Best Places to Stay in Hokkaido
Hokkaido offers visitors plenty of accommodation options including high-end resort hotels, traditional hot spring guesthouses, budget lodges and everything in-between. On this page you will find the following information:
— Recommended Places to Stay in Hokkaido
— Best Things to Do Around Hokkaido
— Best Ski Resorts in Hokkaido
— Getting To & Around Hokkaido
Boasting some of Asia’s best ski resorts, pristine national parks, both modern and historic cities and of course, some of the world’s best seafood, Hokkaido is one of Japan’s most captivating destinations. Hokkaido offers visitors plenty of reasons to visit starting with its long, cold winter in which its ski resorts enjoy some of the world’s deepest and best powder while the warmer seasons of spring, summer and autumn entice travellers back to explore its national parks, flower farms and rural landscapes.
30 Things to Do Around Hokkaido & Where to Stay
Boasting some of Asia’s best ski resorts, pristine national parks, both mod…
As Japan’s second largest island and largest prefecture, Hokkaido offers plenty of accommodation options including Japan’s ski resort hotels, fantastic hot spring hotels and plenty of cheaper family-run and budget lodges. This page is intended to be read in combination with our ’30 Things to Do Around Hokkaido’ page, with all the accommodation areas listed below matching-up with our recommendations of the best things to see and do while there. We hope both pages are of assistance in planning your visit to Hokkaido.
RECOMMENDED PLACES TO STAY IN HOKKAIDO
When it comes to accommodation, Hokkaido offers everything from Japan’s best ski resort hotels and luxury chalets, to basic and remote lodges in its national parks, and everything in-between. In this section we provide information about accommodation in the following areas:
SAPPORO — NEW CHITOSE AIRPORT – OTARU — HAKODATE – NOBORIBETSU ONSEN — NISEKO SKI RESORT – RUSUTSU SKI RESORT – KIRORO SKI RESORT – TOMAMU SKI RESORT – FURANO SKI RESORT – FURANO – BIEI – LAKE TOYA / TOYAKO ONSEN – JOZANKEI ONSEN – ASAHIKAWA — DAISETSUZAN NATIONAL PARK / ASAHIDAKE ONSEN – KUSHIRO SHITSUGEN NATIONAL PARK – AKAN-MASHU NATIONAL PARK / AKANKO ONSEN – SHIRETOKO NATIONAL PARK / UTURO – ABASHIRI
As noted above, Hokkaido is both Japan’s second largest island and largest prefecture. Given the size of Hokkaido, it is important to do a little reading and make sure your chosen accommodation suits your overall itinerary and manner in which you will travel around the island i.e. by train, bus or drive yourself.
As Japan’s fifth largest city, it’s no surprise that you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing your accommodation in Sapporo. You’ll find everything from large, high-end hotels, to business hotels and budget accommodation dotted throughout the city but with the largest concentrations around Sapporo Station and Susukino Station areas. Staying around Sapporo Station is convenient in terms of transport into and out of the city while the Susukino Station area – to the south of Sapporo Station – is known for its nightlife. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Sapporo Area’ hotel page.
NEW CHITOSE AIRPORT
As one of Japan’s major international airports, New Chitose Airport has a decent range of accommodation including a hotel in the airport. Portom International Hokkaido and Air Terminal Hotel are located inside the airport terminal offering Western-style rooms and an excellent range of facilities and services, while outside of the airport, you’ll find a concentration of business hotels around Chitose Station. Hotels in this area are notably cheaper than Portom International Hokkaido with some offering shuttle services to and from the airport. For accommodation listings, see our ‘New Chitose Airport Area’ hotel page.
Located around 30-minutes to the northwest of Sapporo, Otaru is a small harbour city famous for its well-preserved canal district. Similar to Hakodate, much of Otaru’s 19th century history as a major trade and fishing port can be seen today, as the city embraces that heritage with creative adaptation and use of its historic buildings. Otaru acts as the terminus for ferries running to and from Japan’s largest island, Honshu. So for anyone choosing to venture to Hokkaido by sea, you’ll certainly be passing through this pleasant little city. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Otaru Area’ hotel page.
Tucked-away in the southern end of Hokkaido, Hakodate is a city celebrated for its mercantile history. It was the first international trade port in Japan, a heritage which is reflected in the European and other Western-style historic buildings merchant offices, churches and distinctive 19th century fort. Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station is also the northern terminus of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line, making it a convenient area to find accommodation and visit Hakodate using local trains – taking around 15-minutes to make that journey. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Hakodate Area’ hotel page.
Noboribetsu is Hokkaido’s most famous and popular hot spring town. Located around 2 hours drive to the south of Sapporo, a visit to Noboribetsu avails lots of good accommodation options including large-sized hotels and smaller, more cosy guesthouses. Most if not all have their own in-house ‘onsen’ (hot springs) with high-end mid-range and budget options all available. Accommodation is relatively spread-out with the great concentration around the ropeway station and striking ‘Jigokudani’ or ‘Hell Valley’ steam vents. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Noboribetsu Onsen Area’ hotel page.
NISEKO SKI RESORT
Operating under the banner of ‘Niseko United’, Hokkaido’s best-known resort is in fact four connected resorts covered by an all-mountain pass. Accommodation is available in and around each of the four resorts with Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Village having the greatest range of options, followed by Niseko Annupuri and Niseko Hanazono. Niseko is without doubt Japan’s most international and high-end ski resort, attracting visitors from all over the world. Outside of winter, Niseko offers just as many reasons to visits – with hiking, horse-riding, rafting, golf and more on offer – while its fantastic accommodation and restaurants are just as appealing as they are in winter. For more information including accommodation listings, see our ‘Best Places to Stay in Niseko’ page.
RUSUTSU SKI RESORT
Rusutsu Ski Resort is the largest stand-alone resort in Hokkaido. Less-crowded than Niseko, Rusutsu also caters to the high-end market with large hotels including Rusutsu Resort Hotel, The Vale Rusutsu and Westin Rusutsu resort offering luxury accommodation and good services for families. All three of these hotels are conveniently located in close proximity to the ski fields. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Best Places to Stay in Rusutsu’ page.
KIRORO SKI RESORT
Kiroro Ski Resort is typically less-busy than Niseko and Rusutsu but still offers excellent large hotels including Sheraton Hokkaido Kiroro Resort, The Kiroro Tribute Hotel and Yu Kiroro. Much like Rusutsu, most of Kiroro’s nightlife and dining is located within these hotels. Away from these hotels Kiroro doesn’t offer much other accommodation or nightlife, meaning that while the resort feels less developed than Niseko, you are more restricted to large hotels. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Best Places to Stay in Kiroro’ page.
TOMAMU SKI RESORT
Hoshino Resorts Tomamu is another resort operated by a hotel group targeting the high-end market. While the resort itself is very good and receives excellent snow, Tomamu is very much designed for the market wanting a full ‘resort’ experience with everything revolving around two twin tower hotels – RISONARE Hotel and The Tower hotel. Both hotels offer high-end, spacious Western-style rooms, multiple restaurants, ski in/out convenience and full concierge services. In addition, nearby Club Med Tomamu takes the resort experience one step further. There are a couple of small, independent operators in the area but in reality, Tomamu is best-suited to visitors wanting the resort experience. If that’s not for you, perhaps best to head to Furano and visit Tomamu as a day-trip. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Best Places to Stay in Tomamu’ page.
FURANO SKI RESORT
Highly-rated Furano Ski Resort is operated by the Prince Hotels group, with the resort featuring two large Prince Hotels. Both Prince Hotels offer a huge number of rooms, multiple restaurants, shops and in-house services including rental, ski schools and day-care. The hotels are targeted at the domestic market and cater well to families. In addition to the hotels, you will find a good number of smaller lodges and guesthouses dotted nearby the ski fields and Furano village lying 20-miuntes walk away from the Kitanomine zone of the resort. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Best Places to Stay in Furano’ page.
Away from the ski resort, the town of Furano offers even more accommodation options around Furano Station – approximately 6 kilometres from the resort. The range of accommodation in Furano reflects its popularity as an all-year-round thanks to its ski resort and fame of its flower fields that attract visitors from spring to autumn. You’ll find all manner of hotels and guesthouses in these two areas including mid-sized / business hotels, family-run lodges and guesthouses along with self-contained apartments. Should you be headed to Furano to ski and snowboard, we recommend choosing accommodation within walking distance of the ski fields but for anyone headed there to enjoy the flowers, staying around Furano Station or the area to its west is your best option. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Furano Area’ hotel page.
Located around 35 kilometres and between 40 to 50 minutes drive to the north of Furano, Biei is another destination famous for its flower fields and beautiful rural vistas. Biei doesn’t offer as much accommodation as Furano however what it does offer is very similar, with a good number of family-run pensions, inns and self-contained options available. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Biei Area’ hotel page.
LAKE TOYA / TOYAKO ONSEN
Lake Toya is one of Japan’s ten largest lakes with around 50 kilometres of coastline. Sitting within a volcanic caldera, Toya is park of the large Shikotsu-Toya National Park and one of Hokkaido’s most popular destinations. Accommodation is located around the shore and nearby areas with the greatest concentration in and around Toyako Onsen. There are range of hotels – including large and mid-sized options – along with self-contained options. Sightseeing boats operate from Toyako Onsen and located around 20 minutes from Toya Station, it is the most convenient area to stay when visiting the lake. To the west of the lake, The Windsor Hotel Toya Resort & Spa is the best accommodation around Lake Toya. Offering spacious high-end rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows – many of which afford fantastic views of the lake – along with multiple restaurants and lounges, a day spa, tennis courts, golf course and ski runs, The Windsor is without question the best accommodation in the area. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Lake Toya / Toyako Onsen Area’ hotel page.
Only a 50 minute drive from Sapporo, Jozankei Onsen is a picturesque and popular ‘onsen’ (hot spring) town spread along the banks of the Toyohira River. The town is blessed with 56 natural hot springs feeding its many hotels and guesthouses with around 8600 litres of hot water every day. Most hotels and guesthouses have their own in-house hot springs for the exclusive use of staying guests, with a couple such as the high-enjoyable Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei also allowing day-visitors to use their indoor and outdoor baths. Other high-end hotels include Shogetsu Grand Hotel, Hanamomiji and Jozankei Tsuruga Resort. Popular throughout the year, Jozankei is at its busiest in October as the surrounding area is awash with some of Hokkaido’s most beautiful autumn colours. For accommodation listing, see our ‘Jozankei Onsen Area’ hotel page.
Located in the centre of Hokkaido, Asahikawa is the island’s second largest city. The city itself has little of real interest to international visitors however it is the nearest major centre to Daisetsuzan National Park – see below for details. As such, staying in Asashikawa can be a convenient option heading to and from Daisetsuzan or flying in or out of Asahikawa Airport. Most accommodation in the city is located on the north-side / within walking distance of Asahikawa Station, with a decent range of mid-range, Western-style hotels offering unremarkable but affordable overnight stays. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Asahikawa Area’ hotel page.
DAISETSUZAN NATIONAL PARK / ASAHIDAKE ONSEN
Daisetsuzan is Japan’s largest national park, covering an expansive 226,764 hectares including 16 peaks over 2,000 metres. There are multiple hot spring areas with accommodation within the park of which Asahidake Onsen is the largest. Notable hotels include Asahidake Onsen Hotel Bear Onsen, La Vista Daisetsuzan and Asahidake Onsen Hotel Deer Valley while you’ll also find plenty of good options in Kogen Onsen, Sounkyo Onsen, Tokachidake Onsen and Tenninkyou Onsen. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Daisetsuzan National Park / Asahidake Onsen Area’ hotel page.
KUSHIRO SHITSUGEN NATIONAL PARK
Kushiro Shitsugen is another of Hokkaido’s beautiful national parks, most famous for the dancing Red-Crowned Cranes that flock at various points within its boundary including Kushiro Marshland. While flocking in greatest number in winter, the cranes can in fact been seen throughout the year while horse-riding and canoeing are popular way to explore the park. Visitors to Kushiro Shitsugen can choose between accommodation in Kushiro City – located to the south of the park – or individual lodges and guesthouses dotted around its western-side. In Kushiro City, most accommodation is concentrated around Kushiro Station where you’ll find some well-priced business / mid-sized hotels. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Kushiro Shitsugen National Park Area’ hotel page.
AKAN-MASHU NATIONAL PARK / AKANKO ONSEN
Located to the north of Kushiro Shitsugen, Akan-Mashu National Park is best-known for its three impressive lakes. Lake Akan, Lake Mashu and Lake Kussharo are known for the clarity of their water. Lake Mashu is the most renowned for the three, with some people claiming it to be the clearest large lake in the world. Accommodation is dotted around Lake Mashu and Lake Kussharo however the greatest concentration of hotels and guesthouses is found in the hot spring town of Akanko Onsen, on the southern shore of Lake Akan. There are multiple large hotels in the area of which Akan Tsuruga Besso Hinonza is a stand-out while Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings and Akan Yuku no Sato Tsururga are also excellent options. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Akan-Mashu National Park / Akanko Onsen Area’ hotel page.
SHIRETOKO NATIONAL PARK / UTURO
Shiretoko National Park is one of Hokkaido’s most impressive destinations. Occupying the majority of the north-eastern peninsula of the island, much of the park is only accessible on-foot or by boat. A dramatic and precipitous coastal landscape, Shiretoko is home to a significant amount of wildlife including 36 land and 22 marine species of mammal making something of a must for nature and wildlife enthusiasts heading to Hokkaido. The best range of accommodation providing access to the park is located in and around Uturo. Located on the north-west coast of the peninsula, sightseeing boat tours operate from Uturo with notable hotels including Kitakobushi Shiretoko Hotel & Resort, Kiki Shiretoko Natural Resort and Hotel Kifu Club Shiretoko. Given the popularity of Shiretoko as a destination, prices for these and other hotels can be high and often book-out well in advance. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Shiretoko National Park / Uturo Area’ hotel page.
Only 1.5 hours drive from Shiretoko National Park, Abashiri is best-known for the ‘Abashiri Drift Ice’ or ‘Okhotsk Ice Flow’ which forms along the north coast each winter. When conditions are good, the ice can be seen from the mainland while sightseeing cruises operate to and from Abashiri – the best way to experience the remarkable natural occurrence. Accommodation in Abashiri is limited with only a couple of mid-sized hotels around Abashiri Station. Hokuten no Oka Abashiriko Tsuruga Resort offers the best accommodation in the area – only 10 minutes drive from central Abashiri and under 5 minutes from nearby Yobito Station. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Abashiri Area’ hotel page.
BEST THINGS TO DO AROUND HOKKAIDO
Hokkaido is Japan’s second largest island and a region of wild, open landscapes. Sitting to the north of Honshu, it is subject to a long, cold winter followed by short, pleasant summer. No matter when you’re visiting, a trip to Hokkaido is all about getting outdoors to enjoy its world-class ski resorts, national parks, rural landscapes and indigenous Ainu culture. Our ’30 Things to Do Around Hokkaido’ page lists our favourite activities and attractions on the island, starting in Sapporo before moving onto destinations including Otara, Hakodate, hot springs, ski resorts and national parks.
BEST SKI RESORTS IN HOKKKAIDO
Blessed with the longest seasons in Japan and huge annual snowfall, the ski resorts of Hokkaido rank among the best in Asia and enjoy some of the best powder in the world. The combined resorts of Niseko United are the largest and most popular ski fields in Hokkaido, while nearby Rusutsu and Kiroro attract plenty of fans in their own right. Rounding things-out, Furano and Tomamu lie further inland and receive slightly less snow but that bit of extra distance from the coast only means the powder is even drier, with some people claiming these resorts enjoy the best powder in the world. Our ‘Best Hokkaido Ski Resorts’ page has you covered for everything you need to know about each – a great place to start when planning your next winter adventure in Hokkaido.
GETTING TO & AROUND HOKKAIDO
Sitting by itself to the north of Japan’s main island of Honshu, flying to the island will be the fastest option when travelling there from starting points including Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka. Alternatively, the Hokkaido Shinkansen line runs as far as Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station, allowing you to travel by train. Our ‘Getting To & Around to Hokkaido’ page has everything you need to know about how to get there and how to get around once you arrive.
PLAN YOUR VISIT TO JAPAN
Despite Hokkaido’s distance from Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, you’ll have no trouble getting there thanks for flights and Shinkansen / ‘Bullet Train’ network. Our ‘Plan Your Visit’ page has everything you need to know about visiting Japan – from tips on the best time to travel, times to avoid, entering and exiting the country, money matters, staying connected, accommodation, staying safe and healthy and plenty more to ensure that you get the most out of your time here.