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Complete guide to Hokkaido, Japan

Bay area of Hakodate, Hokkaido
Bay area of Hakodate, Hokkaido

Hokkaido (北海道) is one of the most scenic prefectures in Japan and one that is extremely popular with Singaporeans. From ski trips and hot springs to seafood and desserts, Hokkaido is an amazing holiday destination and one we just can’t get enough of. Whether you are there for a relaxing holiday, spending time with family or eating you heart out, our guides will help you plan for a fantastic holiday in picturesque Hokkaido.

Map of Hokkaido

Located at the northernmost part of Japan, Hokkaido is an island that has plenty to offer. Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido and like the most of Japan, the island is clean and the people here are very welcoming. The different cities in Hokkaido are also very well connected by trains and other forms of public transport, making it easy to get around the island. For road trippers, the well-paved roads and slow traffic is great for a flexible itinerary, taking time to soak into the wallpaper-worthy spots.

Hokkaido weather

Hokkaido is very different at different times of the year due to the changing seasons. For example in Spring, you can join locals for Hanami and soak in the atmosphere and view of blooming sakuras (cherry blossoms). During Autumn, the red, yellow and green hue takes over, offering visitors endless streaks of colours atop mountainsides and trails. In summer, you can head to Biei’s Shikisai No Oka garden for its 15 hectares of colourful flowers forming a spectacular view. In Winter, powdery snow takes over and skiers, amateurs and professionals, from all over the world congregate at Hokkaido’s various ski resorts to ride down beautiful mountains in their snowboards, skis and snowmobiles.

Winter (December to February)

Winter starts in December with temperatures averaging at -1°C before dropping to -4°C in January and February, making them the coldest months of the year in Hokkaido. During winter, the days are short with only between 2 to 4 hours of sunlight.

Spring (March to May)
Spring is pretty chilly and temperature range typically between 2°C in March to 12°C during May period. The month of May is also the best period to catch cherry blossoms in various parts of Hokkaido like Goryokaku Park in Hakodate and Odori Park in Sapporo.

Noboribetsu during Autumn, Hokkaido
Noboribetsu during Autumn

Summer (June to August)
Summer is a popular period for locals and tourists alike due to the longer days as well as cool and dry climate as compared to other parts of Japan. In June, you will still be able to catch the tail end of the sakura season as well as enjoy the blooming lavenders, sunflowers and tulips. August is the warmest month of the year in this prefecture, with an average temperature of 22°C.

Autumn (September to November)
Many weather sites indicates September as the wettest month of the year in Hokkaido. Although we were hit by bouts of showers during our Autumn trips, it doesn’t put a damper on our spirits. Autumns are great for onsens at Sounkyo and taking long walks along the bay area in Hakodate. Autumn and its colourful foliage is also one of the most beautiful times of the year in Hokkaido.