Each of Hokkaido’s four seasons has its charms, but its winter is exceptional as it brings a kingdom of pristine white snow to life! There are many things to enjoy here, such as winter sports, hot springs, and festivals! Hokkaido is a popular tourist destination for both Japanese tourists and international visitors. Today we will be recommending some of Hokkaido’s best winter destinations! Please consider our suggestions when planning your trip.
- Sapporo Snow Festival
- Otaru area
- Hakodate area
- Precautions when traveling to Hokkaido
- “Winter goods” that you can purchase at Don Quijote
- Where’s the nearest Don Quijote to Sapporo Station?
Sapporo Snow Festival
Hokkaido’s cultural center of Sapporo city exhibits a multitude of snow and ice sculptures around Odori Park and Susukino Street during every year’s biggest winter event, the Sapporo Snow Festival. From skating rinks to delicious cuisine to its multitude of events, there are many activities and things to enjoy in Sapporo!
Event dates: Held every year for ten days at the start of February
Location: Odori-nishi 1-chome-7-chome
Access from the airport: 1,150 yen
*The trip from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo Station by JR Rapid Airport takes approximately 37 minutes.
Please check the official website below for the latest festival information.
Click here for the official website
Once the economic center of Hokkaido, Otaru is also famous as the stage for the Japanese movie, “Love Letter.” Because of this, its Western and historical architecture remains untouched. In particular, the Otaru Canal, the symbol of Otaru, gives off a romantic vibe that one can only experience at night.
One of the highlights of sightseeing in Otaru is its main street. Lined with glass workshops, music box boutiques, and sweet stores, Otaru’s main street has a lot of things to enjoy. Make this one of the places to get souvenirs on your Hokkaido trip.
Access from Sapporo Station: 750 yen
*It takes about 33 minutes to travel from Sapporo Station to Otaru Station via JR.
Click here for the official website
Up next is a city located south of Hokkaido, Hakodate! Since it was one of Japan’s first few ports to open to international trade, most of the relevant structures during that time have remained intact. We suggest enjoying the scenery through these pieces of history. What’s more, the night view from Mt. Hakodate is famed to be one of the world’s three best nightscapes.
You will need to use the cable car or bus to climb Mt. Hakodate. We recommends enjoying the night view by climbing with cable car.
■ Cable-car round-trip fare: 1,500 yen
A hundred and fifty years ago, Hakodate was one of the first cities in Japan to open its ports to the world. During that time, Motomachi was one of the areas that flourished the most. We recommend taking a stroll and appreciating the view of the Western-style buildings and the consulates of numerous countries that line the slopes overlooking the harbor.
How to get to Hakodate?
Sapporo, the center of Hokkaido, is about 304 km away from Hakodate. Since the area experiences quite a lot of snow, we recommend using the JR Limited Express (Super Hokuto/ Hokuto) lines instead of renting a car. It takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes by train from Sapporo Station to Hakodate Station.
■Click the link below for pricing information.
JR Hokkaido Official page
Precautions when traveling to Hokkaido
Here are some preparation tips if you worry about Hokkaido’s climate and suitable attire when traveling there.
Due to the amount of snow, we recommend that you skip the coat and get a down jacket, it’s easier to clear the snow. And, you don’t need to bring umbrellas in Hokkaido, people there rarely use umbrellas. The reasons behind this are manifold. While many are concerned that strong winds may whisk away their umbrellas, there are also those concerned that the buildup of snow may cause unnecessary encumbrance.
If you are holding umbrellas, your hands can’t protect you from tripping. Some view them as a hazard that hinders proper movement and obstructs their vision when opened. Instead of bring umbrellas, please be sure to wear a hat, muffler, and gloves to protect yourself from the cold. Oh, and non-slip boots are also a must!
“Winter goods” that you can purchase at Don Quijote
JONETZ Kairo (Heat packs)
Warms your body for 7 up to 12 hours! Don Quijote’s private brand 「情熱価格」（Jonetz Kakaku） has two types of heat packs, the adhesive type and the disposable pocket heaters! Stay warm, all the way to your core, using our brand of body warmers.
Various winter goods
When traveling, it is not uncommon for people to encounter various problems, like the socks inside your shoes getting soaked from excessive snow or losing a glove that has been blown away by the wind. If ever you forget or lose your winter gear, please stop by Don Quijote. We’re sure to have all you need!
Where’s the nearest Don Quijote to Sapporo Station?
MEGA Don Quijote Sapporo Tanukikoji Honten store
This Don Quijote is a 2-minute walk from Hokkaido’s largest entertainment district, Susukino, and located at the entrance of the region’s most extensive shopping arcade, Tanukikoji! There is a vast array of 40,000 to 60,000 goods- from food and daily necessities to clothing and branded goods!
■Access ・ A 4-minute walk from Susukino Station on the Namboku Line of the Sapporo Municipal Subway ・ 1 minute walk from the Sapporo Streetcar line's Tanukikoji Station ・ Business hours: 24 hours ・Please check here for more information on the stores.
This article presented you with some of Hokkaido’s tourist destinations and things to note when traveling there. We sincerely hope that the Covid-19 pandemic ends this winter and that everyone has enjoyable travels around Hokkaido. As for preparations? Well, how about letting us at Don Quijote help you out?
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