Sapporo is Japan’s wild frontier, especially in winter, when cars must be swapped for snowmobiles and huskies, cranes dance, hot springs steam and the sparkling Sapporo Snow Festival comes to town. If you’ve ever wanted to see a two-storey ice carving of Hello Kitty, this is the place to come.
Outside of Sapporo, Hokkaido is one of the largest and least-populated regions, home to the indigenous Ainu culture and some of the country’s oldest national parks. It’s where you’ll find the country’s best ski resort, Niseko. Save time for a restorative dip in an onsen. You’ll find them all across the region; some inside, others just outdoor rock pools.
Can’t make it to Hokkaido for the winter? Not a problem. In the summer, it’s a place to explore colourful lavender fields, mountains and lakes, and to spot brown bears and other wildlife.