Hokkaido is one of the snowiest places on Earth. As winter arrives, the landscape of Hokkaido starts losing its colour to prepare for a white canvas. First, the mountains turn white, announcing the beginning of the makeover. Then, the trees get covered by white pixie dust, and inch by inch snow piles on every night leaving a glistening carpet in the morning. I love winter in Hokkaido, and the snow has a way of making everything look beautiful. A sunny morning after fresh snow fall looks like a paradise, even the mundane red post-box looks awfully cute covered in snow. I am not the only who admires the winter in Hokkaido. People from all corners of the world visit Hokkaido to enjoy the beauty of its mountains and the adventure of its ski slopes. In the first blog of winter special series, I will be talking about things you must do this winter in Hokkaido, the land of goddess Kuraokami. (more…)
The drive to Lake Shikotsu from Sapporo took us through the winding Route 463. The road was sandwiched between skeletons of trees standing on a thin layer of snow and waiting to spring back to life at any moment. The winding road straightened abruptly as we approached the shore of Lake Shikotsu. Driving along the shore, I admired the beauty of Mount Eniwa reflecting in the calm water of the lake. The water in the lake was very clear and I could even see the rock while cruising on the road. Soon we arrived at the Shikotsuko Hot Spring and spent a few hours enjoying a picnic by the lake side. This was my second trip to Shikotsuko and certainly not my last. The proximity of the lake from Sapporo and its natural aura makes it a popular getaway for locals and traveller alike. Find out what you can see and do in Shikotsuko, one of my favourite day trip spots from Sapporo. (more…)
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.” – John Donne. Unlike Sakura (cherry blossom), which comes in Southern Japan first, Koyo (autumn leaves) starts in Northern Japan. Autumn in Hokkaido arrived mid September on the highlands and moves towards the southern side of the country. It slowly changes every leaf to a colourful flower. In this harvest season, Japanese tradition is to go out for Momijigari (Viewing of autumn leaves) also called as Kanpukai in Hokkaido. With its sprawling national parks and lakes, Hokkaido has many breathtaking locations for Kanpukai. Below is an autumn travelling guide for your trip to Hokkaido with information on transport and the best seasonal seafood. (more…)
Yoichi, a small coastal town near Otaru is the birthplace of single malt whisky in Japan. Before sipping on pure malt by Nikka, I could never relate “Japan” with “Whisky”. Nikka Whisky is one of the big players in the international whisky market and holds a number of awards in its barrel including world`s best single malt in 2008. Opened in 1934, Yoichi Nikka Whisky Distillery is the first of the two distilleries opened by Nikka . Ever since, this humble place in Hokkaido produces some of the finest whiskies in the world.
Sapporo is the 5th largest city of Japan and the business and commercial centre of Hokkaido. It acts as a hub for tourists travelling to the far wilderness of the northernmost island in Japan. It also has a perfect balance of an urban city environment with plenty of nature around. Before you go to explore the outdoors of Hokkaido, make a stopover here and discover what the Japan’s newest city has to offer. In this series of Sapporo special blogs, I will share information on some of the best places to go for sightseeing, shopping and food in Sapporo.