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Hokkaido Photo Trip Report, Summer 2020

Tokyo Prefecture...
Level Contributor
689 posts
Hokkaido Photo Trip Report, Summer 2020

I lived for four years in north-central Hokkaido, and spent much of that time exploring the mountains, volcanoes, forests, coastlines, and a couple of memorable sawanobori "river climbs" (sadly now both closed or partly blocked).

I had to leave my happy little northern basecamp for a variety of reasons and live now in Tokyo.

Still, I have managed to return to Hokkaido twice, once in the summer of 2016 and again in 2019.

On these return trips I have been able to re-visit some of my favourite power spots, national parks, and other favourite haunts from my time as a local expat. Highlights include the National Parks Akan Mashu; Daisetsuzan; and Shiretoko; and the popular touristy town of Biei and area, where I lived my last year in Hokkaido.

So if you're looking for a little inspiration for your next trip to the wilder, off-the-beaten-path side of Japan, or just enjoy a little armchair travel, check out my post Hokkaido Photos: Power Spots, National Parks, and Other Haunts on Japan’s Frontier Island https://medium.com/kachou-fuugetsu-flower-bird-wind-moon/hokkaido-photo-drifts-an-expats-power-spots-national-parks-and-other-favourite-places-on-5c4a5b425b48

Tenafly, New Jersey
Level Contributor
631 posts
146 reviews
63 helpful votes
1. Re: Hokkaido Photo Trip Report, Summer 2020

thank you for a wonderful summary of what makes Hokkaido so special-many of the pictures brought back such fond memories and as i continue to visit each year my favorite secret place, Hokkaido, i will refer back to your efforts to use as a guide to enhance my experiences even further- thank you again- much appreciated

Tsukuba, Japan
Destination Expert
for Kyoto, Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
15 934 posts
326 reviews
256 helpful votes
2. Re: Hokkaido Photo Trip Report, Summer 2020

Thank you for your wonderful reports and pictures of Hokkaido. I had never thought a Canadian like you would love the nature of your country, including Hokkaido, until @5 years ago when I found that many foreigners, including North Americans, were interested in Japan and its nature. But, yes, the diservity of our nature, such as mountains, volcanoes, rivers, forests, are probably the beauty of our country, which you can also see in a Japanese Garden and even in Bento boxes with ingredients from sea, mountains and rivers. Anyway, thank you for your great reports.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hokkaido, Nagano
Level Contributor
11 082 posts
188 reviews
90 helpful votes
3. Re: Hokkaido Photo Trip Report, Summer 2020

Thank you for your trip report.

It reminds me of the serene and beautiful nature in Shiretoko NP, Utoro, Akan-ko, Kussharo-ko, Mashu-ko, Asahidake etc. from the vantage points such as Bihoro-toge (for Kussharo-ko), Mashu-ko 3rd observatory, Asahidake/Sugatami, Tokachi observatory etc.

Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
1 793 posts
115 reviews
257 helpful votes
4. Re: Hokkaido Photo Trip Report, Summer 2020


Some lovely images - thanks for sharing.

I am just starting to plan a 3.5 week trip from late May through mid June traveling with 2 teenagers.

We have never visited Japan, and live is a pretty wild and mountainous (relatively) area. Would you and other recommend including Hokkaido for our visit?

Many thanks,


Edited: 1 year ago
Tokyo Prefecture...
Level Contributor
689 posts
5. Re: Hokkaido Photo Trip Report, Summer 2020

sapporostan, thanks for your comments! Sounds like you, too have spent a lot of time exploring Hokkaido. Any "secret, special places" you care to make public? :-)

Mabel0123, Canada certainly has a lot of big-N Nature, and I did enjoy hiking and canoeing in the wilds of Ontario, near my hometown Toronto. But mountains, and volcanoes, and alpine zones and the like I first experienced in Hokkaido. Never even knew how to snowboard before moving to Japan!

DLi_hk, yes, you certainly have an eye for identifying locales! :-) Don't remember exactly which spots all the pictures were taken, but many of th places you name sound familiar.

Of course, some of the most dramatic scenery is in the more remote locations. Next time, I want to get further into the backcountry of Daisetsuzan again (perhaps the Traverse), and climb Rishiridake - still one of my best climbing experiences.

Tokyo Prefecture...
Level Contributor
689 posts
6. Re: Hokkaido Photo Trip Report, Summer 2020

Hey BoulderBill,

Haven't been to Boulder, but I've certainly heard of it as an outdoor lifestyle mecca kind of place. Do you do and your boys spend a lot of time in the mountains in late spring? Are you comfortable with snow and cold weather?

If so, and you want a taste of Hokkaido, I can certainly tell you that, for example, the year I climbed Rishiridake in northernmost Hokkaido we went in mid to late June, did it as a day hike, and other than one slightly sketchy snow patch we had to cross the conditions were ideal: clear air, no crowds! Possibly other places as well: climbed Meakanadake around the same time, and did a bit of exploring around Akan Mashu.

However, you should know that Hokkaido, especially at elevation (and the alpine zone can start as low as, like, 1500 metres) can be freezing cold and windy and wet/snowy - harsh conditions even in summer. I would do more specific research as the date approaches if you're serious about hiking Daisetstuzan, especially in May but even June. The facebook group Hokkaido Hikers and Campers have lots of helpful people who can often give local updates.

But if you don't need such remote, and possibly challenging, adventure, I would recommend you look at hikes on Honshu. Assuming you will be visiting other places such as Tokyo, the Japan Alps are relatively accessible (more so than Hokkaido), and have a whole range of trails, from ropeways and gentle hikes to multi-day traverses in the alpine zone.

Heck, there are actually several mountains in the Tokyo area worth doing as day trips if you just want to get into nature!

7. Re: Hokkaido Photo Trip Report, Summer 2020

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