Fodor's Expert Review Hokudai Shokubutsu-en
With more than 5,000 plant varieties, these gardens are a cool summer retreat. Highlights include a small Northern Peoples Museum with a grisly but fascinating 13-minute film of an Ainu bear-killing ceremony in Asahikawa in 1935, and a stuffed husky sharing a room with bears and an Ezo wolf. This glassy-eyed hound in Hokkaido's oldest museum in the center of the park is Taro, one of the canine survivors abandoned in a 1958 Antarctic expedition—a story brought to non-Japanese audiences in the Disney movie Eight Below (2006). After his ordeal, Taro retired to Hokkaido University, died in 1970, and remains here in dusty, shaggy glory.