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9 Best Things to do in Hokkaido during Winter Holidays

9 Best Things to do in Hokkaido during Winter Holidays

TripBlog
Nov 5, 20192,3020

Hokkaido is famous for its volcanoes, natural hot springs (onsen), and ski areas, the northernmost of Japan's main islands. The territory of Hokkaido is 83,456.58km2, which is 22 percent of the country's total land area. Hokkaido, as a country, is currently the world's 21st largest island. The people of Japan are proud of the big island, where nature combines so well with the lives of people. Hokkaido is famous for its high quality and freshness of its seafood because the cold waters around the northernmost prefecture of Japan are ideal for fish and sea vegetation. It was formerly known as Yezo, Yeso, Ezo, or Yesso. Some areas in the county are particularly famous for a specific commodity, such as Rishiri and Rebun's uni (sea urchin). The best time to see Furano's lavender is early to late July. Hokkaido's summer is short, and many flowers bloom all together between June and August. There are a lot of things to do in Hokkaido all year round. Summer's mild weather is excellent to explore the green hills and national parks. For walking, mountain biking, canoeing, and rafting explore the lakes, rivers, and mountains. Visit the animals and birds in their natural habitats and enjoy picturesque backdrops in volcanic waters. In winter, at the many resorts on the island, you can enjoy world-class skiing. Alternative winter sports are also available, such as snowshoeing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling, and you can attend one of Japan's biggest festivals, the Sapporo Snow Festival. Hokkaido is accessible by plane to New Chitose Airport outside of Sapporo from all major airports in Japan. Taking the bullet train from Tokyo is also possible.

Table of Contents

1. Take an Ice Breaker Ship in Monbetsu City
2. Go Skiing and Snowboarding in Furano
3. Try the Best Skiing in Niseko
4. See Penguins Walking in the Asahiyama Zoo
5. Enjoy Hot Springs in Noboribetsu
6. Celebrate the Sounkyo Hyoubaku Festival
7. Go up in a Hot Air Balloon
8. Walk Along the Otaru Canal
9. Take a Ride on SL Steam Railway

1. Take an Ice Breaker Ship in Monbetsu City

Tourists will enjoy the scheduled drift ice cruising in Japan at two sightseeing spots and considered as the best things to do in Hokkaido. Monbetsu on the northeast side of the Hokkaido faces the Okhotsk Sea and is one of the ice cruising sightseeing spots. Drift ice falls to Monbetsu's offing around mid-January. When standard ships collide with the drift ice, they collapsed, but the Garinkogo2 Drift Ice Icebreaker that can crack the drift ice area will enter service. Most tourists visit here from early January to late March to see the drift ice. The Garinkogo2 drift icebreaker introduces service from 5 to 7 every day, and it takes about 60 minutes to sail. Tourists can board a ship at the Kaiyokoryukan boarding point. Take advantage of the traditional food culture of Hokkaido and take a ride on an icebreaker cruise ship during this 14-hour Sapporo winter-themed tour. Try delicacies such as ' Kitadora ' (bean-jam pancakes), ' kamaboko ' (fish-cakes), and souvenir shop, carry on to Montbesu Port, where you will enjoy a two-hour cruise to admire the seemingly endless floating ice of these cold northern waters. The red boat on the white ice looks so beautiful. From the warmth of a hot cabin or the deck, you will enjoy the view of the ice.

9 Best Things to do in Hokkaido during Winter Holidays

2. Go Skiing and Snowboarding in Furano

Skiing and snowboarding are the crucial things to do in Hokkaido. Furano is located in the middle of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island. It benefits from Siberian storm systems that pass over the Sea of Japan and then leave the lightest snow in all of Hokkaido-around 9 meters of it each season. There is often untracked powder for days after a significant snowfall. One of Furano's best things is the views, and on almost every day, you have great views of the valley and Furanodake's smoking volcano, along with the tops of Hokkaido's highest mountains, most of which are inside the Daisetsuzan National Park. In the mornings, when the sun is low in the sky, you can often find diamond dust conditions, and when slowly floating down small snow crystals, rotating on their horizontal axis. And this one of the best things to do in Hokkaido. In addition to great snow and scenery, Furano is one of Japan's largest and most popular ski areas. Still, it is not overcrowded due to its location, 2.5 hours by Sapporo City express train. There are two gondolas, and 15 lifts offering fast access to a wide range of ski runs from beginner to advanced skiers and snowboarders covering all levels. There's excellent tree skiing and untracked snow everywhere if you go under the ropes.

9 Best Things to do in Hokkaido during Winter Holidays

3. Try the Best Skiing in Niseko

Niseko has become a global winter destination, and its Japan's most popular ski destination things to do in Hokkaido. What many call ' Niseko ' refers to four different but interconnected ski resorts clustered on the 1,308-meter high Mount Niseko Annupuri. Located on the northern island of Hokkaido in Japan, its four grand resorts (Niseko Annupuri Ski Area, Niseko Village Ski Resort, Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort, and Niseko HANAZONO Ski Resort) have fantastic powder conditions. Winds from Eurasia crossing the warm currents of the Sea of Japan form snow clouds that produce the famous powder of Niseko, some of the world's driest and lightest snow. Combine this with beautiful surroundings and a variety of terrain, and Niseko is a winter wonderland for skiers and boarders. Niseko HANAZONO Ski Resort offers a wide range of courses, including a dedicated area for beginners, terrain parks, a half-pipe FIS, and tree runs. This is the largest of the four resorts and offers excellent skiing and boarding to go with a vast number of restaurants and shops. Niseko Village Ski Resort has some of the most beautiful ski and snowboard trails with amazing off-piste skiing powder and gorgeous forests. The ski area of Niseko Annupuri offers terrific skiing and snowboarding for all grades to enjoy fantastic views.

9 Best Things to do in Hokkaido during Winter Holidays

4. See Penguins Walking in the Asahiyama Zoo

"Penguin Run" is an Asahiyama Zoo winter theme where you can look closely at the vibrant penguins. This activity is one of the best things to do in Hokkaido, attracting numbers of people every day. "Penguin Walk" in Asahiyama Zoo takes place during the winter season when there is snow. The form of a penguin walking in Asahiyama Zoo is "king penguin," residing in Antarctica islands. King penguins have a habit of walking in a group towards the sea to catch fish, and sometimes they walk up to about one kilometer. Penguins in Asahiyama Zoo can't get enough exercise by remaining in their homes. So Asahiyama Zoo uses its routine and makes it possible for penguins to walk inside the zoo to get enough exercise. "Penguin Walk" is not a "display" to make penguins walk for visitors; it is an "exercise" time for penguins using their habits. People line up along the penguin route during the "Penguin Walk." People look like mountains of snow or mountains of ice to penguins. Penguins are not trained to walk among participants; they follow their habit of walking in a group straight away.

9 Best Things to do in Hokkaido during Winter Holidays

5. Enjoy Hot Springs in Noboribetsu

The name "Noboribetsu" derives from the word "Nupurupetsu" from an Ainu (the only minority in Japan), meaning "the black, muddy river" or "the thick colored river. Noboribetsu is a famous hot spring resort in Hokkaido, offering as many as eleven different types of thermal waters considered to be among the best and most efficient things to do in Hokkaido. The resort town consists of numerous (mostly large) ryokan and hot spring bath hotels. Hot spring is one of the Japanese culture's icons. It has a variety of positive effects, such as warming up your bone and making your skin smooth. A great appeal of Hokkaido is plenty of hot water that springs from the majestic setting. When you take outdoor hot spring baths, when bathing yourself in the warm water, you will enjoy the outdoor scenery. Hokkaido is known as the "hot spring kingdom," and various types of hot spring baths are open, ranging from substantial hot spring facilities between modern buildings to mountain outdoor hot spring baths. This hot spring town is small and can be covered by walk. There are some popular tropical spring resorts in Noboribetsu town located in the northeastern part of Muroran county, and together with Jozankei Onsen and Yunokawa Onsen, it is one of three big hot spring resorts in Hokkaido. Every day, hot springs run 10000 liters, and there are also plenty of hot springs.

9 Best Things to do in Hokkaido during Winter Holidays

6. Celebrate the Sounkyo Hyoubaku Festival

Sounkyo Hyoubaku Festival is a seasonal, annual festival featuring various ice carvings illuminated with colored lights. Winter is cold in Hokkaido. In the middle of the snowy Hokkaido, you will have the opportunity to see spectacular fireworks. The Ice Fall Festival (Hyobaku Matsuri) started its 30th anniversary in the year 2005. It developed under the guidance of Mr. Takenaka, a sculptor who was born in Eniwa City, Hokkaido, and who is also known for creating Shank shine sculptures. It usually occurs every year from the end of January and finishes in March. The waterfall stands like a massive ice tower, and the ice buildings along the river Ishikari illuminated with all color lights that give it a mystical look things to do in Hokkaido. You will also see fireworks in the winter night sky during the exhibition time. In the Ice Shrine, you will find the holy globe (Kamidama) made of ice. The world is a charm of love and money, and the Ice Shrine will bring good luck to those who take their exams. The central ice sculpture is typically an image of a famous Hokkaido tower. It has a lot of tunnels that you can explore indoors and like chandeliers. In the ice world, you will enjoy the feeling of being lost.

9 Best Things to do in Hokkaido during Winter Holidays

7. Go up in a Hot Air Balloon

The experience of flying over the beautiful scenery of the city in a hot air balloon is unforgettable things to do in Hokkaido. Hot balloon rides are available all year round and each season shows a different side of the nature of Hokkaido. The snow-blanked landscape with crystal snow effect and drift ice in winter, bright green leaf growth and snow-capped mountains in spring, lush forest, and checkered farmland in summer, unusual leaves of endless forest in autumn. Depending on the season and location, we will help you choose a hot air balloon operator to fit your custom tour parameters best. In Abashiri, hot air balloon flights are at their peak in winter. As the frozen fields can be viewed, the balloons climb to almost a kilometer of altitude. Views of the drift ice and the Shiretoko peninsula during the 50-minute flights are unforgettable. Experience an intriguing hot air balloon flight in Furano Hokkaido. Ascend into the air, appreciate Furano's rural scenery, and marvel at the majestic Tokachi Mountain. Enjoy this beautiful flight and incredible natural scenery. Drink from a truly unique perspective in the majestic mountains with the idyllic view of suburban Hokkaido. Hokkaido Lion Adventure is accessible for short-term tethered flights in spring, summer, and fall. Admire the views of the iconic mountains of the Niseko region, including Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Yotei, and Mt. Shakotan.

8. Walk Along the Otaru Canal

Walking along 'Otaru' is one of the most exciting things to do in Hokkaido and its top tourist destinations with high popularity, with the Otaru Canal as its emblem. But what makes the Otaru Canal so unique. Otaru Canal was the main part of the busy port of the city in the first half of the 20th century. Smaller ships discharged large vessels, which then carried the goods along the canal to warehouses. As modern dock facilities allowed the direct unloading of larger vessels, the canal became obsolete. And a part of the canal was perfectly restored in the year 1980s, rather than landfilled, thanks to a citizens' movement, while the warehouses were transformed into museums, shops, and restaurants. During the day, when artists show their works to passing visitors, and during the evenings when old fashioned gas lamps are illuminated and offer a romantic atmosphere, the canal allows for a pleasant stroll. The canal is also the leading site of the Snow Light Path Festival in the city. It is now a popular tourist spot, however, and here you can see the former glory of the canal and stone warehouses. The canal's charm is all part of the cobblestone walkway, retro-designed gas lamps, stone warehouses, and rippling canal. Spend a relaxing stroll with the photogenic scenery down the canal.

9 Best Things to do in Hokkaido during Winter Holidays

9. Take a Ride on SL Steam Railway

In autumn 2000, the Niseko train SL ("Steam Locomotive") introduced as a way to stimulate tourism in the region, and it seems to have done the trick and comes under the best things to do in Hokkaido. The train only runs from Sapporo via Otaru via Kutchan and Niseko on weekends before stopping in Rankoshi and returning to Sapporo in reverse. If you can't get your hands on reserved seats, you can still enjoy the most scenic part of the trip. Only the leg between Sapporo and Kutchan Stations are used for reserved seats. The steam locomotive takes over from Otaru, mostly a multi-track mainline commuter leg on which a diesel locomotive pulls the train. Eating your lunch on the train as it rolls along the autumn landscape is a perfect way to spend an autumn day, particularly during the first two weeks of October, when colorful foliage is at its peak. Look for trainspotting photographers along the way who have set themselves up strategically along the paths to catch you and your iron horse as you ride. The ancient carriages and the conductors ' time-specific uniforms add to the mix, but the train is more than exciting to watch from the outside, so take notes of where those trainspotters are standing and take your look if you choose not to drive.

9 Best Things to do in Hokkaido during Winter Holidays

Japanese northern island, Hokkaido, is one of the country's most popular year-round travel destinations. Hokkaido is a treasure land of Japan with tremendous nature, beautiful cities, and delicious food. The island is huge, with a list of amazing places to go. Some of the most beautiful things to do in Hokkaido can be seen and experienced only in wintertime, and why it might be the best time to visit. For many, I think one of the most important reasons is to try their delicious local food. The best time to get a taste of their famous seafood, King Crab (Tarabagani) is, especially in winter, which is the signature food of Hokkaido. We have now concluded our introduction to the sights and sounds that can be seen in Hokkaido in Wintertime. This winter promises to be cold anywhere in Japan. Why not go and visit Hokkaido, where you can fully enjoy this season. The tremendous outdoor spectacles are waiting for you. This can also be a perfect itinerary for visitors.

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