Top ChoiceSeafood in Rebun-tō

Robata Chidori

Chidori does real robata-yaki, charcoal grilling in a pit built into the table. The speciality of the house is hokke chanchan-yaki (ホッケチャンチャン焼; ¥1000) – island-caught Okhotsk atka mackerel grilled with miso. The...

Top ChoiceSoba in Furano

Soba Haru

Not only does the owner Haru-san make the noodles here by hand, he made the wooden soba bar himself too. Stop by for a scrumptious handmade noodle meal at this spotless, lovely spot.

Top ChoiceCafe in Asahikawa

Coffee Shop Tirol

Tirol may have only opened a few years ago, but the owner has kept the 70-year-old building lovingly intact, with a suitably vintage interior and jazzy soundtrack. The coffee (¥550), roasted in-house, is...

Nature Reserve in Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park

Sarobetsu Wetlands

Part of Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park, these marshlands are 40km southwest of Wakkanai. Fields of wild flowers bloom here in summer, which can be appreciated from boardwalks built over the marsh....

Museum in Asahikawa

Kawamura Kaneto Ainu Memorial Hall

Built in 1916 and thus just a few years past its 100th anniversary, this museum is less a collection of artefacts (though it has those too) and more the story of a local Ainu family desperate to keep the old ways...

Japanese in Asahikawa

Furarīto Alley

This rambling collection of tiny restaurants runs the length of an alley between 4-jō-dōri and 5-jō-dōri, about a 10-minute walk north of the train station. Wander along (loosely translated, furarīto means...

Gorge in Sōunkyō Onsen

Sōunkyō

Sōunkyō is a string of gorges 15km long formed by the Ishikari-gawa, the very same Ishikari River that empties out into the Sea of Japan just north of Sapporo. A few kilometres southeast of town on Rte 39,...

Ramen in Asahikawa

Ramen Aoba

The city's oldest ramen shop (opened in 1947) serves delicious al dente noodles in a shōyu (soy sauce) seasoned assari (light) broth – classic Asahikawa-style. The proprietor truly loves foreign customers and may...

Ramen in Furano

Chīzu Rāmen-no-mise Karin

Testing the adage that everything is better with cheese, Karin adds local Furano cheese to its ramen. Whether that sounds amazing or awful, you know you have to try it! It's in a nondescript brown-and-white...

Viewpoint in Rebun-tō

Sukai-misaki

This is the prettiest of the island's capes, where the waters are an almost tropical blue, framed by craggy rocks and grassy slopes. The Rebun-tō Traverse passes here; it's also accessible by road. As elsewhere...

Seafood in Rebun-tō

Kaisen-dokoro Atoi

Run by the island's fishing collective (and closed the moment the sea urchin season ends), Atoi serves generously portioned kaisen-don (raw seafood over rice) using locally caught uni (sea urchin) and ebi...

Cultural in Furano

Hokkai Heso Matsuri

Taking its humorous nickname, Heso-no-machi (Belly-Button Town), to heart, Furano celebrates the 'navel festival' on 28 and 29 July. If you're in town, take the opportunity to strip off, have a silly face painted...

Cultural in Asahikawa

Kotan Matsuri

Held on the autumn equinox in September on the banks of the Chubestu-gawa, south of the city. There are traditional Ainu dances, music and prayer ceremonies offered to the deities of fire, the river, kotan (the...

Cultural in Asahikawa

Asahikawa Winter Matsuri

Into its sixth decade, Asahikawa's winter festival is second only to Sapporo's. The International Ice Sculpture Competition is a highlight, along with local food and fun events.

Food & Drinks in Furano

Furano Marche

This one-stop shop for made-in-Furano food and drink is stocked with local wines, cheeses, cured meats, yoghurts and puddings. There's also a produce market and food court here.

Farm in Furano

Farm Tomita

Farm Tomita

Until snow falls in October, Tomita's fields are covered in a rainbow array of flowers. With the mountains of Daisetsuzan National Park as a backdrop, this is one of the most photographed spots in Hokkaidō. It's...

Brewery in Asahikawa

Otokoyama Sake Brewery Museum

Otokoyama, one of Japan's oldest and most esteemed breweries, was founded in Hyōgo prefecture centuries ago but since 1899 its sake has been made here in Asahikawa – all the better to take advantage of that...

Zoo in Asahikawa

Asahiyama Zoo

Known Japan-wide, the country's northernmost zoo attracts visitors with its stars from cold climates: polar bears and penguins. More interesting to travellers might be the enclosures featuring Hokkaidō native...

Market in Wakkanai

Fukukō-ichiba

About a 10-minute walk south of JR Wakkanai Station, this complex has restaurants, souvenir shops and the Minato-no-yu Onsen. It's designed to evoke the Wakkanai of bygone days. Poke around to see some historical...

Cafe in Rishiri-tō

Tsuki Café

A surprisingly tasty cafe for a ferry terminal, Tsuki serves up coffee, cakes and curries to waiting passengers. Service is so-so, and nonsmokers may have to cough their way through the meal, but the large...