As much as we love Tokyo, we also want to show you some of the places a lot of travelers miss. Hokkaido, Japan is one of those places and you shouldn’t miss it.
A while back, we introduced Oita, a beautiful region with fantastic hot springs and other forms of natural beauty. Well, today we’ve got another place that would make a great weekend trip: Hokkaido.
Within a short 1 1/2 hour flight from Tokyo, you can see some of the most scenic parts of Japan.
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Are you surprised?
Have you ever heard of “Hokkaido”?
It’s up in the north of Japan and is the biggest prefecture. In fact, it’s 38 times bigger than Tokyo!
Hokkaido’s best known for its winter sports. The cold, snowy winters produce the best powder snow in Asia. This snow attracts many people from other Asian countries, as well as Australia, who come to Niseko to go snowboarding, skiing, and take part in other winter sports. Some of them even have vacation homes since they come every winter.
Sapporo and Hakodate are popular too since they are the main gateway to Hokkaido. They are popular for their very fresh seafood, especially crab, urchin, salmon, salmon roe, scallops, squid…. and much more!
However, we’re showing you the lesser know parts of Hokkaido: Asahikawa and Furano, which is located in the middle of Hokkaido. They are full of food and blue ponds, flower farms and many other types of farms. You’ll see lots of vegetables, plus cows, pigs, and chickens.
You’ll see lots of vegetables, plus cows, pigs, and chickens.
Then there’s the blue pond…
One of Megumi’s must-see’s in Japan was Hokkaido’s famous blue pond.
In case you’re wondering, yeah, it’s real…
That water is such a bright shade of blue that it appears to be fake, but the color is actually a natural phenomenon. Well, kind of.
Let us explain…
Nearby, there’s a large, volcanic mountain called Mt. Takai. During the 1980’s it erupted. To prevent damage to the nearby town of Biei, they built a dam along the Biei river.
A side effect was that small ponds formed around the area.
Water nearby mixes with different minerals as it makes its way into the ponds. Aluminum is a part of the mix and that’s what gives the water its blue color. Additionally, there are minerals like sulfur from nearby hot springs that make their way into the mix, turning the rocks at the bottom white. This adds a shimmer to the blue pond.
Not only is this beautiful to see, but it’s also an incredibly rare occurrence. Think about all the different factors that play a role in the process…
Farms mean fresh food
All the farms don’t just mean lots of beautiful flowers. You can eat local beef, pork, chicken, and fresh vegetables. Plus, fantastic local seafood.
The sushi here is some of the best in Japan!
So many animals
If you travel with your children, or if you love animals, you must visit Arashiyama Zoo. Many Japanese people travel to Hokkaido just to visit this zoo.
Well, first is the wide variety of different animals, but this zoo goes beyond that. They design the enclosures differently for each animal, making it more comfortable for them, and you can also see them from different angles.
Here are some of the animals Megumi met:
See Hokkaido, Japan for yourself
Hokkaido is another one Japan’s regions that overwhelm you with natural beauty. The flower farms are breathtaking and often are compared to the tulip farms in the Netherlands. Without a doubt, these large farms with multiple colors of flowers are one of the biggest draws of Hokkaido during the warmer months.
But, that’s just the start…
As we showed you, there’s fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat. Plus some of the best seafood in Japan.
The blue pond is another one of a kind natural attraction. Think about all the factors that went into its creation…
Then there are all the animals inside one of Japan’s best zoos. I’m sure you can see why so many people love it.
And if you’re not here during summer, there’s also Hokkaido’s world-famous skiing and winter sports.
Hopefully, you’ve got a good impression of what Hokkaido has to offer. If you’re looking to venture beyond Japan’s tourist sites, Hokkaido should be high on your list.
Last Updated November 27, 2017
Travel inspiration, tips, and stories about Japan.