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Four Ways to Explore Hokkaido’s Natural Beauty in 2021

May 28, 2020 Visit North Asia No Comments Email Email

We acknowledge the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and encourage all travelers to follow official health advice and closely monitor government advisories. In this unprecedented situation, we hope the destinations featured in this media release act as a source of inspiration for those seeking new experiences and adventures to embark upon when it is safe to recommence travelling.

As the agricultural pillar of Japan, Hokkaido’s landscape is marked with rolling hills and flowing rivers backdropped by distant mountain ranges. With temperatures averaging 22 °C and wide expanses of pristine nature to explore, it is the perfect scenic destination for an active holiday – fitting considering it often hosts major sporting events and will do so in 2021. Whether travelling as a family or going solo, here are four ways to refresh the body and enjoy Hokkaido’s summer landscapes.

Take in the views from above

When venturing to Hokkaido, it makes sense to seek out an experience unique to the area. In the secluded region of Shimukappu forms the natural phenomena ‘Sea of Clouds’. Backdropped by the Tokachi and Hidaka mountain ranges this scene only appears when warm winds off the coast create fogs that coat the mountain ranges and are gradually pushed upwards.

Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU is the best viewing point for the Sea of Clouds, equipped with a Cloud Walk; a terrace that allows visitors to almost walk within the wispy clouds, and UNKAI Terrace; an observation space with a nearby café that offers panoramic views. Viewers can enjoy a refreshing hike up to the vantage points, although, as this is a natural phenomenon an ounce of luck is needed for all the perfect conditions to compound on the morning you visit!

Water sports to invigorate the body

After an early morning start where you may or may not have been lucky enough to see the Sea of Clouds, river rafting can inject some adrenalin into the day and refresh tired tourists. Close to Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU, there are a number of river tours with options for gentle paddles or invigorating rides along small rapids. The Sorachi River offers water flowing from the Daisetsuzan Mountain ranges and canopied by greenery, offers a fun, scenic experience. Hokkaido also offers large lakes with still, clear water such as Lake Toya in the west, or Lake Kussharo, a striking cobalt blue caldera lake in Akan National Park.

Pedal your way through the landscape

The area of Furano is surrounded by the Daisetsuzan mountain ranges and dotted with blooming flower fields, wide meadows and lakes, creating a varied landscape to explore. Cycling is one of the best ways to get around, with rentals starting from as little as 200yen/hour.

Depending on your starting point a number of picturesque destinations will be within reach, including the Shirogane Blue Pond which catapulted to fame as a wallpaper for Mac’s OS X Mountain Lion. It sits along the Biei river and is a stroll away from a dessert store which offers Blue Pond themed sweets. There are also a number of scenic roads to pedal through, such as the 4km Roller Coaster road, dubbed the ‘Provence Road’ of Japan, and Patchwork Road which offers expansive views of the patterns created by local agricultural fields.

Energise with freshly picked produce

Hokkaido is an oasis of quality produce. Fruit picking offers the chance to make a small contribution to the local economy while enjoying the freshest harvest possible. Contrary to the traditional image of fruit picking in Australia, fruit-picking in Japan often allows guests to stroll around and eat as much as they please for a fixed fee. Produce can be taken for an additional price, so many leave well fed but empty handed – ideal for travellers!

Fruit picking orchards include the 15 hectare Yamamoto Sightseeing Orchard in Yoimachi, offering an array of fruits from strawberries to pears and even chestnuts or the Sobetsu Fruit Village which is an association of 18 fruit farms in the south west of Hokkaido.

Reputed as a recluse for nature and quality food, Hokkaido is a popular weekend destination for domestic travellers. For those embarking on an international trip, we recommend at least a week to take in the picturesque landscapes, enjoy the delightful cuisine and enjoy an active retreat from the city.

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