The Stunning Main Port of Sapporo (otaru)
Travelers familiar with Honshu and Kyushu will find the island of Hokkaido a welcome contrast. Relatively unspoiled, Hokkaido offers dramatic landscapes ranging from dense forests and hot springs to active volcanoes and serene lakes nestled in calderas. To travelers familiar with the thronged streets of Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo, Hokkaido presents a soothing change of pace.
Sapporo was a reflection of the "new" Japan of the Meiji Restoration. The city received international attention when it hosted the 1972 Winter Games.
Points of Interest
- Sapporo Historical Village
Explore the four zones of this large outdoor museum featuring 53 old wooden and stone buildings from the Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926) periods and learned how the people of Hokkaido lived.
- Odori Park
In the center of Sapporo, dividing the city is this magnificent park stretching over 13 city blocks. At the east end is the Sapporo TV tower whose observation deck offers you spectacular city views.
- Shikotsu-Toya National Park
This vast park offers you a range of outdoor activities, everything from hiking to hot springs. Take in the spectacular scenery that includes caldera lakes, onsen towns and volcanic mountains.
- Noboribetsu Onsen
Treat yourself to a soothing dip in Japan's famous mineral-rich hot springs, surrounded by the magnificent forest landscapes of Shikotsu-Toya National Park.
- Jigokudani (Hell Valley)
Yellow gray volcanic gas seeps from the surface of the rocks there. This makes the whole place smell strongly of sulfur, and gives it an image like that of hell. The valley is a 450-meter-diameter mouth of a volcano, which produces 3,000 liters of hot water per minute.
Step back in time amongst the traditionally costumed characters of Jidaimura, Japan's historical theme park. Participate in games and activities from the Edo Period and enjoy a thrilling ninja show.
- Lake Toya
Enjoy exploring the wonder of this picturesque lake. Created when a lava flow from nearby Mount Usu (still an active volcano) diverted a nearby stream, this was the location of the G8 summit in 2008.
- Ainu Village
Learn about the folkways and customs of Hokkaido's aboriginal Ainu people. Tour the preserved village, visit the museum with its displays of artifacts and art, and enjoy some cultural performances.