What to do in Hokkaido: 5 things to look forward to doing when you’re back there

What’s not to like about Hokkaido?

| Guan Zhen Tan | Sponsored | January 30, 2021, 09:55 AM

Ask a Singaporean where they’d like to travel to pre-Covid, chances are you’ll hear Hokkaido, Japan.

It’s easy to see why it’s a favourite: everyone loves the weather, the food, and of course, the breathtaking views.

While travel might not be the first thing on your mind right now, Hokkaido’s already ready and waiting for visitors to visit their wonderful attractions.

The following video shows how Hokkaido is preparing for your return, and what you can look forward to doing when you’re back:

We’ve listed out some of these featured activities in this article - this is by no means an exhaustive list given how huge Hokkaido is, but it’ll whet your appetite for visiting this beautiful, scenic prefecture.

Smelt Fishing

Photo via NORTH GEAR

In the picturesque town of Minamifurano, many offer activity tours, including smelt fishing activities in a snowy “campsite” near the Kanayama lake.

It might seem like a tough activity for most, but smelt fishing is sure to pique the interest of even the most impatient participant.

Participants are guided to fish multiple smelts out of drilled holes in ice, which can be done while sitting down. Given that temperatures are often in negative digits, you’d have to wear warm clothes, cold-weather shoes and gloves.

You’ll be rewarded for toughing out the cold: Smelt or Wagasaki in Japanese are small, silver-coloured fish, which gather in numbers.

It’s easy to catch multiple smelts without having any prior knowledge of fishing, making it an ideal activity for all ages. You might even catch bigger fish such as the Iwana trout.

Photo via NORTH GEAR

Photo via NORTH GEAR

Participants will also be in for a gastronomic treat as part of the fishing activity includes deep-frying these fish in tempura batter until crisp.

Photo via NORTH GEAR

These fish not only taste fresh, they are unlike your average tempura; these smelts originate from the Kanayama lake, one of the lakes with the best water quality in Hokkaido.


Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

A big feature of Furano is the Furano ski area.

Divided into two zones, the Furano and Kitanomine Zone, these are connected at the top of the mountain by a common trail.

You can reach the peak summit directly via a Furano Ropeway cable car, which also allows you to see a gorgeous, awe-inspiring view of the Daisetsu Mountain Range.

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

There are 28 different trails, and the peak of the ski area reaches 1,074 metres with a vertical drop of 839 metres.

The map might seem daunting and highly-intense, but you have nothing to worry about even if you’re a complete beginner.

Besides courses conducted in English, a good 80 per cent of the ski resort’s terrain are suitable for beginners and intermediate skiers.

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

There are also slopes and special escalators for children as well. You can easily rent a full set of ski equipment, winter gear and any other equipment at the Prince Hotels, Furano Zone Ropeway Station and the Kitanomine Zone Gondola Station.

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

If you’re looking for a challenge, there are ungroomed powder runs and steep cruises for advanced skiers who want to explore and push themselves outside of groomed slopes.

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

Such paths were used for the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) world cup races in the past, so you can be assured of a fruitful challenge at the Furano Trails.


Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

Kankanmura, or Kankan village, is located next to the New Furano Prince Hotel.

A miniature village of snow huts can be found throughout, decorated with gorgeous illuminated lights.

Besides being a great spot for Instagrammers, fun winter activities, such as snow tubing, snow rafting, sledding are available.

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

You can also try riding a snowmobile, banana boat, or even a plastic rice bag down a hill, which is supposedly the most authentic way to do it in this part of town.

Afterwards, get yourself refreshed at the Snow Cafe, which is located in a Snow Dome made of 2000 snow blocks.

Photo via Furano Tourism's website

Access to the village usually opens around early evening - about 4pm, but as its features suggest, it’s highly recommended that you visit when night falls.

Ningle Terrace

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

Before you visit Kankanmura at night, you may want to stop by Ningle Terrace, which is a haven for souvenirs you can buy and make.

Small wooden huts are huddled together in the snow, illuminated by warm lights. For most tourists, the snowy wooden village looks like something out of a fairytale.

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

After taking pictures or simply enjoying the romantic atmosphere, enter the huts to find a large variety of handmade goods - from candles, wooden goods, kaleidoscopes, to snowflake accessories, felt birds, leather shoe keychains, crayons, paper goods are available.

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

Workshops are also conducted at the Ningle Atelier, and this where you can create your own gorgeous handmade gifts for loved ones at home, such as traditional candles, wooden puppets, kaleidoscopes and paper crafts.

Viewing flowers + Onsen amongst lavender fields

Photo via Hokkaido Kamifurano’s website

Besides snow, Hokkaido offers a spectacular, colourful view of flowers and nature in the summer

Hinode Lavender Garden, a region that started the cultivation of lavender fields has an observation deck that offers a stunning view of the Furano Flower fields and the Furano basin.

It’s a bit of a climb, but the views will make the slight hike to the deck totally worth it.

You may also consider Highland Furano, a 20 minute ride from JR Furano station. It's a beautiful onsen hotel, which is surrounded by a gorgeous field of lavenders, reminding you of Hokkaido’s gorgeous, vibrant nature scene.

Photo via Furano Tourism’s website

This where you can soak in a hot spring in the great outdoors, while enjoying the breathtaking views of the lavender fields, which bloom in the summer.

They are illuminated in mid-July and they provide a view after sunset, but you can enjoy this all the way until late July.

Make use of your stay there to take long, relaxing soaks, as you contemplate the natural beauty that surrounds you.

Safety Measures for tourists in place

Many of these places are taking extra precautions with Covid-19’s presence.

Beside safe distancing measures in place, guests are made to sanitise their hands, take their temperature, and pay attention to their physical condition. They are also encouraged to wear a mask.

Staff members also take precautions by wearing masks, taking their temperature every morning, washing their hands, and disinfecting common high-touch points and the necessary equipment used for any activity.

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

Photo via Prince Grand Resort Furano

And even though it may all take a while before we may even step foot into Hokkaido, here are some of the reassuring words they have for Singaporeans:

Furano Prince Hotel Staff: We would love to have you come back again when you can come and travel freely across countries again. We'll be waiting for you with safety and security measures in place!”

Hokkaido Tourism Association: “Hokkaido, with its large area, has a lot of content that repeat visitors can enjoy. It is not possible to experience everything in one trip. In addition to the differences between the four seasons, there are many places you may not know about, such as gourmet food, activities, and spectacular scenery! I hope you will conquer all that Hokkaido has to offer!”

Mr. Sakamoto, representative of North Gear, which provides smelt fishing: “Hokkaido is always waiting for you. Please come and visit us anytime.”

This article is brought to you by is Hokkaido Tourism Organization, which makes the writer really, really wish she could visit Hokkaido now.

Top image via Prince Grand Resort Furano and Furano Tourism’s website