If your idea of a perfect vacation involves majestic forests, clear blue lakes, pillowy powder snow, and amazing, farm-fresh food, Hokkaido is an absolute dream. In summer, the relatively cool weather is perfect for exploring its stunning natural beauty, while winter transforms it into a snowboarding and skiing paradise. If you’re lucky enough to be there in early February, don’t miss the annual Sapporo Snow Festival and its gravity-defying ice sculptures of everything from Doraemon to Darth Vader.
As Japan's largest producer of meat, dairy and produce, Hokkaido also boasts some of the country’s most scrumptious cuisine. The list of must-eats include king crabs, Sapporo ramen and soup curry, a hearty dish of braised chicken and a bounty of fresh local vegetables in a fragrant, spicy broth. The only proper way to enjoy Hokkaido is to munch your way through it, helped by a few good slugs of the local Sapporo Beer.