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happy holidays in hokkaido

Happy Holidays in Hokkaido: The Best Place to Be!

Thalia Harris

Thalia Harris

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A cabin in Furano, during happy holidays in Hokkaido.

It’s time for some happy holidays in Hokkaido, where the magic of the season comes alive in a unique blend of serene landscapes, captivating events, and culinary treasures. Brace yourself for a holiday experience like no other as we embark on a journey through Japan’s northernmost island.

What events can I check out in Hokkaido during this time of year?

Winter in Hokkaido turns the island into a magical place with many events showing its unique charm. If you’re considering visiting during this time, dive into the exciting celebrations that make Hokkaido a winter paradise.

The famous Sapporo Snow Festival happens every February and attracts millions of visitors. Enjoy the amazing snow and ice sculptures created by artists worldwide at various places in Sapporo, especially at the main venue, Odori Park. The festival has a happy atmosphere, detailed ice carvings, and huge snow sculptures, making it a fantastic event you shouldn’t miss.

An ice tower at the Sapporo Snow Festival.
The Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the most popular events in the country. Image via Shutterstock

For a more personal experience, check out the Sounkyo Onsen Hyoubaku Festival in the beautiful Sounkyo Gorge. This festival celebrates nature’s and winter’s beauty with illuminated frozen waterfalls that create a stunning light display. You can also enjoy activities like ice sculptures, traditional performances, and local winter foods. This offers a peaceful and magical escape in Hokkaido’s snowy landscapes.

If you want something different, go off the usual path to Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan for a unique winter adventure. This ice village is only open in winter and appears on the frozen surface of Lake Shikaribetsu. This area provides a one-of-a-kind place to explore. Discover igloo-like structures serving different purposes, from hot spring baths to cozy bars.

Fireworks at the Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan during happy holidays in Hokkaido.
This area has amazing hiking trails! Image via JW Magazine

The village hosts traditional Ainu performances, ice sculpting contests, and stargazing. This makes Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan a hidden treasure in Hokkaido’s winter events list. In winter, Hokkaido offers special and unforgettable experiences, with each event giving a different view of the island’s snowy beauty during these happy holidays!

What food and drink can I enjoy in Hokkaido?

Hokkaido is well-known for its tasty sweets, and your visit wouldn’t be complete without trying Shiroi Koibito biscuits. These unique white chocolate cookies have a sweet cream layer, giving you a delicious treat that balances rich chocolate with a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

A plate of butter sandwich cookies with raisins in them one of many sweet treats from Hokkaido.
These cookie sandwiches are very creamy! Image via Shutterstock

Try butter sandwich cookies if you’re in the mood for something sweet. They’re a Hokkaido specialty, offering a heavenly mix of buttery goodness and a light, crispy texture in every bite. These cookies capture Hokkaido’s commitment to quality ingredients.

Hokkaido is also famous for its top-notch dairy, especially Hokkaido milk. This milk is well-known for its rich flavor and creamy consistency, making it a key ingredient in many dairy-based treats. It adds a unique and luxurious touch to Hokkaido’s culinary offerings.

Someone holding lavender soft-serve ice cream (one of many sweet treats) in a lavender field.
Their soft-serve ice cream is amazing! Image via Shutterstock

And finally, no trip to Hokkaido is complete without treating yourself to the region’s famous soft-serve ice cream. This creamy delight comes in various tempting flavors and is made with the freshest Hokkaido milk. It is a must-try to complete your culinary journey through this winter paradise during the happy holidays. In Hokkaido, food is an essential part of the cultural experience, so don’t forget to enjoy these delightful treats as you explore the snowy landscapes and attend enchanting winter events.

Are you interested in enjoying amazing snacks from Hokkaido during the holiday season? Check out Sakuraco! Sakuraco delivers traditional Japanese snacks, teas, and sweets from local Japanese makers directly to your door so you can enjoy the latest treats directly from Japan!

What kind of places can I visit in Hokkaido?

Some amazing places to check out in Hokkaido, like Noboribetsu, Hakodate, and Furano. They are different regarding nature, city events, and food. Noboribetsu has Hell Valley, a crazy landscape with steamy vents and mineral-rich waters. You can walk on wooden paths through the valley and feel the strong natural vibes. Hot springs are also perfect for chilling in the soothing waters and enjoying the pretty views.

Otaru Canal, at night a perfect getaway.
Otaru Canal is one of the most romantic attractions in Hokkaido. Image via Shutterstock

In Hakodate, you get a mix of old and new. There’s a place called Motomachi with cool Meiji-era buildings mixed with traditional Japanese ones. You can also check out Hakodate Bay from Mount Hakodate, especially when the city lights up at night. And don’t miss the Hakodate Morning Market – it’s full of fresh seafood and local treats showing off Hokkaido’s food. It’s also home to one of the tallest mountains in the prefecture

Heading to the center of Hokkaido, Furano is like a peaceful countryside gem. In the summer, it’s famous for lavender fields, but winter makes it a snowy wonderland perfect for skiing. The Furano Cheese Factory is there, too, where you can see how they make cheese and try some tasty dairy products. It’s a charming town with beautiful nature, ideal for a quiet getaway.

What’s the largest city in Hokkaido?

The biggest city in Hokkaido is Sapporo, a lively place mixing modern stuff with lots of culture. When you check out this bustling city, there are a bunch of interesting things to do that’ll make your visit unforgettable.

Sapporo TV Tower.
Sapporo TV Tower is a major part of the skyline. Image via Shutterstock

Sapporo has this big, green area called Odori Park running right through the middle. It’s a nice spot to enjoy nature while you walk on paths lined with trees. In winter, Odori Park turns into a magical place for the famous Sapporo Snow Festival, where they make amazing snow and ice sculptures that people worldwide come to see.

If you’re into history, you should definitely visit the Sapporo Clock Tower. It’s like a symbol of the city’s old stories, dating back to the late 1800s. You can step back in time and learn about Sapporo’s exciting history at the Sapporo Clock Tower Museum, right next to it.

Sapporo Clock Tower.
The clock tower resembles homes from the US. Image via Shutterstock

And for all the history and beer fans out there, the Sapporo Beer Museum is a must-see. It’s in the brewery area of the city and takes you on a journey through Sapporo’s beer-making past. You can see how they make beer, try different kinds, and learn more about the art of brewing in a city that’s proud of its beer-making history.

Why should I have happy holidays in Hokkaido?

Spending the holidays in Hokkaido is an amazing and special experience that goes beyond the usual. The top part of Japan turns into a magical winter place, perfect for those who want a mix of natural beauty, cultural richness, and festive fun.

Goryokaku Park in Hakodate during the winter.
Hakodate’s Goryokaku Park was once a military fort. Image via Shutterstock

Hokkaido in winter is like a dream, with fresh snow everywhere and many cool events. There’s the famous Sapporo Snow Festival, the peaceful Sounkyo Onsen Hyoubaku Festival, and the temporary village of Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan. Each event shows off the beauty of winter in its way.

You can explore different parts of the island, like the geothermal wonders of Noboribetsu, the history of Hakodate, and the lovely scenes in Furano. Whether walking in Hell Valley, trying fresh seafood at Hakodate Morning Market, or enjoying the lavender fields in Furano, every moment in Hokkaido is about nature, history, and tasty food. And if you’re in the biggest city, Sapporo, there’s more to do. You can join the fun at Odori Park, learn about history at the Sapporo Clock Tower, and discover the beer story at the Sapporo Beer Museum.

A woman making a hart sign with her hands on a bridge during happy holidays in Hokkaido.
Would you ever visit Hokkaido? Image via Shutterstock

In simple terms, having happy holidays in Hokkaido means being in a place where winter is both calm and lively. The special events, different places to visit, and cultural treasures make it a unique holiday you’ll remember for a long time. Hokkaido is called – a winter paradise where each snowflake brings happiness and magic. Have you ever visited Hokkaido before? Let us know in the comments below. 

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