Visit Hokkaido, Japan
Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost Island, is the country’s last wilderness. The high mountains, crystal-clear lakes and wide-open spaces set it far apart from the hustle, bustle and city lights of southern Japan — and its empty, sweeping roads are ideal for self-driving. Despite its remote location, Hokkaido is linked to the main island by air and rail, and our specialists visit regularly so they can share their experiences to build a tailor-made trip to suit you.
This is where you’ll find Japan’s highest concentration of national parks, which vary from the almost fluorescent-green Kushiro Wetlands to Shiretoko National Park, where you can sometimes spot brown bears and sea lions. As Tokyo swelters through July and August, Hokkaido welcomes warm, temperate weather ideal for hiking in the high peaks of Daisetsu-zan National Park or relaxing by the mirror-like waters of the island’s many caldera lakes. From December to February, Arctic air from Siberia is drawn across Hokkaido, ensuring the plentiful snowfall that makes this area a popular winter sports destination and providing the raw materials for the annual Sapporo Snow Festival.
Places to visit in Hokkaido
Featuring heavily on our experiences of visiting Hokkaido, these selected places are destinations that also prove consistently popular with our travellers. Our specialists can help you choose how to include them in your wider trip, based on your preferences.
Suggested Hokkaido itinerary
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Hokkaido, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Hokkaido
Places & hotels on the map
Places in and around Hokkaido
Photos of Hokkaido
Our expert guides to exploring Hokkaido
Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting Hokkaido, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate Hokkaido at its best.
Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, is a volcanic, alpine-forested wilderness with bubbling hot springs and vivid-blue caldera lakes. Japan specialist Toby explains how you can make the most of your visit by self-driving across the island.
Accommodation choices for Hokkaido
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Hokkaido. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
The JR Tower Hotel Nikko is a stylish hotel offering the best accommodation in town. Its rooms are beautifully decorated and many offer great views south over the town.
The Grand Hotel sits in a superb location directly overlooking the working fishing port of Utoro and out to the Sea of Okhotsk.
The designers of the Tsuruga hotel have tried to give it as traditional a feel as possible, with many touches reminiscent of the classic Japanese ryokan inn, giving it a distinctly local feel.
The Hinanoza is tastefully decorated with each floor representing a different season, and has delicate and elegant touches throughout.
Hotel Bearmonte has excellent hot spring bathing facilities and is ideally located directly opposite the Visitor Centre and two minutes walk from the cable car station.