Hokkaido, Japan: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

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Hokkaido is a vast island at the northern part of Japan and it surrounded by sea in all of its directions. Its land area makes up about 22 percent of the total land area of the country and its region overflows with so much abundance of nature’s beauty.

All of its four seasons attract a lot of tourists from all over the globe as it gains credibility being a more renowned tourist destination through time. Its being cooler than the other parts of Japan is what really gains attention from many, locals and tourists alike.

Hokkaido is made up of four circuits and its subprefectures. They are as follows:

Central Circuit – Sapporo (capital), Ishikari, Hidaka, Iburi, Sorachi, Shiribeshi

Eastern Circuit – Nemuro, Kushiro, Tokachi, Abashiri

Northern Circuit – Soya, Rumoi, Kamikawa

Southern Circuit – Hakodate (center), Hiyama, Oshima

Things To Do and Places To See

Hokkaido has an abundant supply of National Parks that offer hiking as one of its leading tourist activities. Its other attractions are composed of most flower gardens along with several hot springs and of course, powder skiing.

With majority of Hokkaido’s people residing by the sea, seafood is the main ingredient in most of their sumptuous dishes. In fact, the country’s best seafood products from the hairy crabs, oysters, scallops, king crabs, sushi and the sea urchin, are most often sourced from Hokkaido.

It is also only in this Japanese region that any visitor will get a good dose of dairy products like having butter in the ordinary noodle soup called the bata-kon ramen. They also offer the finest sakes of Japan along with beer are a popular drink in the region. Sapporo Beer is the place’s most popular beer drink brand.

Where To Stay

Hokkaido’s lodging accommodations are usually about camping. Any camper though must be wary of the nighttime chill the climate can bring them, even when it is the summer season.

Other affordable lodging options charge additional fees for the heater. Many Japanese homes up in the north have poor insulation and when the temperature starts falling, the homes can really consume a lot of fuel.

Many mountain huts in Hokkaido are free of charge and a good place to make friends out of the locals and at the same time enjoy the authentic culture of the cold region of the country.

Nightlife Spots

Nightlife in Hokkaido is concentrated mostly within the Susukino entertainment district. It is not very foreboding to explore by walking and it is deemed to be tamer than any other usual Japanese nightlife district. Some of the bar establishment to potentially stumble upon are Locotante, Karaoke Maneki Neko, Sports Bar Switch 625, A-Life, Sound Lab Mole, Booty club, and Klub Counteraction. There are also several nighttime entertainment spots near the Sopporo Station.

Getting Around

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With Hokkaido being a vast place, it is advisable for many to just take their time in exploring around. It offers different modes of transportation to choose from. If by plane, the region has a total of 12 airports which include 1 for international and the rest are for domestic flights.

The railways are the locals’ basic means of getting around and all of the railway systems run on time. Intercity buses are affordable in cost and it can be convenient too when going from one city to another despite the travel time being a bit longer than when taking the railway.

Rent-a-Cars are good transportation idea too of traveling Hokkaido since it can be a nice place to do some long driving experience. However, many remind tourists to stay cautious when driving during the winter season, around late November to the end part of March with the slippery roads ahead.

Taxis are convenient to take too especially within places like Obihiro, Hakodate, Sapporo and Asahikawa. The only drawback is that many Japanese taxi drivers do not understand nor speak the English language.

The ferries are the other option aside from the planes when traveling to the other isolated islands of Hokkaido.

Finally, the subway transportation mode is only made available in Sapporo which consists of the Namboku line, Tozai line, and the Toho line.