Hokkaido's cities

Hokkaido Things to Know

Hokkaido, Japan Jul. 23 Tues 2:48AM

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Hokkaido: Where to go

Hokkaido is known for its many beautiful natural sceneries, great food, and festivals. Hokkaido is a place unlike anywhere else in Japan, and it has so much to offer! If you're not sure about where to go visit, here is a bit of background information on Hokkaido's most popular and well-known cities!


Hokkaido’s biggest metropolis, in Sapporo you can enjoy all the great features of a major Japanese city (world class cuisine, bustling modern culture, fascinating historical monuments, crazy nightlife, etc.) while also taking in the feel of Hokkaido. Amazing daytrips are also available from Sapporo in all directions. The coastal city Otaru, known for its nostalgic and romantic scenery, is a popular Sapporo Day Trip. In February Sapporo hosts its world famous Snow Festival, where you can enjoy huge, amazingly detailed snow sculptures while enjoying local cuisine from lots of festive food carts!


Although Sapporo didn’t become a major city until the late 19th century, Hakodate’s history dates back several hundred years earlier, at which time it was an important port town and the capital of Hokkaido. For that reason, it has a slightly different feel than Hokkaido’s other major cities, with a more openly historic atmosphere. It’s also known as a place with a lot of foreign influence, and a historical Russian Orthodox Church is one of its famous landmarks. Sandwiched on both sides by water, Hakodate is known for its squid fishing, and the ghostly lights of squid fishing boats can be seen by night. The view of the whole city from the top of nearby Mt. Hakodate is listed as one of the best night views in the entire world!


Farther north than Sapporo and Hakodate, Asahikawa is Japan’s coldest city. While this may seem daunting, it also means great snow and skiing, and the city can serve as home base for some of Hokkaido’s many great skiing spots. Perhaps the most famous tourist attraction in the city is the Asahiyama Zoo, famous as a great spot to see polar bears, seals, penguins, and other winter critters up close!  Add some great local ramen and sake, easy access to some of Hokkaido’s best natural wonders, and you’ve got a great base to explore Hokkaido’s northern regions!

Also worthy of note is that Hokkaido was originally inhabited by an ethnic group separate from most Japanese, the Ainu people. Although, like the Native Americans in America, their influence has gradually waned as they have been incorporated into mainstream Japanese culture, in recent times there has been more of a push to preserve the Ainu’s unique culture and language. 

There are still so many cities and places we haven't covered yet, including beautiful cities with vast national parks and charming cities with gorgeous flower fields. Keep a lookout as we add more locations of some of Hokkaido's major cities!

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