Top things to do

Top Choice Ramen in Sapporo

Menya Saimi

Sapporo takes its ramen very seriously and Saimi is oft-voted the best ramen shop in the city (and sometimes the country) – and it's not overrated. You will have to queue, which is annoying, but you will be rewarded…
Top Choice Museum in Sapporo

Ōkura-yama Ski Jump Stadium

This ski-jump slope was built on the side of Ōkura-yama for the 1972 Sapporo Winter Games. At 133.6m it's just slightly shorter than Sapporo TV Tower, with a 33-degree incline. What would it feel like to whiz down t…
Top Choice Mountain in Hakodate

Hakodate-yama

Mention you've been to Hakodate and every Japanese person you know will ask if you took in the night view from atop Hakodate-yama (334m) – it's that famous! You want to get up here for sunset or after dark: what's s…
Top Choice Museum in Sapporo

Sapporo Beer Museum

This legendary Sapporo attraction is in the original Sapporo Beer brewery, a pretty, ivy-covered brick building. There's no need to sign up for the tour; there are plenty of English explanations throughout about Jap…
Top Choice Cultural in Sapporo

Sapporo Yuki Matsuri

Held in early February, this is one of Japan's top festivals. From humble beginnings in 1950, when local high-school students built six snow statues in Ōdōri-kōen, the festival now hosts an international snow sculpt…
Top Choice Seafood in Hakodate

Kikuyo Shokudo

Inside Hakodate Morning Market, Kikuyo Shokudo got its start in the 1950s as a counter joint to feed market workers and is now one of the top reasons to come to Hakodate. The speciality here is the Hakodate tomoe-do…
Top Choice Teahouse in Hakodate

Tea Shop Yūhi

Filling the halls of a wooden building from 1885 (actually the old Hakodate Quarantine Office) is this magical teahouse overlooking the water. It's lit only by natural light so closes after the sun sets. In the mean…
Top Choice Seafood 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; ¥900) – island-caught Okhotsk atka mackerel grilled with miso. The ika-…
Top Choice Lake in Kawayu Onsen

Mashū-ko

Considered by many to be Japan's most beautiful lake, Mashū-ko once held the world record for water clarity. The island in the middle was known by the Ainu as the Isle of the Gods. A road runs along the western rim.…
Top Choice Barbecue in Niseko

Niseko Loft Club

Down the road from the Annupuri slopes, Loft Club glitters with fairy lights and the warm, glowing promise of a filling meal washed down with beer and lively conversation. The speciality here is yakiniku (grill-it-y…