Japan’s northernmost island and prefecture
What to See
What to Eat
Plan Your Trip
How to Get to Hokkaido
There are two Shinkansen stops in Hokkaido. Kikonai and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. So you can ride the Shinkansen all the way from Tokyo to around Hakodate / Onuma. At Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto you can easily transfer to the Hokuto limited express to travel on to Sapporo and other cities.
Tokyo to Hakodate: 5h, ~¥25,000
Tokyo to Sapporo: 8h, ~¥30,000
Kyoto to Hakodate: 7h, ~¥35,000
New Chitose Airport (CTS) is Hokkaido’s main airport. It is located south-east of Sapporo, less than 1 hour away. There are frequent train connections and the one-way trip from New Chitose to Sapporo Station costs around ¥1,000. You can also fly in from overseas, mainly Asian countries, but I also saw flights from Helsinki and Sydney for example.
From Tokyo: 1:35h, From ¥5,000
From Osaka: 1:50h, From ¥7,000
From Fukuoka: 2:15h, From ¥4,000
Other airports that offer international flights are Hakodate Airport (HKD) and Asahikawa Airport (AKJ). And there are many more airports in Hokkaido. The closest to Sapporo is actually Okadama Airport (OKD). There are also airports near Kushiro, Wakkanai, and Abashiri.
When to Visit Hokkaido
March is still very, very cold in Hokkaido with temperatures around 1-5°C or lower. The roads are still packed with snow and it’s a good month for skiing. In April and May the temperatures climb up to 7-11°C and 12-16°C, but it’s still cold at night. The cherry blossoms usually come out at the very end of April and are in full bloom in the first week of May.
Cherry Blossoms: Late Apr – late May
Peak Season: Early May
In summer Hokkaido becomes a popular destination to escape the rainy season, heat and humidity. The temperature can get up to 20°C in June and rises up to around 26°C in August, the hottest month. Now is the only time to see the rare alpine flowers in Rishiri and Rebun, and July is the best month to see Furano’s purple Lavender fields.
Beach Season: Late Jun – late Aug
In September it starts to get cooler again with temperatures around 18-22°C and lower. However, late September you can see the first autumn leaves in Japan at Daisetsuzan National Park. October is the peak season for the colorful fall foliage in Hokkaido with temperatures around 12-16°C. In November the temperatures drop to 5-9°C and to around 1°C at night.
Autumn Leaves: Late Sep – early Nov
Peak Season: Early Oct – early Nov
The winter in Hokkaido is dry and brings tons of snow. The temperature in December is around 0°C, but the coldest months are January and February with minus temperatures from -4°C to -7°C. From the middle of December until mid February it’s the high season for skiing, snowboarding, and onsen. Sapporo’s famous snow festival takes place in early February.
Skiing Season: Late Nov – early May
High Season: Late Dec – mid Feb
Festivals & Events
Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival: Late Jan – mid Feb
Sounkyo Onsen Hyoubaku Festival: Late Jan – mid Mar
Sapporo Snow Festival: Early Feb
Asahikawa Winter Festival: Early Feb
Otaru Snow Light Path Festival: Early Feb
Sapporo Yosakoi Soran Festival: Early Jun
Sapporo Odori Beer Garden: Mid Jul – mid Aug
Noboribetsu Hell Festival: Late Aug
Sapporo Autumn Fest: Early – mid Sep
Akan Marimo Festival: Early – mid Oct
Sapporo White Illumination: Late Nov – late Dec
Hakodate Christmas Fantasy: Late Nov – late Dec
Hotel Map & Price Overview