Hokkaido, is Japan’s northernmost, second largest and least developed island. It offers wide-open spaces and fantastic outdoor activities throughout the year. There are large expanses of untamed wilderness here and a great many national parks, with primeval forests, majestic mountains, volcanoes, tropical-blue crater lakes, fields of alpine wildflowers and bubbling, natural hot springs (onsen). They offer endless opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and rafting. In winter Hokkaido is paradise for skiers and snowboarders and popular ski resorts include Rusutsu, Furano and Niseko.
Head to one of its 8 national parks. The rugged Daisetsuzan National park is home to steaming, volcanic Mount Asahi, while Shikotsu-Toya National park has crater lakes, geothermal springs and Mount Yotei, which has a remarkable resemblance to Mount Fuji. For prime wildlife watching, head to the eastern peninsula, to Shiretoko National Park (recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site), where bears roam in the wilderness. Here you can also bathe in hot volcanic waterfalls, surrounded by stunning vistas. Take in the colors of the many flower farms and taste the amazing food that Hokkaido is renowned for.
The island's stunning natural scenery, fantastic wildlife and the promise of outdoor adventure are the islands main drawcards, but it has so much more to offer, including excellent food, especially seafood; a vibrant capital city; colorful flower farms, the fascinating Ainu culture, and its friendly welcoming people.