I just came back from a short trip to Hokkaido. The Northern biggest island of Japan.
It was a great experience. Away from citylife and pressure.
Nothing but nature, FRESH / CLEAN air, perfect summer temperature and fantabulous food.
I personally feel Hokkaido’s countryside looks similar to Holland, just WITH hills and mountains.
We traveled all the way from the West side (Sapporo) to the East side (Shiretoko). By car. That’s a whopping 500KM+ of driving.
From Osaka the easiest way to go to Hokkaido is of course by airplane. Also you might want to depart from Ikeda airport and not Kansai airport because the trip from central Osaka to the airport alone can be bothersome.
If you don’t like to fly, there is always the shinkansen, but it will take a while longer and I suggest to combine it with a stopover somewhere in Tohoku.
And then there is of course the ferry, which I heard takes half a day.
We arrived at Sapporo airport late in the evening
But our hotel was in Furano so we left the airport quickly, had a quick dinner in Sapporo and then drove to Furano.
The food was absolutely fantastic btw, the ジャガバター jyagabataa – Buttered Potatoes (bottom right) are a fantabulous.
Furano is famous for their lavender covered hills. One of the reasons why I wanted to visit Hokkaido in the first place. Unfortunately, there blooming season is around July and August. Lavender blooms longer than Cherryblossoms though, so you have a bigger chance to see the lavender.
In other seasons you can still enjoy many flower parks and colored hills covered with various flowers: Tulips, Salvia, Dahlia, Sunflowers and many more.
We visited one of the biggest flowerfields in Biei region called: Shikisai no Oka
At Shikisai No Oka you can buy lots of Lavender souvenirs, Hokkaido snacks and even ride a quad around the premises.
Like any other trip, I recommend visiting off-season to avoid the crowds and have a better chance to take pictures and enjoy the view.
In part 2 of my Hokkaido trip we will visit Biei.