Niseko Travel Guide – What to do in Niseko
Niseko (jZR) is the most famous ski resort in Japan, known for having tons of light powder snow, spectacular backcountry and a large number of foreigners – especially Australians – who in recent years have been responsible for popularizing the resort area with the skiing/snowboarding community outside of Japan. As a result, Niseko’s resorts are very accessible and welcoming to foreign visitors, which they keep busy with plenty of vast, long ski runs, endless powder, and a growing number of after-ski activities.
In addition to kilometers of ski trails, many of Niseko’s resorts offer winter adventure seekers the option to explore off trail skiing, a relatively uncommon attraction at most other ski resorts in Japan. The backcountry can be accessed through special gates around the resorts or experienced on guided tours and helicopter tours. The latter is also possible on nearby Mount Yotei, a nearly perfect volcanic cone, which can be seen from Niseko.
Mount Yotei, seen from the slopes of Grand Hirafu
Niseko’s ski resorts are all located on Mount Niseko-Annupuri. Three major resorts, Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annupuri, cover most of the southeastern half of the mountain while a few smaller resorts dot their perimeter. The big three are joined together with each other at the top of the mountain, and it is possible to ski between them, while shuttle buses connect them at their bases. A special combination ticket, the Niseko All Mountain Pass, gives access to all three resorts.
Grand Hirafu is the largest of the resorts with over a dozen lifts and a secondary base at Hanazono on the east side of the mountain. Grand Hirafu is the only of the three resorts that has a sizable town area around its main base, Hirafu Town, which is packed with a variety of hotels, pensions, and holiday homes. The town also offers an interesting range of restaurants and bars with an active nightlife.
Hirafu Town is very foreigner friendly, and an evening stroll about the area will take you past plenty of lively restaurants with the sounds of English voices wafting out. It is almost like visiting a foreign country within Japan, as many of the eateries offer English menus by default and local convenience stores sell a wider range of imported foods than elsewhere around the country.
A 15 minute bus ride to the east of Hirafu is the town center of Kutchan with Kutchan Station. The biggest city in the area, Kutchan has more shopping and dining options, but is not as convenient a base for skiers as Hirafu.
Hirafu by night
The next largest resort on the mountain is Niseko Village (formerly known as Higashiyama). Located west of Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village offers two large hotels, including the Hilton Niseko Village, some townhouse accommodation and “the Village”, a small collection of restaurants, bars and boutiques.
Further west lies Annupuri resort. Its ski trails are not quite as steep or as wide as those of the other two resorts, but they also tend to be somewhat less crowded. At Annupuri’s base stands a resort hotel and a small collection of pensions and holiday homes. Nearby dining and nightlife options are scarce.
Moiwa is a small, fourth ski resort that lies just west of Annupuri. Moiwa is not covered by the Niseko All Mountain Pass, nor is it possible to ski from Moiwa to the other resorts. As such it tends to be less crowded and is popular among those who prefer a smaller sized resort and among beginners. A few hotels and pensions are spread near Moiwa’s base, but they do not create much of a town feeling.
About a 15-25 minute bus ride from Niseko’s western resorts lies the town center of Niseko with Niseko Station. The small town does not offer many dining or nightlife options, nor is it a convenient base for skiers.
Late November to early May
(December 5, 2020 to May 5, 2021)
15 minutes by bus from Kutchan Station.
10 kilometers from Kutchan Town Center.
* Season dates may be adjusted due to lack of snow. Check before going.
Early December to early April
(December 1, 2020 to April 4, 2021)
30 minutes by bus from Kutchan Station.
6 kilometers from Niseko Town Center.
* Season dates may be adjusted due to lack of snow. Check before going.
Late November to early May
(November 28, 2020 to May 5, 2021)
45 minutes by bus from Kutchan Station.
8 kilometers from Niseko Town Center.
* Season dates may be adjusted due to lack of snow. Check before going.
The Top Ways to Spend the Holiday During Winter
I have always loved winter and snow even more. Coming from the south of France, where it barely snows once every two years, I hardly ever had the chance to discover a beautiful snowy landscape whenever I’d open my shutters on a Christmas morning. But this year, I decided to make my dream come true. As I was in Japan, I decided to fly to Hokkaido to celebrate Christmas literally under the snow.
During my trip, snow was falling every single day. I was frozen to the tip of my nails, but every day, as I watched snowflakes fall from the sky, it warmed my heart. I can’t think about a better place to spend Christmas in Japan than Hokkaido.
Christmas Spirit in Sapporo, Hokkaido
Our first destination in Hokkaido was Sapporo (札幌), the largest city of the northern island. A warm coat, gloves, good shoes, and woollen socks are the least you should wear to face the temperatures of Sapporo in December. It’s not as cold as it is in January or February when the temperatures hover below 0°C, but that doesn’t scare the tourists away who visit the famous Sapporo Snow Festival, the yuki matsuri (雪祭り) and its huge snow sculptures every February.
While we visited the city, we actually realized that Sapporo is built to be livable to its inhabitants during these cold temperatures. Long underground passageways make it possible to walk long distances under the city without exposing your skin to the cold. And when I say passageways, I’m talking about true pedestrian avenues lined with shops and restaurants. A second city stretches out in the basements of Sapporo!
The Old Hokkaido Government Building of Sapporo under the snow
When we arrived on the edge of Odori Park (大通公園), the central park of the city facing the iconic Sapporo Tower (札幌タワー), we were suddenly overwhelmed by Christmas spirit. Large Christmas illuminations had been installed on the snow-covered park. Known as “Sapporo White Illumination”, these illuminations lighten the park from late November until December 25th.
Odori Park and its Christmas illuminations
The tower in the photos may look familiar to you, and that is not a coincidence. You probably know of Tokyo Tower, which is a close reproduction to Paris’ Eiffel Tower. Well, it seems that the Japanese are so much in love with our French monument that they also built the Sapporo Tower based on the Eiffel Tower (エッフェル塔). The architect of the Tokyo Tower also designed the plans of Sapporo Tower which make them look very similar, even if Sapporo tower is smaller. As you climb to the top of the tower, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
View of the city from the top of Sapporo Tower; it was one day after Christmas and the illuminations of Odori Park had already been taken down!
Except for some islands in Kyushu, there are very few Christians in Japan, so Christmas is not part of Japanese traditions and became popular in the archipelago only very recently. This holiday from the West is, therefore, an opportunity for the Japanese to showcase Western culture, especially in the Christmas markets. The German Christmas Market of Sapporo is a great example of that. Held every year at the foot of Sapporo Tower, you can find pretzels, cold cuts, western crafts, and even Russian dolls. When you walk through the alleys of this Western Christmas market under a mini Eiffel Tower, it’s hard to believe you’re still in Japan!
But by spending all this time under the snow in the middle of the night, we now wanted to warm ourselves in the heated room of a local restaurant to taste some Japanese specialities. There are so many renowned foods in Hokkaido that the only difficulty was to choose one for dinner.
Where to Eat in Sapporo?
This night we decided to try a soup curry, and I think it is the perfect food to warm you up during the cold nights of Hokkaido. Japanese curry is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. But Hokkaido is the only place where they prepare soup with this curry! This speciality is radically different from the curries that can be eaten elsewhere in Japan, topped with a lot of vegetables from the abundant agriculture of Hokkaido. A real delight!
The local food to try in Sapporo includes miso ramen, known to have been invented here. A small alley is also dedicated to ramen, “Gansou Ramen Yokocho” (元祖ラーメン横丁). Classic or topped with shellfish flamed in front of you, you will be spoiled by the variety of ramen that you can try.
If you’re a meat enthusiast, you should definitely try jingisukan (ジンギスカン). This lamb meat speciality is named after the famous Mongolian military leader Genghis Khan. The slices of meat are cooked on a domed-shaped barbecue (it is said that Mongolian soldiers used their helmet to cook the meat) and are seasoned with the unique flavours of the dedicated sauce.
One of the most famous jingisukan restaurants of Sapporo can be found at the Sapporo Beer Garden (サッポロビール園). It can be a great opportunity to visit the museum and to learn more about the history of Sapporo beer (サッポロビール), one of the most popular beers in Japan!
Shiroi Koibito Park: A Perfect Christmas Attraction for Families
If you’re travelling with your family or if the holiday season awakes the child inside you, Shiroi Koibito Park (白い恋人パーク) is the perfect place to enjoy the magic of Christmas. Shiroi Koibito is a famous cookies brand. These small cookies filled with white chocolate became so inextricably linked to Hokkaido that it has finally become one of the symbols of the island. The factory of these cookies is located in Shiroi Koibito Park, a theme park about chocolate and sweets. The park is open all year, but I truly think that it gets even more magical during Christmas.
The Shiroi Koibito Park illuminated during the night
In addition to the tour of the factory and the small attractions offered outside, you can take part in workshops to learn how to make chocolate, and to taste all kinds of chocolate preparations. This is also the perfect chance to pick up some souvenirs, and Shiroi Koibito cookies are one of the most popular souvenirs of Hokkaido.
Warming Up in Hokkaido’s Onsen Hot Springs of Jozankei
The previous year, I had the opportunity to visit Hokkaido during the fall. I went to Jozankei (定山渓), a small hot spring village one hour by bus from Sapporo. During the fall, the momiji maple leaves made this place absolutely wonderful, turning the landscapes into natural paintings full of colour. I enjoyed my stay in Jozankei so much that I definitely wanted to go back to this village and to discover this landscapes under the snow.
It was a radical transformation! The warm colours from my memories had been replaced by the perfect white coating of snow over the whole area and muffled the sound of our footsteps.
If you like snowy landscapes as much as I do, you cannot resist the beauty of this village during the winter. But even if you don’t go there for the snow, Jozankei has much more to offer than its landscapes! This village was built on natural hot springs, and there is nothing better than to warm up in the middle of the winter than to have a good soak into a hot onsen bath.
The numerous ryokan of Jozankei gives you the chance to enjoy onsen and Japanese traditional luxury fully. Our stay at the Hana Momiji Ryokan in Jozankei was arguably the most comfortable moments of our Christmas holiday travel. The spacious traditional tatami rooms and futon beds are already a great reason to stay in a ryokan. But these traditional Japanese inns are also known for their gourmet dinners. And with the exceptional ingredients of Hokkaido, these dinners are absolutely delicious.
Asahikawa, Visiting the Heart of Hokkaido
Asahikawa (旭川) is the second-largest city of Hokkaido. Close to Mount Daisetsuzan, the highest mountain of the island, it is the perfect destination for outdoor activities: hiking and cycling during the warm seasons, and skiing during the winter.
Asahikawa is also a culturally interesting city to visit. You can learn more about the indigenous people of Hokkaido, the Ainu (アイヌ) in the museum of Asahikawa dedicated to the Ainu’s history.
I enjoyed visiting Asahikawa on foot, walking through the streets covered with snow. Locals were very kind and welcomed us with a smile, like in the Asahikawa Science Museum (科学館サイパル). A small observatory stands on the roof of the museum. When the museum staff saw that we were heading toward the observatory, they hurried to give us a tour. They even opened the telescope to show us the few stars visible through the clouds, a wonderful memory. Exactly the kind of special moment that can be experimented only when you visit Japan outside of the main touristic destinations.
The vibrant nightlife of Asahikawa made the evening in the city very pleasant. Strolling between izakaya (居酒屋) and ramen restaurants in snowy alleys illuminated by Christmas decorations gave a magic atmosphere to our night in Asahikawa.
The Penguins of Asahiyama Zoo
I must confess that I don’t have a strong interest in zoos. It was more or less against my will that I was dragged to Asahiyama Zoo (旭山動物園), a 40-minute ride from the city. But I have to admit that this zoo has some interesting features, especially if you go there during the winter.
Asahiyama Zoo is the most northern zoo of Japan, and it’s actually quite surprising to find a zoo in such a cold place. The animals of Asahiyama Zoo are therefore species acclimatized to this kind of climate. Braving the cold and the heavy snow, you will meet animals from Hokkaido including sika deers or wolves, but also all kind of species from the northern parts of the globe, such as polar bears, seals, and polar foxes — many animals that find similar conditions of their native biotopes, in Hokkaido. If we can legitimately argue that the living conditions of animals in a zoo are in no way comparable with their wildlife, Asahiyama Zoo nonetheless seeks to highlight the behaviour of their animals and their instinctive way of life.
Although located in the far north of the country, Asahiyama Zoo is one of the most visited zoo in Japan. There is no doubt that the reason of such a success is due to the real star of the zoo: the emperor penguins. Twice a day (from late December to mid-March), the penguins can go out of their enclosure to stroll in the zoo in front of children amazed by these cute animals waddling on the snow.
Otaru, A Romantic Town on Christmas Eve
The last destination of our trip to Hokkaido was Otaru (小樽). Accessible from Sapporo by about 30 minutes by train, this small seaside town is known to be a romantic destination. It sounded like the perfect destination to spend Christmas in Japan. If traditionally, we celebrate Christmas with family in France, Christmas in Japan is more for couples who meet in fancy restaurants and give gifts to one another.
Sakaimachi shopping street
Most of the charm of this town comes from its Western-inspired architecture from the late 19th century, which is very unusual in Japan. You can fully enjoy this particular atmosphere in Sakaimachi shopping street (堺町通り商店街). Numerous shops and restaurants of all kinds line in this long, seemingly endless, street. It is the best place to discover a wide variety of handmade glass products, the famous craftwork of Otaru. The snow was continuously falling, and it wasn’t long before I walked into a store to warm up. Each time I was amazed by the wonderful Christmas decorations, overwhelmed by the magical Christmas atmosphere of Otaru!
To enjoy Otaru’s food, I strongly advise you to explore one of the town’s fish markets. Otaru is a port town, so you’ll find plenty of fresh seafood. The fish markets are not only pleasant to visit, it is also the perfect place to try some of the freshest seafood you can ever eat. I fell in love with the affordable raw fish donburi of Otaru’s markets. These bowls of rice topped with all kind of sashimi are one of the best donburi I ate in Japan. And if you’re not fond of raw fish, you might as well enjoy some seafood grilled on site.
Lovers enjoy taking a stroll along Otaru Canal during the night. While walking along a small path lit by lampposts, you can enjoy the view of some old brick warehouses on the other side of the canal.
Otaru Canal under the snow on Christmas Eve
That evening, heavy snow was falling and the bitter cold was a bit too much for us. It was time to walk toward the restaurant to celebrate Christmas in a Japanese way!
For Christmas, the Japanese often enjoy a fancy dinner in some western restaurants, but we didn’t come to Hokkaido to eat French food. Instead, we decided to take full advantage of the local food by booking a table in a sushi restaurant. Enjoying a delicious Hokkaido chirashizushi (ちらし寿司) for Christmas Eve while watching thick snowflakes falling on the streets of Otaru— I couldn’t dream of a better way to spend Christmas in Japan!
Practical Information on Getting to Your Christmas in Hokkaido
How to Get to Hokkaido
The cheapest and fastest way to go to Hokkaido from the rest of Japan is the plane. New Chitose Airport (新千歳国際空港) can be reached by a 1.5-hour flight from Tokyo or a 2-hour flight from Osaka or Fukuoka.
The shinkansen bullet train (新幹線) also reaches Hokkaido, though travelling from Tokyo to Hokkaido takes more than 4 hours and is more expensive than by plane. However the journey is now covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
How to Get to Sapporo
Sapporo city is easily accessible from New Chitose Airport. The Rapid Airline trains, accessible straight in the airport through the New Chitose JR Station (JR新千歳駅) will bring you to Sapporo in only 30 minutes.
Many shuttle buses also run between the airport and various location in Sapporo city.
How to Get to Jozankei
Going to Jozankei from Sapporo station (札幌駅) by bus takes around 1 hour. You will have to take a bus from the Kappa Liner located at the bus stop number 12 of Sapporo Station (a bus headed toward Jozankei 定山渓温泉 / Hoheikyo Onsen 豊平峡温泉.) You can get off the bus at the “Jozankei Yu no Machi” station (定山渓湯の町). The ride costs 770 yen.
How to Get to Asahikawa
JR trains connect Asahikawa and Sapporo. The trip takes around 1.5 hours and costs around 5,000 yen (price varies depending of the chosen train). The trains are covered under the Japan Rail Pass.
Minorly longer, though cheaper than the train, buses rides between Asahikawndmnd Sapporo take about 2 hours. One way trip costs 2,300 yen, and a round trip 4,350 yen.
It is also possible to fly directly to Asahikawa from Tokyo (1hour and 40-minutes) or from Nagoya (2 hours).
How to Get to Otaru
Several trains ride between Otaru and Sapporo station. It only takes 30 minutes with the fastest trains and 45 minutes with local trains. The ride costs from 750 yen to 1,280 yen depending on the train and is also covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
Some trains also connect Otaru and New Chitose Airport. You can reach your destination in 1hour and 10-minutes, though be careful not to miss your train, as there are only a few trains that run in a day!
Yes, Hokkaido is cold during the winter and you must have some warm clothes in your suitcase, but if you decide to celebrate Christmas in Hokkaido, you will discover a brand new Japan surrounded by snow — the perfect atmosphere for the holiday season!
Visiting Hokkaido Japan: 11 Essentials to Know Before Traveling to Japan’s Wild North!
Date published: 11 March 2020
Last updated: 4 November 2020
Travel to Hokkaido, Japan’s gorgeous northernmost island, and you’ll find spectacular scenery, incredible food, and friendly people.
But when planning your next vacation to Hokkaido Japan, you’ll want to keep these 11 key things in mind – including the island’s unique weather, local cuisine, and even the dialect!
1. Hokkaido Japan is a huge place! Make sure to plan accordingly
First off, where is Hokkaido Japan? Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost island. It is 83,450 km² in area and accounts for 22% of Japan’s area, which is much larger than you imagine. In fact, Hokkaido is Japan’s largest prefecture. In second place is Iwate Prefecture, approximately 15,000 km² in size, which covers 4% – making Hokkaido more than five times in size.
Hokkaido is not the name of a city, but rather the entire island and prefecture. Hokkaido is about 37 times the size of Tokyo and about 44 times that of Osaka Prefecture. The capital city of Hokkaido, Sapporo, is located on the west side in a region called Moto, about 50 km from The New Chitose Airport.
The distance from Sapporo to various areas of Hokkaido along with the travel time by car is detailed below. Traveling between cities will take some time, so when planning your trip, be sure to calculate travel times with this in mind.
・Sapporo – Otaru: 40 km / 45 minutes
・Sapporo – Furano: 115 km / 2 hours
・Sapporo – Asahikawa: 140 km / 1 hour 50 minutes
・Sapporo – Hakodate: 305 km / 4 hours 15 minutes
・Sapporo – Obihiro: 215 km / 3 hours
・Sapporo – Kushiro: 342 km / 4 hours 40 minutes
・Sapporo – Shiretoko (Utoro): 377 km / 5 hours 44 minutes
Traveling by train or bus is also possible. However, the number of trains and buses is low, and reservations in advance are required for express trains and intercity buses.
2. Pack warm clothing for Hokkaido Japan – Even in summer
When visiting Hokkaido, you’ll be hitting the north country.
The latitude of Hokkaido Japan is 41 to 45 North, putting it on a similar footing as Central/South France, Northern Spain, Central/Northern Italy, New York, and Toronto.
Even though the latitude is the same in these areas, Hokkaido’s climate changes depending on the ocean currents. Hokkaido’s weather tends to be much colder in general.
When is the best season to visit Hokkaido?
The best season for sightseeing in Sapporo is in the summer from July to August, when the average temperature in July is 20.5°C and in August is 22.3°C. This makes for a refreshing and easy-going climate for sightseeing. However, there are many days when the temperature difference during the day fluctuates, and the morning and evening will be less than 20℃. We recommend bringing a cardigan or a parka to be safe.
What is Hokkaido like in winter?
Winter in Hokkaido is cold. The average temperature in January, which is the coldest in Sapporo, is on average -3.6°C. If you visit this season, be sure to prepare hats, gloves, mufflers, and other winter clothing accessories as well as warm outerwear like coats.
As Hokkaido is so large, there can be large temperature variances depending on the location. Depending on where and when you are visiting Hokkaido, be sure to think about the weather when packing your clothes.
3. Even beginners will have no trouble driving on Hokkaido’s grid road system!
The city of Sapporo, the first city in Hokkaido, was designed for an urban living since the Meiji Period in 1869 when construction began.
In Sapporo, which was still a wilderness at the time, the roads were developed into a grid pattern resembling that of Kyoto.
First Street and the Sousei River divides the town into the east, west, north, and south with the government office in the north, the residential and commercial areas in the south, the industrial district to the east, and Odori Park as the fire protection line between the north and south.
This is why the roads in Sapporo are so easy to understand. Addresses are also easy to understand as they are written out only like South 3rd West 4th Chome.
When looking for an address, if you understand this, it is convenient and easy to find your way. Large cities such as Asahikawa and Obihiro have similar constructions, which makes it is easy to navigate these towns even if it is your first time there.
4. One of Japan’s Top 3 Nightscapes: See the glittering lights from a high-rise hotel
Hokkaido has many spots famous for their nightscapes, like Hakodate and Otaru. Sapporo, however, has recently been ranked as one of the top three city nightscapes in Japan, along with Nagasaki and Kitakyushu.
Sapporo’s nightscape is like a bed of glittering jewels, a lightshow put on by the vast city and nature surrounding it. Any of the mountain peaks around Sapporo provide great views. Amongst the peaks, Mt. Moiwa (531m in altitude) is considered the best, but don’t forget Okurayama, which gives you a rare view from a ski jump platform (307m in altitude).
You can also get 360-degree views from inside the city at Sapporo TV Tower or JR Tower Observatory T38, which is directly connected to Sapporo Station. Or you could even check out JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo. At this hotel, you can get great views from their rooms, their 35th-floor restaurant 150 meters above ground, and their 22nd-floor spa 100 meters above the ground. Guest rooms on the south side overlook the Odori / Susukino area, including the Noria Ferris wheel and the Mt. Okura Ski Jump Stadium.
Business lights create a field of white illumination. Rooms on the north side look towards the nightscapes of Ishikari and Otaru. Compared to the south side, there are fewer tall buildings, so you have a clear view of the roads and orange lights. Sapporo also has many events that create unique nightscapes like “Sapporo White Illumination” and “Sapporo Snow Festival”, both unmissable spectacles made possible through Hokkaido’s famous winters.
5. Hokkaido Japan’s charming ‘Seicomart’ convenience stores are found everywhere!
When speaking about convenience stores in Hokkaido, you cannot leave out Seicomart. While you will also find 7-Eleven and Lawson, the number one convenient store by far is Seicomart.
Around 1190 stores are ranging from urban to remote island locations and can be found by the side of the road wherever you go.
Their sign is colored orange with Seicomart written in white. A phoenix is inscribed into the “o” in Seico.
It is a convenience store where you can find whatever you need when visiting Hokkaido, such as drinks, foods, alcohol, books, and stationery.
The selling point of Seicomart is more than that as they sell their own branded items such as milk, bread, soft drinks, wine, and much more. They also offer dishes in small portions, which is excellent for a quick bite. Seicomart has a kitchen inside the store where they make fresh food like rice bowls and giant onigiri, which are very popular. Some locations even have their own dining areas.
Seicomart also offers Hokkaido Japan-exclusive items such as cup noodles and seasonings, which is an easy and accessible option for tourists looking for a quick souvenir. Business hours vary depending on the store, but there are many 24-hour store locations.
6. There’s a huge difference between Hokkaido’s coast and the inland – especially in terms of food!
So what is there to eat when visiting Hokkaido? During your Hokkaido travel, you will find quite a difference in the local cuisine according to where you are.
In Hokkaido’s coastal towns such as Hakodate, Otaru, Kushiro, Abashiri, and Shiretoko, you will find seafood being used as the main dish. Even in these similar coastal areas, you will still see a difference as the seafood taken from the Pacific Ocean, and the Sea of Okhotsk are different.
You will also see a difference as the seafood taken from the same body of water changes based on the city.
For example, the specialty of Hakodate is squid; Otaru is mantis shrimp and sea urchin; Kushiro is mackerel; Abashiri and the Shiretoko Peninsula specializes in salmon.
Hokkaido dairy & beef
Likewise, in the inland area, dairy farming is popular in the Tokachi area, and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are Hokkaido famous food. You’ll also find beef cattle here as well, with the brand of beef being specific to that region.
The more well-known brands of Hokkaido beef are Biei beef, Furano Wagyu beef, the Sōya beef of Wakkanai, Shiraoi beef, and Yakumo beef.
Other Hokkaido products
In Biei, Furano, and Tokachi, where wheat cultivation is thriving, making and eating bread and pasta using local wheat is popular. Many domestic buckwheat specialties from Tokachi, Shintoku, and Horokanai are among the best in Japan. It is also a big part of Hokkaido to eat locally.
7. Look underground! Hokkaido souvenirs are found in department store basements
Are you looking for Hokkaido Japan souvenirs and foods? In Japanese department stores, the basements are usually lined with a variety of food. In Hokkaido, there are department stores around the stations in each city with the same setup, but they also have stores dedicated to souvenirs.
This is a convenient feature to be able to find your food and souvenirs all at once. Here you can order meals of a wide variety that can be eaten right away and are available at a reasonable price, which can be a great option to buy and eat at your hotel.
There are also department stores with underground ice cream shops and food courts with lots of fast food. If you are in Sapporo, we especially recommend visiting the Daimaru Sapporo store located near JR Sapporo Station, along with the Esta underground food street, Odori Park, and Marui Imai Sapporo store.
8. Watch out for animals when traveling in Hokkaido Japan!
In Hokkaido, wildlife is still rather abundant compared to other areas of Japan, which leads to many accidents between cars and wild animals. Many of the roads will run through animal habitats, so when you are driving in Hokkaido, you will frequently see signs reminding you to watch out for animals.
Signs to watch out for the Kita fox and the Ezo deer are particularly common. There are also signs for cows, but as they are domesticated animals, they rarely cross the road. You will also see signs around the Kushiro region depicting cranes, Ezo squirrels, brown bears, and raccoons.
You must be especially careful with the Ezo deer. This animal will suddenly jump out onto the road, so be sure to adhere to the speed limit and drive carefully. They are most active in the early morning and evening, so pay extra attention at these times.
The Kita fox is drawn to sightseeing locations as the tourists in these areas have been known to feed them. These are the more known cases where roadkill can occur. When visiting Hokkaido, Japan, let’s protect the environment by driving carefully and not feeding the wildlife.
9. You won’t see traffic lights like this in Tokyo or Osaka!
Traffic signals are horizontal in the areas of Tokyo, Kanto, Kansai, Kyushu, Shikoku, and so on. However, when going to Hokkaido, traffic lights become vertical. This is a countermeasure against snow accumulation in winter. If the lights were horizontal, the area where snow can accumulate will triple and cause much strain with the added weight. Since the traffic lights in this region are vertical, it can withstand the weight of the snow. The canopy shape of the traffic light is also structured to protect the traffic light against the snow.
Other than Hokkaido, the Tohoku region, and Niigata Prefecture have adopted this vertical type of traffic light. From the top, the vertical signal color goes red, yellow, and then green.
10. Is this even Japanese? Nope, it’s the Hokkaido dialect!
As you land in the airport in Hokkaido, the words “Irankarapte” can be seen all around. Irankarapte means “Hello” in the Ainu language. This Ainu language was used by the indigenous people and is deeply rooted in the language used in Hokkaido. For instance, what does ‘Sapporo’ mean? Many Ainu words have been adapted into the Japanese language such as Sapporo, which comes from Sapporo Petsu (big dry river), in the Ainu language.
While sightseeing, you may often hear this dialect, which is unique to Hokkaido. Some of the major phrases you may hear are written below. Also, you may also hear the sentences ended with the words “dape” or “dapesa” at the end, meaning that it is certain or that it is so.
・Namara = Same as “very”. Namaraumai would mean very tasty.
・Azumashi = Comfortable, or pleasant. Azumashikunakatta would mean that it was uncomfortable or unpleasant.
・Nanmo-nanmo = No need to worry about it.
・Menkoi= Cute. Menkokunai would mean not cute.
・Nageru = To throw. Used for phrases like do not litter.
・Toukibi = Corn.
11. When visiting Hokkaido, be sure to reserve a rental car in advance!
Renting a car in Hokkaido is a great convenience. You can find a rent-a-car at each airport, station, town, or other rental offices. There is a large variety of cars you can choose from according to your needs. However, if you do not reserve a car ahead of time, you may be out of luck.
Especially in summer, when the number of tourists is high, many car rental locations are entirely booked. These locations are usually full of affordable models, so when you decide the dates of your trip, be sure to make a reservation as soon as possible.
Reservations can be made through the internet for the desired company, which usually has information in English, Chinese (Traditional), and Korean. Also, these cars have the added option of a car navigation system. Be sure to reserve your vehicle and double-check your options.
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*This information is from the time of this article’s publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
Hokkaido Holidays 2021/2022 | Luxury & Tailor-Made with Wexas Travel
Japan’s northern frontier and second-largest island hosts just five percent of the country’s population, despite featuring 30,000 square miles of volcanic peaks, glassy lakes and icy coastline. It’s a world away from main island Honshu’s cram. Give us a call on 020 7590 0775 to speak to our experts and plan your Hokkaido holiday today.
With its close proximity to Russia, there’s something distinctly Siberian about Hokkaido’s vast national park wilderness, creeping ice floes and earthquake-troubled rifts. Abashiri even features a Meiji era penal colony. However, in lakeside onsen hot springs, luxury traditional ryokans serving up multi-course seafood feasts and Tsurui’s iconic red-crowned cranes it’s a place that’s distinctly Japanese. Indeed, Hokkaido is where the country’s overworked urbanites come to relax. To some that means strolls along Biei’s Patchwork Road of multi-coloured fields and relaxing in Sapporo’s parks while to others it’s husky sledding out of Asahikawa, hiking Lake Toya’s volcano and skiing down world-class slopes, stopping off at hot springs along the way.
Lake Toya, Hokkaido, Japan
But, in a country that annexed itself from the rest of the world for 200 years, Hokkaido also bears some uniquely international influences. Hakodate features everything from Russian Orthodox churches and British cottage consulates to pentagonal Western style citadels and redbrick Chinese memorial halls. You can even take a cable car up a city centre mountain for spectacular views of it all. And, not to miss out, the island’s capital, Sapporo, has taken on a distinctly European outlook in its generous parks and café culture. Don’t miss Odori Park – a giant green cleave, dividing the city in two – and the Sapporo brewery, the oldest in Japan. However, be sure that you spend plenty of time out of the cities, perhaps witnessing the colossal ice floes off the northern coast.
Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Hokkaido Travel Cost – Average Price of a Vacation to Hokkaido: Food & Meal Budget, Daily & Weekly Expenses
How much money will you need for your trip to Hokkaido?
You should plan to spend around ¥11,310 ($104) per day on your vacation in Hokkaido, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.
Past travelers have spent, on average, ¥2,899 ($27) on meals for one day and ¥3,200 ($29) on local transportation.
Also, the average hotel price in Hokkaido for a couple is ¥11,763 ($108).
So, a trip to Hokkaido for two people for one week costs on average ¥158,343 ($1,455).
All of these average travel prices have been collected from other travelers to help you plan your own travel budget.
Hokkaido On a Budget
Hokkaido, Japan is a nature lover’s paradise. Located on the northernmost island of Japan, it is the largest prefecture in the country. Their extensive number of national parks are often compared to those found in Europe due to the similar flora and fauna found throughout, along with many faux German cottages located throughout the parks. Hokkaido is only a hundred or so years old, compared to other thousands-year-old prefectures in Japan, so much of the architecture and cities are modern and westernized.
Being so far north, Hokkaido experiences quite a bit of snow in the winter and is overall much cooler than other areas of Japan. The most popular times to visit are between May and August due to the dry and cool sunny days.
Hokkaido is home to seven national parks, each one with their own hiking trails and stunning views. The Akan National Park is famous for their mysterious lakes, while the Onuma Quasi National Park has a peaceful lake near the Hakodate. Head to Shiretoko National Park on the eastern peninsula where you can view bears roaming the wilderness and bathing in the hot waterfalls. Plus, Shinetoko was recently named a World Heritage Site, so you can truly enjoy the inhibited beauty.
The Daisetsuzan National Park is the largest of the parks and located in the center of Hokkaido. It is known for being the best park for extreme hikers due to the intense landscape. One of the most popular parks is the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, primarily due to their picturesque volcanic hot springs and mossy canyons. Finally, the Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park is made up of two islands: Rishiri-to Island consists of a single volcano while Rebun-to Island is known for their waterfalls and wildflowers.
As a whole, Hokkaido is divided into four circuits: Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern. The capital city of Sapporo is located in the Central Circuit and is home to the tourist office and the majority of food and accommodation options. The Eastern Circuit is the largest and most remote, the Northern Circuit is known for Furano, a popular ski resort, and the Southern Circuit is where you’ll find the Onuma Quasi National Park.
The major activity in Hokkaido is hiking; there is no shortage of trails that range from beginner to extreme, all of which provide some of the most beautiful scenery in Japan. Each national park has a number of activities of their own; take a boat cruise at the Shiretoko National Park or go canoeing near the Kushiro river at Akan National Park.
Plenty of activities can also be found in the Wakkanai region, from hiking to visiting national parks and wetlands, it’s a nature lover’s dream. For more information, check out this great guide to Wakkanai Hokkaido.
Hot springs are also a popular activity throughout Hokkaido, you’ll find they vary from being open to the public to secluded resorts.
If you’re there in the winter, head to Sapporo, home to Mt. Teine which was featured in the 1972 Winter Olympics. Here, you’ll find a range of both beginner and experienced slopes. Sapporo also hosts an annual Snow Festival in early February which is famous for their ice sculpture competition which attracts artists from around the world.
Food and Dining
Hokkaido is well known for their seafood options, especially their uni -sea urchin-and hairy crab dishes. Head to Ramen Yokocho, an alley east of the Susukino Station in Sapporo that’s home to dozens of ramen shops with some unique flavors like crab ramen and scallop ramen.
Hokkaido is also the largest producer of dairy products in Japan, which results in some very unique combinations with their food. Specifically, their bata-kon ramen, a Hokkaido special that is made with a thick corn and butter broth.
Hokkaido also has some of the best options for sake, a must try is Asahikawa’s Otokoyama. Sapporo is also famous for their Sapporo Beer, available in every bar in the area. At Mugishutei, you’ll find over 300 bottled beer options and over 50 types of tequila. For more nightlife options, head to Susukino located south of center Sapporo, which has plenty of nightlife options ranging from pubs to clubs.
In Japan, trains are one of the fastest and lowest cost means of transportation. Getting a Japan Rail Pass can save you money if you plan to stay for several days or more. Regional and nation-wide passes are available, usually for the number of days of your choice.
Hokkaido is very spread out and therefore it is easiest to get around by car. Having a car makes it far easier to travel throughout the cities and take you the various national parks. Due to the snowy and icy roads in the winter, only drivers experienced with these conditions should drive. If you’re visiting during the winter and unfamiliar with driving in these conditions, there are other options.
Trains connect larger cities, with some lines taking you to within walking distance of national park entrances. During summer, cycling is a popular option, especially for cycling throughout town then taking a ride through one of the national parks. Finally, Experience Japan tour company provides single and multi-day tours to various areas and parks throughout Hokkaido, making it a great option for those opting out of driving.
Looking for a hostel in Japan? In search of a party in Tokyo? Traveling alone to Osaka or Tokyo?
1 Categories averaged on a per-item basis.
2 Categories averaged on a per-day basis.
For example, the Food2 daily average is for all meals for an entire day, while Entertainment1 is for each individual purchase.
Hokkaido Trip Planner • Plan your Hokkaido vacation itinerary
Hokkaido Holiday Planning Guide
The northernmost of Japan’s big four islands, Hokkaido seems a world apart from the rest of the country, with nearly a quarter of its total land area and only five percent of the population. To the Japanese, this island is synonymous with photogenic mountains and abundant wildlife. To most foreign visitors, a vacation in Hokkaido means exploring an area reminiscent of northern Europe, abundant in waterfalls, hot springs, volcanoes, mossy canyons, and peaceful lakes. Hokkaido also boasts the world’s longest railway tunnel, the only land connection between this and Japan’s main island Honshu.
Places to Visit in Hokkaido
Destinations on Hokkaido
Sapporo: Most Hokkaido itineraries include some time in this bustling city, renowned for its annual festivals, brewery, and vibrant nightlife.
Hakodate: Close in proximity to some of the best natural attractions on Hokkaido and renowned for its seafood, the gateway to Japan’s northernmost island also charms with abundant waterfront attractions.
Otaru: Featuring numerous historic buildings, Otaru has gained the attention of local and international tourists alike. You can also delve into the local artisan and music scene.
Biei-cho: Among the top places to visit on Hokkaido, Biei-cho treats you to the island’s lush, picturesque countryside.
Asahikawa: Surrounded by verdant hills, the city of Asahikawa offers plenty of natural sightseeing opportunities without leaving the urban environment. Fans of ramen will have lots to sample in the “ramen village.”
Popular Hokkaido Tourist Attractions
Odori Park: A 1.5 km (1 mi) long oasis in the heart of Sapporo, this thickly vegetated park splits the city into north and south.
Mount Hakodate: Get uninterrupted panoramic views of pristine surroundings–as well as the city and bay–from this 334 m (1,096 ft) peak.
Asahiyama Zoo: Small in size yet teeming with variety, this zoo allows for up-close experiences with animals. Enter strategically placed glass domes to be at eye level with some of the zoo’s most ferocious predators.
Sapporo Underground Pedestrian Space: Lined with restaurants and cafes, this underground zone connects several shopping centers and two train stations, and serves as a getaway spot from bad weather.
Otaru Canal: Once a bustling port, today this canal sets the scene for peaceful strolls along the promenade, surrounded by attractive architecture and hills in the distance.
Sapporo Clock Tower: An iconic tourist attraction in Hokkaido, Sapporo’s clock tower dates from 1878 and is one of the few remaining western-style constructions.
Susukino: One of Sapporo’s most vibrant districts, this red light district features bustling restaurants and cafes during the day–yet it really comes alive at night, when numerous venues stay open into the wee hours.
Goryokaku Tower: Take in expansive views from atop the 107 m (351 ft) Goryokaku Tower, overlooking Hakodate and the Goryokaku Fort below.
Former Hokkaido Government Office Building: History and architecture buffs on a tour of Hokkaido shouldn’t miss this 19th-century government house, a rare example of Neo-Baroque architecture in Japan.
Blue pond: A turquoise oasis surrounded by lush vegetation, Blue Pond is one of Biei-cho’s top natural sights.
Planning a Hokkaido Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit on Hokkaido with Kids
Planning your family tour of Hokkaido is easy, as the region is full of kid-friendly destinations. The island’s capital and perhaps the best city to visit with kids, Sapporo offers plenty of family-oriented attractions and amenities, including green spaces, shopping malls, and amusement parks.
On the southwest of the island, Abuta-gun offers excellent Hokkaido vacation ideas year-round: a popular ski center, large resorts catering to families, and tranquil onsen villages.
Rent a car and drive around Biei-cho, where the picturesque countryside will immerse kids in nature with plentiful gardens and reserves. You and your children can explore local craft workshops and galleries, take a few hikes, then relax in a hot spring or local restaurant.
Things to Do on Hokkaido with Kids
With no shortage of kid-friendly activities, adding family fun to your Hokkaido itinerary is easy. For some excitement, consider a rafting trip with Hokkaido Lion Adventure, or head to Wonder Land Sapporo for a kid-friendly snowmobile tour that ends atop a 600 m (1,968 ft) mountain.
Young animal lovers will appreciate a trip to Maruyama Zoo, a modest but thoughtfully arranged facility that includes a petting zoo, farm animals, and even kangaroos to meet and greet. If you come in winter, you’ll see snow leopards, penguins, and polar bears in their element.
Finally, there’s no shortage of learning experiences on Japan’s northernmost main island. Walk around the open-air museum at the Historical Village of Hokkaido for insight into the region’s different eras. For an extra treat, hop in a horse-drawn carriage and explore the surrounding architecture and artifacts.
Tips for a Family Vacation on Hokkaido
Taking children on a Hokkaido holiday should prove fairly easy and comfortable, as the island welcomes families of all sizes. Try staying at small family-run inns with an onsen (traditional hot spring) as opposed to large chains: the owners may be able to arrange private use of the baths, from which you can stargaze in the evening. If your Hokkaido itinerary includes a fair amount of travel, consider renting a car to get from place to place, as you’ll be able to go at your own pace and also stop to appreciate the gorgeous nature along the way.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Hokkaido
Cuisine of Hokkaido
Drawing tourists from across the country and abroad, Japan’s northernmost island is renowned for its seafood. You will find a large variety of fresh fish and processed dishes here during your Hokkaido trip. Some of the most common local specialties include ishikari nabe (stew made of salmon pieces and vegetables), ruibe (sliced salmon pieces frozen naturally outdoors), and, of course, Hokkaido ramen, the ubiquitous noodle dish served in a broth with various flavors. Sapporo ramen is known throughout Japan and should be on your list of things to try.
Head to Sapporo Jyogai Market to get a taste of some of the finest traditional local cuisine. You can sample plenty of dishes as you make your way through two rows of shops in this walk-through street. Be sure to stop in one of the tucked-away restaurants, as well.
Shopping on Hokkaido
Primarily renowned for its sweets, Japan’s northernmost island offers plenty of tasty items to bring home from your Hokkaido vacation. Cookie-lovers should pick up a box of Shiroi Koibito biscuits, available in just about any souvenir store in the region. The square-shaped sandwich features a mix of vanilla and chocolate flavors.
Music boxes from Otaru, made to order, are also excellent gifts. These sought-after pieces feature a unique design accompanied by a song of your choice.
When in Sapporo, consider picking up leather goods made from Ezo sika deer. This up-and-coming product is certified as Sapporo-style–goods produced in the city, drawing on its local traditions. You can easily spot deer from which the items are crafted in East Hokkaido.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Hokkaido
Interesting Facts About Hokkaido
* Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan’s main islands.
* Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital, ranks as Japan’s fifth-largest city, while the island itself measures one-fifth the size of Japan.
* Prior to Japanese settlement in 1869, the island was home to aboriginal Ainu peoples.
* Japan’s second-longest river, the Ishikari, runs through Hokkaido.
Holidays & Festivals on Hokkaido
One of the island’s best-known festivals, the Sapporo Snow Festival in February makes a great addition to any Hokkaido itinerary. Established in 1950, this spectacle attracts over 2 million visitors from all over Japan, who flock to Odori Park to view displays of enormous snow sculptures.
Every June sees the celebration of the island’s main event, the Hokkaido Shrine Festival. A procession of thousands of performers dressed in vibrantly colored Heian-period costumes extends from the Hokkaido Shrine into the heart of Sapporo.
In summer, beer-lovers can revel in the country’s largest beer festival, a month-long affair also held in Odori Park. An enormous beer garden serves brews from around the world, while other summer festivities in the city include dance, fireworks, and firefly hunting.
Useful Hokkaido Travel Tips
Climate of Hokkaido
Hokkaido experiences warm summers and icy winters. Average summer temperatures in August range between 17 and 22 C (63-72 F), while average winter temperatures dip from -4 to -12 C (25-10 F).
The best time to plan your Hokkaido holiday completely depends on what sort of trip you’re after. While early to mid-summer has traditionally been the peak season of tourism on Hokkaido, winter travel to the island is on the rise. If you want to visit one of Hokkaido’s numerous ski resorts, then January is the best time to visit. Head to the island’s north for maximum snowfall.
Transportation on Hokkaido
Because Hokkaido is large and spread out, you’ll cover large distances when traveling from place to place. As you plan, allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. A car is by far the most convenient way of making a tour of Hokkaido, though trains and buses can also get you where you need to go, for the most part. The island’s train system is rather limited compared to the rest of Japan’s. Service runs between major cities, but you can’t access national parks using solely this form of transport. Buses present a more affordable alternative. While less comfortable, they cover a wider range of destinations. If you expect to travel this way, pack lightly in anticipation of limited luggage space.
What is Dominwari? New Hokkaido Style? Go To
1. What is Dominwari?
Dominwari Update: April 2021
Dominwari has returned to Hokkaido in a new form: Dominwari New Travel Style. This new program has been redesigned with more restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout Hokkaido. To receive the discount, participants must only travel with people they live with, and within their own region of Hokkaido. It is currently only in effect for April, 2021, but may be extended throughout spring and summer. All details for this new program can be found here (Japanese only).
Dominwari Update: 7th September, 2020
Another round of Dominwari budget is set to release in February 2021, with ~2.6 billionJPY to be allocated to tourism service providers around the prefecture. If you are a Hokkaido resident, stay tuned for updates on when we can offer more Dominwari discounts for our properties. Source
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Dominwari Update: 13th July, 2020
Please note that the first round of Dominwari budget allocation for Vacation Niseko has now been exhausted, along with the prefecture-wide budget for Hokkaido. Thank you to the guests who chose to stay with us under this program, and if you are still interested in visiting Niseko this Summer, be sure to visit our special offers page where we are continuing to offer great deals and discounts (link in bio)!
Dominwari [ どうみん割 ] is the Hokkaido-based incentive for residents to encourage travel within the prefecture. The incentive gives tourism providers a certain amount of money (based on the numbers in their application) to offset rates, making it cheaper for guests to book accommodation, transport and activities. Vacation Niseko are happy to announce they are participating in this incentive, and will be offering decreased rates for Hokkaido residents who choose to stay with us.
The amount of money Hokkaido residents save on each product depends on its initial price, you can see the table below for the different price tiers:
- Total grant amount by Hokkaido government: 2.3billion yen
- Eligible for: Hokkaido residents only
- Discount offered to traveller: up to half the amount
- Scheduled start: 1st July, 2020
- Businesses eligible for the funds: Those who practice the “New Hokkaido Style” – more info on this below
|Product||Target Business||Expenditure per person||Discount|
|Accommodation||Accommodation providers, tourist associations, OTAs, travel agents||6,000 yen ～ 9,999 yen||3,000 yen|
|10,000 yen ～ 14,999 yen||5,000 yen|
|15,000 yen ～ 19,999 yen||7,500 yen|
|20,000 yen or more||10,000 yen|
|Accommodation with transport||OTAs, travel agents||10,000 yen ～ 14,999 yen||5,000 yen|
|15,000 yen ～ 19,999 yen||7,500 yen|
|20,000 yen or more||10,000 yen|
|Day tours with transport||OTAs, travel agents||4,000 yen ～ 5,999 yen||2,000 yen|
|6,000 yen ～ 9,999 yen||3,000 yen|
|10,000 yen||5,000 yen|
|Outdoor activity day tours||OTAs, travel agents (limited to tours), Hokkaido Experience Tourism Promotion Council||4,000 yen ～ 5,999 yen||2,000 yen|
|6,000 yen ～ 9,999 yen||3,000 yen|
|10,000 yen||5,000 yen|
What is the “New Hokkaido Style”?
Only businesses who implement the ‘New Hokkaido Style’ safety recommendations will be eligible to receive the Dominwari funds. The recommendations aim to shift the way businesses run in a post-pandemic world, and to move forward in the coming years with the goal of Japan being COVID-free. The recommendations consist of 7 steps:
- Ensure that all staff wear masks and frequently wash their hands
- Monitor the health condition of the staff
- Regularly ventilate and air out your facility
- Regularly sanitize and wash facility equipment
- Ensure that all staff keep a safe distance
- Call upon customers to follow proper cough etiquette and wash their hands
- Proactively inform customers about your efforts
Further to the 7 points, the new style suggests the following as best practice for all in Hokkaido (and around Japan):
- Social distance where possible
- Frequently wash your hands
- Use cough and sneeze etiquette – wear masks and cough/sneeze into tissues or your elbow
- Circulate the air where possible
- Avoid the ‘Three C’s’ – closed spaces, close contact and crowded places
- Consider using take out and delivery services rather than eating in at restaurants
- Make use of online shopping services
Vacation Niseko has actively implemented these recommendations into the summer and winter operations through our ‘Safe Stay Guarantee’ and we have been approved for Dominwari funds as per the conditions of the incentive. For more information on how we are adjusting to the “New Hokkaido Style”, visit the link below.
What is the “Go To” Campaign?
Important Update to the Go To Campaign: April 2021
The Japanese government announced an extension to the nationwide suspension of the Go To campaign until further notice. Please note that reservations will not be eligible for the below discounts until the campaign resumes.
For questions regarding the Go To Campaign, please visit the official news source or feel free to contact us.
Update to the Go To Campaign: December 2020
As of December 15th, 2020, the Japanese government has announced a nationwide blanket ban on Go To campaign spending for stays between December 28th, 2020 and January 11th, 2021. Please note that reservations commencing in this period will not be eligible for the below discounts.
Reservations that have already been confirmed between these dates will also be affected, however we will offer discounts in place of the Go To campaign for existing guests who still wish to travel. Please contact our team if you have a reservation between the aforementioned dates to see what options are available to you.
The nationwide “Go To” campaign has also launched, and it’s perfect for travellers from other Japanese prefectures wishing to visit Niseko. Initiated by the Japanese government, up to 50% of traveller’s expenses will be compensated in the form of discounts and regional travel vouchers. Here are the key points:
- Only Japanese residents can receive Go To benefits – international tourists cannot receive discounts or coupons.
- Only stays of 7 nights or less are eligible for the Go To campaign.
- Trips to the Tokyo area are eligible for the Go To campaign from October 1st, 2020.
More information on Go To and Vacation Niseko packages
For examples, eligible package inclusions and information on how to get the discount for your Vacation Niseko package, click the button below or contact us.
90,000 Japanese Holidays | Domestic tour operator in Japan Japan Only
There are many traditional matsuri festivals in Japan, from ancient celebrations to more recent regional events. Japanese festivities are usually attended by a large number of spectators – locals and guests. The audience is noisily and often cheerfully introduced to the customs of the respective region.
In most celebrations, palanquins and ornamented dasi chariots appear on the streets in addition to the usual vehicles.During the procession, the participants loudly shout “vassoy-vassoy”, giving the city a special festive atmosphere. Participants of the ceremony are colorfully dressed and beautifully made up.
Major festivals and holidays in Japan:
time: first decade of February
location: Sapporo – Odori Park, Suskino and other areas of the city
The Sapporo Snow Festival is a major event in Japan and is famous all over the world.In 2009 the festival celebrated its 60th anniversary. Every year the festival of snow and ice figures attracts more than 2 million people – residents and visitors of the city. In recent years, the crowd strolling through Odori Park and other festival venues has often seen clearly non-Japanese faces. Residents of other countries come to admire the short-lived works of art. At Odori Park, the main venue for the snow festival, contestants from all over the world create about 300 large and small compositions. In the evening, the backlight comes on, the music turns on.Guests are offered local cuisine, performances by young artists on the snow stage, snowboarder competitions, an ice rink and other entertainment.
time: third decade of May
location: Tokyo, Asakusa
Sanja Matsuri is the festival of the Senso Temple in Tokyo. The history of the holiday dates back to the Edo period. This is one of the largest celebrations in the capital.The main role is assigned to palanquins, the number of which reaches one hundred pieces! Celebration participants in Happy Capes shout “Soya! Soya! ” Ornate palanquins float solemnly through the crowd. The holiday takes place annually in the third decade of May for three days.
This is the festival of the Yasaka Shrine in Mt.Kyoto. The festival is over a thousand years old, which in itself is a worthy cause for pride. The festival lasts all July, but the most colorful events are Yoyama and the Yamaboko procession. On July 16, residents of the city throughout the day create small, but very beautiful Yoyama chariots, which, with the onset of evening twilight, are taken out into the street and illuminated for the joy of passers-by. And on July 17th they are taken across the city in a solemn procession of Yamaboko accompanied by the refined sounds of “Konchi-kitin”, which is called “Accompaniment of Gion.”So many people gather to watch the chariots and the procession that the police sometimes have to clear the way for the actual participants in the celebration.
time: August 2-7
location: prefecture Aomori, Aomori city
The Aomori Nebuta Festival is around 300 years old. The festival is dedicated to fire and represents one of the most famous fire ceremonies in Japan.This festival has been declared an important cultural heritage of the country. A huge bright “sleeping pig” – the heroine of myths and scenes of Kabuki – every now and then appears in the evenings in the city. Her movement around the city is accompanied by the music of a pipe and the beat of drums, which can not always drown out the noise of the three million crowd of local residents and guests from other regions and countries.
90,000 Rest in Japan: Sapporo
Sapporo is the largest settlement in the northern part of Japan with a population of about 2 million people.It is the administrative center of Hokkaido and houses the prefectual government.
Sapporo is a relatively young city. When SIMA Yoshitake, the first head of the Hokkaido Development Authority, arrived in 1869 on the banks of the Toehira River, where the city is now, it was covered with dense forest, in which bears, deer and wolves were abundant. The city was built by enthusiastic pioneers who laid the foundations for the development of Hokkaido. It is believed that the name “Sapporo” comes from the Ainu words “sato”, “poro”, “petsu”, which means “big dry river”.
Sapporo is one of the few Japanese cities that is built according to a clear architectural plan. The main boulevard Odori, 100 m wide and 1.6 km long, stretches through the entire city center, dividing it into northern and southern parts. Streets and avenues intersect at right angles, like on a chessboard. Sapporo imports most of its consumer goods; beer, dairy products, hemp products and other light industry goods are produced locally.
Sapporo Snow Festival
The snow festival in the capital of Hokkaido, Sapporo, has gained worldwide fame due to its exquisite forms and enormous scale.It arose in 1950. Then six small snow figures of animals were installed in Odori Park, it was nothing more than a children’s matinee. Gradually, the snow festival in Sapporo turned into a majestic cultural spectacle. It is organized simultaneously in three districts: in Odori Park, on a wide area near the sports complex, at the Makomanai skating stadium and in the Susukino nightlife districts. Both large international teams and individual sculptors take part in the celebration.At one of the holidays, the Russian team presented to the jury and spectators a reduced copy of St. Basil’s Cathedral, and the Americans presented the White House.
The main celebrations take place at Odori Park. In the year of the 35th festival, 180 sculptures and compositions of snow and ice were installed in Odori Park. One of the compositions included Buckingham Palace (12 meters high and 27 meters long along the facade), the Taj Mahal and the main palace of the Okinawan castle complex Shuri. There are significantly fewer figures in the Makomanai sports complex, a little more than two dozen.Nevertheless, they are not inferior to the Odori Park exhibits in terms of size, architectural design, and craftsmanship. The hundreds of ice figures at Susukino are designed to attract more visitors to the entertainment area. The figures were placed on the main street for four blocks. Such sculptural compositions look very colorful in the evenings with well-thought-out lighting.
After walking in the snowy city, dine at the Kirin beer hall or Sapporo beer garden, where you can sample the Genghis-Khan Barbecue.The service package includes an opportunity within 100 minutes. for $ 30 independently grill vegetables, young lamb and drink as much beer, whiskey and other drinks as your heart desires. You can also drink beer in the original snow yurt, where the waiter will bring a one-liter mug of Kirin beer.
Hokkaido University is known for its high scientific achievements, especially in the fields of agriculture and natural sciences.The total area of the campus, including experimental farms, research institutes for low temperature physics, applied electronics, catalysis and immunology, is 67,581 hectares.
Originally founded in 1872, this educational institution was a college for training specialists in the development of Hokkaido. Among its graduates there are many enthusiasts who have made a huge contribution to the development of the island. An indelible mark was left by Dr. William Clarke, who taught here for only one year – from 1876.to 1877 Dr. Clark had a profound influence on his students, not only with his knowledge of agriculture and other sciences, but also with the strength of his personality and the depth of his Christian faith. Parting words of Dr. Clark: “Guys, go for it!” – carved on the plinth of his bust on the campus.
The Hokkaido University maintains the Botanical Garden, which cultivates about 4000 hectares on an area of 13.3 hectares.plant species, there are also 2 museums – University and Ain. The garden contains a part of the forest that grew here before the foundation of the city. The University Museum contains information of a natural scientific nature, especially the collection of stuffed birds presented in it, collected by the Englishman E.W. Blackiston. The Ainu Museum, founded in memory of Dr. J. Butchlor, the English envoy to Japan, researcher of the history of the Ainu, houses 2,500 exhibits related to the history of the Ainu and other northern peoples.
Maruyama Park is located at the foot of Maruyama Hill, at the western end of the city. On the territory of the park with an area of 686,000 sq. meters there is a zoo, a stadium and a youth hotel. The park is famous for its wonderful cherry and plum trees.
This main shopping street in Sapporo is full of shops and restaurants.
Located between the Soseigawa Canal and the Toyhira River, this park covers an area of 174,000 sq.sq.m. It is laid out around the pond and is replete with beautiful flower gardens. There is also a modern Kitara concert hall, the Hokkaida Literary Museum, a Japanese garden with a tea ceremony house, a pond with boats, a puppet theater, an orphanage, a sports hall, and tennis courts.
This central avenue, 100 m wide, runs through the city center. Its main decoration is intricate flower beds. The Snow Festival is held here in early February.
Sapporo TV Tower
The height of the tower is 147 m, an observation deck is located at a height of 90 m, and a planetarium is located at the base of the tower.
This is Sapporo’s only remaining European-style building reminiscent of the early settlers of the 19th century. It belonged to the Agricultural College, the predecessor of Hokkaido University. The famous clock, a symbol of the pioneers of Hokkaido, has survived since 1881.and still not only show the exact time, but also delight the ear with the melodic chimes.
About 8 km southwest of the center of Sapporo is Mount Moiva. From its summit, from a height of 1.530 m above sea level, a majestic view of Sapporo and its surroundings opens. You can get there first in the cable car cabin, and then on the suspension chairs of the lift. There is also a good 4 km road to the top.
Hokkaido Agricultural Experimental Station, Livestock Division
A lot of research work in the field of animal husbandry is being carried out at this station, all types of domestic animals, primarily sheep, are bred on the territory of 1050 hectares.The farm is located on the outskirts of Sapporo, 9.5 km from the center in a picturesque location on Hitsujigaoka Hill. The observation deck offers an impressive view of the entire farm.
Snow Festival – 1st week of February
Hokkaido Shrine Festival – June 14-16
Summer Festival – July 21-August 20
Bon Odori – mid-August
Residents of Novosibirsk put the Russian soul into Japanese dolls
On March 6, a competition for girls was held at the Siberia-Hokkaido cultural center.Hinamatsuri, the Japanese festival of dolls, is considered to be their day. Novosibirsk schoolgirls were offered to make Russian and traditional Japanese dolls. Novosibirsk News has found out what is common between toys of different cultures and what is Hinadan for.
10:23, 09 March 2020
In Japan, on March 3, they celebrate the day of the dolls – Hinamatsuri.In the cultural center “Siberia-Hokkaido” it was celebrated on March 6. A competition for the best Russian and Japanese doll was organized for the girls. Varya participates in both nominations: she crocheted two toys.
“The Russian is under the birch, and the Japanese is under the sakura. We have the only knitted work. Because of this, they may somehow differ from others. In general, the main thing is to participate and to make it enjoyable, ”says the participant of the holiday Varvara Raburger.
In ancient Japan, dolls were made from straw or paper, and after the holiday they were lowered down the river.It was believed that they carry away all diseases and hardships. Today, modern and very expensive dolls are carefully passed from generation to generation and taken out once a year – for the Hinamatsuri holiday.
“For this holiday, special treats are prepared and little girls are dressed up in bright colorful kimonos. And girls, as a rule, visit each other and celebrate their day – girls’ day, ”says Svetlana Zhamsaranova, methodologist of the Siberia-Hokkaido cultural center.
Traditional dolls are presented to girls in Japan from birth to wedding.They put them on a special Hinadan shelf. The real Hinadan has seven degrees. On the first one, the emperor and empress must be placed.
Novosibirsk craftswomen make dolls from plasticine, yarn and clay. The best are chosen by the judges of the competition. They make sure that the work is interesting, neat and soulful.
“There is a common feature between dolls made by the Japanese themselves and those made by Russians – this is that each person puts their soul into their work.I look at the dolls of Russian masters, which are declared as Japanese, and I see in them a piece of the Russian soul and culture, ”notes Kazue Saito, the judge of the competition for the best Russian and Japanese doll.
In the meantime, the jury was evaluating the work, the girls were told about the traditions of the holiday and even taught a few Japanese hieroglyphs. The exhibition of dolls in “Siberia-Hokkaido” can be seen until the end of this week.
As the Japanese doll festival was celebrated – see the Novosibirsk News story:
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90,000 J-FEST – a colorful celebration of Japanese culture
November 25, 2020
The era of coronavirus, as you can call our time, brought a lot of changes to the world and almost radically changed one thing – our opportunity to meet each other, visit events, museums, theaters and many other places. Most of the events have smoothly shifted to a virtual format, we are all used to this, and now the number of online meetings, lectures and exhibitions cannot be counted.Among all this diversity, an absolutely extraordinary, colorful and exciting event is taking place these days – the online festival of modern Japanese culture J-Fest.
What is J-FEST?
The annual J-Fest is the largest festival of contemporary Japanese culture in Russia, which has been held since 2009. Then it was called the “Festival of Japanese Pop Culture”, was held in the Central House of Entrepreneurs in Moscow and was organized largely thanks to Mr. Takamas Sakurai, who worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and made a great contribution to the popularization of Japanese youth culture.He was joined by one of the most famous Japanese models Misako Aoki, a symbol of the Lolita subculture and officially appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan “Ambassador Kawaii” (“kawaii” is translated from Japanese as “cute”, “adorable” and is the name of the direction of Japanese pop culture, based on childishness and “childishness”).
Already in 2009, in the first year of its holding, the festival became extremely popular among Russians. Since then, the festival has continued to grow and expand, allowing everyone to experience a wide variety of aspects of Japanese culture, including music, theater, cinema, anime, Japanese cuisine and more.Since 2017, the festival has been held outdoors, on the Arts Square in front of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Gorky Park, in the format of the traditional Japanese summer holiday Natsu Matsuri. Three key components of such a celebration are the traditional colorful Bon Odori dances (dance in a round dance to folk music, symbolizing the gratitude of the Japanese to their ancestors), Japanese cuisine and the corresponding atmosphere created with the help of decorations and decorations.
Today the organizing committee of the festival includes the Embassy of Japan in the Russian Federation and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, and attracts the best specialists who contribute their experience, expertise and creativity to the development of a cultural event of a very high level.J-Fest is attended by about two million people every year. Last year the festival was recognized as the cultural event of the year by the Kimono magazine.
The International Chodiev Foundation (ICF) supports and is the general sponsor of the festival since its inception. This significant project of the Foundation fits into one of our priority areas of work – support and development of intercultural dialogue between Russia and Japan. For many years and fruitful work in this direction, the founder of ICF Fattah Shodiev this year was awarded two prestigious awards at once from the governments of the Russian Federation and Japan – the Order of Friendship and the Order of the Rising Sun.J-Fest, along with supporting the festival of Russian culture in Japan, organizing exhibitions of Japanese art, theater tours and other initiatives, is part of the Fund’s great work (you can read more about ICF projects in the field of culture and art here, and about supporting scientific and publishing projects here).
This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it became impossible to hold the festival in the traditional format and it was decided to hold it online under the motto “Japan is a click away” (November 15, 2020 – December 5, 2020).Having moved to a new format, the festival has become a truly unique event, now in the virtual world. Three weeks of a rich program, including 130 events for a wide variety of tastes – lectures by leading Japanese scholars, film screenings, master classes in Japanese cuisine, calligraphy, ikebana compilation, Japanese language lessons, theatrical performances, music concerts, cosplay costume contests and much, much more. A great advantage of the festival in a virtual format is the opportunity to expand the geography of everyone who wants to take part in the festival, because now it is not necessary to be in Russia at all, moreover, you can enjoy J-FEST quite easily and simply without leaving your home.
Preparation of the festival in a new format has caused a lot of painstaking work. But it was certainly worth it! The Arts Square has been digitally reproduced, and it is also possible to move around, “enter” various buildings and “attend” events of interest. For example, in the sports arena “Budokan” you can enjoy martial arts or a master class on the game “Go”, in a teahouse you can watch a traditional tea ceremony or listen to a lecture about a traditional Japanese garden, watch films about Japan and Japanese culture.
For the convenience of visitors, the events are divided into groups and thematic days of the week (events on the topic appear online on the corresponding day of the week):
Monday – history, culture, documentaries.
Tuesday – calligraphy, tea ceremony, ikebana, bonsai, origami.
Wednesday – Japanese cuisine, travel, Japanese language.
Thursday – sports, board games, dances, ninjas.
Friday – subculture, cosplay, karaoke, fashion, modernity.
Saturday and Sunday – special weekend program.
In addition to visiting virtual events, the festival website also provides useful resources for fans of Japanese culture – for example, you can find a selection of interesting thematic magazines or links to purchase Japanese goods and products. Everyone can also take part in various competitions (the main prize is a trip to Japan), or simply share their creativity (drawings, photos, etc.), virtual area on the map – Asakusa).
Screening of ICF-sponsored documentaries about Japan
It should be noted that three documentaries created with the support of the International Chodiev Foundation are now available for viewing in the Golden Pavilion:
“Japan has many faces”
A full-length documentary that reveals the uniqueness, diversity and contrasts of Japanese culture: traditional Japan and modern Japan, ancient customs and crafts, and the perfection and ubiquity of new technologies, secrets of success and lessons to be learned from the Japanese way of life and thinking, Japanese cuisine and longevity; and much more.
Scriptwriter: Alexander Panov, director: Marina Kireeva. Duration: 52 minutes.
“Towards Trust: Russians in Japan”
A documentary film dedicated to the history of Russian-Japanese relations and the people who have contributed to them over the past two centuries. It also tells about many hitherto unknown historical facts. The Japanese tattoo of Nikolai II, the genius of the kimono Itchik Kubota and his imprisonment in Siberia, the elite Morozoff chocolate in Kobe, the Starukhin baseball stadium in Hokkaido – you can learn about this and much more from the film.
Scriptwriter: Alexander Panov, director: Marina Kireeva. Duration: 52 minutes.
Itchiku Kubota’s Kimono: A Story on Silk
A film dedicated to the genius of textile art, the master Itchik Kubota (1917-2003), who devoted his life to restoring the lost medieval Japanese technique – silk painting “tsujigahana”. Master Kubota lived an unusual life, during which he even visited a political prisoner in Siberia – all this is told in the film.For more information on Itchiku Kubota, his work and ICF’s work to preserve his heritage, click here.
Scriptwriter and director: Radik Kudoyarov.
On November 28, within the framework of the festival, the premiere of a new documentary film, also created with the support of the International Chodiev Foundation – “Hokkaido: Path to the Northern Seas” will take place. The film tells about the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido, the development of which began only a century and a half ago.Hokkaido is the closest neighbor of Russia’s Far Eastern regions. The island is rich in vast expanses, beauty of nature, unique natural springs, ecologically clean agricultural products and, of course, the generosity and hospitality of local residents.
Festival website (an interactive map of the festival is available on the main page).
The festival schedule is available here.
“Golden Pavilion” – watching films online.
Virtual stand of the International Chodiev Foundation (ICF).
Daily updates about the festival and program announcements – J-Fest accounts in social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, VKontakte).
Announcements and reminders about screenings of films of the International Chodiev Foundation, current news of the Foundation – our pages on social networks (Facebook, Instagram).
YouTube channel of the International Chodiev Foundation (ICF).
If you have not visited J-FEST Online yet, we highly recommend taking advantage of this unique opportunity right now – the program will last until December 5th.We are confident that this exciting and colorful festival, which reveals the richness and diversity of Japanese culture, will not leave anyone indifferent.
90,000 Japan in winter, resorts, weather and holidays
There are about 700 ski resorts in the country. Most of them are concentrated in Hokkaido. The skiing season starts already in December: a stable snow cover appears in Niseko and Furano at this time.
Many sports facilities have appeared in Japan thanks to the Olympic Games.Nagano and Sapporo are still large international complexes of winter disciplines. There are enough trails for beginners and professionals alike. Many slopes are illuminated at night – such trails are found, for example, in Hakuba.
A nice feature of Japanese ski resorts is the proximity of some of the facilities to the onsen-rich regions. This is Shiga Kogen.
Japanese winter cuisine
National peculiarities of Japanese cuisine deserve to be the subject of a separate tour.Some dishes only appear here in winter. It is at this time that the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo is most active.
Seafood lovers can be advised to go to the city of Kanazawa or Hokkaido. Miso ramen is excellently cooked on the northern island. It is better to go to Hiroshima or Miyajima for oysters. Dishes such as oden and nabe, which are exclusively wintertime, best demonstrate the peculiarities of the national cuisine.
The traditional Japanese izakaya pubs are especially popular in winter.It has a relaxed atmosphere, making it easy to blend in with the locals.
Japanese can be considered a workaholic nation. But on New Year’s Eve, the whole country goes to rest. The holiday lasts a week and takes place in the family circle. Noisy performances and fireworks can be seen only in large cities, which are full of tourists. Tokyo is especially different in this regard, where the most fun companies gather. A good view opens from the vicinity of the Tokyo Tower and in the Ikebukuro area.
Those who wish to learn more about Japanese traditions in celebrating the New Year, it is better to go to Kyoto. The ancient capital remains true to national customs.
Sapporo Snow Festival
Every February, Hokkaido’s largest city, Sapporo, attracts international guests to take part in the Yuki Matsuri Snow Festival. The holiday is famous for its huge snow sculptures. Each sculpture is the result of creativity and painstaking work of the masters.In the evening, the entire complex is illuminated, which creates an incredible sight.
In addition to the Yuki Matsuri exhibition, you can take part in numerous events that unite all ages. To get to the holiday, you need to take care of the choice of the tour in advance – Sapporo begins to fill up with tourists a few months before the festival.
90,000 HOCKKAIDO ISLAND SKI RESORTS: NISECO, RUSUTSU and FURANO
TOURS IN NISEKO
TOURS IN RUSUTSU
TOURS IN FURANO
Japan’s northernmost prefecture, island Hokkaido famous for its ski resorts and onsen.In winter, this region receives up to 2 meters of snow, which is famous for its high quality and attracts skiers from all over the world! The skiing season lasts from November to May. But besides the ski resorts in Hokkaido, there are many places worth visiting – the Daisetsu National Park, the end of the earth – the Shiretoko Peninsula, included in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List, the Shikotsu-Toya National Park with many volcanoes and lakes. Thermal springs at Noboribetsu, Jozankei and Sounkyo. It hosts many festivals, the most famous of which are the Sapporo Winter Snow Festival, the Otaru Snow Light Path, and the Shikotsu Lake Ice Festival.Summer – lavender bloom in Furano, Sapporo Beer Festival.
The most famous resort is named NISECO The name Niseko comes from the Ainu language, the indigenous people of the region, which means “steep rock”. In the eastern part of Niseko is Mount Yotei, which has been named one of the best mountains in Japan, and besides that, it is very similar to Mount Fuji. Because of this similarity, the mountain is sometimes called “Ezo-Fuji” (* Ezo is the old name of Hokkaido). Niseko is considered the largest, equipped and most diverse ski resort in Hokkaido. Niseko stands out among other resorts in Japan for the quality of world-class snow – powder and the length of the tracks. The longest track is 5.6 km. Niseko is located two hours from the airport Sapporo (Shin-Chitose) and from the city of Sapporo. Niseko is divided into three resort areas: Grand Hirafu (Hirafu and Hanazono), Niseko Village, Niseko Annupri. There are more than 60 slopes in total. This is the largest ski resort in the country with slopes up to the so-called “night skiing”. Niseko Village is notable for a magnificent view of the city of Niseko.Yotei. Niseko Annupri, which inherited the name of the mountain on which the Niseko resort is located, has all the conditions for guests of different levels of skill. In all areas there are hotels (most with hot springs), condominiums, cottages. At the same time, it is usually not difficult to get from remote places, because a shuttle service to the ski lodge is organized almost everywhere. The cost of the lift varies depending on the selected number of hours or days. You can buy a 5-hour ski pass, an 8-hour ski pass, a night ski pass, for two days, for three days, etc.In general, for one day the cost of a ski pass will be about 5,500 yen per person, equipment rental will cost about 4,000 yen.
RUSUTSU is located 90 minutes from New Chitose Airport and Sapporo City. It occupies an imposing area of rich nature surrounded by Shikotsu-Toya National Park and offers skiing in winter, golfing and amusement park fun in summer. This is one of the best winter resorts in Hokkaido, located on the slopes of three mountains – East, West and Mount Isola.18 lifts, including 7 four chairlifts and 4 gondolas. 37 magnificent tracks with a total length of 42 km, including a high-speed track with a length of 3.5 km. Snowboard park with 100m halfpipe and many jumps.
Here you can try snowmobiling, sleigh rides and dog sledding, snow tubing (downhill slopes on rubber “cheesecake” circles), snowrafting (group descent on an inflatable boat or a raft made of reinforced rubber), snowshoeing. The resort simultaneously accepts up to 3 thousand.visitors in the hotel buildings South Wing, North Wing and Rusutsu Westin Hotel). For companies and family tourists, log cabins-cottages Highland Lodge, Travel Lodge. The complex has shopping centers, game rooms, thermal baths, indoor swimming pool with artificial waves, karaoke rooms.
Rusutsu Westin Hotel is a separate building with 23 floors. There are two restaurants, a banquet hall, hot springs. The hotel offers luxury interior in rooms ranging from 76 sq.m.
FURANO is famous for light dry snow and magnificent views of the valley. The longest track is 4 km. Furano, like Niseko, is located a two-hour drive from the airport Sapporo (Shin-Chitose) and from the city of Sapporo itself. Furano has about 30 hotels and guest houses. The nightlife here is quieter than at other ski resorts, but the town is distinguished by a variety of catering establishments, the opportunity to purchase Japanese-quality food and products, as well as stroll through the fabulous craft village, ride a snowmobile, do snowboarding and take a trip to the neighboring ski resorts – Tomamu. Asahidake, Kamui Ski Links.The resort has free lifts for children under 12, the longest tubing in Japan, an ice bar in the Snow Village. There is a bus from the hotel to Furano city center. You can visit other ski resorts (Tomamu, Asahidake, Kamui Ski Links) on the bus tour. And once a day there is a free shuttle bus to Sapporo hotels
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Hokkaido: Our list of horse riding academies, farms and stables!
Saddle up! Surfing through our horse riding offers in the Hokkaido area.These are all inputs we have for you in this region. Take some horse riding lessons, learn to ride, or go on a guided horse riding tour with one of our horse stables or riding school in Hokkaido. Miss your own entry? Find your entry-connection at the end of the page.
Regional Description: Riding in Hokkaido
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