Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, where winters are colder than the heart of your ex and summers are hotter than habanero peppers. But don’t let the extreme weather scare you away because there is so much beauty and excitement in Hokkaido’s cities.
Let’s start with Sapporo, Hokkaido’s largest city and host of the world-famous Snow Festival. This wonderland winter extravaganza features massive snow sculptures that will make you feel like you’re in Frozen, as well as ice skating, snowboarding, and even a snowman building competition (which is serious business in Japan). But even if you don’t like to freeze your buns, Sapporo has a lot to offer year-round, from fresh seafood at nijo Fish Market to stunning views of Mount Moiwa from the observation deck.
Next up is Otaru, a charming port city with a canal that looks like it was picked up straight from a European postcard. You can take a romantic gondola ride along the canal, stroll through the glass shops in search of beautiful souvenirs, or warm up with an Otaru-style ramen bowl that looks like a hug in a bowl. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try your hand at making your own glassware in one of the many glass workshops in the area.
But Hokkaido isn’t just about big cities. There are also many small towns and villages that are worth visiting. Take, for example, Biei, a picturesque farming town known for its hills and colorful flower fields. You can rent a bike and explore the stunning scenery, or take a leisurely stroll through the Shikisai-no-Oka Flower Garden, where you’ll feel like you’re in a fairy tale.
And let’s not forget Asahikawa, the second largest city in Hokkaido, and the gateway to the beautiful Daisetsuzan National Park. Here you can visit the Asahiyama Zoo, which is famous for its innovative exhibits that allow you to get to know the animals better. You can also soak up one of the many hot springs in the area, which will warm you from the inside out.
So, what sets hokkaido’s cities apart from cities in the rest of Japan? First, the scenery is different. Hokkaido is a land of vast open spaces where you can see lavender fields, snow-capped mountains, and wildflowers as far as the eye can see. The food is also different, with an emphasis on fresh seafood, dairy products, and hearty stews and soups that will keep you warm on a cold day. And people are also different, with a friendly and down-to-earth spirit that is typical of Hokkaido.
In conclusion, Hokkaido’s cities are like hidden gems waiting to be discovered. They’re a bit off the beaten path, but that’s what makes them special. So, if you are looking for adventure and a chance to see the other side of Japan, get on a plane and head north. Just be sure to bring the warmest coat and sense of humor, because you never know what surprises Hokkaido has in store for you.