You could say it’s generally accepted that the word “Hokkaido” is synonymous with beautiful scenery. This northernmost island of Japan, where the climate is milder and vast lands are mostly underpopulated, is indeed blessed with breathtakingly beautiful, picturesque places to the extent that deciding where to visit is an insurmountable task. So while you ponder, let us be of no help and tempt you further with these essential places that have come to define Hokkaido!


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1. Otaru Canal, Otaru


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Otaru is only half an hour away by train from the biggest city in Hokkaido, Sapporo. So really, even if you’re not planning an overnight stay, a day trip to this charming port town is a must! Its canal is picturesque in any season, at any time of the day but it is particularly pretty and dreamy-like after sunset in winter.

Not convinced? Well, it looks just as romantic on a bright sunny summer day 😉


Getting there: It’s a 5 minute walk from Otaru Station

2. Hakodate


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It’s an essential Japanese experience to see an aerial view of the city from a height to appreciate its beauty in its entirety. So spare no exception when you’re in Hakodate, Hokkaido’s southernmost city. Observatories are aplenty, but there’s only one you couldn’t say no to, though – the night view of Hakodate from Mount Hakodate.


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It’s been called a million dollar view, and we think that this is one pretty good reason, no? ☺️

Getting there: A combination of a tram ride from Hakodate Station to Jujigai Station and Hakodateyama Ropeway cable car that takes a total of 30 minutes will deliver you to the observatory

3. Lake Toya


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A caldera lake with smoke rising from the nearby Mount Usu sealed the fact that Lake Toya is a worthy place to visit! But its best, most picturesque feature is Nakajima, a constellation of four small islands in the middle of the lake. You’re not by the sea, but this is pretty close 😉


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Getting there: It’s a 20 minute-drive away from Toya Station

4. Hills of Biei, Biei


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It’s impossible to pick a spot in Biei as the most picturesque, because the whole area is just so gorgeous! Whether it’s the Patchwork Hills with its many famous landmarks, or the more obscure Panorama Road, you’ll be enchanted by the rolling hills, all the same!

Getting there: It’s 15-minute drive away from Biei Station

5. Farm Tomita, Furano


Credit: Yamnut

Furano’s fame is indebted to photos of its lavender fields, and it’s as beautiful in reality as it is in pictures. The best season to visit is definitely in the summer, when the vast purple carpets are rolled out to welcome you 🤗

There are other flowers of various eye-popping colours too, providing a pretty contrast worthy of a thousand pictures!

Getting there: It’s a 6-minute drive or a 20-minute walk away from Nakafurano Station (obviously we chose the walk and encountered more picturesque views on the way!)

6. Kushiro Wetlands, Kushiro National Park


Credit: Susanne

This natural reserve is most famous for its lush, green marsh forest. It isn’t hard to be awed and humbled by the massive scale and richness of nature bestowed to us to be enjoyed and protected.

In the winter, the area is further enriched by cranes – a national Japanese monument – which make Kushiro Wetlands their home in the cold months.


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Getting there: It’s accessible from Kushiroshitsugen Station, a train station that passes the perimeter of the national park itself

7. Cape Notoro, Abashiri


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Is there anything more beautiful than this? ☺️

This lighthouse, called Notoromisaki, is located right by the cliff of Sea of Okhotsk in Cape Notoro. The lush green grass and the wide blue sea and sky contradict each other perfectly, highlighting the lone structure – glorious in its solitude.

But even if you tear your eyes away, the landscape sans lighthouse is no less beautiful!


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Getting there: It’s a 20-minute drive from Abashiri Station

8. Niseko

You might think of Niseko as a ski resort but while we do agree that the snow matters, its landscape is out of this world 😮


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Dominated by Mount Yotei and Mount Annupuri, Niseko, which means “mountain with a river, which runs around the bottom of a sheer cliff” in the indigenous Ainu language, is equally picturesque anywhere you cast your eyes on!


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Getting there: The area is accessible from Niseko Station

9. Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park, Yubetsu


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You’re not in Holland, but this is pretty close. About 200 varieties of tulips bloom every summer in Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park and some are even from Holland!

How can you say no to these? 😉


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Getting there: It’s a 20-minute drive away from Engaru Station

10. Akan National Park


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Yes, this is another volcanic national park. But before you dismiss it as the “same old, same old”, consider this view:


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Akan National Park is known for its picturesque lakes and these pictures definitely do not lie!


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Getting there: The lakes are accessible by driving from Mashu or Biruwa Station

11. Daisetsuzan National Park


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Located right in central Hokkaido, Daisetsuzan is the largest national park in Japan and is home to volcanic mountains Asahidake and Tokachidake. The “roofs of Hokkaido” are always majestic against the forest in all seasons but the colours are just a treat for the eyes in autumn!


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Getting there: Asahidake Onsen, which is close to Asahidake Ropeway is a 70-minute drive away from Asahikawa Station.

12. Koshimizu Gensei-kaen, Okhotsk


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Koshimizu Gensei-kaen, or Koshimizu Primeval Flower Garden, is a wild flower garden by the Sea of Okhotsk and Lake Tofutsu. It’s only accessible for a visit during the warmer months as winter is harsh in the area, but that only makes the view of bright-coloured flowers against lush grass and the sea even more special!

You can even ride a train to get there. The train buff in us is already singing ☺️


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Getting there: Genseikaen Station is conveniently located along the perimeter of the garden

13. Moerenuma Park, Sapporo


Credit: Moerenuma Park

Designed by the famous architect Isamu Noguchi, Moerenuma Park is dotted with various interesting giant-scale sculptures. Its landscape is meant to be enjoyed and inspire play, so it’s hard to pick a favourite as the Glass Pyramid, Tetra Mound, Moere Mountain and Sea Fountain all make this reclaimed land one of the most picturesque places in Hokkaido!


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Getting there: It’s an hour-drive away from Sapporo Station

14. Yushun Sakura Road, Urakawa


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Each year in May, during the sakura (cherry blossom) season in Hokkaido, this 3-km stretch of road lined by sakura trees will turn into a pinkish sakura tunnel.

If you think that’s picturesque enough, the road is also illuminated at night! Now how’s that? 🤗


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Getting there: It’s a 10-minute drive (or by taxi) away from Hidaka-Horobetsu Station

[Check out our 2017 cherry blossom forecast in Japan so you don’t miss the chase!]

15. Hokuryu Sunflower Field, Asahikawa


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How can a sea of sunflowers not be picturesque? ☺️

Located near Asahikawa City, sunflowers in this field bloom in late July hence you need to plan your trip wisely in order to not miss it. Ahh, don’t you just love how the bright sunflowers just cheer you up on an already beautiful summer’s day?


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Getting there: It’s a 30-minute bus ride away from Takikawa Station

So did any of these picturesque places make it to your list? No? 🤔 Hmm, don’t you think that you should visit at least one or two of them this time around? Yay?

Okay then, I’ll leave you to your planning!


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