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Things to do in Hokkaido

Things to do in  Hokkaido

Welcome to Hokkaido

Home to snow-capped peaks and the cavernous forests of Japan's wild north, the island of Hokkaido is a mecca for outdoor adventurers. Topped by the urban crown of Sapporo, the prefecture's neon-lit capital, Hokkaido combines metropolitan sparkle with exceptional skiing opportunities and the unspoiled beauty of three spectacular national parks. Before flocking to its natural wonders, join a Sapporo sightseeing tour to visit popular attractions including Hitsujigaoka Observatory Hill, the chocolate-themed Shiroi Koibito Park, and the Historic Village of Hokkaido. The city makes a convenient launchpad for day trips to Lake Shikotsu; the hot springs of Hoheikyo Onsen; the emerald Nopporo Forest Park; and Otaru, where you can take a rickshaw tour through this seaside town steeped in Japanese tradition. Winter-sport enthusiasts will be in heaven; ski on the world-class slopes of Niseko or experience smelt ice fishing in Kushiro before heading to the further-flung corners of Furano and Biei, famed for panoramic vistas and flower-filled fields. Meanwhile, the crystal-clear lakes, bubbling volcanoes, and steaming onsens of Daisetsuzan National Park beg to be explored by intrepid outdoor adventurers. If you're traveling to Hokkaido from Tokyo or Osaka, go by plane to shorten your journey time, as it can take up to 24-hours by car and will still require at least nine hours of travel time by bullet train.

Top 10 attractions in Hokkaido

#1
Asahiyama Zoo

Asahiyama Zoo

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Located on the island of Hokkaido, Asahiyama Zoo is the northernmost zoo in Japan. Known for its innovative enclosures, which are designed to resemble natural habitats and to showcase natural animal behavior, Asahiyama Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in the Asahikawa region and draws millions of visitors a year.More
#2
Lake Shikotsu (Shikotsuko)

Lake Shikotsu (Shikotsuko)

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Located in southwest Hokkaido, close to Sapporo, Lake Shikotsu (Shikotsuko) is the second-deepest lake and second-largest caldera lake in Japan. Surrounded by volcanoes on all sides, the lake is a popular recreation area for locals and visitors looking to enjoy the outdoors, wildlife, hot springs, and beautiful scenery.More
#3
Maruyama Park (Maruyama Koen)

Maruyama Park (Maruyama Koen)

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Set at the base of Maruyama Mountain in the western suburbs of Sapporo, Maruyama Park (Maruyama Koen) comprises 15 acres (6 hectares) of virgin and secondary forest filled with oak, magnolia, maple and Japanese katsura trees. Some 1,700 Hokkaido wild cherry trees also grow within the park, making it a particularly popular destination come springtime.Predating the park itself is the Hokkaido Shrine, located at the north end of the park. Built in 1869, the shrine sees a steady stream of devotees, especially on New Year’s Day and the last day of winter, seeking the good graces of the four protective deities believed to be enshrined within.Visitors to Maruyama Park will also find Maruyama Zoo on the grounds. The zoo houses around 200 species of plants and animals and includes a tropical bird aviary and an insect house.More
#4
Sapporo TV Tower

Sapporo TV Tower

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East of Odori Park, and standing 483 feet (147 meters) tall, Sapporo TV Tower is an iconic landmark of the city. Head up to the observation deck, pull out your camera, and enjoy postcard-perfect views of Sapporo, nearby mountains, the Ishikari Plains, and the Sea of Japan.More
#5
Odori Park (Odori Koen)

Odori Park (Odori Koen)

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Located in the heart of Sapporo and dividing the city into north and south, Odori Park (Odori Koen) offers a pleasant open and green space for relaxation and recreation. The city’s central park, which stretches for 13 blocks, is the main site for popular seasonal events and festivals.More
#6
Shiroi Koibito Park

Shiroi Koibito Park

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Shiroi Koibito is a popular Japanese cookie consisting of milk or white chocolate sandwiched between two ladyfinger biscuits. The sweet-themed Shiroi Koibito Park in Sapporo takes visitors behind the scenes to see how Hokkaido’s most famous confection is made.Entrance to the park includes a factory tour, Cookiecraft Studio where guests get to make their own Shiroi Koibito, toy exhibition, rose garden and a candy store selling a variety of sweet treats.Each hour, the Chocolate Carnival takes place in the courtyard and involves a parade of mechanical dolls. Modeled after the Benkei steam train, the Shiroi Koibito Railway is a hit with young visitors, as is the Gulliver House play area.More
#7
Hoheikyo Onsen

Hoheikyo Onsen

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As one of Sapporo’s most popular outdoor hot springs, Hoheikyo Onsen is an ideal place to relax in healing, naturally heated waters while enjoying the beautiful forest surroundings.Hoheikyo sits deep in a mountain canyon, and if you come during the winter time, you can soak in the volcanic hot springs surrounded by snowy peaks. During the summer, you can also spend time rafting and canoeing on the nearby Toyohira River. Hoheikyo Onsen has two separate baths, which are separated by gender and switch daily so both men and women can experience both baths. This is also one of the few outdoor hot springs in the area that allows alcohol in the bath, so you can sip a local beer as you soak. Also on-site is a popular Indian restaurant that is well known locally for authentic Indian curries and fresh nan bread.More
#8
Mt. Moiwa (Moiwa-yama)

Mt. Moiwa (Moiwa-yama)

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One of Sapporo’s most famous sightseeing attractions is Mt. Moiwa (Moiwa-yama), a forested mountain located southwest of Sapporo. Popular for its city views, especially at sunset, the mountain’s summit and observation deck are accessible by way of the Mt. Moiwa Ropeway, an aerial tramway system that climbs 1,200 feet (366 meters) in two segments.From the summit, the views extend past the city of Sapporo to the Ishikari Plain, Ishikari Bay and the Yubari Mountains in the distance. In the winter, the south side of Mt. Moiwa serves as one of Sapporo’s most popular ski resorts.During the summers, hikers can take advantage of five different mountain trails winding through the forests of Mt. Moiwa.More
#9
Susukino

Susukino

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Head to Susukino for shopping, dining, and nightlife in Sapporo. The biggest entertainment district north of Tokyo, the lively Susukino district is packed with thousands of establishments, ranging from shops and arcades to restaurants, bars, karaoke boxes, nightclubs, and pachinko parlors, as well as adult-entertainment options.More
#10
Jozankei

Jozankei

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The hot-spring town of Jozankei is the perfect place to escape for a relaxing weekend soaking in the healing waters of myriad natural geothermal baths. This full-featured resort town just an hour outside of Sapporo has about 20 hotels, as well as a variety of restaurants and shops.In the fall, Jozankei is also a popular base for foliage watchers looking to enjoy the scenery of the changing leaves. The onsens themselves are true volcanic hot springs laden with healing minerals, and during the winter, the nearby Toyohira River mixes with the spring waters, enveloping the town in inviting steam. As with most onsens in Japan, baths are divided into men’s and women’s sections, and bathing is done in the nude. The nearby Jozankei Dam and Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort are also popular attractions in the area.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in Sapporo

How to Spend 2 Days in Sapporo

Hiking and Biking in Hokkaido

Hiking and Biking in Hokkaido

Japanese Beer in Sapporo

Japanese Beer in Sapporo

Top activities in Hokkaido

Explore Otaru & Yoichi

Explore Otaru & Yoichi

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Recent reviews from experiences in Hokkaido

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Our driver, Nishi was very polite...
Linda Flor B G, Aug 2017
Furano and Biei One-Day Tour by Chartered Vehicle from Sapporo
This is one place one should never fail to visit in Hokkaido!
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Personalized Tour of Sapporo
jennylchu, Feb 2020
Sapporo / Hokkaido Full-Day Private Tour with Government Licensed Guide
He was very kind and gave us lots of information on what to do after the tour in Sapporo, Hakodate, and the rest of Hokkaido.
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Nice Bus Tour
lokahilisa, Mar 2019
Explore Lake Shikotsu, Toya & Mount Usu
They also made great suggestions for things to try for dinner and things to see on our other days.
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