A guide to Hokkaido: Japan's destination for nature buffs and adrenaline junkies

A guide to Hokkaido: Japan's destination for nature buffs and adrenaline junkies

With serene landscapes and unexplored wilderness, Hokkaido will cure even the most restless traveller’s wanderlust

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The Blue Pond in Biei gets its striking blue hue from the minerals in the mountain where the water flows from.
Photo: Rhea Mogul/SCMP

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So much beauty!
Photo: Rhea Mogul/SCMP

Hokkaido is usually synonymous with winter, it being well known for its snow-covered mountains and fresh snow-crab. Japan’s second largest island has, however, reinvented itself for the summer season. Nestled between the picturesque Hokkaido Mountains, Tomamu has everything you need for an adventure getaway: water sports, hikes, and mountain biking. It’s the perfect destination to beautify your Instagram gallery, breathe in some clean mountain air, and enjoy Japan’s unparalleled hospitality.

How to get there?

From Hong Kong, you can either fly directly to New Chitose Airport, or via Tokyo. Flying via Tokyo can be tricky as you may need to collect your luggage and check in for your second flight yourself. We nearly missed our connecting flight because of the long queue at the check-in counter!

Tomamu is a two-hour drive away from the airport – not particularly appealing after a long flight, but we think the beautiful, unspoilt scenery is worth the journey. The drive gives you the perfect opportunity to see more of Japan’s rugged wilderness.

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Where to stay?

We stayed at Club Med Tomamu, and fell in love with the natural landscape surrounding the resort. Club Med holidays are all-inclusive, which means transfers, meals, snacks, drinks, and most activities are all covered by the original cost you pay.

The mazelike resort is perfect for getting lost in, and the spacious rooms overlook leafy mountains and trees, making waking up every morning much more fun.

The staff at Club Med – known as Gentils Organisateurs, or G. O.s – are friendly and informative, and always on hand to help. Every night, they put on a show for the guests, which includes dances, magic shows, balancing acts, and even acrobatics.

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What to do?

Furano and Biei

The towns of Furano and Biei truly capture the essence of Hokkaido. Both are known for their scenic views and rural landscapes – great locations for honing your photography skills.

Lavender has been grown in Furano for over 50 years, and Farm Tomita is the perfect place to see it in full bloom. There are many other flowers planted on the farm as well, making the area a great place to get an #instaworthy shot.

The Blue Pond in Biei is another must-visit attraction in Hokkaido. The pond gets its unusual blue colour from the Shirahage waterfall nearby. As the water trickles down from the cliff, it picks up minerals along the way, which makes it appear a bright, beautiful turquoise.

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Mountain biking

The rocky terrain makes Tomamu perfect for thrill seekers who want to coast up and down the surrounding mountains. You don’t need to be an expert mountain biker to have a go at this; there are trails for every age and ability. If you’re lucky, you might even come across a family of foxes!

Get your heart racing with some exhilarating river rafting.
Photo: Rhea Mogul/SCMP

River rafting

Perhaps the most fun and most challenging of all the activities on offer is river rafting. Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before; you’ll be briefed before you set off. The rapids in the river aren’t too big, making it an ideal course for beginners and families.

If, like us, you’re feeling adventurous, try jumping out of the raft (when safe) and letting the current carry you down. Careful, though: water is freezing!

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Flying trapeze

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to perform in a Cirque du Soleil show, have a go at the flying trapeze. A trained G.O. will coach you through the process and make sure that you are secure and safe. All you have to do is a) not look down and b) jump.

What to eat?

The buffet at the resort includes food from all corners of the world, with a station for each cuisine. But, if you want to try something different, head to Haku, the yakiniku (grilled meat) barbecue restaurant for an authentic Japanese meal. Akin to Korean BBQ, each table has its own grill; and the meat, seafood and vegetables are brought to your table, for you to cook.

Young Post’s trip was sponsored by Club Med Tomamu. The resort can be booked via Club Med's homepage or calling at 3111 9388.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Hokkaido: heaven on earth

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