Planning a trip to Hokkaido? Beautiful nature, mountains, and stunning lakes await. We guarantee that if you are looking for scenic views and a relaxing environment, then Hokkaido is the perfect place to add to your travel itinerary. Here are six places to enjoy the nature of Hokkaido:
(image by photo.hokkaido-blog.com)
Biei in Hokkaido has rolling hills surrounded by a chain of mountains so that the area can be appreciated for its grand landscape. With its never-ending horizon and Mother Nature, it is a tourist area to calm body and soul. Shikisai-no-Oka consists of panoramic flower fields which makes use of the dynamic nature in Biei. Within its 15 hectares, it boasts a variety of blooms from spring to autumn. The scene of colorful flowers against the backdrop of the Daisetsuzan Mountain Range is incredible. It is a tourist area where you can experience the lush nature of Biei with all your senses while enveloped in the scent of flowers. During its green season between the end of April to the end of October, you can also leisurely ride through the fields via the Norokko tractor bus or even drive through the area by yourself with the available buggies and carts. Biei’s produce is on sale and there is also a restaurant where you can enjoy Hokkaido cuisine so you can spend a leisurely day there.
At Shikisai-no-Oka, there is a farm where you can meet cute alpacas. The 10 alpacas from New Zealand with their soft wool and round eyes with long eyelashes will be happy to meet you. Feeding and petting them are possible so it is a very popular spot with the children.
Shikisai-no-Oka is overflowing with flowers from spring to autumn, but during the snow-filled winter season, it turns into a popular snow town to be traversed over the noble hills of Biei by snowmobile and banana boards. You will want to take full enjoyment of the area that is only possible in very snowy Hokkaido. It is a tourist vicinity where you can encounter all sorts of nature throughout the year.
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Shikisai-no-Oka
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Shikisai-no-Oka
- Tours of Shikisai-no-Oka
(image by art40.photozou.jp)
Lake Mashū is called Kamuito (the Pond of God) in the Ainu language, and its water level doesn’t change at all since there are no rivers flowing in or out of the lake. It is said that the explanation lies in the waters of Lake Mashū flowing into the surrounding ponds as underground water. Kami-no-Koike is one of those ponds, and its name means “The Child Pond of God”. It is a small pond with a circumference of 220m and a depth of 5m, but it is a popular place visited by many tourists. The overriding reason for this is its mysterious blue color. The surface of Kami-no-Koike which turns a beautiful cobalt-blue due to the strong sunlight in spring and summer and a light indigo-blue in fall and winter has a loveliness which amazes visitors. Since the temperature of the pond stays at about a low 8 degrees Celsius throughout the year, anything that falls into the pond such as trees doesn’t tend to rot so that they seem to appear as sunken fossils in water so impressively clear that it doesn’t look like the water is 5m deep. Dolly Varden trout can even be seen swimming within its lovely blue waters. Due to the accumulation of snow in the winter, it will be necessary to move around in snowshoes, but to see the pond within an air of quiet deep in the mountains is also recommended. This is a mysterious place whose beauty remains unchanged throughout the year.
In Kiyosato Town where Kami-no-Koike is located, there are other tourist spots that are recommended. Kiyosato’s Mt. Sharitake is one such spot that is a hit with mountain climbers. From its summit, the grand Sea of Okhotsk can be viewed. Also at Sakura-no-Taki Falls, you can see cherry salmon jumping up the falls so that they can spawn. Kiyosato Town is one of those tourist areas where you can experience this dynamism of Mother Nature.
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Kami-no-Koike
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Kami-no-Koike
- Tours of Kami-no-Koike
(image by upload.wikimedia.org)
The hilly area that spreads everywhere is the attractive Biei of Hokkaido. One of the tourist areas where you can enjoy the grand scenery born in the midst of Mother Nature within the prefecture is Patchwork Road. To avoid any damage from continuous re-planting of the same or similar crops in the same area, a variety of flowers and produce is raised in this area. The scenery is just like a patchwork quilt and the path that goes through this hilly area to be able to view this scenery is Patchwork Road. Since different crops are grown every year, a different expression is shown to visitors each time. Also depending on the season, the atmosphere will completely change so any time is recommended. You can savor a landscape that is just like an illustration out of a picture book.
Patchwork Road, being one of the famous tourist sites, claimed overnight fame through a car commercial due to a poplar tree. That tree is affectionately known as the Ken-and-Mary Tree named after the two characters from that car ad and it soars into the sky in the hilly area that seems to expand everywhere with the range of mountains in the background. Also there is Mild Seven Hill with a larch forest that has become famous due to its use in a cigarette commercial. This spot has also become a popular tourist area for its beautiful and wide landscape. In spring and summer, flowers blossom everywhere and the entire area is surrounded in a vivid atmosphere. At twilight, a magical and shining scene is revealed as the hill is colored in gold. The wide and beautiful farmland of Biei is a place where you can get a sense of being overseas while in Japan.
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Patchwork Road
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Patchwork Road
- Tours of Patchwork Road
(image by upload.wikimedia.org)
Furano City in the center of Hokkaido is especially famous for its lavender and every year, numerous tourists come and visit for that wonderful scent and view. Farm Tomita is renowned for having the largest lavender field in the Furano area. Boasting a wide 15 hectares, the peak time is in July and so the journey to the farm is notable for its traffic jams. Also, the farm’s Traditional Lavender Field has the longest history of its type in Japan. Its grand landscape unfurls like a violet carpet and the scent of lavender floats over the area. From the slightly elevated field, you can get a panoramic view of the rural landscape of Furano along with the lavender field where you can appreciate the breathtaking beauty. There are also many other flowers besides lavender that are being cultivated in places like Irodori Field with its colorful poppies and baby’s-breath.
Hokkaido is overflowing with delicious foods. At Farm Tomita, you can enjoy different kinds of cuisine using locally-produced ingredients. The lavender-infused soft-serve ice cream is especially popular. It’s something that has to be tasted while viewing the beautiful lavender field. Farm Tomita sells many original products such as lavender by the stalk, potpourri, and lavender essential oil. Bringing back lavender-scented souvenirs as a memento of your trip would be wonderful. What is also popular is Japan’s greatest dried flower arrangements.
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Farm Tomita
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Farm Tomita
- Tours of Farm Tomita
(image by upload.wikimedia.org)
The town of Biei in Hokkaido where the Blue Pond is located is a place where you can feel the great outdoors of the prefecture through its rolling hills. Along with the Furano district, Biei is a popular area that is a member of The Association of The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan. The town has many tourist spots such as magnificent Mt. Tokachi which have been blessed by nature and are very relaxing. The Blue Pond is one other such site. It is a body of water that was created from a dam which was built to protect Biei from the effects of an eruption from Mt. Tokachi. It started out as a man-made pond but water naturally filled the area. The reasons still haven’t been made perfectly clear, but sunlight striking the colloidal particles in the water is apparently responsible for the short-wavelength blue color of the pond. This blue surface along with the withered trees in the area produce a mystical atmosphere. It has therefore garnered a good amount of popularity in Japan due to media coverage, but also from its image being used as the wallpaper for the Apple operating system, it has also become known for its beautiful scenery throughout the world.
Biei where the Blue Pond is located has a lot of nature spreading out. In the area surrounding the Blue Pond, there are also numerous tourist spots to view landscapes such as Shirohige-no-Taki (Whitebeard Falls) which flows into the Biei (Blue) River and Shikisai-no-Oka where you can enjoy flowers in every season. As well, the hot spring town of Shirogane Onsen is nearby where you can take part in high-quality onsen and enjoy the wonderful view of Mt. Tokachi and the Biei Hills. You can be sure that body and soul will be refreshed through the grand landscape of Biei. This is a tourist area which you can enjoy until you are satisfied through the power of magnificent Mother Nature.
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Blue Pond
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Blue Pond
- Tours of Blue Pond
Shiretoko Five Lakes
(image by upload.wikimedia.org)
Shiretoko Five Lakes is surrounded by a primeval forest and the Shiretoko Mountains. Within this region of lush flora and fauna, you can experience the grandness of nature here. There are 2 ways to navigate through Shiretoko Five Lakes. First, there is the wooden boardwalk course which has a total length of 800m and goes as far as the shores of one of the lakes. The boardwalk ranges from 2 to 5 meters in height and there is an electric fence with 7000 volts of current running around it so in the unlikely event of any brown bear encounters, people can still walk securely. Also, there are 2 observation points on the boardwalk from where you can see the Okhotsk Sea in the distance and the wonderful view of the lake and the reflection of the Shiretoko Mountains. You can also encounter wild animals such as deer in the area. The other course involves the nature trails. You can take a walk once you get a lecture at the Shiretoko Five Lakes Field House. At the carefully protected primeval forest in Shiretoko, you can come upon a myriad of plants and animals. However, during the peak season of brown bear activity, the trails can only be traversed with a limited number of people following a licensed guide. Please follow the rules to ensure that this untouched nature is continued to be protected.
During winter, the boardwalk is closed, but there are opportunities to go to the wetlands which aren’t usually accessible in the summer. Shiretoko in the harsh winter provides a valuable experience to see the animals that can withstand the cold and the quiet forest. At this time, there are also tours which you can enjoy Shiretoko in winter. From being able to walk on top of the lakes to viewing the icebergs floating on top of the Okhotsk Sea, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance (reservations/fee required).