About Hokkaido

The northernmost of Japan’s four main islands, renowned for volcanoes, natural hot springs and ski resorts

Surrounded by the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan, and the Pacific Ocean, Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands and is famous for its volcanoes, natural hot springs, and ski resorts. Hokkaido has an abundance of nature. Don’t miss the Shiretoko Peninsula, a World Natural Heritage Site, or the dramatic slopes and steam vents of the volcanic Mount Asahi in Daisetsuzan National Park. Shikotsu-Toya National Park is home to caldera lakes, geothermal hot springs and Mount Yotei, known as “the Mount Fuji of Hokkaido”.The island also boasts popular ski resorts in Niseko, Rusutsu and Furano. In addition to the rich nature and beautiful scenery that can be seen throughout the year, the natural hot springs are an essential part of any visit to Hokkaido. The island is a paradise for hot spring lovers and has the largest number of hot springs in Japan thanks to its abundant, wide-ranging spring water. One of the highlights of hot springs in Hokkaido is the spectacular views of magnificent natural scenery that transforms with the seasons. When it’s time to relax at the end of a long day of traveling, there are a wealth of options to choose from, from resorts with spacious baths to secluded inns off the beaten track.

Traveling to Japan

Estimated flight times

East Asia
South Korea (Seoul)2 hr. 30 min.
China (Shanghai)3 hr.
Taiwan (Taipei)4 hr.
Hong Kong5 hr.
Macao5 hr.
Mongolia5 hr. 30 min.
Southeast Asia
Philippines (Manila)4 hr. 30 min.
Vietnam (Hanoi)5 hr.
Thailand (Bangkok)6 hr. 30 min.
Cambodia6 hr. 30 min.
Singapore7 hr.
Myanmar7 hr.
Malaysia
(Kuala Lumpur)
7 hr. 30 min.
Indonesia (Bali)7 hr. 30 min.
South Asia
India8 hr. 45 min.
Sri Lanka9 hr. 20 min.
North America
Canada (Vancouver)8 hr. 30 min.
Canada (Toronto)12 hr.
United States (Los Angeles)10 hr.
United States (New York)12 hr. 45 min.
Mexico12 hr. 30 min.
Oceania
Guam3 hr. 45 min.
Saipan3 hr. 30 min.
United States (Hawaii)7 hr.
Australia
(Gold Coast)
8 hr. 50 min.
Australia (Sydney)9 hr. 45 min.
New Zealand10 hr. 30 min.
Europe
Poland11 hr. 30 min.
Austria11 hr. 45 min.
Germany12 hr.
Belgium12 hr.
UK12 hr. 30 min.
France12 hr. 30 min.
Italy12 hr. 30 min.
Switzerland12 hr. 30 min.
Spain14 hr. 30 min.
Northern Europe
Finland10 hr.
Denmark11 hr. 20 min.
Russia
Moscow10 hr.
Vladivostok2 hr. 30 min.

Seasons and Climate

Most part of Japanese archipelago has a temperate marine climate, relatively warm and has a large amount of rainfall. Climate in Japan differs so much depending on the region or the season due to its characteristic geographical feature and the difference of 25 degrees latitude.
Hokkaido is the most northern of the five main islands of Japan, mostly has subarctic climate. Compared with the other parts of Japan, it is pleasant climate in summer. On the other hand, it is severely cold and has a large amount of snowfall.

Source: Japan Meteorological Agency  

Source: Japan Meteorological Agency  

Spring


Tokyo
(March – May)

The cold starts to let up, it gets warm in this season.
The average daily temperature is 15 degrees Celsius or above in daytime, while there is a big difference between Tokyo’s day and night temperature. It is known for the season of cherry blossoms at the end of March to the start of April.

What to Wear
・Sweater or cardigan
・Thin coat or jacket


Sapporo
(April – May)

There is still snowfall, relatively cold. It is known for the season of cherry blossoms at the end of April to the start of May. The cold starts to let up in May, while it is cold in the morning and night.

What to Wear
・Thick coat in April
・Gloves and neck warmer
・Waterproof shoes
・Thin coat or jacket in May
・Sweater or cardigan


Summer


Tokyo
(June – August)

t is a rainy season at the start of June to the middle of July. After the rainy season, it gets humid. The temperature become up to 30 degrees Celsius or above, sometimes it turns by more than 35 degrees Celsius. It relatively become up to 25 degrees Celsius at night.

What to Wear
・T-Shirt
・Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses


Sapporo
(June: Early Summer)

There are both warm and cold days at the end of May to the start of June. There is Hokkaido’s rainy season called “Ezo Tsuyu” for 10 to 14 days from June to July.

What to Wear
・T-Shirt
・Thin coat or jacket


(July – August: Summer)

Hokkaido’s pleasant summer attracts many visitors from the other regions of Japan escaping from the unbearable summer heat and humidity. The maximum temperature become up to 30 degrees Celsius, while it becomes cooler after the middle of August.

What to Wear
・T-Shirt
・Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
・Long sleeve shirt


Autumn


Tokyo
(Spring- October)

It is known for typhoon season; low pressure brings rain or strong wind. It is still relatively hot in September and becomes pleasant climate in October. Autumn foliage can be seen at the end of October to the start of November.

What to Wear
・T-Shirt in September
・Long sleeve shirt in October
・Jacket or sweater in November


Sapporo
 (September – October)

It becomes pleasant weather in October in Hokkaido. The weather in Japan in September and October can bring typhoons. Although they are not as frequent as on Mainland Honshu, occasionally Hokkaido is hit by a cyclone (a weakened typhoon as it has travelled over Honshu to Hokkaido). It is known for the autumn leave season in Hokkaido and drastically gets cold.

What to Wear
・Thin jacket or sweater
・Coat in October


Winter


Tokyo
 (December – February)

Sometimes it snows, seldom to be accumulated. It is relatively dry sunny, small amount of rainfall.

What to Wear
・Sweater
・Coat
・Gloves and neck warmer

Sapporo
(11〜3月)

It starts to snow at the end of October to the start of November. Snow is accumulated in December; the average temperature becomes negative. The coldest temperature in January and February becomes -10 degrees Celsius or lower. Snow starts to melt from March.

What to Wear
・Sweater or cardigan
・Thick coat or down coat
・Gloves and neck warmer
・Winter waterproof anti-slip outdoor boots

Travel to Hokkaido from within Japan

Estimated flight times

Tokyo
New Chitose Airport1 hr. 35 min.
Nakashibetsu Airport1 hr. 50 min.
Tancho Kushiro Airport1 hr. 45 min.
Hakodate Airport1 hr. 25 min.
Memanbetsu Airport1 hr. 45 min.
Asahikawa Airport1 hr. 45 min.
Obihiro Airport1 hr. 45 min.
Wakkanai Airport1 hr. 55 min.
Osaka
New Chitose Airport2 hr.
Hakodate Airport1 hr. 40 min.
Memanbetsu Airport2 hr. 55 min.
Nagoya
New Chitose Airport1 hr. 45 min.
Hakodate Airport1 hr. 35 min.
Asahikawa Airport2 hr.
Fukuoka
New Chitose Airport2 hr. 30 min.

Travel within Hokkaido

The map shows the shortest routes when traveling along national highways.
Distances are in km, times in parentheses are estimated travel times.

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