Top 29 Things To Do In Hokkaido, Japan - Updated 2022

things to do in hokkaido
Tenissa
Tenissa 
Updated

Japan is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Asia. This is not surprising because the country is endowed with modern cities and beautiful islands. While many choose to go to Tokyo, Kyoto, or Osaka for a memorable vacation, you also need to consider visiting the island of Hokkaido if you are aiming at indulging in the ultimate vacation. The island is especially popular among ski lovers as it is known for spectacular ski areas. But Hokkaido is also known for its hot springs, volcanoes, and of course, parks, lakes, and rice terraces that contribute to the island’s natural beauty. You may find it hard to decide which attractions to visit because there are just too many. Read on, then, to learn about the top things to do in Hokkaido, Japan.

1. Tour the star-shaped Fort Goryokaku


Fort Goryokaku is not just a fort. It is a unique–probably the most unique–fort in Japan. Why? Because the Western-style fortress has the shape of a star, if you look from high above. Formerly a military fort during the Meiji period, it has now become a public park. Other than the shape of the star, the fort is also known as one of the most popular spots to enjoy the cherry blossoms. There are more than a thousand cherry blossom trees in the area of the forest alone. With that being said, the best time to visit Fort Goryokaku is around early May.

Fort Goryokaku

Address: 44 Goryokakucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 040-0001, Japan

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 500 JPY (5 USD)

2. Take in superb city views atop Mount Hakodate

Take in superb city views atop Mount Hakodate
Source: 月宮 うさ

Stand atop Mount Hakodate to take in the superb city and bay views of Hokkaido. Nestled at the southern end of the peninsula, Mount Hakodate is a wooded mountain that can be reached by bus or car. But, for the best experience, you may want to reach the mountain by ropeway. As soon as you get to the summit, you may want to go directly to the observation platform to marvel at those sweeping views. You can also view Mount Rokko in Kobe and Mount Inasa in Nagasaki from the observation platform. Good news is, you will not have to pay for anything to be on the observation platform.

Mount Hakodate

Address: Hakodate, Hokkaidō, Japan

Opening hours: 10am - 10pm (daily)

Price: 780 JPY (7 USD)

3. Enjoy winter sports at Niseko Village

Enjoy winter sports fun at Niseko Village
Source: 月宮 うさ

As mentioned briefly in the introductory paragraph, Hokkaido is loved by many ski lovers because of its ski areas. One of the most popular towns in which you can have direct access to major ski centers is Niseko Village. Enjoy winter sports fun as you are skiing on the slopes of Mount Niseko-Annupuri. After, you can take pleasure in the hot spring bath, known as onsen. Niseko Village’s surrounding mountains are fully loaded with hot spring resorts. Just choose whichever you like.

Niseko Village

Address: 47, Aza Fujimi, Niseko-chō, Abuta-gun, Hokkaidō, Japan

Website: Niseko Village

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: 4800 JPY (45 USD)

4. Take a sightseeing cruise around picturesque Lake Toya


Lake Toya, one of the most picturesque lakes in Japan, is a must-visit. It would be a loss to take in the beauty of the lake just by having a stroll near the lake. To enjoy the best of Lake Toya, you need to take a sightseeing cruise from Nakanoshima Cruise Pier that is located right behind Hotel Grand Toya. Indulge in the clear blue water, marvel at the surrounding hills, and just let yourself be one with nature for a while.

Lake Toya

Address: Iburi, Hokkaido, Japan

Website:Lake Toya cruise

Opening hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm (daily)

Price: 1420 JPY (13 USD)

5. Visit the famous scenic spots of Muroran


Nestled along the Pacific Ocean, Muroran is a port and an industrial city that offers a myriad of scenic spots. For example, you can enjoy surfing or sunbathing on Itanki Beach, which is known for its blue water and soft sands. You should also make a quick stop at Cape Chikyu that features a lighthouse and a lake. Finally, you cannot miss Hakuco Bridge, a suspension bridge that has opened since 1998. Do not forget to look around you when you are crossing the bridge as you are surrounded by the beauty of the sea.

Muroran

Address: 1-2 Saiwaichō, Muroran-shi, Hokkaidō, Japan

6. Have a thermal foot bath in Jigokudani (Hell Valley)

Noboribetsu Jigokudani (Hell valley)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wpcpey used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Do not worry about this attraction. Although it is called Hell Valley in English, this valley simply offers a place where you can indulge in natural foot bath for free. Situated right above the town of Noboribetsu Onsen, Jigokudani offers a crater that is filled with sulfuric hot springs along with other volcanic activities. Jigokudani is the main source for the hot spring waters in Noboribetsu. While you are enjoying your thermal foot bath, you can also admire the attractive views of the surrounding wooded hills.

Jigokudani (Hell Valley)

Address: Noboribetsuonsencho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido 059-0551, Japan

Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)

Price: Free

7. Explore Lake Shikotsu

Explore Lake Shikotsu


Set just one hour’s drive away from Sapporo City, Lake Shikotsu offers not only spectacular views but also a unique underwater experience. Revel in the beauty of nature offered by Lake Shikotsu by boarding a sightseeing boat which has a bottom part is made of glass. You will be amazed at how transparent the water of the second deepest lake in Japan really is.

Lake Shikotsu

Address: Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Hokkaido, Japan

Website: Lake Shikotsu

Opening hours: 10am - 3pm (daily)

Price: 1000 JPY (9 USD)

8. See horses up-close at Northern Horse Park

Have a galloping good time at Northern Horse Park

Who does not love horses? This animal is incredibly strong that we have such a deep admiration towards it. Whether you are fond of horses or not, you can have a good time at Northern Horse Park, a leading theme park in Japan with only one main focus: horses. Featuring more than 80 horses of 12 different breeds, Northern Horse Park lets you interact, experience, and play with the horses, including ponies and retired race horses. While having fun with the horses, you can also appreciate the beauty of nature throughout the ranch.

Northern Horse Park

Address: 114-7 Misawa, Tomakomai, Hokkaido 059-1361, Japan

Website: Northern Horse Park

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 800 JPY (7 USD)

9. Have a picnic by the flower beds of Odori Park

Picnic among the flower beds of Odori Park
Source: 小谷 結城

Japan is a country with a myriad of parks and they are all astonishing. Hokkaido’s is no different. Take Odori Park as an example. The park has successfully attracted tourists from all over the world because of its flower beds and fountains that are very pleasing to they eyes and soul. A lot of Japanese people like to have a picnic or simply take a relaxing stroll around the park. The park is also known for its seasonal festivals throughout the year, like the Lilac Festival in spring and the Soran Festival during summer time.

Odori Park

Address: 7 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042, Japan

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

10. See spectacular ice sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival

See spectacular ice sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival
Source: 月宮 うさ

Just like Harbin in China, Hokkaido in Japan also regularly hosts a snow festival called the Sapporo Snow Festival. The festival is held annually for approximately one week in between the end of January and the beginning of February. A lot of tourists from all over Japan and across the globe come to the snow festival to admire the spectacular snow and ice sculptures. There are also concerts and events that are performed on a sculptured stage. Don’t forget to bundle up because it is going to be extremely cold with only snow and ice around you.

Sapporo Snow Festival

Address: Sapporo, Japan

Opening hours: 8:30am - 10:30pm (one week every February)

Price: 720 JPY (7 USD)

11. Take a sunset cable car ride up Mount Moiwa

Take a sunset cable car ride up Mount Moiwa
Source: 月宮 うさ


Presenting scenic views of the southwestern part of Sapporo, the forested mountain of Mount Moiwa is worth visiting. From its summit, you can enjoy an observation deck that overlooks the whole city. Of course, the most stunning view of the city is when the sun goes down. That is why you need to take a sunset cable car ride to get to the summit during sunset time.

Mount Moiwa

Address: Central Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

Website: Mount Moiwa

Opening hours: 10:30am - 10pm (daily)

Price: 600 JPY (6 USD)

12. Stroll along Otaru Canal

Poke around the quaint craft stalls along Otaru Canal
Source: 渡部 洋一

Breathe in the ancient but at the same time romantic vibes as soon as you set foot at Otaru Canal. The historic canal was built to be a means of boat shipping to Hokkaido. But now, the canal has become one of the major attractions. Indulge in a pleasant and relaxing stroll along the canal at anytime of the day. If you are aiming at the most romantic atmosphere, you better visit the canal in the evening when the gas lamps start to get lit. You can also take a boat ride along the canal. What is more, Otaru Canal is fully packed with a myriad of restaurants and shops.

Otaru Canal

Address: 5 Minatomachi, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0007, Japan

Website: Otaru Canal

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

13. Run through the sunflower fields of Himawari no Sato

Run through the sunflower fields of Himawari no Sato
Source: 渡部 洋一


One single sunflower has the ability to bring joy to your life. What if there are thousands of them? What will you feel then? Run through the sunflower fields of Himawari no Sato to experience something beyond joy, something that cannot be described. Himawari no Sato is not just a sunflower garden, it is the biggest sunflower garden in Japan. Of course, there is no doubt that the best time to visit Himawari no Sato is on a fine summer day.

Himawari no Sato

Address: 078-2511 Hokkaido, Uryu District, Hokuryu, Japan

Website: Himawari no Sato

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 500 JPY (5 USD)

14. Catch sightings of playful seals at Senhoshimisaki Park

Catch sightings of playful seals at Senhoshimisaki Park
Source: 月宮 うさ

Get the chance to see adorable seals up-close. If you want to catch sightings of this playful creature, you must make a stop at Senhoshimisaki Park, which is known for its unusual rocks that were naturally formed through the lava flow from the eruption of Mount Rishiri a long time ago. Moreover, the park also features numerous natural tide pools and in one of this pool lives all the seals. You can play with and feed the seals. But, you will not be able to spot the seals when the waves are high so be mindful of the weather before visiting the park.

Senhoshimisaki Park

Address: Misaki Senhoshi, Rishiri, Rishiri District, Hokkaido 097-0311, Japan

Website: Senhoshimisaki Park

Opening hours: 8:30am - 5:15pm (daily)

Price: 500 JPY (5 USD)

15. Trek around Rebun Island, the 'island of flowers'

Trek around Rebun Island - the 'island of flowers'
Source: 月宮 うさ

Escape to Rebun Island and trek the whole island to enjoy a memorable nature retreat. Rebun Island is called the island of flowers not without reasons. Featuring a lot of alpine flowers and other flora species, Rebun Island is best visited between June and August when all the flowers are blooming. You can admire the colorful flowers by following through either the walking trails or the hiking trails.

Rebun Island

Address: Rebun Island, Hokkaido, Japan

Website: Rebun Island

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: 3000 JPY (28 USD)

16. Discover the quirky monuments dotting Cape Soya

Explore the quirky monuments dotting Cape Soya

Situated on the most northern part of Hokkaido, Cape Soya offers more than a dozen monuments. All the monuments are uniquely beautiful and if possible, you are recommended to explore all of them. But if you are short on time, you may want to stop by a monument called Tower of Prayer that is located on the top of the cape. The monument was built as a reminder of the cold war era. Another interesting monument is Akebono that displays a female and a male embracing each other to celebrate the dairy agriculture of Hokkaido.

Cape Soya

Address: Soyamisaki, Wakkanai, Hokkaido 098-6758, Japan

Website: Cape Soya

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

17. See exotic winter animals at Asahiyama Zoo

See exotic winter animals at Asahiyama Zoo

It is your time to meet all the endearing animals in Japan by making a stop at Asahiyama Zoo. While the zoo features diverse native wildlife from Hokkaido such as wolves and cranes as well as animals from around the globe like big cats and polar bears, there is one highly popular attraction that you do not want to miss: the Penguin Walk. Through this event, you can observe the penguins walking live from a very close range. This event is usually held between December and mid-March.

Asahiyama Zoo

Address: Kuranuma Higashiasahikawacho, Asahikawa, Hokkaido 078-8205, Japan

Website: Asahiyama Zoo

Opening hours: 9:30am - 5:15pm (daily)

Price: 4290 JPY (40 USD)

18. Hike through Daisetsuzan National Park

Hike through the pristine wilderness of Daisetsuzan National Park
Source: 月宮 うさ

Being the largest national park in Japan, Daisetsuzan National Park offers the pristine wilderness that cannot be found elsewhere. Hike through the wilderness and let yourself be lost in the paradise of nature. Appreciate the unspoiled nature by hiking Mount Kurodake, one of the easiest peaks in the park. You may also want to relax your muscles at Kogen Onsen.

Daisetsuzan National Park

Address: 078-1701 Hokkaido, Japan

Website: Daisetsuzan National Park

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: 1000 JPY (9 USD)

19. Witness the serene turquoise waters of Shirogane Blue Pond


The waters of Shirogane Blue Pond have the most breathtaking color, which is the turquoise color. This beautiful deep turquoise color is a result of minerals dissolved in the water. You can simply enjoy the serenity of the pond by taking a stroll beside it. Whether it is a 10-minute or a 30-minute walk, you will want to come back to this place again just to see the beautiful turquoise waters.

Shirogane Blue Pond

Address: Shirogane, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido 071-0235, Japan

20. Be awed by the lavender fields at Farm Tomita

Delight in all things lavender at Farm Tomita

You have seen a park loaded with sunflowers, a lake with rich turquoise waters, and now you are going to enjoy another beautiful park in Hokkaido. Visit Farm Tomita and you will be presented with vast lavender fields. The views of these lavender fields are just unbelievable. You need to visit the place to understand what we are talking about. Other than the lavender fields, you can also expect to see flower gardens that are just as beautiful.

Farm Tomita

Address: 15 Kisenkita, Nakafurano, Sorachi District, Hokkaido 071-0704, Japan

Website: Farm Tomita

Opening hours: 8:30am - 6pm (daily)

Price: Free

21. Take a dreamy walk among the clouds at Unkai Terrace

things to do in hokkaido | take a dreamy walk among the clouds at unkai terrace
Source: shimomooon on Instagram

When you were a little child, did you ever wonder what it feels like to be in between the clouds? You could feel how fluffy and soft the clouds are. Wonder no more because you can have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a dreamy cloud walk at Unkai Terrace. Also known as the place above the sky at 1,088 meters (3,570 ft), you can wander around the sea of clouds. A short ropeway ride will bring you to the deck to witness one of the most incredible beauties on Earth.

Unkai Terrace

Address: Nakatomamu, Shimukappu, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido 079-2204, Japan

Website: Unkai Terrace

Opening hours: 5am - 8am (daily)

Price: 1900 JPY (18 USD)

22. Catch a glimpse of the 'phantom' Taushubetsu Bridge

Catch a glimpse of the 'phantom' Taushubetsu Bridge
Source: 月宮 うさ

You may be curious why this bridge is called the phantom bridge. Can a bridge disappear? It is indeed possible in Hokkaido. Catch a glimpse of the phantom Taushubestu Bridge. You may see the bridge perfectly from top to bottom today, but some other day it may be a completely different story. This case is particularly true around June every year because during that period, the water level of the lake rises, thanks to the melting snow and the rainfall, making the bridge completely disappear.

Taushubetsu Bridge

Address: Nukabiragensenkyo, Kamishihoro, Kato District, Hokkaido 080-1403, Japan

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

23. Go birdwatching in the magnificent Kushiro Marsh Observatory


Birds are such beautiful and fragile creatures that just by watching them fly, you will be sidetracked and stop whatever it is you are doing to completely focus your attention to them. Hokkaido has the perfect place where you can go birdwatching. Find your way to an observatory deck called Kushiro Marsh Observatory where you can enjoy seeing songbirds, cranes, and herons.

Kushiro Marsh Observatory

Address: 6-11 Hokuto, Kushiro, Hokkaido 084-0922, Japan

Opening hours: 8:30am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 470 JPY (4 USD)

24. Admire the crimson colors of Lake Notoro

Admire the crimson colours of Lake Notoro
Source: 月宮 うさ

In Hokkaido, you can admire the striking crimson colors of Lake Notoro, the 13th largest lake in Japan. The lake is famous for its coral grass that display the pretty crimson colors. The best time to visit Lake Notoro is in September when this special sea plant species is in full blossom. With the blue lake as the backdrop, Lake Notoro is just picture-perfect.

Lake Notoro

Address: Hokkaido, Japan

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

25. Discover the unusual moss balls of Lake Akan


There are so many unique things that you can only find in Japan. This attraction offers another unique thing that can rarely be found elsewhere. Visit Lake Akan to discover the unusual moss balls. Did you know what these moss balls actually are? Moss balls is a species of filamentous green algae that grow into large but cute green balls. The balls can grow as big as the size of a soccer ball–a truly fantastic phenomenon.

Lake Akan

Address: Hokkaido, Japan

26. Gaze into the clearest lake in Japan, Lake Mashu

摩周湖 Lake Mashu-ko - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user lienyuan lee used under CC BY 3.0

What about Lake Mashu? What makes this lake different from the other lakes? The answer lies on the water of the lake. When you gaze into the lake, you will understand what we are talking about. The water is extremely clear that Lake Mashu is claimed to be the clearest lake in Japan, and among the clearest in the world. If you do not believe us, you have to go and see for yourself.

Lake Mashu

Address: Hokkaido, Japan

Website: Lake Mashu

27. Enjoy a tranquil stroll around Shiretoko Five Lakes

Enjoy a tranquil boardwalk stroll around Shiretoko Five Lakes
Source: 月宮 うさ

Just like the name says, Shiretoko Five Lakes boasts a set of five small lakes that are to be enjoyed by each and every visitor. All lakes are equally beautiful and worth admiring. The five small lakes have existed for a long time after the eruption of the nearby Mountain Io took place. The lake was then fed by the underground springs. The results are those small lakes. The best way to enjoy the lakes is by enjoying a tranquil stroll along an 800-meter (875-yard) long wooden boardwalk. Take your time, there is no need to rush.

Shiretoko Five Lakes

Address: Hokkaido, Japan

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: 250 JPY (2 USD)

28. Bathe in the warm waters of Kamuiwakkayu Falls

Bathe in the warm waters of Kamuiwakkayu Falls
Source: 月宮 うさ

Bathing in the warm waters of Kamuiwakkayu Falls is superb, especially when your body is tired and your muscles are complaining after a day of adventure in Hokkaido. You may want to stop for a while and enjoy the one and only Kamuiwakkayu Falls. An outdoor onsen experience is completely yours to enjoy as soon as you reach the waterfalls. Where do the waterfalls get their warm waters? It is all nature’s work. It is what you will get when an active volcano meets a river–fresh water and hot spring water that comes from Mount Lozan. To enjoy the outdoor onsen, you may want to avoid going in the months of November to June because the place is usually closed because of heavy snow.

Kamuiwakkayu Falls

Address: Onnebetsumura, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido 099-4356, Japan

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

29. Discover Shiretoko's famous drift ice phenomenon (from USD 84.0)

Discover Shiretoko's famous drift ice phenomenon

Last but not least, it would be interesting to discover Shiretoko’s famous drift ice phenomenon. When the heat strikes in Hokkaido, you may want to look for a cold place to cool off. There is no place better than Shiretoko Rausu that will give you an unforgettable experience of boarding a modern vessel. This vessel will break through the ice into pieces–you do not want to miss this superb experience. If you are lucky during summertime you can meet the orcas, sperm whales, and other marine species. When you are on the vessel, be sure to have a look-around to see the incredible natural landscapes.

Shiretoko Rausu Summer Drift Ice Watching in Hokkaido

Duration: 2hrs30 Min Duration

Prepare to be stunned by the awesomeness of Hokkaido

The next time you are in Japan, be sure to choose Hokkaido. Because after reading through the article, how can you say no to all those amazing attractions and awesome things to do? Prepare yourself because you are going to be stunned by the awesomeness of Hokkaido, Japan right away.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Tenissa is a content writer, translator and editor. She enjoys being a globetrotter and has traveled to many countries around the world. So far, her favourite destination is Switzerland. She looks...Read more

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