The homes of Sunroute hotels, Sapporo, Hakodate, and Muroran, are loaded with excitements Hokkaido has to offer. Sapporo entertains tourists with a throng of scenic spots like Odori Park and Sapporo Clock Tower and events like February’s annual Sapporo Snow Festival. Hakodate boasts the sweeping nightscape from Mount Hakodate, which is often dubbed one of the most breathtaking three nightscapes in the world. With the launch of Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train) in 2016, Hakodate is now accessible from Tokyo in about four hours at the fastest.
City of Muroran, a southeast city of Hokkaido, is the region’s prominent industrial hub. Nightscape of the industrial area attracts tourists, and on the New Year’s day, people flock to Cape Earth (Chikyu Misaki) to celebrate the year’s first sunrise. From spring to autumn, dolphins and whales can be sighted off the coast.
Every February, Sapporo Snow Festival rules the streetscapes of Odori Park, Susukino area, etc. with snow and ice sculptures created in celebration of winter. Hosting about two million visitors from inside and outside the country, the festival is one of the biggest highlights in the entire Hokkaido.
Lavender fields in Furano is a must-see attraction during the short summer in Hokkaido. Colorful carpets of lavender flowers spread across the landscape under the sweet-scented air.
Winter sports define Hokkaido in the winter. Its excellent snow powder garners admirations from skiers across the world. If you are interested in winter sports, any of the numerous ski resorts in Hokkaido are heartily recommended. Popular resorts include Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu, Furano Ski Resort, and Rusutsu Ski Resort.
Along the coast of Okhotsk Sea, drift ice cruise trips are popular. From the deck of an icebreaker, you may encounter wild sea eagles and seals while cruising in the middle of drift ice. Abashiri, Monbetsu, and Shiretoko are the three major home bases where drift ice cruise tours are offered.
Shopping & Gourmet
Sapporo City is also home to Odori area, Tanukikoji shopping arcade, Sapporo Factory, and various other shopping spots. While being a “factory” by name, Sapporo Factory is actually a massive shopping complex perfected with about 160 shops, amusement facilities, restaurants and a hotel. In Hakodate, the Morning Market (Hakodate Asaichi) is a must-see scene for all. Open daily throughout the year, the market sells a wide range of products from seafood, fruits and vegetables to apparels.
Sapporo is also renowned as the gourmet city, where a host of delicacies and hearty local specialties, such as fresh seafood, Sapporo ramen, mutton barbecue (Jingisukan) and soup curry, await you. Hakodate vies with Sapporo in terms of delicious fares and lures epicurean visitors with its delectable seafood bowls, live squid sashimi, salty ramen, etc.
If you look for a genuine entertainment, Sapporo Dome, home to professional football and baseball teams, offers an ideal destination.
In Muroran, dolphin and whale watching tours are available from spring to autumn, during which these animals take their annual migration routes off the coast of Muroran. If you are lucky enough, from a hundred up to over a thousand dolphins may greet you along the tour. A luxury cruise ship also offers a splendid nightscape of the industrial area. The Swan Bridge (Hakucho Ohashi) spanning across Muroran Harbor is a memorable spectacle especially when it is lit up in the evening.