As you leave the megacity of Sapporo, Central Hokkaido (simply called Do-oh) is such a good distillation of all Hokkaido highlights that can be visited in a day or longer. It is an easily explored region on a short schedule and you can accesible a wide range of must sees.
With an idyllic countryside, relaxed onsen, scenic coastlines and family-friendly attractions, Sapporo’s suburban sprawl makes a good excursion. Ishikari Region and its surroundings can be seen in a day trip from Sapporo.
Otaru & Niseko
Designated as Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park, this area (formally called Shiribeshi Region) has a variety of nicest attractions, from the impressive coastlines along the Shakotan Peninsula to the world-class ski resorts in the Niseko Mountains overlooking the wonderful Yotei-zan.
The romantic port town Otaru represents the region’s historic heart, dotted with nostalgic buildings and stone warehouses around the canal.
Shikotsu-Toya National Park
Shikotsu-Toya National Park is one of Hokkaido’s most popular destinations with foreigners and easily accesible from Sapporo. Volcanic activity has been created the unique mountains, cardela lakes and excellent onsen.
The classic attractions in the park are the two peaceful lakes of Shikotsu-ko and Toya-ko, plus atmospheric Noboribetsu Onsen.
From the 1870s to the 1980s, Sorachi Region was one of Japan’s major coalfields with more than a hundred mining sites along the Yubari Mountains and supported Hokkaido’s rapid economic growth after the 1950s.
Flower lovers should head to the high altitude wetland of Uryu-numa Shitsugen or the sunflower fields of Hokuryu in summer.
Hemmed in by the Hidaka Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, this sun-kissed region is Japan’s top racehorse breeding ground with countless stables. The scenic coastal byway runs between Tomakomai and Tokachi, passes through the dramatic windy cape Erimo-misaki.
Hidaka’s main river Saru-gawa winds for Nibutani, one of Hokkaido’s most famous Ainu villages with excellent cultural museums.
Our Travel Guides
For more info about Central Hokkaido Otaru, Niseko, Noboribetsu, Sorachi and Hidaka, check out our ebook travel guides.