10 Best Things to Do in Hokkaido in Summer 2024

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Misty Fujii is a Canadian who moved to Osaka, Japan, in 2019 and married her Japanese sweetheart. In 2022, they had a baby and moved to Fukui for the clean country air. She is a DJ who teaches English part-time and writes to share Japan with the world. She gets excited about collecting vintage vinyl records, food from all countries, travelling, and renovating her traditional Japanese house.

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Known for seemingly endless snow, Hokkaido often has visitors in the winter for all the fun winter activities and festivals there. But did you know that Hokkaido is also lovely in the summertime? Not only does the most northern region avoid the worst summer humidity, but there is plenty to see, do, and eat when the snow melts. Let’s look at ten of the best things to do in Hokkaido in the summer so you can start planning a trip now!

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1. Daisetsuzan National Park

Daisetsuzan National Park

Could you imagine exploring a park larger than all of Tokyo? Right in the middle of Hokkaido, in the Kamikawa District, is Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan’s largest park. At 2267 km sq., it beats Tokyo in terms of sheer size. Still, you’ll be surrounded by flora and fauna instead of people and mountains instead of skyscrapers. The park offers trails for hikers of all levels, mountain climbing, and camping, but if those activities aren’t your thing, there are also hot springs to relax surrounded by nature. Nicknamed “the rooftop of Hokkaido” thanks to its vast mountain range and “the playground of the gods” by the indigenous Ainu people, summertime is the perfect time to explore the untouched, pristine nature found here. 

2. Flower Fields and Gardens (Furano and Biei)

Hokkaido is blanketed in snow during the winter, but a carpet of flowers replaces the snow during the summer. The countryside sees a burst of color when the flowers bloom, and there are entire fields in the rural towns of Furano and Biei. Known for its fragrant lavender fields, this area grows many types of flowers. Farm Tomita and Flower Land Kamifurano are two of the most popular places to see the blooms with multiple fields and gardens. They are all accessible by train and bus from New Chitose Airport. The best time to see the flowers is from July to August for lavender and until October for many other flowers. 


3. Lake Shikotsu

Home to some of the most transparent water in Japan, Lake Shikotsu is a spectacular place to explore during the summer months. The caldera lake and hot springs found here were formed by volcanic activity over 30,000 years ago. Perfect for swimming or clear bottom kayaking in the blue waters, the lake is surrounded by mountains giving picturesque views. There’s also a lake water festival in early July with fireworks, performances, a parade, and lanterns. There’s a small town for visiting tourists, but aside from that, most of this area is completely untouched, making it an ideal spot to get in touch with nature. 

4. Summer Festivals

Toyohira River Fireworks

Hokkaido boasts magnificent winter snow festivals, and summertime comes alive with events to celebrate the warmer months. Some of the most popular festivals include The Sapporo Summer Festival (with Japan’s biggest beer garden!), The Otaru Ushio Festival represents the spirit of Hokkaido and the Doshin UHB Fireworks Festival at Toyohira River in Sapporo. Plenty of regional events in the smaller towns and cities bring culture, performances, fireworks, and food to the forefront. Since summer is pretty short in Hokkaido, residents put a lot of effort into the festivals to make the most of the season, and that’s all the more reason to check them out!

5. Blue Pond

Shirogane Blue Pond

One of Japan’s most unique natural phenomena can be found in Biei. Shirogane Blue Pond is unlike any other with its unmistakable bright blue hue. Created after Mt. Tokachi erupted in 1988, the best time to see the richest cobalt color is during late spring and summer. With the absence of wind or rain, the pond looks perfect, like a mirror reflecting its forested surroundings on the still blue water. You can also visit the nearby Shirahige Falls and the Biei River, which resembles a white beard flowing into the blue waters below. 


6. Shiretoko National Park

Shiretoko National Park

Enjoy the scenery and sea in the remote northeastern corner of Hokkaido, where summer is the peak visiting time. The national park takes up the entire Shiretoko Peninsula, and there’s a lot of ground to explore. Some of the most popular activities here include camping, hiking, mountain climbing, and finishing off with a relaxing onsen soak. If wandering too deep into the wilderness is daunting, an easy way to enjoy the scenic park is at Shiretoko Five Lakes, with its 800m boardwalk. From the boardwalk, you can enjoy the sights of the lakes, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the surrounding mountains. If you want to explore deeper, you’ll be surrounded by lush vegetation and wild animals, from killer whales to eagles. Just watch out for the bears!

7. Path of White Shells

Path of White Shells

Rolling green hills, clear blue skies, and a road that sparkles in the sun stretching out to the sea sounds like it belongs in a fairy tale or a Ghibli movie. Instead, it belongs on Soya Hills in Wakkanai, Hokkaido. This is where a 3.3km footpath is lined with white scallop seashells, creating a unique and beautiful landscape. But the shells aren’t just there to provide beauty. They help reduce the amount of weeding for the landscape and give a home to the tons of shells that would otherwise be discarded. This is the perfect place to stroll while breathing fresh sea air. 

8. Shakotan Peninsula

Shakotan Peninsula

On the west coast of Hokkaido in north Niseko, a mountainous peninsula juts into the Sea of Japan. This is where you’ll find water as blue as a tropical island, breathtaking views, and some of the best seafood in Japan. The peninsula has three great capes, Kamui with steep green cliffs, Ogon, next to Bikuni Port, with an observation deck, and Shakotan, with an onsen overlooking the sea. If you can’t get enough of the sea, you can swim, dive and snorkel in the brilliant blue waters. The seafood is all delicious, but the area is most famous for sea urchin, which you can get fresh in the summertime. 


9. Hokuryu Sunflower Village

Have you ever imagined basking in a field of over two million sunflowers? With peak bloom in early August, it’s the perfect time to participate in the Sunflower Festival in Hokuryo, where these large, yellow flowers take over a 23-hectare field. Admire over 30 types of sunflowers while taking a stroll, riding a bicycle, taking a sightseeing bus, or getting lost in a sunflower maze. You can’t help but feel happy thanks to the sunny yellow flowers in Japan’s most extensive sunflower field, and it is well worth the two-hour train ride from Sapporo. 

10. Enjoy Delicious Local Food

Lavender ice cream

One of the most important things about traveling is eating! Hokkaido is known for so many delicious foods, especially in the summer. From the best sea urchin bowls at Shakotan Peninsula to lavender ice cream in Furano and Biei, there’s something for everyone. Another treat you want to take advantage of is the juicy Yubari melons, with their melt-in-your-mouth sweetness. Hokkaido is also known for fresh surumeika squid, Hanasaki crab with its deep taste, and an array of fresh produce like potatoes, pumpkin, asparagus, corn, and more. Finally, your summer trip to Hokkaido is only complete with their most famous summer food, soba! Try their remarkable variety, Kitawase soba, a flavourful take on traditional buckwheat noodles. And if you happen to be in Sapporo during your trip up north, be sure to check out some of the restaurants from our article below!

Where to stay in Hokkaido

If you’re looking for a place to stay while you’re up in the beautiful land of Hokkaido over the summer, look no further. We have a great article with some amazing ryokan that you can stay and relax at while exploring everything that the biggest prefecture in Japan has to offer. Have a look below.

Hokkaido may be a stop for your next summer holiday, and with so much to do and eat, you’ll have plenty of ways to enjoy the sunshine.

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From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots! 
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help! 

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