The northernmost prefecture and the least developed in Japan, Hokkaido is famed for its fine local produce and unique natural environment, with plenty of space and a milder climate for high-quality seasonal harvests. With rich farming conditions and access to fishing, locally-grown products like potatoes, corn, and crabs create regional specialties, earning Hokkaido the nickname of the “Kingdom of Food.” Its mountainous landscapes feature volcanoes, valleys, and towns by the sea where wineries and dairy farms are unmatched in quality.
Hokkaido’s capital city, Sapporo is made famous by the local brew of the same name, with the Sapporo Beer Museum serving beers and jingisukan (lamb barbeque), a Hokkaido specialty dish. The annual Snow Festival at Odori Park takes over the city each winter showcasing incredible ice sculptures and winter food. Warm up in winter with a hearty bowl of butter miso ramen and spicy soup curry, or cool off in summer with locally-made ice cream. Taste samples from Sapporo’s iconic sweet stores, while next door the city of Yubari famously produces the most expensive melons in the world. A short trip away, the canal of Otaru City prides itself on local glasswork and fishing some of the prefecture’s freshest seafood.
World-class ski resorts in Niseko thrive in the winter, and hikers embrace scenic views in summer around Hokkaido’s national parks such as Shiretoko and Daisetsuzan. They offer stunning views over sparkling lakes and Mount Yotei (Hokkaido’s own Mount Fuji look-alike), while the natural hot springs at Noboribetsu’s Hell Valley bubble away, offering amazing open-air onsen experiences. One of the main cities in Hokkaido’s south, Mount Hakodate looms over Hakodate by the seaside, where over 300 vendors gather daily at the morning market selling seafood that’s high-quality and fresh. With adventure sports and lavender fields at Furano, for all this and more, Hokkaido Prefecture is perfect for nature lovers. Bountiful with seasonal produce and local cuisine, Hokkaido is a lush foodie heaven overflowing with natural beauty.
Genghis Khan, also known as Jingisukan, is a dish that originated in Hokkaido, made of the novelty meat, lamb. Hokkaido ice cream is always a go-to, made from Hokkaido dairy, with a satisfying, rich milk taste.
Attend the Sapporo Snow Festival during February to see the snow sculptures and city light up. Otaru is another hotspot, located an hour away from Sapporo, with its own snow festival.
The Nijukken Road is perfect for those who like aesthetic symmetry as the cherry blossom road stretches 7 kilometers. Matsumae Park was selected as a Hokkaido heritage in 2004, making it the perfect place to enjoy cherry blossom viewing.
Hokkaido is known for its fresh seafood like Hokkaido crab and dairy products. They are also known for Sapporo beer, one of the most popular and famous beer brands in Japan.
Shiroi Koibito by Ishiya is a popular food omiyage (souvenir) from Hokkaido. It is made of white chocolate sandwiched with two square cookies.