3 reasons that prove you should visit Hokkaido in the summer

3 reasons that prove you should visit Hokkaido in the summer

3reasonshokkaido

 

Hokkaido is known as a skiers paradise; plenty of snow and mountains. But come summer, the snow melts, and the most vibrant colors change the landscape. That is exactly what I wanted to see and I just know that you’ll want to visit too. Wade and I just got back from our 8-day trip to visit Hokkaido, the most northern island of Japan. Guess what? We loved loved loved it. Hokkaido in the summer had everything we wanted. Our original plan was to visit for a few days and then head down to climb fuji. With some extensive research and close look at our budget, we opted to use our vacation time to visit a quieter Japan, while still incorporating both our wants; flowers, and hiking.

3 perfect reasons why you should visit Hokkaido in the summer…

 

3. The weather.

farm lands with mountains in the distance , hokkaido in the summer

 

green mountain and trees with blue lake and sky, hokkaido japan, hokkaido in the summer

Thinking back on all my retells of our trip, the first thing I mention is the weather. I realized talking about this is a big reminder that I’m no longer in my 20’s, but rather settling comfortably in my 30s. Who cares, the weather was so friggin amazing. I’m from New England and every single summer through college my family took a camping trip to Maine. The weather in Hokkaido reminded me of those trips and made me miss home more than ever. Warm and slightly humid during the day, and cool enough for a sweatshirt by the fire at night. It was glorious, a great break from the thick muggy air of Okinawa. Wade and I were able to go camping, visit on outdoor onsen, hike in two national parks. Each day the weather couldn’t have been better regardless of what we were doing. When visiting in the winter, many trails, mountain, and park roads are closed which means there are some major scenic sites you will miss. Hokkaido in the summer, however, is open and ready for adventure.

 

2. The beer.

Classic sapporo, hokkaido only, overlooking onsen, hokkaido in the summer

 

red head overlooking mountains with beer in hokkaido in the summer

The capital of Hokkaido, Sapporo, is beer-loving city.  Sapporo has a solid month-long beer festival in Obori park, which includes all the popular Japanese beers. Asahi, Kirin, Suntory, and Sapporo brewery (named after the largest northern city) all had large stalls. Sure, those beers go down easy, but there are some craft brews here that really trying to get away from the lager style Japan leans towards. We tried a variety of beer as we traveled. Some were delicious, some were … experimental. Whichever side of “Okay” they landed on, we had a great time trying them out. Plus who doesn’t love a beer in summer with a view?

 

1.The flowers.

furano flower fields with poppies and lavender, hokkaido japan, hokkaido in the summer

 

red head in a daisy flower field hokkaido japan, hokkaido in the summer

Of course, this is my favorite part. Hell, it is the sole reason I wanted to travel to Hokkaido. Flowers, flowers everywhere. I could not get enough. Every garden was just perfect, an organized mess of colorful wildflowers. Wade was quite the trooper. We stopped the car every km or so; apparently, I needed a few thousand photos of flowers. Most of the flowers were of the self-seeding and overwinter variety. Daisies, and poppies galore. Oh, the poppies! They are easily one of my all time favorites but hate the heat and will wilt instantly from cuttings so it has been years since I have seen them.  We visited 4 major flower farms, stopped at a couple parks. Each gently sloped hill was glazed with flowers. It was my heaven.

 

Bonus : The Wildlife

Deer and baby in Japanese grave yard at dawn, hokkaido in the summer

 

young hokkaido fox on gravel path at dusk, hokkaido in the summer

This is a bonus because, though the wildlife is far more active during the short summer, there is still a chance you won’t be able to catch the variety of animals that call Hokkaido home.  I had three animals on my “must see” list, and I was lucky enough to catch two;  a brown bear and foxes. July is bear season and the constant jingle of bear bells won’t let you forget it. There are even a couple of trails that you must hire a guide due to the bear activity.  We opted not to pay 50 bucks a person for an hour long walk, led by a Japanese speaking guide. Instead, I camped out in the parks elevated walkway to watch the sunset and waited patiently. Now I guess the park closes before sunset but I must have misunderstood the sign that said :::something something something in Japanese::: 6:00 – 17:30 ::: and a smidge more Japanese:::.   A kind park ranger came to usher me towards the exit when I saw it. A BEAR! Big, brown and beautiful! He let me snap some pictures but I wasn’t able to run back up the walkway to get closer. I promise I tried!

The rest of the animals we came across were much easier to come by. Except for the Ezo momonga. I guess that little ball of adorable wasn’t in the mood for photos.

 

Bliss. It is the only word that comes to mind when I think about our trip to Hokkaido in the summer.  And to think, we almost climbed Fuji instead. Maybe next year!

17 Comments
  • Sounds like a very nice trip.. Your pictures are really beautiful as well!

  • Kristine Li says:

    The FLOWERS, omg! So amazing, those outbursts of colors! By the way, I can only see the photo of you holding the beer, the colorful field of flowers and you with the white daisies. The rest won’t load!

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      Oh no! That’s weird, I’ve tried other computers and it seems to work over here. Oooh technology!

      The flowers made the trip for me! I’m slightly obsessed with floral gardens ☺️

  • Gina says:

    I love your photography! You look angelic in the photo where you are in the flowers. I’ve been to Sapporo myself, but only for the winter festival. I’ve been wanting to go back in the summer or Autumn because I heard Hokkaido is incredible during those times. I also love Sapporo Beer! Since I moved to Korea, it’s so expensive! ;_____;

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      I’m hoping to go to the winter festival this year! I booked a hotel just in case since they were already at 80% booked in JULY!

      I’m sorry Sapporo is so expensive, any good Korean beers I should try when visiting in November?

  • Laura says:

    What a beautiful post, and your photos are lovely. Really makes this place look awesome in the summer, i’m not a huge fan of the cold and snow anyway! 🙂

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      Thank you! I’m not much for snow either but come winter they have a HUGE snow festival with sculptures so we are trying to visit then too. I can’t wait to compare the seasons.

  • This is unreal! I wonder if there are any seat sales from Seoul…it’d be great to check all these spots out one weekend! I love Japanese beer and whisky so that would be great to check out as well!

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      I know of daily flights from Tokyo, so you could get a cheap flight and go from there!! And you must go!!

  • Soraya says:

    Oh my goodness! How stunning is Hokkaido!!! I have never been or even thought about going…but your post has definitely changed my perspective. Those flowers are incredible…the colours are just stunning. Will definitely be looking into this.

  • I had no idea Hokkaido looked like this! Looks like I need to amend my Japan to-do list haha. Those flowers are ridiculously pretty. How do they make them look so perfect?

    Also it sounds like a visit to the beer festival in Sapporo needs to go on my list of worldwide beer-related excursions!

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      I think it is pretty under rated in terms of Japan destinations, but totally worth it! Also, sounds like I need to MAKE a list of worldwide beer-related excursions! ??

  • Samantha says:

    Those are three very great reasons to visit this beautiful island! I’m heading to Japan in January and I’m pretty excited!

  • My husband and I were just talking about how we MUST go to Hokkaido!!! This post couldn’t have been more timely. We were thinking of doing a winter visit though, but hey, it really does look so beautiful in the summer! Wow! Those flowers!!! But I have to admit, my primary reason for wanting to visit Hokkaido is to see the Ezo momonga!

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      Oh! we are visiting next month for the snow festival and I was trying to find where I could catch a glimpse of those guys! Have you found where they usually hide out? I found a park that has the red squirrels and Ezo Fukuro so I’m to find time for a quick stop there. The summer is really a beautiful time to go. I’m happy I am able to see both versions of Hokkaido.

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