Hokkaido Day Trips

Niseko is a popular base for exploring Hokkaido’s top spots, being as little as two hours away from many regional attractions, including Sapporo, Otaru, the Shakotan Peninsula, and many more.

Otaru

An easy train trip from Niseko is the port city of Otaru, which is always worth visiting for its historic architecture, fresh seafood, and glass handicrafts.

Famous for its sushi and sashimi and supplying high-quality seafood across Japan, Otaru is a town that grew from fishing and trade, with the city’s most famous landmark being the canal—which used to be the transportation hub for tugboats. The canal is adorned with Victorian-style street lamps on its walkway and lined with warehouses—which were once used for storage in the days when the canal was crowded with jostling barges—and have now been converted into souvenir shops, workshops and restaurants.

Explore the large 19th century wooden building of Nishin Goten, or ‘herring mansion’ to learn about the fishing industry, before taking to its historic walkways: When night falls, oil lamps on the cobbled streets are lit, and the town evokes a gentle, nostalgic mood.

Sapporo

Barely a few hours away from Niseko, Sapporo is an internationally loved city that few travellers can ignore. Going from one to another is like transporting yourself to a different world; where the luxuries, convenience and scale of a bustling and modern Japanese city sits in the middle of a mountain-range framed wilderness. Visit the TV Tower and huge shopping complex beside the architecturally sumptuous JR Station tower, or take a tour through Odori park and the buzzing entertainment and dining districts throughout Susukino.

Throughout the year, Sapporo hosts a diverse sprinkling of regional events, including the acclaimed snow festival in the winter, the loud and boisterous Yosakoi Soran festival, and the Summer Fest; an Oktoberfest-styled celebration whose beer-gardens are an ever-popular, and ever-growing fixture during the height of summer.

Famous for its Sapporo Beer brewery, passionate baseball and soccer followings, incredible snow festival and much, much more, Sapporo brings an eclectic mix of shopping, dining and sightseeing to anyone wanting to experience a uniquely Hokkaido-flavoured slice of big city life.

Shakotan

Renowned for its seafood and hot spring resorts, the rugged coastline of the Shakotan peninsula is surrounded by clear blue waters. Located on the coast to the north of Niseko, you can enjoy a variety of outdoor sports, including hiking Shakotan dake, and sea kayaking in Hokkaido’s only sea park.

Furano

Furano and neighbouring Biei are located in the centre of Hokkaido, and are known for their picturesque rural landscapes. In July the lavender fields are in bloom, while in winter, Furano turns into a popular ski resort.

Outdoor activities include rafting down the Sorachi gawa river, and hot-air ballooning. Every summer, Furano also hosts a “belly button” festival, when participants draw entertaining faces on their bellies and dance in the streets.

Noboribetsu

One of Japan’s most famous onsen towns, a large proportion of Noboribetsu’s many types of hot spring water surface in the Jigokudani or 'Hell Valley', where sulphur-yellow volcanic gas spews from the surface of the rocks. 

Other attractions include Edo Town and the Jigoku Festival, and part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park is also home to the Noboribetsu Primeval Forest.

If you are interested in making any day trips, require assistance with transfers, or would like further information on tours or the local area, please do not hesitate to contact the AYA team.

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