6 Fun Facts That Make Hokkaido An Irresistible Holiday Stop
Hokkaido as a holiday destination makes for a compelling case. Frequent visitors describe the island, located in the northernmost region of Japan, as incredibly beautiful. The locals are friendly, the food oftentimes overwhelming and the scenery simply breathtaking. Making a stop soon on Hokkaido is not a hard decision, and more so when one considers the interesting facts listed below.
Hokkaido Is Sprawling
Exploring Hokkaido in its entirety will require time, which is perfect for visitors planning for an extended stay. Know that a visit to Hokkaido is like discovering a place larger than Tokyo or any other metropolis from around the world. According to LiveJapan.com, the province’s size is about a fifth of Japan’s total land area at 84,450 square metres.
To fully appreciate Hokkaido, one needs to plan ahead and it might be that a single stop will prove insufficient to fully enjoy. And that should be a reason to make a second or eventually regular and innumerable visits in the months and years to come.
Almost Always Cold In Hokkaido
Hokkaido lies in the same latitude as that Toronto and New York, meaning the Japanese prefecture sits on a spot where the average temperature is below zero degrees. Visitors then are advised to pack accordingly or more appropriately, be ready to deal with the biting cold.
It goes without saying that even during the summer the Hokkaido chill will remain in full effect, the air temperature not getting higher than 22 degrees, so having a warm clothing will be very handy.
Hokkaido Cities Are Tourist-Friendly
That reads correct as Hokkaido boasts of a deliberate urban design that ensures ease of navigation. It will be easy even for first time visitors to find their way in major Hokkaido cities – be it Asahikawa, Obihiro and Sapporo (the capital) – and this is due to the grid road pattern that was modelled after Kyoto.
The same scheme is credited too for making it quite easy to find addresses in Hokkaido urban areas, a fact that promises tourists they will not get confused getting around the cities.
Food Galore In Variety
As the usual case in Japan, the local gourmet in Hokkaido is a must experience. When stopping by on the coastal areas, expect to binge on seafoods such as mantis shrimp, sea urchin, mackerel and salmon.
Going inland, bread and pasta made from the locally harvested wheat are always on the menu. And so are cheese, yogurt and beef – all likely sourced from the breed of cow grown natively.
Shops & Souvenirs
Hokkaido may be a remote part of Japan but convenience for residents and visitors alike is hardly compromised. Convenience stores – more popular of which are 7-Eleven and Seicomart – are everywhere to readily get hold of drinks, foods, alcohol, books and stationery. As of the last count, LiveJapan.com said 1190 stores are scattered around Hokkaido (some even found in the smallest of islands) and many operate for 24 hours.
For souvenir needs, the place to go is the basement section of department stores where one can find souvenirs and food all at once.
Niseko – Aspen Of Asia
It can be said that the best thing about Hokkaido is winter – the powdery snow called japow, the ski resorts and the trips to onsens that come after. All these are best experienced in Niseko, which used to be backwater farming town that in recent has morphed into a world-class holiday destination favoured by skiing enthusiasts and professionals.
Niseko is now regarded as the “Aspen of Asia” and the labelling is understandable. The town now counts regular visitors in the hundreds of thousands and millions. Tourism in Niseko is rising fast and so are the key industries like the property market. Around town, luxury developments are underway and many have been completed such as the Snow Dog Village that is located at the heart of Niseko.