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Área Total: 1 121 km²

População Total: 1 952 milhões


Hokkaido is a recent discovery for most tourists and even the Japanese. During Japan's history it has always been shrouded in mystery. Wenceslau de Morais described in his book “Dai Nippon” that the territories north of Edo were enveloped by a mysterious blue mist and that beyond it loomed the unknown.

In fact, it is believed that the first people arrived in Hokkaido about 30,000 years ago, but it was only around the 12th or 13th century that a culture of its own was developed, influenced by the Japanese in the south, and the tribes of hunters and fishermen in the north. (Sakhalin Islands): The Ainu.

Ainu means "human" and Hokkaido was called by them by "Mosir" which meant "world". Until 1869 the Japanese called Hokkaido, Ezo (or Yezo) and the Ainu, emishi which translated means barbarians. After 1869, the new Japanese government annexed Ezo and called it Hokkaido, which means “Territory of the North Sea”.

The Ainu were absorbed into the growing Japanese population who were either encouraged or forced to move there. Nowadays, there is an effort to recover the Ainu culture and its traditions. After the arrival of the Shinkansen in Hokkaido in 2016, the last remaining barrier to not discovering this wonderful place was eliminated: the time it took to travel there. Nowadays, tourism in Hokkaido has seen a growing number of Japanese and even foreigners come to discover the mysterious landscapes and culture that for so many years was shrouded in “blue mist.”


Hokkaido Island

The island of Hokkaido is Japan “at large”. Hokkaido is the second largest island in the Japanese archipelago (it occupies 20% of the Japanese territory) and the one with the lowest population density (only 5% of the population). Here the summers are mild, ideal for walking or cycling and the winters are rigorous but with some of the best snow (powder) in the world for those who love winter sports. The capital of Hokkaido is Sapporo which is the fifth largest city in Japan.

What to do in Hokkaido

For lovers of the outdoors and wild nature, “What to do in Hokkaido?” it won't be a problem. Incidentally, tourism in Hokkaido has so much to offer that it is possible to take a trip only to this part of Japan and even then, just get an idea of ​​what there is to see and do.

There are only 6 natural parks, each with its own characteristics and attractions. The capital, Sapporo, is home to the famous Japanese beer of the same name and also has Japan's biggest snow festival that attracts thousands of tourists in February.

Then there is Hakodate, which is the entry point to Hokkaido for those coming from the south and was also one of the first ports to open its doors to international trade according to the Kanagawa agreement in 1854 that forced Japan out of its period of exclusion from the world outside.

For that reason Hakodate has a strong presence of international communities and its architecture reflects that presence. An example of this was the Goryôkaku fort, which means five-sided fort, very similar to the one we, portuguese, have in Elvas, which was built in 1864 and today there is only a garden with its 5-pointed star shape and an observatory tower. 98 meters high.

There are winter sports resorts for lovers of sports and a lot of wild and endemic nature that can be enjoyed in Hokkaido, both in winter and in summer.

It also has the best Onsen (volcanic hot springs) in Japan. For example Sôunkyô is an ideal place to enjoy the Onsen and make a base to explore the Daisetsuzan park. Anyway, there is everything for all tastes.

Know which cities you can visit in Hokkaido:


Sapporo derives from Sari-poro-betsu which in Ainu means, "the river that flows through the plain full of tall grass". It was chosen in 1868 as the capital of Hokkaido because it would be easier to defend, and because being on a plain it would have greater potential for growth than Hakodate or Otaro.

Learn more about Sapporo