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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.

Shiretoko National ParkThis 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 Daisetsuzan 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.

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Audley Travel specialist James

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Hokkaido by contacting one of our Japan specialists

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 itinerary featuring Hokkaido

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

    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.

    • Driving in Japan: Hokkaido Island
      Driving in Hokkaido

      Driving in Japan: Hokkaido Island

      Driving in Japan: Hokkaido Island

      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.

      9 min read

      Read this guide
    • Japan’s seasons: cherry blossom and beyond
      Cherry Blossom in Kyoto

      Japan’s seasons: cherry blossom and beyond

      Japan’s seasons: cherry blossom and beyond

      Each Japanese season brings a raft of distinct experiences, from spring’s cherry blossom to winter’s snow crab delicacies. Japan specialist Laura shares the highlights of each time of year to help you decide when to visit Japan.

      13 min read

      Read this guide
    • Honeymoons in Japan
      Backyard garden, Tsumago, Japan

      Honeymoons in Japan

      Honeymoons in Japan

      Honeymoon couples looking for a cultural adventure will be spoiled for choice in Japan. Country specialist, Layla, discusses some of the highlights for those wishing to honeymoon here.

      6 min read

      Read this guide

    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.