Do you love outdoor activities or spending your time enjoying nature? Do you love the snow? Or if you are like me do you love enjoying the onsen (Hot Springs)? If so then there is a place I would like to recommend to you… Hokkaido!
Hokkaido is sometime referred to as the Country of Snow since it is the northern most of the four major islands of Japan and is known for its snow packed lands and untouched nature. Visitors from all over the world come to Hokkaido to enjoy what nature has to offer.
What drew me to Hokkaido was my love for going to different onsen's all over Japan and Hokkaido has several famous onsen spots to choose from. For this trip I had chosen the Lake Toya Onsen Resort area.
Lake Toya is located 2-3 hour south of Sapporo and is known as the lake that never freezes since it is near a volcano. You can get to Lake Toya and the onsen resort area either by train, bus or car depending on how you want to travel. There are hotels that provide free bus service if you are traveling from/to JR Sapporo station.
I had traveled by bus and it allowed me to enjoy the local Japanese towns and scenery much better than if I were speeding past it by train.
It also allows you the opportunity to try some local snacks in the rest stops along the highway. If you have the chance I highly recommend trying one of the local snacks in Hokkaido the "ageimo", which is a piece of potato, dipped in a pancake batter and deep fried. Very delicious!
After arriving at the hotel there was a wonderful view of Lake Toya. As the hotel's hot spring is both indoor and outdoor I wanted to fully enjoy the view while in the outdoor onsen. I have been to many resorts in Japan and I can say the view of Lake Toya while enjoying the onsen was one of the best I have ever seen. Also, if you have the chance of going between April through October, the area has nightly fireworks.
After returning to Sapporo, I had to try the famous Sapporo ramen! Made mainly from pork broth, it will warm you up during the Hokkaido winters! If you are unsure of which restaurant you should go to, I recommend going to the "Ramen Kyowakoku" (Ramen Republic) dining area located in the Sapporo ESTA shopping center.
I had the "Spicy" Sapporo Ramen. Delicious!
It was a great way to refresh myself before returning to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.
Whether it's famous onsen's, great winter sports activities or the delicious food, there are many reasons to come and visit Hokkaido. How about it?
Name: David Koroki
From: United States of America
Current section: Passenger Marketing & Planning, the Americas
(1) Lake Toya
Address: Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Abuta District, Hokkaido
(2) Ramen Kyowakoku (Ramen Republic)
Hours: 11:00-22:00 (Last order 21:45), open every day
Address: ESTA (Sapporo Esther) 10F, Kita 5 Nishi 2-1, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, 060-0005