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Hokkaido- Japan’s Island of the North

In the northern part of Japan is an island called Hokkaido and its capital city is Sapporo. Hokkaido is especially known for its spectacular forests and other natural features.

Hokkaido is only a little smaller than Ireland and the island is connected to Japan’s main island of “Honshu” by a tunnel that runs underwater. It, like much of Japan, is seismically active as it still has volcanoes that are still considered active. Due to this, the island is also an area that has had occasional tsunamis.

Hokkaido’s Climate

Hokkaido Flowers During Summer

Hokkaido Flowers During Summer

The island of Hokkaido is noted for being much cooler than most of the rest of Japan, such as the island of Honshu where Tokyo is located. This is a primary factor making Hokkaido a popular tourist destination.

During a stay in Japan during summer, if you are looking for a vacation from Honshu’s occasionally unpleasant humidity, you may want to do as many natives of Japan themselves do and go on a trip to Hokkaido.

Skiiing And Winter Sports In Hokkaido

Back country skiing in Hokkaido

Backcountry skiing in Hokkaido

The winter is also a popular season for Hokkaido’s tourist industry, as Hokkaido features some of Japan’s best ski and snowboarding resorts. The capital city of Sapporo is said to be most famously known as a host city for the Winter Olympics.

Mt Yotei In Hokkaido

Mt Yotei In Hokkaido

Many snow enthusiasts from all over Japan make the pilgrimage to the island each year, and from Tokyo, there are many package deals available which often include airfare, hotel, and lift access to the slopes.

Seasonal positions at ski resorts and similar companies are also popular with snow sports enthusiasts from other areas of the world who want to spend a winter on the slopes in Japan. Those people from nations having a Working Holiday arrangement with Japan are good candidates for such positions.

Hokkaido: The Pantry Of Japan

Hokkaido Farm

Hokkaido Farm

Hokkaido is also known for its agricultural farming, as it contains around a quarter of the total arable land in Japan. It leads in the production of many agricultural products in Japan and is also well known for its dairy farms. As it is also a major producer of wheat, it is a great place for breweries and at least one of Japan’s most famous beer makers began in the Hokkaido region.

So while the city of Osaka is sometimes referred to as “Japan’s Kitchen”, the island of Hokkaido is known as the Pantry of Japan.

The Ainu People And Culture Of Hokkaido

Ainu House In Hokkaido

Ainu House In Hokkaido

Another feature of Hokkaido is its cultural heritage, as historically the island was a popular home for Japan’s indigenous people, who were likely somewhat displaced by the classical immigrants from China and Korea now generally known as “Japanese”.

The “Ainu” is one such indigenous people still inhabiting Japan and Hokkaido today. Archeologists have reportedly theorized that the Ainu had settled in Japan around 20,000 years ago. This includes the Hokkaido region.

As the Ainu have some traits similar to the indigenous people of Siberia, there had been theories that they had migrated from Siberia at some point. However, genetic research has shown this to be unlikely. During a stay in Japan, you may be interested in learning more about Ainu culture and Hokkaido is likely a great place to do so. There are some very unique tribal customs and also some amazing art that is part of the culture. Particularly beautiful is some of the traditional clothing of the Ainu people.

Visiting Hokkaido

Hokkaidos Famous Blue Pond In Biei

Hokkaido’s Famous Blue Pond In Biei

Hopefully, you will make a journey to Hokkaido to enjoy its wonderful nature, popular ski resorts, and also its cultural attractions.