Hokkaido Japan Travel Guide
Hokkaido is the northernmost island of Japan and it covers an area of approximately 83,451 square kilometers. Hokkaido accounts for 22 percent of the total area of the country but just 5 percent of the Japanese population lives there.
The fact that the island is hardly inhabited, means that it has large areas of pristine wilderness along with ample area for farming and agriculture. Hokkaido is also home to 6 national parks, 5 quasi-national parks and 12 prefectural parks. The combined area of all these parks is around 10 percent of the total area of Hokkaido.
The island was originally inhabited by Ainu natives and the development of Hokkaido started in 1869 with the formation of the Colonization Commission. Over the last 139 years, Hokkaido has seen significant development and today Sapporo, the capital city, is the fifth largest city in Japan. The economic growth of Hokkaido is spurred by fishery and agriculture industries.
Hokkaido does not have too many ancient buildings. However, there is the history of Ainu heritage, well-preserved building from the Meiji period, and the historic ports of Otaru and Hakodate. In addition, you can visit some Shinto shrines like Hokkaido Jingu.
Sapporo is a form Olympic city where the Olympics were held in 1972. The city offers a lot of history along with the famous Sapporo beer, museums and the nightlife of Susukino. You should use Sapporo as your hub for travelling around the island. If you happen to visit in winter, then there are excellent ski fields including Sapporo Teine and Sapporo Kokusai. The world famous Sapporo Snow and Ice Festivals ensure that you get to see hundreds of sculptures that always put on display.
Autumn is the perfect time to visit the hot springs of Hokkaido and there are many hot spring hotels which have outdoor baths where you can sit and take in the amazing colors of autumn when all the trees turn in beautiful shades of red, yellow, brown and gold.
Hokkaido is also an excellent holiday destination for trekking, hiking, white water rafting, climbing and fishing.
The best time to visit Hokkaido is between June and September.
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