There’s magic in the air during wintertime in Eastern Hokkaido. Escape into a region that transforms into a snowy Eden where spectacles big and small present themselves – you just have to be there to see it.
Your journey into the wilderness of Eastern Hokkaido will take you through many stops including Asahikawa, Abashiri, Kushiro, Tokachigawa and Obihiro.
Cruise past drift ice, then set foot on it. Let your imaginations run wild amongst giant ice sculptures and travel back in time on board a steam locomotive train. Get the best seat in the house to some of nature’s most breathtaking marvels and the region’s most coveted sweets.
Animals and Snow with a Different View
Begin your journey into the wild at Japan’s acclaimed Asahiyama Zoo. See animals like you’ve never seen before with observation displays that have revolutionised the zoo experience. Glass tunnels and domes will allow you to get up close and personal with the likes of penguins, wolves and polar bears. A 30-minute drive will get you to Hokkaido’s second largest winter festival, featuring one of the biggest snow sculptures in the country. Can’t get enough of snow sculptures? Make your way to Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival and run amok inside a colourful winter wonderland filled with domes and sculptures before retreating to Sounkyo Onsen for day 2.
Things to see and do
Japan’s famous Asahiyama Zoo has captivated visitors worldwide with revolutionary ways of animal observation.
Asahikawa Winter Festival
Hokkaido’s second largest winter festival after Sapporo’s Snow Festival features a giant sculpture with a different theme each year.
Sounkyo Ice Waterfall Festival
This festival is especially majestic at night as snow domes and sculptures are illuminated with colourful lights.
Stay overnight at Sounkyo Onsen, a picturesque hot spring resort town that’s also a good base for hiking tours into the Daisetsuzan National Park. Click here to search for more lodging options.
Abashiri Prison Museum is the oldest wooden prison building in the world.
There’s a vodka-based cocktail called ‘Planet of Blue’ with actual drift ice cubes at the Beer & Scotch Bar The Earth (5 minutes from JR Abashiri Station).
A special dry suit allows you to float in the sea among drift ice without getting wet or cold.
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