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Winter in Hokkaido
Powder Snow Paradise

Powder Snow Paradise

As the cool fresh air of Hokkaido fills your nostrils for the first time, you feel an invigorating rush--your winter adventure is about to start. From perfect powder snow to good food to relaxing hot springs, Hokkaido has something for every discerning traveler looking to make the most of winter.

Hokkaido is Japan's biggest prefecture, as well as the second largest island in the archipelago. Sharing a border with Siberian Russia, Hokkaido understandably has a reputation for particularly intense winter weather. Frequent heavy snowfall during this time of the year, starting from December, in addition to a notably dry climate, means an excess of deep, powder snow.

Because of this, Hokkaido has been lauded as a powder snow paradise, with skiers and snowboarders flocking to the multitude of ski resorts found in Hokkaido. Even those who may not have much experience with winter sports can enjoy other snow activities--snow shoe hikes and sledding are just some of the popular winter pastimes that people of all ages can enjoy. Various snow-related events are held throughout the prefecture--perhaps the most well-known being the annual Sapporo Snow Festival.

But, if you find that you need a break from the cold, never fear--Hokkaido is also renowned for its many natural hot springs. "Onsen", as they are called in Japanese, are wildly popular--for good reason. Great for a variety of ailments, plus packed with skin-beautifying minerals, onsen can really help you relax after a long day.

Another Hokkaido claim to fame is excellent cuisine. The frigid sea waters surrounding the island mean seafood is especially delicious here--with winter fishing bringing in some of the best catch. Also, as much of Hokkaido is agricultural, the dairy and produce here are renowned throughout Japan. There are all sorts of delectable dishes to enjoy.

Whether it be the snow, the food, or the onsen that bring you here, you'll be sure to have a fun, delicious, rejuvenating adventure that you won't forget for many winters to come.


Can't wait to visit Hokkaido and experience the powder snow paradise for yourself? Book a hotel now!

Hotel Spotlight

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Snow

  • Sapporo Snow Festival

    Sapporo Snow Festival

    The 2015 Sapporo Snow Festival will be held from February 6th to the 15th.

    An annual tradition since 1950, the Sapporo Snow Festival now boasts over 2 million visitors each year, flocking to see massive snow sculptures exquisitely crafted from pure white snow. Beautiful during the day and as well as during the night, when the sculptures are lit up, the festival can be admired at three different sites: Odori Park, Susukino, and Community Dome Tsudome.

    Learn more about Sapporo
  • Sapporo White Illumination

    Sapporo White Illumination

    Through much of winter (mid-November through mid-February), visitors to Odori Park are mesmerized by what seems to be an infinite number of sparkling lights in a rainbow of colors. The popular spectacle draws many to Sapporo in conjunction with the Sapporo Snow Festival.

    Learn more about Sapporo
  • Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

    Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

    The 2015 Otaru Snow Light Path Festival will be held from February 6th to the 15th.

    Held each year on the same days as the Sapporo Snow Festival so travels can visit both, the Snow Light Path Festival offers a more intimate, quiet experience. The festival takes place in two sites: the canal area, and the Temiyasen area along abandoned railroad tracks. Lanterns are made up of snow, lighting up for a silently dazzling view that is both dream-like and romantic.

    Learn more about Otaru
  • Hirafu

    Hirafu Ski Area

    The largest of Niseko's resorts, Hirafu offers visitors plenty of high-quality snow without being too crowded. There are over a dozen lifts and the slopes are particularly excellent early in the morning or at night. The resort area itself has a comfortable town-like atmosphere that is fun to explore and easy to navigate.

    Learn more about Niseko
  • Hanazono

    Hanazono Ski Area

    Regardless of level, both novices and aficionados alike are welcome at Hanazono. Dedicated learning facilities are available and great for children and beginners while experienced individuals can look forward to terrain parks, train runs, and more--all with impressive views. Families will enjoy the snow park, offering snow tubing, sledding, ziplines, and even winter rafting.

    Learn more about Niseko
  • Niseko Village

    Niseko Village Ski Area

    Enjoy long, scenic trails at Niseko Village, formerly know as Higashiyama. More daring skiers will delight in the courses here--some of the steepest in all of Japan. Those less experienced will enjoy the gently, beginner-friendly slopes. Located between Hirafu and Annupuri, Niseko Village is easily accessed, making it a great base for visitors.

    Learn more about Niseko
  • Annupuri

    Annupuri Ski Area

    The charm of Annupuri lies in its close proximity to a national park at the foot of a mountain. Thanks to the high altitude, the snow is stunning. Also, if you keep your eyes peeled, lucky visitors might spy some of the Hokkaido wildlife (such as foxes and the like) living nearby.

    Learn more about Niseko
  • Kan Kan Mura

    Kan Kan Mura

    Come at night to Kan Kan Mura--open from late December to early March from 4 pm until 8 pm. A massive construction of blocks of snow, Kan Kan Mura features a cafe and bar built out of snow, as well as Japan's longest snow tube course--fun for the whole family. You don't need to be a proficient athlete in snow sports to enjoy Kan Kan Mura--you just need to be young at heart.

    Learn more about Furano & Biei
  • Furano Ski Area

    Furano Ski Area

    With some runs that are long and fast, and others wide and gentle, Furano's two snowy peaks, complete with terrain parks, a half-pipe and some downhill courses, make the town a very popular ski resort. Snow sport enthusiasts of all levels are sure to enjoy themselves.

    Learn more about Furano & Biei
  • Patchwork Road

    Patchwork Road

    Softly rolling hills blanketed with snow make for a glorious sight that's almost too beautiful to be real. This area north-west of Biei is completely rural, hence the vast expanse of fields that get covered up by snow in the winter. Isolated trees dotting the landscape create a strikingly beautiful images.

    Learn more about Furano & Biei

Sapporo

  • Sapporo Snow Festival

    Sapporo Snow Festival

    The 2015 Sapporo Snow Festival will be held from February 6th to the 15th.

    An annual tradition since 1950, the Sapporo Snow Festival now boasts over 2 million visitors each year, flocking to see massive snow sculptures exquisitely crafted from pure white snow. Beautiful during the day and as well as during the night, when the sculptures are lit up, the festival can be admired at three different sites: Odori Park, Susukino, and Community Dome Tsudome.

  • Sapporo White Illumination

    Sapporo White Illumination

    Through much of winter (mid-November through mid-February), visitors to Odori Park are mesmerized by what seems to be an infinite number of sparkling lights in a rainbow of colors. The popular spectacle draws many to Sapporo in conjunction with the Sapporo Snow Festival.

  • Sapporo Tokeidai

    Sapporo Tokeidai (Clock Tower)

    Considered by many to be the foremost symbol of Sapporo, this building of historical import was constructed in 1878 and is a testament to the American ties that helped to make Sapporo the metropolis it is today. The erstwhile drill hall of the Sapporo Agricultural College (now Hokkaido University) is one of the few extant examples of American-style architecture from this period and currently serves as a historical museum detailing Sapporo's development.

  • Susukino Nightlife

    Susukino Nightlife

    For a taste of Sapporo's big city nightlife, head to Susukino. You won't find a bigger entertainment district north of Tokyo. Grab a drink, grab a bite in any of the numerous shops, bars, and restaurants crammed together in a dizzying array of neon signs and glowing billboards--a great place to enjoy yourself while taking in some of the local color. Of note is Ramen Yokocho, a little alley packed full of ramen shops. Along with Odori Park and the Sapporo Community Dome, Susukino is one of the sites of the Sapporo Snow Festival.

  • Jingisukan

    Jingisukan ("Genghis Khan")

    There may be no definitive answer as to why this dish of grilled mutton is named after the famous Mongolian warlord, but nonetheless, Jingisukan is considered a must when visiting Hokkaido. With jingisukan joints found all over the island (with some of the more famous shops in Sapporo), this won't be hard to check off your list. Typically prepared on a dome-shaped skillet and served with veggies, guests usually take over grilling duties for a fun hands-on culinary experience that won't break the bank.

  • Miso Ramen

    Miso Ramen

    One of Japan's most famous dishes, ramen is extremely popular throughout Japan. Hokkaido is without exception; each region here boasts its own special version. The Sapporo standard is miso ramen, where a rich and savory fermented bean paste forms the basis of the broth. Butter and corn are typical toppings, which may sound strange at first but definitely have their appeal. Try it once and you may never want it another way again!

  • Soup Curry

    Soup Curry

    Widely considered by Hokkaido natives as soul food, soup curry is pretty much what it sounds like--a curry soup. Fragrant blends of savory herbs and spices make for a broth that is sophisticated and multi-dimensional. Add to this meats and veggies in the soup and rice on the side and you'll have a meal that is both healthy and satisfying. The popular of soup curry, which was invented in Sapporo in the 1970's, is now spreading to the rest of Japan, but you'll do well to make it a point to try the real deal in the land of its tasty origins.

  • Moerenuma Park

    Moerenuma Park

    A startling skyline formed by pyramids of earth, stone, metal, and glass set against the massive and endless Sapporo sky is the first sight you will marvel at as you approach Moerenuma Park, the brain-child of legendary Japanese-American sculptor, the late Isamu Noguchi. Simultaneously an artistic achievement as well as a functional city park, various sports grounds are found among the art installations, vast lawns, and fountains. In wintertime, much of the geometric forms become ideal for sledding and cross-country skiing is also a popular pastime here.

Urban Gateway to Hokkaido

By far the biggest city in all of Hokkaido, Sapporo lacks none of the urban conveniences usually found in metropolitan areas. There is plenty to enjoy, whether shopping at the most fashionable shops and prestigious department stores, having a night out on the town in the nightlife district of Susukino, or stuffing yourself silly with Hokkaido specialities like miso ramen and jingisukan. The downtown area is easily traversed on foot; taxi cabs are also plentiful. Interesting landmarks of historical or cultural value are interspersed throughout the city, so there is always something to spice up a stroll.

What really sets Sapporo apart from other big cities in Japan is the environment. Mountains often cloaked in mist or decked in veils of white snow surround the city. Especially in winter, the frosty air will liven you up as it nips at your nose. The locals can be seen walking down the street with a characteristic shuffle so as to not slip on any icy patches. Piles of snow cover the urban landscape, transforming areas such as Odori Park into ideal venues to showcase the enormous snow sculptures of the world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival.

Getting to Sapporo →

Getting to Sapporo

Air: The quickest way to get to Sapporo by fair is by air. Many airlines serve the nearby New Chitose Airport, and the express train from the airport to Sapporo Station will take about an hour.

Train: Not as convenient as flying but still an interesting ride, take the Shinkansen to Shin-Aomori Station and board a limited express bound fro Hakodate in southern Hokkaido. From here, board the JR Hokuto limited express and you should arrive in Sapporo in about three and a half hours. If you are looking for an even more unique transit, a few night trains are still in operation that will take you directly to Sapporo from Tokyo.

Hotels in Sapporo

  • Sapporo
    Century Royal Hotel
    Guest Rating: 4.46

    The 2013 winner of the Rakuten Travel Diamond Award! 2 minute walk on the basement concourse from the JR Sapporo Station. Free Wi-Fi available in all rooms.

    Century Royal Hotel

    STAY 2 NIGHT OR LONGER / STYLISH / with Breakfast

    from 5,000 JPY

  • Sapporo
    Sapporo Aspen Hotel
    Guest Rating: 4.43

    A quick 2-minute walk from Sapporo Station North Exit! Within close walking distance from Sapporo's best sightseeing and shopping! Free Wi-Fi in all rooms.

    Sapporo Aspen Hotel

    Limited Offer!Breakfast Plan

    from 5,300 JPY

  • Sapporo
    Hotel Monterey Sapporo
    Guest Rating: 4.15

    Winner of the Rakuten Travel Award 2013 Spirit Award! 5 minutes on foot from JR Sapporo Station--an elegant hotel featuring classical British décor.

    Hotel Monterey Sapporo

    Breakfast Plan

    from 5,000 JPY

  • Sapporo
    Cross Hotel Sapporo
    Guest Rating: 4.38

    Excellent for sightseeing and shopping due to its convenient location between Sapporo Station and Odori Park, this hotel, built in 2007, offers stylish accommodations and great views of the city from its top floor bathing facilities.

    Cross Hotel Sapporo

    Limited Offer! - CROSS STAY PLAN -

    from 5,000 JPY

  • Sapporo
    Best Western Hotel Fino Sapporo
    Guest Rating: 4.19

    Only 2 minutes on foot from Sapporo Station where you can observe the beautiful seasonal transformations of Hokkaido University's scenic campus.

    Best Western Hotel Fino Sapporo

    Discount Plan

    from 3,400 JPY

  • Sapporo
    Art Hotels Sapporo
    Guest Rating: 4.28

    A city hotel with hot spring facilities located in Nakajima Park, an oasis in the urban center. Choose from 3 different kinds of breakfast: Japanese, Western, or buffet-style. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.

    Art Hotels Sapporo

    Plan

    from 4,900 JPY

  • Sapporo
    APA Hotel (Sapporo Susukino Ekinishi)
    Guest Rating: 4.22

    Conveniently located in Susukino, the heart of Sapporo night life--just 2 subway stops away from Sapporo Station, with great sightseeing access.

    APA Hotel (Sapporo Susukino Ekinishi)

    Breakfast Plan

    from 3,400 JPY

  • Sapporo
    Richmond Hotel Sapporo Odori
    Guest Rating: 4.42

    Located in the city center just 3 minutes away on foot from Odori and Susukino--convenient for both business and sightseeing. Free Wi-Fi is available in all guest rooms.

    Richmond Hotel Sapporo Odori

    Consecutive Stay Discount Plan

    from 2,500 JPY

  • Sapporo
    Richmond Hotel Sapporo Ekimae
    Guest Rating: 4.32

    Close proximity to Sapporo Station makes this comfortable hotel ideal for business and sightseeing. Plenty of amenities also ensure an enjoyable stay.

    Richmond Hotel Sapporo Ekimae

    Book Earlier! Save More! Early Booking Plan

    from 2,300 JPY

Hotels in Otaru

  • Otaru
    Unga no Yado Otaru Furukawa
    Guest Rating: 4.51

    Formerly a mercantile house built during the good old days of the Meiji period, these lodgings offer a terrific location right by the famous Otaru Canal and a chance to unwind in relaxing on-site hot spring facilities.

    Unga no Yado Otaru Furukawa

    HOT!Breakfast Plan

    from 11,600 JPY

  • Otaru
    Otaru Asarigawa Onsen Korakuen
    Guest Rating: 4.57

    Enjoy the beauty of traditional Japanese design elements, including a gorgeous Japanese garden and outstanding indoor and outdoor hot spring facilities, complete with scenic views.

    Otaru Asarigawa Onsen Korakuen

    Breakfast and Dinner Plan

    from 17,820 JPY

  • Otaru
    Asarigawa Onsen Otaru Ryotei Kuramure
    Guest Rating: 4.22

    Each of the 19 guest rooms is unique, from the interior design to the furnishings. Stylish and modern while still retaining an essence of traditional Japanese design aesthetic, these sophisticated accommodations, complete with hot springs, offer privacy and relaxation.

    Asarigawa Onsen Otaru Ryotei Kuramure

    ONSEN(Hot Spring)!Breakfast Plan

    from 23,400 JPY

Hotels in Niseko

  • Niseko
    Niseko Northern Resort Annupuri
    Guest Rating: 4.22

    Located at the foot of the Annupuri ski slopes, this hip resort hotel offers fantastic skiing access, panoramic views of scenic Mt. Yotei, and tranquil hot spring bathing facilities.

    Niseko Northern Resort Annupuri

    Breakfast Plan

    from 10,875 JPY

  • Niseko
    One Niseko Resort Towers
    Guest Rating: 4.04

    Set in a secluded, pristine area of Niseko Moiwa, this hotel provides an exclusive yet welcoming ambience, making it especially appealing for couples and families. The condominium-style accommodations also make the hotel ideal for longer stays.

    One Niseko Resort Towers

    Advanced Purchase 28days - Non Refundable

    from 15,550 JPY

  • Niseko
    Hilton Niseko Village
    Guest Rating: 4

    As soon as you leave the hotel, the ski slopes are right before your eyes! If you are looking to ski or looking for some great hot springs, look no further!

    Hilton Niseko Village

    Early Booking Plan

    from 18,681 JPY

  • Rusutsu
    Rusutsu Resort
    Guest Rating: 4.13

    Situated near Niseko in Rusutsu, this picturesque ski resort boasts the distinction of being Hokkaido's largest, with deep powder snow, hot springs, stunning scenery--and even an amusement park.

    Rusutsu Resort

    Book Earlier! Save More!Early Bird Winter 45

    from 20,700 JPY

Hotels in Noboribetsu & Toyako

  • Noboribetsu
    Noboribetsu Onsen Noboribetsu Grand Hotel
    Guest Rating: 4.29

    Recipient of the Rakuten Travel Award 2 years in a row--Gold Award winner! Relax in refinement in the elegant reception hall!

    Noboribetsu Onsen Noboribetsu Grand Hotel

    Breakfast and Dinner Plan

    from 10,908 JPY

  • Noboribetsu
    Noboribetsu Onsen Hotel Yumoto Noboribetsu Hotel
    Guest Rating: 4.47

    Enjoy four different types of hot springs and Japanese-style guest rooms or semi-Western guest rooms (Japanese rooms with Western-style beds).

    Noboribetsu Onsen Hotel Yumoto Noboribetsu Hotel

    ONSEN(Hot Spring)!Breakfast and Dinner Plan

    from 14,250 JPY

  • Noboribetsu
    Noboribetsu Onsengo Takinoya
    Guest Rating: 4.92

    While away the time in posh accommodations with stunning hot spring facilities--this chic luxury hotel takes advantage of the beautiful surrounding nature for a modern take on Japanese design.

    Noboribetsu Onsengo Takinoya

    Breakfast and Dinner Plan

    from 28,000 JPY

  • Toyako
    Toyako Onsen Toya Sansui Hotel Kafu
    Guest Rating: 4.18

    A traditional Japanese inn boasting a direct, unfiltered hot spring source--enjoy the day-to-day natural changes in the color of the springs.

    Toyako Onsen Toya Sansui Hotel Kafu

    Only 5 Room(s)/Day!Breakfast and Dinner Plan

    from 6,000 JPY

  • Toyako
    Toya Kohantei
    Guest Rating: 3.4

    Enjoy panoramic views of Lake Toya's gorgeous scenery from the outdoor hot spring baths located on the rooftop, especially unforgettable under the starry skies.

    Toya Kohantei

    Breakfast and Dinner Plan

    from 8,790 JPY

  • Toyako
    Toyako Manseikaku Hotel Lakeside Terrace
    Guest Rating: 3.55

    Each guest room faces Lake Toya, boasting excellent scenic views. The expansive views from the luxurious hot springs are especially moving.

    Toyako Manseikaku Hotel Lakeside Terrace

    Breakfast and Dinner Plan (Buffet)

    from 11,000 JPY

Hotels in Furano & Biei

  • Furano
    Furano Resort Hotel Edel Warme
    Guest Rating: 3.67

    Situated at the foot of the Furano ski area with excellent views of the surrounding scenery, highly recommended for visitors keen on getting their fill of Furano's famous powder snow.

    Furano Resort Hotel Edel Warme

    Early Booking Plan

    from 9,780 JPY

  • Furano
    FURANO NATULUX HOTEL
    Guest Rating: 4.28

    Winner of the Rakuten Travel Award 5 years running! Just a minute's walk from JR Furano Station. Beautifully designed with your comfort in mind, with Wi-Fi access and fully-equipped bathing facilities.

    FURANO NATULUX HOTEL

    Early Booking Plan

    from 6,700 JPY

  • Furano
    Hotel Naturwald Furano
    Guest Rating: 4.3

    See the ski slopes right before your eyes!! No ski lift charge for children of elementary school age and younger so kids can enjoy playing in the snow to their hearts' content!

    Hotel Naturwald Furano

    Breakfast and Dinner Plan

    from 12,960 JPY

  • Biei
    Hotel Lavenir Biei
    Guest Rating: 4.19

    Conveniently located in front of Biei Station! Complimentary LAN internet access is available throughout the facility.

    Hotel Lavenir Biei

    Breakfast Plan

    from 5,500 JPY

  • Biei
    Potato Village Biei Potato No Oka
    Guest Rating: -

    A charming, modern-style pension, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Biei's famed Patchwork Road. Wi-Fi internet access available.

    Potato Village Biei Potato No Oka

    Breakfast and Dinner Plan

    from 10,300 JPY

  • Biei
    Yumoto Shirokane Onsen Hotel
    Guest Rating: 4.15

    Enjoy lovely hot spring facilities at this hotel--the springs are 100% natural and are directly sourced, for an authentic onsen experience.

    Yumoto Shirokane Onsen Hotel

    Breakfast Plan

    from 4,650 JPY

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*Disclaimer: Prices shown are lowest available room rates per person per night based on double occupancy. Prices may vary from those listed above depending on room type, number of guests staying, schedule, and inventory.