Learn More About the Wonders of Hokkaido

Hokkaido, which means “Northern Sea Circuit,” is Japan’s second largest island and the northernmost of all the 47 prefectures. The island of Hokkaido is separated from Honshu by the Tsugaru Strait, but the underwater railway, Seikan Tunnel, connects the two.

Hokkaido was initially the home of indigenous ethnic groups such as the Nivkh, Orok, and Ainu around 20,000 years ago. The Nihon Shoki, the second oldest book of classical Japanese history, first mentions Hokkaido.

Ainu man.

It describes how Abe no Hirafu, a governor of Koshi Province, led a large army and navy fleet to the northern areas of Japan in 658 to 660. They came into contact with the native inhabitants—Mishihase and Emishi—whom many believe to be ancestors of the Ainu.

The Nara and Heian periods (710–1185) saw the Hokkaido locals trading with the outpost of the Japanese central government, Dewa Province. At the time, Hokkaido was an island abundant for fishing and hunting but relied on trade for rice and iron. During he Muromachi period (1336–1573), the Japanese built a settlement to the south of Oshima Peninsula to avoid ensuing battles and disputes that arose between the Japanese and the Ainu. These battles later became a full blown war that led to the defeat of the Ainu leader Koshamain by Takeda Nobuhiro and eventually defeated the opposition in 1457. Nobuhiro’s descendants became the rulers of the Matsumae-han and were given exclusive rights to trade with the Ainu during the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods (1568–1868).

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Hokkaido greeenery. | Bong Grit

The island of Hokkaido has beautiful coastlines on the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Pacific Ocean. Mountains, volcanic plateaus, and coastal plains stretch in all directions on the island. Hokkaido’s major cities include the port of Hakode, Ashikawa, and Sapporo.

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Hokkaido at dusk. | ZEROZLIN

Hokkaido’s winters offer a high quality of powder snow which makes it perfect for snow sports. In contrast, summers are not humid and offer comfortably warm days. Hokkaido remains a haven for people who love to explore the outdoors.