Hokkaido, Gateway to Winter Wonder World
Specially curated by our travel specialists, every itinerary can be customised to your needs and interests. Through our personal relationships with the local communities and businesses, we provide authentic, one-of-a-kind experiences found exclusively in the locality.
Here is a snapshot of our Hokkaido adventure and the surrounding area.
Whether it is a weekend getaway or a 2-week vacation, be sure to create fond memories with Michi & Co.
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Hello from Hokkaido!
It’s chilly season here. Time to wrap up in layers and discover the hidden charms of Hokkaido. We're taking you off the beaten path. From discovering serene beauty of the land to tasting the freshest flavour and connecting with the locals, experience Japan's most northern island in a novel way.
This deluxe itinerary includes a 5-day experience in Hokkaido's best-kept-secret destinations.
Day 1: A Land of Fairytale
(Credit: Prince Hotels)
Step into a fairytale land where everything is shining, shimmering, splendid… Ningle Terrace is a charming area located in the middle of a pine forest. The scent from the trees is simply refreshing and reinvigorating. When the sun starts to set, the lining cottages are lit up with warm fairy lights; and the piling snow adds to the magical ambience.
Day 2: A Whole New World
(Credit: Asobiya & H Takarajima)
Hop in and start the day up in the sky. This may not be Aladdin’s carpet, but the ride will surely be a new fantastic point of view! Overlook the panoramic beauty of Furano’s mountainous area on a wind-driven hot balloon flight. Imagine floating over a snow-covered ground looking over miniature cityscape. Rest assured that you are in good hands.
(Credit: Matcha & Slow Life Hokkaido)
Let's visit another new world called The Phantom Village. No, it is not the Phantom of The Opera. Hokkaido's winter season is no joke. In some places, temperature can reach as low as 20 degrees below the freezing point. Some lakes got frozen solid, and that is exactly how this village started.
Above the ice-covered Lake Shikaribetsu, a pop-up village emerges. This tradition dates back to 1980 where locals joined hands to create something fun during the area's coldest months. Today, the village is open for only around 60 days because during warmer seasons, this area transforms into a beautiful blue lake. Hence, known as the phantom village!
Visitors can enjoy various activities including dipping into a hot onsen, enjoying various drinks in the ice bar, and for the brave heart, a one-night stay in one of the igloos is possible!
Day 3: A Picture Perfect Place
A small town of only 8,000 residents, a small town that has the longest winter season, a small town that is called "the town of photography". This is Higashikawa. Make your way to the top of Mt. Asahidake, the tallest mountain in all of Hokkaido, and enjoy the awe-inspiring snowscape. Winter sport junkies rejoice! Delve into the soft and pristine powder snow and feel the excitement rushing!
(Credit: Japan Travel & Zekkei Japan)
Let's continue the journey to another picturesque location. The extraordinarily blue pond became famous when it was selected as one of Apple iOS' wallpapers. The appearance of the pond changes depending on the weather, the season and the light reflection. In the earlier winter month, the pond has yet become frozen, so the colour becomes strikingly blue while the trees are just starting to be covered in snow. When the lake freezes over, snow starts to pile up and a magical light show lit up the sphere. The magic doesn't end here. Take a short walk and see the stunning Shirahige waterfall with shimmering icicles that showcase the blue ravine below. Truly enchanting and magical.
Day 4: Asahikawa Snow Festival
(Credit: Kanpai Japan)
While it comes second in terms of festival size, Asahikawa Winter Festival always presents one of the biggest snow sculptures in Hokkaido. Every year, one massive sculpture is made as a stage for music and other performances. The theme for the main sculpture is changed every year, and next year will be no less than spectacular!
(Credit: Japan Guide & Matcha)
Made with creative measures to relieve the area's cold weather, Asahikawa ramens are truly the local's soul food; and just outside of the city, there is an interesting collection of 8 famous ramen shops. Each restaurant offers mini-size portion, so be sure to taste them all!
Day 5: Say Hi to Furry Friends
(Credit: JNTO, KOTA, Instagram @benben0420)
See different furry friends in Asahiyama Zoo's well-designed enclosures. From polar bears, red panda, and the undeniably cute Pallas cat. From the end of December to mid-March, you can also get very close to the king penguins by watching them waddle up in line. It is important to note that this is not a performance but rather an exercise for the penguin. Awww...
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(Credit: Readymade People)
What if we told you that the best way to get to Sapporo from Asahikawa is getting on board in a very special train that is filled with wild animals? Don't worry, they won't bite. Each of the the train's carriage has a different theme. Jump from the savannah to the icy north pole in no time. Don't forget to hop off at Sapporo and continue your journey!
The Charming Canal
Just a short ride from Sapporo, you will find this charming canal town. In the past, this city served as major trade port to the entire Hokkaido. Now, warehouses are transformed into beautiful shops and restaurants. Every February, the city holds a beautiful candle light festival. The Otaru Snow Light Path festival is a winter spectacle that illuminates the northern city in the light of some 120,000 candles! Walking down the illuminated street at night is both magical and romantic.
Wish Upon A Candle
(Credit: Jozankei Tourist Association)
With a hot flowing river water flowing through the town, Jozankei is known as one of the most popular onsen towns in all of Hokkaido. However, not many actually know that there is a special time during winter where the night is lit up beautifully with more than 2,000 candles being lit up. Stroll among the yellow orbs of light that line the paths of the Jozankei shrine. It is believed that your wish will come true if you lit a candle and carry it all the way through the snow tower without the flame going out.
White Farm Calling
(Credit: Farm Tomita)
A purple carpet in July, but a completely white serene field in colder months. Although famous for its lavender field, winter season calls for a different scene. Piling snow and white branches, blue skies and fresh air. PS, you can still enjoy the lavender soft serve ice cream in the cafe!
Drifting Ice Phenomenon
(Credit: Japan Guide)
Drift ice on Hokkaido’s Sea of Okhotsk is a phenomenon limited between February and March. This otherworldly scene can only occurs within the polar latitudes. Drift ice is not attached to the shoreline or any other fixed object and is carried by the wind and sea currents. As it comes accompanied by an abundance of plankton, rare animals are drawn to it too. Magnificent Steller’s sea eagles and white-tailed eagles rest their wing on drift ice, while cute seals just flop on top of the ice! There are plenty of ways to enjoy drift ice. Seeking comfort? Hop on the ice breaker ship. Out-of-the-box? Put on a wet suit and join us for a walk on top of the drifting ice! Whichever approach that you choose, seeing the drift ice will be an unforgettable experience.