Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido offers plenty to experience including a rich culture, idyllic nature, fun adventures, delectable cuisine and more. Here are some insights that will help you plan a trip.
The quickest way to get here is by flying to New Chitose Airport, which takes around 1.5 hours from the Narita and Haneda airports; once you have landed, you can make use of the express train to easily reach popular destinations like Otaru. Another option is to catch the bullet train from Tokyo Station to Hakodate, which takes around 4.5 hours and is free with a Japan Rail Pass. From Hokodate, the fastest and cheapest way to get to famous destinations like Otaru would be to drive which will take about 4.7 hours.
Where to Stay
An ideal place to be based would be the charming port town of Otaru. Hotel properties that are located beside the marina and connected to the Wing Bay Otaru mall such as Grand Park Otaru are perfect and cater to couples, families and even those travelling with dogs. You can also enjoy diverse dining options and easy access to the JR Otaru Chikko Station and key attractions like the Otaru Canal; what’s more, you can also plan excursions to Sapporo or the ski slopes of Kiroro Resort which are a 45-minute drive away.
The different destinations here have different stories to tell so plan your itinerary with care. When based in Otaru, attractions like the historical Otaru Canal and Sakaimachi Shopping Street are not to be missed and provide unique experiences for each season. Those heading to Sapporo can visit the Sapporo Odori Park and the Hitsujigaoka Observation Deck, while Niseko is popular for skiing and snowboarding in winter. From Noboribetsu with its hot spring areas to Furano and its famed lavender fields there are lots more places to see as well!
Foodies also have much to look forward to in Hokkaido with diverse dishes that vary according to the region and season. A great place for culinary adventures is Otaru where you can try a seafood bowl lunch called “Kaisendon” and a noodle dish with pork, seafood and veggies known as “Ankake Yakisoba”; this destination is also referred to as “The Sushi Town” with plenty of restaurants serving fresh sushi. Other favourites on the island include soup curry in Sapporo, squid dishes in Hakodate, omelette curry in Furano and sweets in Obihiro.