Monday, October 31, 2016

Hokkaido in April #1 - Things to do in Spring

When people talk about Hokkaido, 1st thing that will come to mind is the world renown powder snow and their long winter. I however, happened to visit Hokkaido in its low season. Spring (April to June) attracts far less foreign tourists compared to Kyoto and Tokyo around the same time.

This trip was a group trip, we arrived on 20th April and flew back on 26th. The best thing about this trip is everything is prearranged so we don't have to worry about transport as Hokkaido, being less populated, has less convenient public transportation as well. Unfortunately for me, although some friends of mine are lucky enough to experience snow during spring in Hokkaido (2 of them went to different parts of Hokkaido around a week or two after me and came across a snowing day in their trip), there was no snow at all when I was there. As for sakura viewing season in Hokkaido, it is usually end of April to beginning of May, but unfortunately I went back 2 days before the full bloom came by T.T Speaking of bad luck. However, that doesn't discount the beauty of Hokkaido! This will be a photo blog of the places I visit during the span of my trip.

Visit Lake Toya (洞爷湖, Toyako) Mount Usu (有珠山, Usuzan) & Showa Shinzhan (昭和新山)

Lake Toya is part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Part. This region features hot springs and also Mount Usu, the active volcano that erupt a few times in the recent hundred years. Directly next to Mount Usu, Showa Shinzan is still venting sulfurous fumes today since the day it suddenly rose from a flat wheat field between 1943 and 1945. Because of the sudden appearance of the mountain, it was named "Showa New Mountain" during the reign of Emperor Showa.

Showa Shinzhan.  

To get a good view of the young volcano, we took the Usuzan Ropeway up onto Mount Uzu. That also give us a great view of the Lake Toya.

The super crowded car up the ropeway.

Visit Hakodate Morning Fish Market

This is a great market to visit, reason being that it caters to tourists so store owner are super patient and friendly when it comes to us foreigners asking questions. They also have a lot of ready to eat food over there, such as all sorts of donburi rice bowl, sashimi, grilled scallops and also delicious dried squid. You can even try squid (ika) fishing and eat what you catch fresh! I didn't try that as I don't like the idea of the squid dying for me on the spot and eat it while it is still wriggling...

Enjoy Hakodate's night scenery from Mount Hakodate (函館山, Hakodateyama)

Night view from Mount Hakodate is breathtaking, it is also a must visit location when you are in Hakodate.

Sakura viewing at Goryokaku (五稜郭)

This star fort is one of the best stop for sakura viewing in Hakodate Hokkaido.
The sakura are not in full bloom yet so we have to make do with a epic silhouette shot.

Noboribetsu Date Historic Village (Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura 登别依达时代村)

This is quite a typical touristy cultural/historic village to village. There are 3 shows - ninja show, samurai show and edo cultural show, which are all in japanese but they will give you synopsis in various language at the start. There are also a few 'fun houses' namely ninja house, cat house and house of monsters to tour in. Wasn't expecting myself to enjoy it but the trip to this village was actually enjoyable!

 To be continued....
Part 2 please visit here:


  1. I'm actually a big fan of visiting places in the off-peak seasons. I find you'll have a much more different (read: not boring and typical) experience compared to everyone else. I'll definitely take note of these places you've mentioned if I ever make it to Hokkaido!


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