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The 10 Best Summer Activities in Hokkaido

Check out our roundup of best summer activities in Hokkaido.

By 4 min read

Beat the heat with the best summer activities in Hokkaido. As Japan’s northernmost island, summers in Hokkaido are much milder than anywhere else. Home to world-class ski resorts during winter, breathtaking autumnal views and vibrant seasonal blooms, this island is unlike any other. Here, you’ll experience the best of the outdoors, immerse yourself in the local culture and have some of the tastiest eats along the way without the heat and humidity.

It’s an ideal getaway for nature lovers and adventurers who want to see more of the Japanese countryside. Looking for ideas? Here are some of the best summer activities in Hokkaido.

1. Sightseeing

Photo:
Watch over a sea of clouds at Unkai Terrace.

The northernmost island is a prime summer destination, offering breathtaking natural landscapes and unique cultural experiences. Highlights include Unkai Terrace, with its stunning cloud views, and Shirogane Blue Pond, with its distinct blue water. Asahiyama Zoo is home to over 700 animals, while the Ainu Museum offers deep insights into Japan’s indigenous heritage.

Unkai Terrace

Hoshino Resorts Tomamu Unkai Terrace, Nakatomamu, Shimukappu, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido - Map
Shirogane Blue Pond

Shirogane, Biei, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido - Map
Asahiyama Zoo

Kuranuma Higashiasahikawacho, Asahikawa, Hokkaido - Map
National Ainu Museum and Park

2-3 Wakakusacho, Shiraoi, Shiraoi District, Hokkaido - Map

2. Farm Visits

Photo:
Head to Furano Farm to see fields upon fields of seasonal blooms.

Far from the city, farm visits offer a relaxing chance in a serene rural environment. Travelers are drawn to the open spaces, peacefulness of nature and hands-on experiences in rural settings. Consider exploring farm stays in Hokkaido, which offers overnight stays at vegetable, fruit, dairy and sheep farms. Activities include milking cows, shearing sheep, observing vegetable growth and enjoying the beauty of flowers.

Watanabetaiken Farm

Genya 646-4, Teshikaga, Kawakami, Hokkaido - Map
Yorkshire Farm

Shintoku, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido - Map
Ueno Farm

Nagayamacho, Asahikawa, Hokkaido - Map

3. Hiking and Trekking

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Hokkaido offers a pristine escape from urbanized mainland Japan with abundant natural forests, diverse wildlife and calm hiking paths. The weather is great for summer hiking, and there are various hiking routes, including the famous peaks of the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group and Rishiri Island, which have views extending to Russia. Don’t miss the Momoiwa Trail on Rebun Island for beautiful flowers and stunning cliffs.

Mount Yotei

Yashiro, Makkari, Abuta District, Hokkaido  - Map
Mount Asahi

Yukomanbetsu, Higashikawa, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido - Map
Mount Rishiri

Oshidomari, Rishirifuji, Rishiri District, Hokkaido

4. Boat Excursions

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There are beautiful lakes to explore.

Due to its many lakes, rivers and coastlines, Hokkaido offers plenty of boating opportunities. You can take relaxing boat rides at Lake Shikotsu, Lake Toya, Lake Onuma and Lake Akan. You can also check out the mysterious Blue Cave and enjoy sunset tours like the Otaru Blue Cave tour. Nature cruises on Tsugaru Strait or the Sea of Okhotsk offer fantastic chances to observe wildlife, including dolphin and whale watching.

Lake Toya Ferry & Cruise

Toyakoonsen, Toyako, Abuta District, Hokkaido - Map
Abashiri Nature Cruise

Johigashi, Abashiri, Hokkaido - Map
Otaru Blue Cave Cruise

Minatomachi, Otaru, Hokkaido - Map

5. Craft and Cultural Experiences

Photo:
Join a glass-blowing workshop in Otaru for a personalized souvenir.

Discover special craft activities and cultural experiences in Hokkaido. Activities include making soba noodles, glass blowing, ceramic arts, music boxes, Hokkaido milk ice cream, sausages and more. These hands-on experiences offer a fantastic opportunity to engage with Hokkaido’s rich cultural heritage and learn new skills in a fun setting.

Ice Cream Making at Watanabe Experience Farm

Izumikawa, Rusutsu-mura, Abuta, Hokkaido - Map
Otaru Glassblowing Experience

3-13-12, Inaho, Otaru, Hokkaido - Map
Ceramics Class

103 Kanbetsu, Kutchan, Abuta District, Hokkaido - Map

6. Water Activities

Photo:
Spend the day outdoors!

During the warmer months, Hokkaido offers a variety of exciting water activities. From kayaking and rafting to canyoning, there’s something for everyone. You can even traverse the clear waters of Lake Shikotsu in a see-through kayak or enjoy a family-friendly rafting tour at Sarukawa.

Whitewater Rafting in Hidaka

Chisaka, Hidaka-Cho, Saru-gun, Hokkaido - Map
Kayaking in Lake Shikotsu

Shikotsu Lake Onsen Bangaichi, Chitose City, Hokkaido - Map
Canyoning in Hidaka

Chisaka, Hidaka-Cho, Saru-gun, Hokkaido - Map

7. Cycling

Photo:
A cyclist’s paradise.

You’ll see why Hokkaido is renowned for offering ideal conditions for summer cycling in Japan. The pleasant weather, orderly traffic, spacious and peaceful roads and moderate inclines make it a cyclist’s paradise. Enthusiasts can take up challenging uphill routes for breathtaking views, while casual riders can pedal leisurely through picturesque woodlands and roads. Tourists can easily rent a cycle for a day to enjoy the beauty of this region.

Bicycle rental in Abashiri

4-5-1 Minami 3 Johigashi, Abashiri, Hokkaido - Map
Bicycle rental in Biei

1-4-25 Motomachi, Biei, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido - Map

8. Camping

Photo:
Spend your weekend under the stars.

Camping in Hokkaido is a dream, thanks to lush forests, crystal-clear lakes and picturesque mountains. Visitors can explore national parks, enjoy outdoor activities, BBQ and create lasting memories. But it’s important to practice responsible camping to preserve Hokkaido’s wilderness.

Top camping locations include Lake Kushiro, Lake Toya, Lake Shikotsu, Lake Akan, Rebun & Rishiri Islands and more.

Lake Shikotsu Morappu Campsite

Shikotsukoonsen, Chitose, Hokkaido - Map
Takarada Campsite

Hoshi ni Te no Tokutoku Oka Campground

Beberi, Nakafurano-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido - Map

9. Hot Air Balloon and Paragliding

Photo:
See Hokkaido from a new perspective.

See Hokkaido’s stunning beauty with a thrilling hot-air balloon ride or paragliding in the summer. Soar through the skies with paragliding, taking in breathtaking views of Hokkaido’s landscapes.

Alternatively, opt for a hot-air balloon ride guided by certified pilots, offering panoramic views and a safe, informative journey. Enjoy private or group flights for a romantic escapade or a fun outing with family and friends.

Hot Air Ballon Experience at Tokachi Nature Park

Tokachigawa Onsen, Otofuke-cho, Kato-gun, Hokkaido - Map
Niseko Paragliding

Rusutsu Village, Abuta District, Hokkaido - Map
Motor Paragliding Experience at MPG Sorachi

Nishigakuden, Furano City, Hokkaido - Map

10. Summer Festivals

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Attend a summer festival to immerse yourself in Japanese culture.

Experience traditional music, entertainment and local cooking at Hokkaido summer festivals, like the Sapporo Summer Festival and the Demon Fireworks at Noboribetsu Onsen’s Valley of Hell.

Enjoy the Yohtaka Andon Festival in Numata, with nightly fireworks over Lake Toya., or see parades, taiko drumming and performances at the Hokkaido Jingu Shrine Festival in Sapporo City.

Noboribetsu Jigoku Matsuri

Noboribetsu Onsencho, Noboribetsu City, Hokkaido - Map
Lake Toyako Fireworks Display

Toyako Onsen, Toyako-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido  - Map
Yohtaka Andon Festival

Numata, Uryu District, Hokkaido - Map
Sapporo Summer Festival

Sumiyoshicho, Otaru, Hokkaido - Map
What did you think of our list of summer activities in Hokkaido? Let us know in the comments below. 

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