We’ve compiled the best of the best in Hokkaido - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Daisetsuzan National Park

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    Daisetsuzan, which means great snow mountain, refers to the park's five major peaks, whose altitudes approach 7,560 feet. They are climbable...Read More

  • 2. Hokkaido Jingu

    Chuo-ku | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Follow the long gravel paths under Maruyama Park's tall cypress trees until you come to the main gate of what looks like a fortress. Before...Read More

  • 3. Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples

    Educational Institution

    Hokkaido is the southermost point of the northern community of the Ainu. This museum's delightful exhibits link the polar indigenous people...Read More

  • 4. Shiretoko Goko


    A stop for every tour bus route in the region, this collection of small lakes sits on a forested precipice above the ocean. It takes just over...Read More

  • 5. Shiretoko National Park

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    A highlight of any trip to Hokkaido, the spectacular and miraculously uninhabited Shiretoko National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. On...Read More

  • 6. Akan National Park

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    Volcanoes rise from primeval forests and lakeside beaches bubble with hot springs in this national park, unfairly overshadowed by neighboring...Read More

  • 7. Akanko Onsen

    Arts/Performance Venue

    A major stop on bus tours, this small town on the lakeshore has giant hotels blocking the views from the main road. Kitschy souvenir shops sell...Read More

  • 8. Aurora Icebreakers

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    If you really want to break the ice in future conversations about Hokkaido and you're in Abashiri between late January and early April, take...Read More

  • 9. Farm Tomita


    In Japanese eyes, lavender is one of the favorite souvenirs Hokkaido, and this is the farm where it all started—back in 1903. Now thousands...Read More

  • 10. Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture

    Visitor Center

    ...Read More

  • 11. Ice Land Akan


    Between January and March, Ice Land (which becomes Fishing Land May through November) occupies the southern corner of Lake Akan and is used...Read More

  • 12. Kamuiwakka Onsen

    Nature Sight

    Kamui means "spirit" or "god" in the Ainu language, and there's something wondrous, almost otherworldly, about this tumbling hot waterfall...Read More

  • 13. Kayano Shigeru Nibutani Ainu Museum

    Educational Institution

    This small but important museum puts a spotlight on Ainu clothing and other items used in sacred rites, all of it collected by the late prominent...Read More

  • 14. Kazan Kagaku-kan


    A rumbling sound track and shaking floors re-create the area's 1977 and 2000 volcanic eruptions in this small information center. Although there...Read More

  • 15. Kushiro-Shitsugen National Park


    Graceful red-crested cranes preen and breed in protected Kushiro Wetlands, which constitutes 60% of Japan's remaining marshes. These rare cranes...Read More

  • 16. Lake Akan


    Out on Churui Island, silence is green among Akanko's strangest inhabitants, marimo, as they nestle peacefully in display tanks. Marimo are...Read More

  • 17. Otaru Canal Area

    Business District

    Make a beeline to this city's most famous attraction, Otaru Canal, eight blocks downhill from JR Otaru Station. Small but charming, it runs...Read More

  • 18. Otaru Canal Cruise


    Since everyone comes to Otaru for the canals, why not go out on them? When you have worn out your feet for the day, try taking a 40-minute Canal...Read More

  • 19. Rishiri-to


    If you're driving along the western side of Hokkaido, the coastal road offers you a view of Mt. Rishiri for an hour or two. This Mt. Fuji clone...Read More

  • 20. Soya Misaki


    This is the end of Japan. Ahead of you, across the frigid waters, is Russia's Sakhalin Island (sometimes visible). This lonely but significant...Read More

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