If you are looking for the perfect getaway from high temperatures and stuffy humidity, then look no further than Hokkaido, the northernmost island region of Japan.
Here are 6 reasons why Hokkaido is your best escape from the tropical heat:
1. It’s the coldest island in Japan
Even in summer months like August, it is never as hot and humid in Hokkaido compared to other areas in Japan, with temperatures ranging from 17 to 22 °C. The weather gets even cooler in winter and early spring. This can be a nice change for those used to hotter climates or for those who live in tropical countries. If you want to do activities like taking a walk or nature trekking, you can do so in any season, without breaking a sweat.
2. There’s snow waiting for you
Going to Hokkaido can be a novel experience for people who’ve yet to touch or see snow. After all, this prefecture is well-known for becoming a white winter wonderland in the colder seasons. In fact, Hokkaido has snow for a good part of the year, with the first snowfall happening as early as November and lasting until March. With this much snow, you can enjoy activities like making snowmen and engaging in snowball fights.
3. You can hit the slopes
In the winter months, one of the best things to do in Hokkaido is to try some exciting snow sports. Skiing, in particular, is a top activity for tourists visiting this island. There are many nature parks and ski resorts available where you can try this fun and exhilarating sport.
If you’ve never tried skiing before, you can visit places like Kiroro Ski Resort. They offer skiing lessons for beginners and have top-notch facilities. This resort boasts of high-quality powder snow, a smooth and dry type of snow that is great for skiing. You can also try snowboarding, snow rafting, and other adrenaline-pumping activities here.
4. You can experience the coldest temperature recorded in Japan
While you won’t see any snow in this northern island during summer, you can still experience the coldness of a Hokkaido winter at the Ice Pavilion in the town of Kamikawa. In this attraction, you can enter giant icicle-covered rooms with temperatures of -20°C.
If you’re feeling up to the challenge, you can proceed to the coldest room in the Ice Pavilion. In this freezing zone, the air glitters with diamond dust or tiny ice crystals that form out of moisture in the air. Here, you also can experience the lowest temperature ever recorded in Japan: a staggering -41°C brought to the locals by the winter of 1902.
5. You can relax in onsens (hot springs)
The cold weather in Hokkaido makes soaking in onsens (hot springs) twice as relaxing. There are a number of natural and man-made onsens in inns and bathhouses scattered around the island. Not only can these hot springs give you warmth—waters from the natural onsens are said to offer healing properties for muscle and joint pain. You can warm stiff limbs and unwind while taking in the stunning views of the mountains or lakes of the prefecture.
6. There are a variety of scrumptious winter dishes
Hot noodle soup and warm stews are the perfect food to eat during colder seasons. The residents of Hokkaido keep warm by chowing down on a variety of simmering hot pot dishes or nabemono. Nabe is a hearty and versatile dish that is popular during winter months. You can try the famous Ishikari nabe, a miso-based broth named after the longest river in Hokkaido, the Ishikari River. This savory dish is chock full of vegetables, tofu, and salmon and is often served in cast-iron or clay pots. Other delicious nabe meals include yudofu (simmered tofu), crab nabe, and curry nabe with udon (wheat flour noodles).
Aside from hot pot dishes, don’t forget to sample their famous ramen (noodles served in broth) and dairy products. Also, the sake (rice wine) at the Otokoyama Sake Brewer and Museum is a must-try. This flavorful Japanese drink is good for warming yourself up.
The quiet calmness of Hokkaido, partnered with its cool climate and natural splendor, can refresh any tired and stressed traveler. In fact, its allure has caught the attention of many people around the world, leading to faster, tourist-centric development. Now, Hokkaido is as accessible and traveler-friendly as ever, making it a top destination for anyone looking for a relaxing vacation away from it all.