All posts filed under: Hokkaido


On the train between Furano and Asahikawa, I couldn’t resist stopping in the tiny, pretty town of Biei. I only had time to visit for a couple of hours, but it’s so lovely that I wanted to mention it here to encourage others to visit. Like Furano, Biei is a beautiful countryside town, surrounded by […]


Furano is found in the centre of Hokkaido, ringed by beautiful snow-capped mountains, and is a tourist spot for two reasons: in winter it’s a ski resort, and in summer people come to see the colourful fields and lavender farms. In spring, caught between those two, it’s wonderfully quiet.


Otaru lies to the northeast of Sapporo, and in the winter is on the train route to the ski resort of Niseko. In spring or summer, though, it’s a major domestic tourism destination. I visited overnight in May 2014. To get to Otaru, take a futsuu train from Sapporo’s JR station – it’s not far, and […]


Furano might be the middle of Hokkaido, but Sapporo is its economic centre – it’s the biggest city on the island, and serves as the hub for its transit links too. It’s also a pleasant, modern city that’s well worth exploring for a few days. Famous for the snow festival, held every February, Sapporo holds plenty to […]

Toyako Onsen

About half way between Hakodate and Sapporo you’ll find an almost circular lake with a handful of islands in the middle, and on the southern shore of that lake the resort town of Toyako Onsen. Lonely Planet describes it as “faded”, which is a pretty fair description, but if you’re a fan of either onsen or hiking (or, ideally, both) it’s well worth a stop.


There are two popular ways into Hokkaido. If you’re arriving by plane, chances are you’ll arrive at Sapporo, but if you come by train or the ferry from Aomori then you’ll stop at Hakodate. I visited in early 2014. Arriving and Transport Hakodate’s main train station is right in the centre of town, with a large bus […]