https://www.trip.com/blog/must-dos-in-hokkaido-summer/

Summer Vacation in Japan: Things to do in Hokkaido

TripBlog
TripBlog
Mar 2, 2020

Catalogue

  • 1. Lake Toya Open-Air Hot Spring, summer fireworks
  • 2. Cruising at The Sea of Lavender Flowers
  • 3. Take a Summer-Only Train Through the Wetlands
  • 4. Furano: Experience a purple lavender flower sea
  • 5. Drink Beer and Listen to Jazz at Sapporo Summer Festival
  • 6. Watching The Ghost Parade at Noboribetsu
  • 7. Belly Dancing at The Furano Belly Button Festival
  • 8. Enjoy A Rainbow Ice Cream on The Street of Otaru
  • 9. Yubari Melon: The King of Summer Fruit
  • Show More

Interested in spend your summer vacation in Japan? Hokkaido summers are very interesting. In addition to the blooming flower fields and the lavender flowers, the highlight of summers in Japan is the summer festivals and the firework festivals that become quite lively during this time. You also cannot miss the delicious summer fruit and ice cream. If you are visiting Tokyo for Olympics 2020, it will worth your time to enjoy a summer vacation in Japan as well.



Summer Vacation in Japan: Things to do in Hokkaido

Lake Toya is located in the southwestern part of Hokkaido. It is a famous hot spring resort within a 2-hour drive from Sapporo or Hakodate. In addition to the hot springs in the summer, it is the fireworks display that detonates the carnival climax.


The Lake Toya Fireworks Festival is the largest long-term fireworks festival in Japan with a six-month viewing period. Every year from April 28th to October 31st, there is a 20-minute firework display taking place every night. At that time, 450 fireworks will dance over the Lake Toya. If the hot spring hotel is located in a good spot, you can even look up at the fireworks from the open-air hot springs.



Summer Vacation in Japan: Things to do in Hokkaido

In Biei, Furano area, there is a local train plying the route between: Furano Station - Biei Station - Asarigawa Station. The Furano Biei Norokko slow-paced scenic train is a seasonal train only available in summer vacation. It is a green steam train that runs 3 times per day. When the slow train line operates in the summer, an additional stop at Lavender Farm Station is added, which is not served by the regular train (from this station you can make your way to the famous Tomita Farm). Even more conveniently, when visiting the areas of Nakafurano, Misaki, etc. using the train, it deliberately slows down on its track, so that everyone can enjoy the beautiful sea of flowers in Furano.



Summer Vacation in Japan: Things to do in Hokkaido

You can take Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko train from the Kushiro Station during the summer vacation (from July to October) to Kushiro Shitsugen (Kushiro marsh) National Park. The train runs between Kushiro and Tōro with an average speed of 30 km/h. It is a slow-paced train that takes 2 hours for a round trip. Passengers feel the cool breeze through the wide windows of the train. The Norokko train cuts through the Kushiro Shitsugen wetlands, the most extensive wetlands in Japan, where passengers may enjoy watching beautiful scenery, vast wetlands, the green lake, and wild animals. If you would like to see the Kushiro Marsh from the Hosooka Observatory, you can get off at Kushiroshitsugen Station and take a 15 minute walk to the Observatory. Afterwards, take the same train back to Kushiro 1 hour later.



Summer Vacation in Japan: Things to do in Hokkaido

Located in the center of Hokkaido, Furano is home to Japan's famous lavender flowers, and is known as "Provence in Asia." At the end of June when the main flower viewing season starts, the slopes of Furano become covered with purple lavender, like a sea full of waves. Together with the blooming sunflowers, cosmos, tulips, poppies, etc., they forms a multi-colored carpet of flowers. With lavender being the main feature in Furano, all tourist resources and facilities in the area are adapted to the flower-viewing season. For example, there is a summer-only Lavender train, as well as sightseeing buses.



Summer Vacation in Japan: Things to do in Hokkaido

Sapporo is famous for its Winter Snow Festival, but the summer festival is also not to be underestimated. There are many festivals such as the “Sapporo Odori Beer Garden”, “Hokkai Bonan Dance Club” and “Sapporo Flea Market”. Of which the Sapporo Odori Beer Garden is the most popular among Japanese. It is also the largest open-air beer festival in Japan. Famous beer companies from Japan and around the world set up their stalls in Odori Park with snacks and jazz music playing. Enjoy the beautiful summer atmosphere of the North.



Summer Vacation in Japan: Things to do in Hokkaido

The Jigoku (Hell) Festival takes place at the end of August each year, and it is the grandest festival in Noboribetsu with a street parade that is really like a "magical dance with demons”. It is said that those who have participated in the Hell Festival have their sins cleansed from the past year and receive blessings from the King of Hell for the coming year.


The ceremonial program is full of action when the King of Hell opens the gates of Hell for the red and green ogres, and other demons to pass through the gateway into the streets of this town of hot springs. The demon floats weigh one ton and require 100 young people to carry each of them. Visitors dance with demons in their yukata robes.


As a finale, there are firework displays on the final night that illuminate every corner of the venue with loud explosion sounds throughout this town of hot springs.



With Summer approaching fast, a vast number of festival ceremonies begin taking place all over Japan, some with rather curious traditions. Each year's July 28th and 29th, the two-day Hokkaido Belly Button Festival (Hokkai Heso Matsuri) takes place in Furano. Locals of all ages roll up their clothes, proudly reveal their bellies and dance on the streets. It is a lively and hilarious “unique” festival. Furano is in the center of Hokkaido and is known as the "the belly button of Hokkaido". Some 40 years ago, the festival started as a religious appeal for the blessings of good health and peace. The word “navel” was used as part of the name of the festival, as a reference to its geographical location. This was not exactly an instant hit when it first started, over the years, it became one of the largest festivals in Hokkaido.



Hokkaido is famous for its dairy products, and the ice cream is not to be missed! You will find a big ice-cream sign near the Kitaichi Glass retail store, selling rainbow ice-cream in 7 flavors all-year-round. The seven flavors are grape, matcha, strawberry, honeydew melon, milk, lavender, and chocolate. Sometimes, there are seasonal editions as well!



Summer Vacation in Japan: Things to do in Hokkaido

Yubari is most famous for its honeydew melon planting in Hokkaido. There were two honeydew melons auctioned for 2 million yen, from Yubari! Generally speaking, the price of a Yubari is over 5,000 yen from June to July each year, hence its name as the king of summer fruit. Yubari is located in the center of Hokkaido, it takes about 2 hours to travel from Sapporo to Yubari through JR, and a lot of people combine it with a visit to Furano Farm for their summer trip.



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