A land known for its natural setting, Hokkaido has many excellent national parks. We will introduce 5 national parks in Hokkaido that are too good to miss.
1. Akan National Park
Akan National Park, located in the east of Hokkaido, has Japan’s largest volcanic Caldera topography. There are forests and lakes interspersed on the lower land, and the park has a majestic and mystic atmosphere. Akan National Park has endless charms, including active volcanoes like Mount Meakandake, 6 lakes and marshes like Akan Lake and Mashu Lake, and rare animals like Ezo deer that live in the forest. There are plenty of onsen (hot springs) that can be enjoyed in any season. There are many ways to enjoy Akan National Park, whether it be staying in a spot you like or wandering around the onsen!
2. Kushiro Shitsugen National Park
Kushiro Shitsugen is the largest swamp in Japan, created by the Kushiro River and tributaries, and a breathtaking, endless view can be seen there. It is the first location in Japan to be registered under the Ramsar Convention. Kushiro Shitsugen is a valuable habitat for animals and plants in the category of Special Natural Monument, like the Japanese crane, north fox, and Yachibouzu.
There are marshy grasslands, lakes and marshes of all sizes, 5 observation towers in the park with views of the Pacific Ocean, and a wooden footpath in the swamp. There are many other ways to have fun in Kushiro Shitsugen National Park like canoeing, Japanese pond smelt fishing, and riding the winter swamp SL train and the summer truck train Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko.
3. Shiretoko National Park
The name Shiretoko means "the end of the earth" in the language of the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido. The environment of this land is kept unexplored. This land, rich with nature, was designated a World Natural Heritage site in 2005.
There is majestic scenery, like the 3 large waterfalls and the 100m tall precipitous cliff on the coast, made by volcanic activity and drift ice. There are many cruising programs that can only be experienced in Shiretoko, like the Shiretoko cruise ship, winter drift ice cruise, and drift ice cruise walk. Additionally, there is a chance to see brown bears, sea eagles, harbor seals, and orcas if you are in luck.
4. Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park
Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park is made of two volcanic islands, the coastal dune of the Sarobetsu River area, and wasteland. It is located at the northernmost tip of Japan.
Mount Rishiri on Rishiri Island is considered the symbol of this national park because of its beauty. Deep valleys and sharp ridges of the mountain and interspersed lakes and swamp are suited for mountain climbing and trekking. Rebun Island transforms into a floating island of flowers in summer, when all the flowers and high-altitude flora are in bloom. A coastal dune, where a belt-shaped dune and lake are intermixed, is very rare. The Sarobetsu wasteland is a swamp made of peat, and is the stopping point of migratory birds. Create your own plan from numerous fun options at Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park.
5. Shikotsu-Toya National Park
Shikotsu-Toya National Park receives the largest number of visitors of all parks in Hokkaido as it is near Sapporo.
Mount Usu is a young volcano that created Toyako Hot Spring and Showa-shinzan in a recent eruption. The volcano is still active, and is called a museum of volcanic activity. The geological heritage Toya Caldera and Usu Volcano Global Geopark was designated as Japan’s first Global Geopark.
There are many bus trips that tour the 2 major caldera lakes, Lake Shikotsu, Lake Toya, and Noboribetsu Onsen. This is a great location that you can fully enjoy even during a short stay.
Don’t you get indecisive with all the options? Any of these parks in Hokkaido are excellent to visit in any season. Please visit any number of times, whenever the urge strikes you.
*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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