Japan |Hokkaido

Best winter activities unique to Hokkaido

In Hokkaido winters, where temperatures dip below the freezing point every year, there are many activities you can do only here. Below are some of the spectacular sights and tours you can enjoy unique to Hokkaido winters. Turn the cold into fun and make the best of your visit to Hokkaido!

Jewelry Ice

 

Have you heard of jewelry ice? Ice from the highly translucent Tokachi River that flows into the Pacific Ocean get tossed around, broken into smaller clusters, and rounded by the waves before washing ashore.

 

The ice that glimmers when it is hit by sunlight resembles authentic jewelry. The entire coast is transformed into a magical world of crystals.

 

© Hideo Kishimoto

The best time to see them is from mid-January to late February. In around the hours that the sun rises from the horizon, the expanse of jewelry ice offers breathtaking views. You can have a special time that is a rare experience even in Hokkaido.

 

Pond Smelt Fishing

 

Experience pond smelt fishing at Lake Kanayama in Furano. For pond smelt fishing, a hole is drilled through a thick layer of ice, and a bait is suspended in the water. As the pond smelt are migrating in the lake, it is important to wait patiently above the ice until a flock arrives.

 

If you are worried about the cold, rest assured! Here, a heated tent is set up on the ice, and you will be fishing inside the tent in warmth and comfort.

 

Your catch can be made into tempura on the spot! Nothing beats eating freshly deep-fried pond smelt you have caught yourself!

Dog Sledding

 

Dog sledding in the vast snowfield is a winter activity unique to Hokkaido. First, riders will receive a thorough introduction to the basics on a practice course. Since riders can go sledding on a course suited to their level, beginners can also enjoy it with nothing to worry about.

 

Working with three to four dogs, you can sled down a gentle-sloping snowfield, sled down an exciting course with ups and downs, take the forest course, and more.

 

Afterwards, you can relax with your team member dogs that you spent the day with. In a large tent known as “ger,” you can warm yourself with the wood-burning stove and reflect on your sled ride with your teammates. This tour is sure to be a memorable experience.

Drift Ice Walk

 

The top of drift ice is the top of the Sea of Okhotsk. In addition to walking on waters in winter wonderland, this drift ice walk offers up close views of drift ice and enjoy magnificent sights of the vast nature and majestic sceneries.

 

Wearing dry suits with high insulation and buoyancy, you can also float in ice water and see the drift ice from the perspective of sea otters and other sea animals.

 

If you are lucky, you may be able to see a Steller’s sea eagle, a white-tailed eagle, or a sea angel!

 


Photos courtesy of: Fun Co., Ltd., Samurai Produce Inc., Outrider, SHINRA

This information is current as of September 27, 2019 and may be subject to change without notice. For further details and the latest information, please inquire directly to the relevant establishments.

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