Though each of the four seasons in Hokkaido brings its own unique characteristics, the summer and winter landscapes are the most splendid. As a result, summer and winter are peak tourist seasons resulting in higher flight ticket and hotel costs, and so it is strongly recommended to plan well in advance. Don’t fret though, because visiting Hokkaido during these two seasons are certainly worth the time, money and effort.
Sakura dancing in spring
Hokkaido, located north of the island country, is home to Japan’s latest cherry blossom season. The period from late April to early May is the spring sakura season of Hokkaido, when one can witness a truly spectacular display of nature. Famous destinations for sakura appreciation include Maruyama Park
in Sapporo and Goryokaku Park
in Hakodate, as well as the Matsumae Sakura Corridor in Hokuto and the seven-kilometer Nijukken Cherry Tree Avenue in Shizunai.
Enjoying flower seas in summer
After nearly five months of winter, Hokkaido summers erupt in dynamic bursts of color. Be it in the numerous parks located in the suburbs of Sapporo or in the flower fields of Furano
, you can honestly say that Hokkaido is a kingdom of colorful flowers. The renowned Furano lavender reaches its prime flowering phase in mid-July to early August, ushering in the peak tourist season. Roaming amidst the flower sea of lavender and enjoying the fragrance of the flowers, you will find nothing better than this summer romance.
Appreciating red leaves in autumn
The season of late autumn red leaves in Hokkaido usually lasts from mid-September to early-November. With its higher altitude, Mount Asahidake
is not just the last place for annual snows to melt, but is typically the first place to witness the leaves turning red—followed by the leaves in Maruyama Park and Jozankei
in early October. In Central Hokkaido and Southern Hokkaido, you can appreciate the beauty of maple leaves while bathing in the hot springs of Shikotsu and Noboribetsu
. In addition to maple leaves, Hokkaido University
in Sapporo is also known for Ginkgo Avenue, which is brimming with a dreamy autumn atmosphere.
Playing with snow in winter
Hokkaido in winter features large, fluffy, powder white snow that brings in endless fun. It is a paradise for skiers in winter, particularly in Niseko—which receives the highest snowfalls in the country every year. There’s nothing to be sad about if you can’t ski, as there are several other winter activities for you to experience. These include riding the ice breaker cruise in Abashiri, strolling alongside the romantic path of snow lanterns of Otaru Canal
, or watching penguins walking at Asahiyama Zoo
. Apart from its stunning landscapes, Hokkaido in winter offers countless other surprises that you and your family are sure to love.