A Perfect Getaway: Best Locations to Visit in Hokkaido!

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The Furano lavender fields in Hokkaido, a perfect getaway all year round.

Embarking on a journey to Hokkaido is akin to stepping into a realm where every season unfolds as a perfect getaway, offering a symphony of experiences seamlessly blending natural wonders, cultural richness, and unparalleled tranquility.

Noboribetsu

Noboribetsu is an excellent place for people who want a mix of beautiful nature and relaxing experiences. It’s famous for its hot spring resorts, closeness to the amazing Jigokudani (“Hell Valley”), and location in the enchanting Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Therefore, Noboribetsu invites travelers with promises of peace and breathtaking views.

Noboribetsu Hell Valley's hot springs in Hokkaido.
Noboribetsu is home to some amazing hot springs. Image via Shutterstock

One big reason to visit Noboribetsu is its nearness to the unique Jigokudani, also known as “Hell Valley.” This valley, formed by volcanic activity, has steam rising from vents and sulfurous streams. What makes Noboribetsu extra special is the hot spring resorts around Jigokudani. These resorts use natural geothermal energy to offer visitors unique and healing bath experiences.

Apart from the hot springs, Noboribetsu is also a starting point for exploring the beautiful Shikotsu-Toya National Park. This vast natural area shows off the untouched beauty of Hokkaido, featuring two large caldera lakes—Lake Toya and Lake Shikotsu. The green landscapes, scenic hiking paths, and diverse wildlife make this national park a paradise for nature lovers.

Hakodate

Hakodate is in the southern part of Hokkaido and has a great mix of nature, parks, and old neighborhoods. One cool thing is Mount Hakodate, a tall volcano with a fantastic view! You can walk or bike up the 330-meter-tall mountain.

Goryokaku Park in Hakodate during the winter.
Hakodate’s Goryokaku Park was once a military fort. Image via Shutterstock

Another neat place is Goryokaku Park and Tower. It looks like a star and is essential for Hakodate’s history. It used to be a fortress and is now a lovely park with cherry blossoms in spring and colorful leaves in fall. In addition, Goryokaku Tower gives you a high-up view of the star-shaped park, mixing old stories with modern times. You can enjoy the history and peaceful surroundings.

Lastly, the Motomachi neighborhood is a famous spot in Hakodate! It mixes Eastern and Western buildings, showing how Hakodate opened up to trade early on. Walking in Motomachi feels like going back in time, with old Western-style and Japanese buildings side by side. The different styles make Motomachi an excellent place for photos and learning about different cultures!

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Furano

You can enjoy Furano all year, with colorful lavender fields and exciting ski resorts. This pretty town has much to offer and keeps changing with the seasons. The most famous thing here is the lavender fields that turn the area purple in the summer, usually from late June to early August. Lavender farms like Tomita Farm make the landscape look and smell amazing and make amazing soft-serve ice cream!

Lavender fields in Furano.
Furano’s lavender fields are enchanting! Image via Shutterstock

The lavender season makes Furano a perfect getaway for nature lovers and photographers. When it gets colder, Furano becomes a snowy wonderland. Furano Ski Resort is well-known for its powdery snow and well-kept slopes, attracting skiers and snowboarders worldwide. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, Furano has different courses for everyone. The snowy landscape is beautiful and peaceful, making it an excellent place for a snowy adventure.

Otaru

Otaru City is a quaint city on the Sea of Japan, full of history and excellent artisan workshops! This place has the famous Otaru Canal, glassworks factories, and an excellent Music Box Museum. It’s a seaside town that welcomes visitors to explore its charming streets and see the mix of old and new.

Otaru Canal, at night a perfect getaway.
Otaru Canal is one of the most romantic attractions in Hokkaido. Image via Shutterstock

A big attraction here is the Otaru Canal. It used to be a busy trade route and now has old warehouses, gas lamps, and pretty bridges. Walking along the water, you can feel like you’re in the past, with stone warehouses reflecting in the calm water. The canal looks especially beautiful at sunset, showing off the town’s unique vibe.

Otaru is also known for its glass art, and there are many factories where you can watch artists at work. They make everything from delicate glassware to detailed sculptures, and it’s fascinating to see. Spots like the Kitaichi Glass Shop and the Otaru Glass Museum are popular places to see skilled artists in action and buy unique glass souvenirs.

Niseko

Niseko is famous for having some of the best powder snow globally, thanks to its unique geography and the weather coming from Siberia. This unique snow is super light and fluffy, making Niseko a top spot for people who love skiing and snowboarding. Without a doubt, the untouched snowy areas make each run exciting, attracting winter sports fans worldwide.

Niseko Ski Resort at night, a perfect getaway in Hokkaido.
Niseko Ski Resort has amazing powder snow! Image via Shutterstock

Besides the excellent snow, Niseko has impressive mountains. The tall peaks covered in pure snow make the perfect setting for outdoor activities. Mount Yotei is often called “Ezo Fuji” because it looks like Mount Fuji and the Annupuri Range creates a dramatic scene that adds to the whole experience of enjoying Niseko in winter.

And there’s more! Niseko has some of the best ski resorts worldwide, perfect for all skill levels. Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village, Annupuri, and Hanazono comprise the Niseko United ski area. As a result, this area has a bunch of connected slopes with different kinds of terrain. These resorts aren’t just about exciting downhill adventures; they make a perfect Niseko getaway full of great memories.

Why is Hokkaido a perfect getaway?

Overall, Hokkaido is a great place to take a break, offering a mix of beautiful nature, interesting culture, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you like the relaxing hot springs in Noboribetsu or the snowy paradise in Niseko, Hokkaido has something for everyone. 

So, for your next vacation, consider planning a trip to this unique island and explore a place where each season brings its unique wonders. Have you been to Hokkaido, or is it now at the top of your list for future travels? Let us know in the comments below!

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