The island of Hokkaido is located in the most Northern part of Japan, near Russia. This island has grown increasingly popular in recent years, with tourists flocking to the region to experience its rich food and culture. The Winter months are a particularly popular time to visit as the island’s snowy landscapes and winter wonderland appearance are an attraction in themselves, but Hokkaido also boasts plenty of events characteristic of Winter, such as the Sapporo Snow Festival which is not to be missed.

Club Med has compiled a list of the best things to do in Hokkaido in Winter.

1. Be amazed by the Ice Waterfall Festival

Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival is one of the major ice festivals in Hokkaido, held in Sounkyo Onsen, Kamikawa Town - a particularly popular resort town for tourists in search of some of Hokkaido’s best hot springs. The Ice Waterfall Festival is an incredible winter sightseeing experience while visiting Hokkaido. The average temperature in winter in Sounkyo is below freezing, and in January and February it can fall as low as 10 to 20 degrees below zero. For this reason, it is no surprise that an Ice Waterfall is formed from the freezing of liquid water seeping on rock. At the ice waterfall festival you will find a lot of ice sculptures; snow igloos; ice objects; and a rather large and impressive ice tunnel - all of which are illuminated at night. There is also an epic fireworks display to be admired at the festival. The fireworks are launched from behind the ice sculptures, creating gorgeous fire flowers in the night sky.

2. Soak in Hot Springs

As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of hot springs scattered throughout all of its major islands - Hokkaido included. Southern Hokkaido is rich in nature, boasting some of Japan's most famous and sought-after hot springs. After a long day skiing or snowboarding, a trip to a hot spring to relax and recharge is exactly what your body will be craving. Some of the most popular hot springs in Hokkaido include Noboribetsu Onsen, Tsurunoyu Onsen and Kamuiwakkayu Falls.

3. Try skiing / Snowboarding

Japan is additionally renowned for being a world-class ski and snowboard destination with plentiful, top-quality snow, fantastic resorts and beautiful scenery. There are currently over 500 ski resorts across Japan and Hokkaido is described as the “powder capital” of Japan, infamous for its perfect powdered snow. Hokkaido arguably gets the most consistent snow in all of Japan, making it the perfect skiing and snowboarding destination for holiday-makers. The ski and snowboard season in Hokkaido, Japan, commences in the middle of December and runs to March 15th, of course depending on the snow conditions at each individual resort. Check out Club Med’s all-inclusive ski resorts for accommodation options when staying in Hokkaido.

4. Take part in activities in the snow

If skiing and snowboarding aren’t for you, there are still an array of other activities to enjoy in the snow. These include snow tubing; sledding, and ice skating. You’ll find these activities offered at ski resorts, amusement parks, and festivals throughout Hokkaido during the winter. These activities are perfect and guaranteed fun for all types of travellers - families, couples and solo-travelers are all sure to have a fantastic time experiencing Hokkaido during the winter season.

5. Admire the Sapporo White Illumination

Hokkaido isn’t only great for those wanting to ski and/or snowboard. This Northern Island is a fantastic winter holiday destination for a multitude of reasons and attracts all kinds of travellers. If you are not particularly interested in skiing or snowboarding, do not worry - there is still plenty of fun to be had exploring Hokkaido and in particular, the winter months host a number of spectacular festivals to be experienced, including the Sapporo White Illumination festival. Sapporo White Illumination is a classical winter illumination event held in Sapporo City in Hokkaido annually, it coincides with the authentic German Christmas Market, as well as the famous Sapporo Snow Festival.

6. Experience Sapporo Snow Festival

Japan’s biggest winter snow festival is held in Odori Park in the centre of Sapporo City, Hokkaido every year and hosts millions of visitors. It’s simply amazing to see this winter wonderland display which stretches for approximately 1.5 kilometres. During your exploration of the Snow Festival, you are sure to find a number of impressive man-made snow/ice sculptures on display. Sapporo Snow Festival is arguably one of the best festivals in the world.

For any booking inquiries, contact Club Med directly. We will be able to advise and assist you with your winter holiday to Hokkaido, Japan - making your holiday experience stress-free from the get-go, as well as securing you the best holiday-package to fit your needs and budget.

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