Hokkaido is the largest prefecture of Japan. It is so big that some people may not know what the best places to visit are. If this sounds like you, here is a selection of 5 recommended sightseeing spots that you should not miss!
1. Mt. Hakodate (Night View)
Mt. Hakodate has long been considered as offering one of the three most beautiful night views of Japan, and it receives large numbers of visitors all throughout the seasons. In 2011, the panoramic view that can be enjoyed from Mt. Hakodate was rated 3 stars on the internationally renowned guidebook Michelin Green Guide Japan, which resulted in a growth in popularity. The night view, which can be enjoyed from a height of 334 meters above sea level, offers beauty beyond description in the form of the lights spreading along the curve of the bay and the mountains overlaying across from Mt. Hakodate. The scenery changes depending on the season; visitors can enjoy snow and illuminations in the winter and the whimsical scenery created by fog during the summer. This is the kind of view that you will definitely want to come back to see again.
Goryokaku is a representative sightseeing spot of Hokkaido. It is a fort that was built in 1866 as the new address for the Hakodate magistrate's office during the Edo shogunate (the government of the Edo period between 1603 and 1868) and it is registered as a national historic site. The fortress is also famous for the riots that took place starting with the opening of the country to the world and throughout the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate at the end of the Edo period. However, since it was made open to the public in 1914 as Goryokaku Park, it has become a familiar place that offers the perfect environment to relax amidst its rich greenery. There are 1,600 cherry trees within the park, and large numbers of people come to visit during the spring. The Goryokaku tower, right next to the fortress, features an observatory deck with a panoramic view of the beautiful and impressive fortress, so make sure to visit the tower as well.
3. Asahikawa Municipal Asahiyama Zoo
The Asahiyama Zoo is home to more than 700 animals of over 130 different species. The whole facility is designed in a way in which animals can move around freely in an environment as similar as possible to their natural habitats, so visitors can enjoy a close view of their lively activities. The most popular tours are the Mogumogu Guide, in which visitors can watch the animals eat, and the Naruhodo Guide, in which the staff offer explanations regarding the animals' lives and habits. The daily schedule is available on the zoo's website, so check it in advance if you wish to participate. You may discover the animals have some unexpected habits!Open Hours: Summer 9:30 am - 5:15 pm / Winter 10:30 am - 3:30 pmEntrance fee: High school students and older 820 JPY, Junior High School students and younger FREE
4. Farm Tomita
Farm Tomita, known as the home of lavender, is a very popular sightseeing spot that receives visitors from all over the country. The lavender field extends over about 15 hectares within the vast premises of the farm and reaches its peak around mid-July. The sight of the lavender flowers as they completely cover the fields in purple is breathtakingly beautiful. There are many different flower fields in the farm with flowers other than lavender, such as crocus, poppy, cosmos, and more. In fact, about 80 different types of flowers make the farm the colorful place that it is. A stroll through the fields as you enjoy the view of the lavender flowers that grow amidst the nature of Furano along with the magnificent scenery will surely make for a relaxing experience.Open Hours: Summer 8:30 am - 5:30 pm / Winter 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (The fields and parking lot are always open)Entrance Fee: Free*Please note that open hours vary depending on the season.
5. Otaru Canal
The Otaru Canal, completed in 1923, supported marine transportation in Otaru, a harbor city key to the development of Hokkaido, and was built by reclaiming land from the sea along the coastline in a way which is not common in Japan. The promenade along the canal is equipped with 63 gas lamps and, as the night falls, the canal itself and the stone warehouses become enwrapped in their gentle light, creating a nostalgic atmosphere. In the winter, there is an event called the Otaru Snow Light Path, in which dozens of thousands candles are set afloat on the canal, giving the area a fairytale-like appearance with their light. The Otaru Canal offers a very different experience depending on the season and the time of the day, which makes it a place you will definitely want to visit again.
How did you enjoy the article? There are many other places worthy of visiting in Hokkaido. It is a good idea to finding out about more places that you want to go to in order to build your travel plan. Please visit multiple times to find your own way of enjoying Hokkaido.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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