Photo: Ken Shono / Unsplash
Photo: Ken Shono / Unsplash
- 2 min read

Hokkaido Named on Best of Travel 2024 List

The region made the cut for Lonely Planet's annual awards

Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, has numerous great reasons to visit. From its vibrant foodie scene and world-class winter destinations to its hot springs and rich Ainu culture, there's plenty for any traveler to enjoy. It looks like more people are set to discover the best of the prefecture, too, as it was recently named on Lonely Planet's Best of Travel 2024 list in the sustainability category.

The region was praised for its commitment to eco-friendly activities and accommodation, and a "cultural renaissance" of the Indigenous Ainu people. There are several places in Hokkaido where you can learn more about the Ainu culture, including the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples in Abashiri, and Upopoy (National Ainu Museum and Park) in Shiraoi.

Additionally, Lonely Planet made mention of the fact that Hokkaido has around 20% of the country's landmass, but only 5% of the population – and that makes for some great opportunities to explore relatively untouched natural settings. One of the destinations mentioned was the Kushiro Shitsugen National Park, which you can learn more about on our site here.

Kushiro Shitsugen National Park has some great opportunities for birdwatching
Kushiro Shitsugen National Park has some great opportunities for birdwatching (Photo: Yamaguchi Yoshiaki / CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you're curious about the best time to visit the region, Lonely Planet recommends February as it's prime time for winter sports and events like the Sapporo Snow Festival. In saying that, it really is a region with something to enjoy year-round. To learn more about things to see and do in Hokkaido, explore the dedicated page we have with events and destinations here.

Getting there

Hokkaido's New Chitose Airport servicing the Sapporo area can be accessed from Tokyo's Haneda and Narita Airports, with a flight time of around 90 minutes. There are numerous other regional airports in different parts of the prefecture.

Alternatively, you can access Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station via the shinkansen from Tokyo Station – the travel time is around four hours.

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