Hokkaido is one of Japan’s 4 main islands and is located northern most part of Japan and when translated, Hokkaido literally means “Road of the North Sea”. The island is a very popular destination for tourists on vacation holiday in Japan because of its natural beauty, especially during winter.
The island of Hokkaido is actually a huge land mass and is about twenty three percent of Japan’s entire land mass. Even if you visit Hokkaido in summer, the weather can be very pleasant because of its low humidity.
Before the mainstream Japanese considered the island as suitable for human habitation after the Meiji Restoration, the island was home only to a few exile samurais and the native Ainu people who are the aboriginal tribesmen. The Ainu people are the last of Japan’s indigenous people most of whom are still dwelling in Hokkaido.
In the past, the island’s inhabitants are very concerned about their survival and thought that the island is spooked with the restless spirits of Ainu gods who often belch fire from the mountains (volcanic eruptions) and trampled the earth in anger (earthquakes).
There are many natural tourist attractions since the island is well endowed by the beauty of nature. For instance, you can travel to Mount Daisetsu National Park, which is sometimes called The Roof of Hokkaido and gaze in amazement the snow peaked mountain ranges or visit the Kushiro marshland which is home to many adorable marsh dwelling animals including the sacred crane.
If you are into adventure tourism, then the Shikotsu Toya National Park must be included in your holiday vacation itinerary. You will find many magnificent volcanoes and breathtaking scenic lakes in this national park and if you are tired after your sightseeing trips, go pamper yourself with natural spa treatments at the many hot springs such as in Noboribetsu, Jouzankei and Sohunkyo.
If you are in Hokkaido during winter, then you must make a beeline to Sapporo, which is Hokkaido’s vibrant capital city which is famous for its pulsating nightlife and the extraordinary Snow Festival every February. Sapporo, with a population of about 1.8 million people is a city of fine restaurants and luxurious hotels. If you enjoy winter skiing, you may like to check into some winter ski resorts.
This outback island is sometimes referred to as Japan’s ‘Wild West’ and still retains a distinct pioneer feel. This is the reason why the island is really the land of the backpackers.
Adventure tourists can enjoy exploring the vast wilderness, go winter skiing, even be a trout fisherman or go trekking in countless trails along rugged coastline, through wildflower fields or up the summits of snowcapped mountains.
So if you are going to Japan for your holiday vacation, do make sure you do not miss the beauty of Japan’s Wild Wild West, the island of Hokkaido.