Have fun in the great nature!
Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk,
Japan Hokkaido is approximately on the same latitude of Marseille in France or Boston in the United States.
Such natural environment offers great deal of outdoor programs, too.
  • Basic data
  • Practical information
  • What to see in Hokkaido
  • Access
  • Hokkaido Tourism Site

Basic data

Area
83,456 square km
(Approximately 22 percent of the total area of Japan)
Location
139°20' - 148°53' East Longitude 41°21' - 45°33' North Latitude
Population
5571770 people (Approx. 4.5 % of the total population in Japan)
(As of March 31 2010)
Climate

As Hokkaido has a wide area, diverse climates can be seen. In the central and northern area where major ski resorts are found has particularly heavy snowfalls.

  • spring (Apr. - Early June)
    It is still chilly in early April. Snow remains in mountain areas and sometimes there is some snowfalls even in the urban area.
  • summer (Mid June - Aug.)
    There are only a few days when the temperature goes over 30 degree Celcius. The air gets cool in the morning and the evening.
  • autumn (Sept. - Nov.)
    As winter approaches it gets cold in the morning and the evening and snow begins to fall from late November.
  • winter (Dec. - Mar.)
    Everywhere including urban area is covered with snow and roads gets slippery with ice. January and February is the coldest period and snow remains until early May in some places.
  November December January February March April
Temperature(high/low) 7.7/0.2℃ 1.9/-3℃ 0.8/-4.7℃ 1.8/-5.2℃ 4.4/-2.4℃ 10.6/2.7℃
Sunrise & Sunset 6:33/16:07 7:03/16:03 7:01/16:30 6:27/17:11 5:38/17:47 4:45/18:23

The four seasons of Hokkaido

Return to Pagetop

Practical information

Electricity

  • Electric Voltage/100V
  • Frequency/50HZ
  • Plug Type/Atype

※Be sure to get a voltage/plug transformer.

Currency

Japanese currency is Yen (¥). To change your money to Japanese Yen, go to a bank, post office or money exchanges located inside of New Chitose Airport, and major hotels. ATM such as Yucho Bank, (post office bank), Seven Eleven Bank(mainly located inside of convenience stores), you can access [PLUS], [Cirrus] and [Chinese Bank] international network to withdraw Japanese Yen from your account. Yucho Banks are usually found in any city, town or village in Japan, and the Seven Eleven Bank ATMs are placed in 850 locations throughout Hokkaido.

Business hours of post office

Mon. - Fri.9:00 - 15:00 (Yucho Bank until 16:00)
Closed on Sat., Sun., and Holidays, New Years(Dec. 31 - Jan. 3)

ATM

Basically it opens from8:45 - 18:00
some urban area it opens from8:00 - 21:00
(ATM at some locations are accessible on Sat., Sun., and Holidays.)
ATMs located inside of convenience storesAccessible 24 hours in some cases.

Credit Cards

In Japan cash is mostly used but some credit cards are accepted such as JCB, VISA, Master Card, American Express and a few others. You may use credit cards at locations such as department stores, hotels and some super markets, appliance stores, book stores, gas stations JR Reserved seating ticket machines, travel agencies and middle class restaurants. There are some places that do not take credit cards such as hot spring inns in the country, private businesses, public transportation ticket booths, fast food shops, convenience stores, 100 yen stores, and ordinary vending machines.

Return to Pagetop

What to see in Hokkaido

Hokkaido scenery

Nature
There are many natural parks inside of Hokkaido like Shiretoko Peninsulawhich was registered to Unesco's World Natural Heritage in 2005, as well as the Kushiro Wetlands and 12 others are part of 37 wetlands throughout Japan that are registered under the Ramsar Convention. Even now there are areas where you will find forests and rivers in their primary state and cranes, eagles, owls, brown bears, and Ezo deer live within these forests and are protected and monitored according to species. The drift ice that can be seen between January and February are just another magnificent part of Hokkaido's winter beauty. The ice breaker cruises that move along breaking the drift ice are a popular ride. (Cruises depart from Abashiri and Monbetsu)
History and Culture
In the 19th Century, many pioneers came from various parts of Japan to Hokkaido in search of a new life, and learned how to survive through the severe temperatures and develop this difficult land with the help of America and other countries, by learning their techniques and receiving advice on agriculture and industry. The pioneers brought many types of folk art and qualities from their homeland to Hokkaido, which then blended with each other and formed a unique and open minded culture that is typical of Hokkaido. In order to really get a feel for the history and culture of the native Ainu, the best place to visit is the Akan Ainu Kotan, or the Shiraoi Ainu Porotokotan. There you will see mock religious ceremonies, as well as exhibitions that explain and show how the native Ainu lived daily.
  • Old Hokkaido Government Building

    Old Hokkaido Government
    Building "Red Brick" (Sapporo)
  • Ainu's Iomante Fire Festival(Akan)

    Ainu's Iomante Fire Festival
    (Akan)
Tourism and Events
Sapporo, the city of 1.9 million is the major spot for sightseeing in Hokkaido. Everything from gigantic shopping malls to museums, parks, art museums and restaurants, historical facilities exist for fun sightseeing. The Sapporo Snow Festival which is held every year in February in downtown Sapporo's Odori Park is now known world wide. Between January and February there are other famous and exciting winter events held around Hokkaido such as the Chitose and Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival, the Asahikawa winter Festival, Sounkyo Hyobaku Ice Festival and the Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan Festival.
  • Sapporo Snow Festival

    Sapporo Snow Festival
The taste of Hokkaido
Hokkaido which is surrounded by sea on all sides is also a cornucopia of fresh seafood. You can enjoy fresh catch of the day at a sushi restaurant or at a sushi train restaurant. The mutton barbeque, a traditional Hokkaido dish is made with lamb and fresh vegetables dipped into a secret sauce and then barbequed on a helmet like hot plate, a definite favorite among tourists as well as locals. Sapporo Ramen noodles, Asahikawa Ramen and Hakodate Ramen have different flavors, and are a popular dish. Dairy is also very prominent, which explains why there are so many confectioneries, cheese factories, and there are many wineries and breweries too!
  • Hairy Crab

    Hairy Crab
  • Ramen noodles

    Ramen noodles
Hot springs
Most hot springs that are scattered all throughout Japan originally served the purpose for medical healing of injuries and for health. Now days, they are visited for much more than physical healing but emotional and mental healing and for enjoyment, relaxing and enjoying a meal and the atmosphere of the old inns. Just in Hokkaido there are many popular hot spring villages such as, Jozankei, Asarigawa, Niseko, Shikotsu, Noboribetsu, Toya, Tokachidake, Sounkyo, Tokachigawa, and Akan.
  • Hot springs Scenery

    Hot springs Scenery

Return to Pagetop

Access

Direct Flights to Hokkaido

  • Air China
  • China Southern Airlines
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Airlines
  • Eva Air
  • Korean Air
  • SAT Airlines
  • Continental Airlines
  • Cathay Paciffic Airways
  • Hong kong Airlines

Economic Rail Tickets

This is a very economical ride as much as you can JR rail ticket designed for foreign travelers.
The Japan Rail Pass covers all JR lines in Japan. Choose from a 7 Day, 14 Day, 21 Day rail pass. For travel inside of Hokkaido you can purchase the Hokkaido Rail Pass which is a 3 Day or 5 Day pass. They cannot be bought inside of Japan, so please be sure to purchase an exchange order before you leave your country!

From Tokyo to Hokkaido

Flights

Fly to New Chitose Airport, the gateway to Hokkaido from major airports inside of Japan, such as Narita, or Haneda.
There are also flights to other cities in Hokkaido such as Asahikawa, Hakodate, Obihiro, Kushiro and Wakkanai Airports.

Take the Train

It is approx. 16 - 17 hours if you take the Hokutosei sleeper or Cassiopeia from JR Ueno Station in Tokyo to Sapporo.
It is 3 hours from Tokyo to Hachinohe (Aomori) on the Tohoku Bullet Train "Hayate", which departs from JR Tokyo Station. From Hachinohe, change to the Ltd. Exp. "Hakucho" and it takes 3 hours to Hakodate. From Hakodate take the Ltd. Exp. "Hokuto", or "Super Hokuto" and be in Sapporo in another 3 hours.

To the Ski Resorts from the various access points in Hokkaido.

For travel inside of Hokkaido, we recommend inter island flights, JR and Sightseeing Buses.

Ski Bus

Return to Pagetop