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SUMMER 2012 : Drive and enjoy Hokkaido to the full this summer

With its wide, open spaces and the sheer expanse of Hokkaido, a car is an ideal way of enjoying the sights here in summer. Although sightseeing buses are convenient and economical, freedom can be restricted, making a rented car the best way of traveling at your leisure while stopping to enjoy the delights en-route whenever it takes your fancy.

But beware! Overambitious schedules could result in tiredness, which can lead to road accidents. It's important for drivers to take regular rests and even short naps throughout the day to ensure they are alert, as the roads in Hokkaido are relatively free from traffic signals and the urge to speed must be resisted. Whatever you do, drive safely and enjoy sightseeing to your heart's content; you're sure to take home some great memories of Hokkaido.

March 2012 : Thank You

In the wake of the March 11th East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami and accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, as countless non-Japanese residents began to leave Japan and the number of foreign tourists entering the country decreased dramatically, the first edition of HOKKAIDO Walk-a-pedia was published. With the support of the Hokkaido government, HOKKAIDO Walk-a-pedia gathered and conveyed timely information via its website and a monthly magazine for the enlightenment and enjoyment of overseas tourists to the region. Monthly contents were conveyed via sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter; each issue was transmitted worldwide via the Internet; and a survey of the magazine's readers was carried out for the purpose of improving the information available. Although it is obvious that the continuation of these low-key activities are not the main reason, thankfully, large numbers of overseas tourists returned to Hokkaido for this year's Sapporo Snow Festival, with some hotels in the city reportedly fully booked.

Hokkaido boasts world-class natural environments and dynamic beauty; fortunately, these continue to be unaffected by the aftermath of the tragic accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. As a result, tourists from overseas and non-Japanese residents here in Hokkaido can continue to safely breathe the fresh air, eat crab to their heart's content, and enjoy the relaxing hot springs.

This, the March issue of HOKKAIDO Walk-a-pedia is the final edition of the monthly publication but information will continue to be updated periodically via the website. We would like to thank you the readers for your feedback over the period of the 10 issues of HOKKAIDO Walk-a-pedia, and look forward to hearing your views and opinions in future.

February 2012 : Cherry Blossom Viewing – Hokkaido style

Blossoms in Hokkaido arrive approximately one month later than in Honshu, between the end of April and early May.
Although the flowers themselves are beautiful, for many of those who gather under the trees in Hokkaido at this time of year, the focal point is the genghis khan barbeque, beer and sake!

In Maruyama Park in Sapporo, the aroma of grilled meat greets those who venture from the subway station, tempting passers-by to join in the festivities.

In some places in northern and eastern Hokkaido, the blossoms can be enjoyed as late as May or June, when temperatures remain cool at night.

Hokkaido boasts a number of famous cherry blossom sites, including the Nijukken Road in Shizunai in Hidaka, and the area around the Matsumae Castle in Southern Hokkaido, where approximately 10,000 trees can be found. As the flowers start to bloom in Okinawa in February, there's still plenty of time to plan your trip to Hokkaido and be here to see typical Japanese spring scenery at various places throughout the region.

January 2012 : Giant Snow Sculptures!

The season of snow and ice festivals will soon be upon us here in Hokkaido, with various events taking place throughout the region.
In Sapporo, a 1.5-km-long fantasy of snow and ice appears in the city center, as the Sapporo Snow Festival gets under way in Odori Park; now a world-famous event, the festival attracts over 2 million visitors every year. In Asahikawa, too, almost 1 million people gather for the Winter Festival, and several other ice festivals are held in the months of January and February. Welcome to Hokkaido and the wonderful world of ice and snow.

December 2011 : Snow Festival countdown

As the snow moves down from the mountains to downtown Sapporo, thoughts turn to the preparations for this season's Sapporo Snow Festival. With the New Year celebrations in full swing, scaffolding work begins at the sites where the huge snow and ice sculptures will stand. Watch as the structures start to take shape and develop through January before being completed in time for the big event. The 63rd Sapporo Snow Festival will be held from February 6 to 12, 2012. Start making plans now before it's too late!

November 2011 : First signs of winter

Not long now before the skiing and snowboarding season is here!
Before the season starts in earnest in December, Hokkaido's natural-snow season begins on the slopes of Mt. Kurodake in Sounkyo, which are due to open as early as mid November, with the pistes of Niseko, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Teine, Mt. Racey, Sapporo Kokusai, Furano and Nakayama-toge following not far behind.
We look forward to welcoming winter sports enthusiasts from around the world in time for the first snow of the season.

October 2011 : First signs of winter

The first snow of winter falls on the Hokkaido plains from mid November, but Mt. Asahidake in Daisetsuzan National Park is the earliest place in Japan to see the autumn leaves and first snowfall together. Last year the first snow fell on September 22nd.
The season of snow is nearly with us, and Hokkaido's powder snow is among the best in the world. As well as skiing and snowboarding, Hokkaido has something for every winter sports enthusiast, including skating, curling, dog sledding, snowmobiling and much, much more. Every year, countless tourists from Singapore, Hong Kong and other regions come to experience winter in Hokkaido. Why not join them?
Winters are here to be enjoyed!

September 2011 : Autumn in Hokkaido

Autumn in Hokkaido is a kaleidoscope of color. The difference in daytime and nighttime temperatures here in the north makes for vividly colored autumn leaves – particularly at higher altitudes like in the Taisetsu Mountains, where the red and yellow foliage can be seen earlier than anywhere else in Japan.
Check out the sights near the Summit of Mt. Kurodake around September 10, or in the vicinity of the waterfalls in Sounkyo around October 10.
What better time to visit Hokkaido. Marvel at the mix of colors, and enjoy delicious seasonal dishes made with salmon, saury, sweetcorn, noodles made with this season's buckwheat, freshly harvested potatoes, onions, squash, and a myriad of mushrooms and wild vegetables. A gourmet's paradise!

August 2011 : Savor the delights of autumn

As the end of Hokkaido's short summer approaches, a refreshing breeze arrives to turn the leaves into a kaleidoscope of reds and yellows. Seafood such as salmon, saury, crab and sea urchin, and delicacies from the land, including apples, pears, grapes and melons are at their peak as the harvest season unfolds. Hokkaido's most delicious season – autumn is calling!

July 2011 : Summer awaits

Hokkaido is one of Japan's most popular summer holiday destinations thanks to its fresh air and cool climate. Escape from the heat amid the shade of the trees here in one of Asia's top resort regions. Rent a car at the airport and take the expressway to family fun; whether it's marine sports or white-water rafting, there's only one place to be this summer – Hokkaido!

June 2011 : Why not come in summer?

Did you Know about the comfortable Hokkaido summers?

Escape from the summer heat and enjoy holidaying in the cool of Hokkaido's Kushiro, Shiretoko and Asahikawa areas, or the beautidul islands of Rishiri and Rebun. Rent a car and drive at your leisure, spend a relaxing day on the golf course, or pick your own fruit and vegetables at a farm complete with barbecue facilities. Enjoy the delights of cherries, peaches and the like fresh from Hokkaido's vast land.

What's New

October 1, 2012
2012 AUTUMN issue available for download
JULY 20, 2012
2012 SUMMER issue available for download
March 1, 2012
2012 March issue available for download
Junuary 30, 2012
2012 February issue available for download
December 28, 2011
2012 Junuary issue available for download
November 30, 2011
December issue available for download
Hokkaido Library is updated.
October 31, 2011
November issue available for download
September 30, 2011
October issue available for download
August 30, 2011
September issue available for download
July 27, 2011
August issue available for download
June 29, 2011
July issue available for download
May 31, 2011
Monthly Web Magazine 2011 HOKKAIDO Walk-a-pedia Website opened.
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