8 Places That Show Hokkaido is One of the Most Picturesque Destinations in Japan
In the far north of Japan, Hokkaido is often overlooked by tourists visiting the Land of the Rising Sun. It's a shame, because here you'll find some of the most incredible scenery across the islands along with the freshest seafood available in Japan. Here are some places to visit in Hokkaido you should consider checking out on your next trip to Japan.
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Hokkaido is known for a number of beautiful, vibrant-colored flower fields, one of the prettiest of which is Farm Tomita. Here you'll find a variety of flower fields to frolic around but the most famous are the vast stretches of lavender found there. You can also buy a wide range of lavender themed products from oils and perfumes to sweets and lavender-flavored ice cream.
Looks familiar? Hokkaido has its own Mt Fuji and this towering cone-shaped peak is arguably just as beautiful. Even better you can actually see it most of the year, unlike the elusive Fuji which is usually cloaked by clouds. The region is dotted with popular ski resorts such as Niseko, which offer beautiful views across to the mountain. Or if you don't ski, the surrounding scenery and nature is perfect for cycling around with a number of different places renting bikes in the area.
Hakodate Night View
Famous in Japan as one of the top three night views around the country, the view from Mt Hakodate is as stunning as it gets, looking back over the jutting peninsula and sparkly city lights that cover it. The summit is easily reached by the Hakodateyama Ropeway which operates regularly throughout the year and takes just a few minutes to get to the top.
An easy day trip from the main metropolis of Sapporo, Cape Kamui is a beautiful, rocky peninsula surrounded by stunning azure ocean that makes for some incredible coastal hikes. The waters around the coast are exceptionally clear and make for a breathtakingly picturesque sight to see in itself. It's also located near the popular tourist town of Otaru, which you'll pass on the way here from Sapporo.
Shirogane Blue Pond
Although most have never visited this stunningly azure pond, many will recognize this iconic sight after it was used as a default background for Apple's Mac computers for a while. The pond is extremely photogenic all year round but is particularly stunning during the early winter when the bright blue waters contrast with the stark white snow. The distinctive blue color comes from a number of minerals that collect in the pond there.
During the winter months this beach in eastern Hokkaido is filled with beautiful shards of ice that glitter in the light like a wide stretch of giant diamonds and jewelry. This rare phenomenon is only found on a few beaches around the world such as here and at Iceland's iconic Diamond Beach. The ice collects here as clumps of ice break away from the Tokachi river and flow into the sea, only to washed up again on the beach. You can see the ice here in the coldest months of January and February. It's best to head there around sunset when the sun glistens off the jewelry-esque ice.
Another spot that perfectly showcases the beautiful colors that can be seen around the island of Hokkaido. Lake Notoro's iconic view is distinguished by its coral grass, a kind of sea-moss that turns a shocking deep red in the autumn months. Aim to visit the lake in September when the red color is usually at its brightest. Apart from the lake itself, there are a number of picturesque coastal walks perfect for some seaside trekking around Japan's northern coast.
Shiretoko National Park
One of the most beautiful and unexplored of all the national parks in Japan, Shiretoko is a flawless example of the raw, untamed nature covering Hokkaido. The name of this area is derived from the local Ainu language meaning 'edge of the world' and it certainty feels like it as you trek around this wild, unexplored stretch of nature in Hokkaido's far north. Granted UNESCO World Heritage status for being one of the richest ecosystems in the world, Shiretoko is the perfect place for those who want to escape to nature.
It's recommend to go with a local guide or bring items to deter wild animals, this park has the largest concentration of bears in Japan and seeing one of the brown furry creatures is not that uncommon.
What Hokkaido might lack in modern, futuristic megalopolises it certainty makes up for it with the beautiful scenery and untouched stretches of nature that cover Japan's northern island. While much of Japan is covered in dramatic peaks and beautiful scenery, there's something so awe-inspiring about the sights in this far-northern natural paradise that leave visitors bewildered. Hokkaido has never been easier to reach either, with the bullet train now connect to Hakodate and frequent air routes from all over Japan to Sapporo and beyond.