaido Is Enough?

Hokkaido is a massive island, so if you want to discover the northernmost part of Japan in and out, you may want to stay as many days as possible to truly enjoy it. I think at least one week would be fine.

How To Get To Hokkaido?

You can use various transportation options to get to Hokkaido. The fastest way is by plane, from all major airports in Japan to New Chitose Airport near Sapporo. It takes about 90 minutes to fly from Tokyo. On the other hand, you can also take the Shinkansen train by using the Japan Rail Pass, which takes about four hours from Tokyo.

What Is The Best Month To Visit Hokkaido?

It really depends on your preferences and how you want to spend your time there. Hokkaido is amazing all year long and has different experiences to offer in both winter and summer seasons. If you enjoy skiing, Hokkaido will welcome you with its ski resorts and ski slopes during winter months. If you’re someone who prefers good weather and enjoys hiking, trekking, and water sports; you should visit from April to August.

Ready To Visit Hokkaido?

I hope this travel guide can help you decide whether or not Hokkaido is worth visiting – frankly, it is. If you are traveling to Japan in the spring-summer season, you may be interested in Japanese events and festivals like Shizuoka Matsuri and Himeji Yukata Festival! See you in the next blog post, bye! またね! (mata ne!)

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