Japan

Guide To Traveling To Hokkaido With Kids

Skiing, Ice Festivals And More!

Holidaying In Hokkaido With Kids

Good news Japan fans, the Land of the Rising Sun is now open for international travelers again! But if you’re looking for a getaway that has a perfect blend of city life and nature sights, look no further than the second-largest island in Japan – Hokkaido.

From snowboarding to being surrounded by flower fields during different seasons, there are also plenty of activities that both old and young can enjoy. Read on to discover all you need to do, from the best time to visit, to where to stay and what to eat.

Want more? Check out our Ultimate Guide To Japan With Kids!

  • Best Time To Visit Hokkaido

    BEST TIME TO VISIT HOKKAIDO *Ultimate Guide To Traveling To Hokkaido With Kids

    Plan The Best Time For A Nature-Filled Holiday

    The best thing about Hokkaido is that there are extremely different things to do during different seasons, so a repeated visit is always necessary. The most optimal time to visit really depends on your preference of activities.

    December to March are popular months among tourists for the sub-zero temperatures, which are ideal for skiing, and snowboarding and also align with their Snow Festival. April to May brings about Spring, which also marks the cherry blossom season. Temperatures are still cooling, but just nice to head outdoors to admire nature in its glory – time to visit flower fields and go on an outdoor food tour!

    Summer starts from June to August, and while the weather can get blistering, it’s also the best time for hikes in parks and trails. It’s also when you’ll get to see the world-famous lavender fields in full bloom and also cool down with Yubari melons! September to November is when your surroundings will be complemented with brown, yellow, and red leaves. Complete your Autumn visit with festival and museum dates together with the family.

  • Best Ski Resorts In Hokkaido

    BEST SKI RESORTS IN HOKKAIDO *Ultimate Guide To Traveling To Hokkaido With Kids

    Snow-Themed Activities For The Whole Family

    Hokkaido is famous for its white-capped slopes which groups of family and friends flock to during winter months for skiing and snowboarding. Whether you’re a total beginner or professional, there are plenty of ski resort options in Hokkaido where you can hone your skills for a couple of days. Take note of these places if you’re planning an upcoming ski holiday!

    Niseko Village Resort: Niseko is about 2 and a half hours from Chitose airport, making the Niseko Village Resort one of the more convenient ski resorts to get to in Hokkaido. It’s also part of 4 different interlinked resorts to Grand Hirafu, Hanazono and Annupuri. Beginners can join classes in English, before hitting the slopes and exploring the different ski zones via the 30 lifts at the resort. Besides classic skiing, there’s also snowmobiling, snowshoeing, hot spring baths, and cat skiing.

    Niseko Village Resort, Higashiyama-onsen, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, 048-1592, Japan, +81-136-44-3311, niseko-village.com

    Kiroro Resort: Be greeted by pure white sights around you at Kiroro Ski Resort. Zones are separated into beginner, intermediate and expert, and those that want a high-adrenaline challenge can also try the off-piste terrain. Rental gear and lessons are available on-site, so you can start your skiing journey with ease of mind. There is also a winter kids' park so little ones can keep busy while the adults hit the slopes!

    Kiroro Resort, 128-1 Aza-Tokiwa, Akaigawa-mura, Yoichi-gun, Hokkaido, Japan, +81-135-34-7111, www.kiroro.co.jp

    Tomamu Ski Resort: Those that want some downtime in between taking on the ski slopes can take comfort at Tomamu Ski Resort. It has over 20 food and beverage options within the vicinity with plenty of cuisines, so you and the family can fuel up without worry. Lessons and ski rentals are available but advance bookings are required. If you’re bored of skiing, you can also try ice skating, chilling at the indoor beach, or even reindeer rides during the Christmas season!

    Tomamu Ski Resort, Naka-Tomamu Shimukappu Yufutsu, Hokkaido 079-2204, www.snowtomamu.jp

    Rusutsu Resort: Rusutsu Resort is one of the largest ski resorts in the whole of Hokkaido, making it a popular tourist destination for sports enthusiasts. Surrounded by gorgeous views of snow mountains, the resort boasts 37 courses with varying levels of difficulty. You’ll also never tire of the amenities here, such as souvenir stores, hot springs, and plenty of restaurant options.

    Rusutsu Resort, 13 Izumikawa, Rusutsu-mura, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido 048-1711, +81-136-46-3331, rusutsu.com

    Sapporo Teine: Just 30 minutes drive from Sapporo, the main city in Hokkaido, lies Sapporo Teine, a ski resort that was utilized for the Winter Olympic games back in 1972. Ideal for day trips to multi-day stays, the space caters to all skill levels, and also includes sledding and a kids park.

    Sapporo Teine, 593 Teine-Honcho Teine-ku Sapporo Hokkaido 006-0029 Japan, +81-11-682-6000, sapporo-teine.com/snow/lang/en/

  • Family Friendly Activities In Hokkaido

    FAMILY FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS IN HOKKAIDO *Ultimate Guide To Traveling To Hokkaido With Kids

    Museums, Puppet Shows, Animal Sightings And More!

    Away from the hustle and bustle of cities like Tokyo and Osaka, Hokkaido is a fantastic escape for the whole family, with plenty of activities that involve nature, animals, and culture. For the best things to do and see with the kiddos, read on to find out where to head during your next visit!

    Asahiyama Zoo: Who knew that Japan’s largest and most popular zoo is situated at Asahikawa City in Hokkaido? Asahiyama Zoo is home to many species of wildlife including red foxes, eagles, polar bears and lions. Visitors from around the world also flock here for their signature penguin walks that take place every day. Best part? Kids of primary ages and below enter for free!

    Asahiyama Zoo,  Kuranuma Higashiasahikawacho, Asahikawa, Hokkaido 078-8205, Japan, +81 166-36-1104, www.city.asahikawa.hokkaido.jp/asahiyamazoo

    Shiroi Koibito Park: Something that’s enjoyed no matter what age we are is chocolate. Go behind the scenes and see how they’re made at the chocolate factory located within Shiroi Koibito Park. Visitors will also learn about the deep history of chocolate in Japan, as well as get the chance to make their very own chocolate cookies.

    Shiroi Koibito Park, 2 Chome-11-36 Miyanosawa 2 Jo, Nishi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 063-0052, Japan, +81 11-666-1481, www.shiroikoibitopark.jp

    Ecorin Village: Kids will surely love Ecorin Village, located on the outskirts of Sapporo. Besides magnificent nature sights at every turn, you can also explore the 30 themed gardens, as well as visit the alpacas and sheep. Along the way, there will also be lessons about the environment and sustainability to learn.

    Ecorin Village, 277-4 Farm, Eniwa, Hokkaido 061-1421, Japan, +81 123-34-7800, www.ecorinvillage.com

    Niseko Adventure Centre: Niseko might be known for its ski slopes, but summer is also a great time to visit with kids since there are plenty of outdoor activities to do at Niseko Adventure Centre all year round. Besides a kids' summer camp, there is also rafting, forest adventure courses, and paddle boarding. Don’t worry about language barriers either – most of the staff speak English.

    Niseko Adventure Centre, 044-0080 Hokkaido, Abuta District, Kutchan, +81 136-23-2093, nacadventures.jp

    Sapporo Art Park: Feast your eyes on sculptures and structures in a nature park at Sapporo Art Park. Head indoors to the art museum and exhibitions or time your visit to coincide with a music or theater show that happens throughout the year.

    Sapporo Art Park, 005-0864 2-75, Geijutsunomori, Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, +81-11-592-5111, artpark.or.jp

    Koguzama Children’s Puppet Theatre @ Nakajima Park: If you happen to be in central Sapporo near the city center, bring the kids over to Nakajima Park for some lighthearted fun with puppets! At the Koguzama Children’s Puppet Theater, there are cheap puppet shows every weekend which showcase ancient folklore and Japanese fairy tales. Little ones will love watching these stories and characters come to life!

    Koguzama Children’s Puppet Theatre, Nakajima Park, 1 Nakajimakoen, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0931, Japan, +81 11-511-3924, koguyama.jp/kogumaza

    Lake Hill Farm: Take the kids to Lake Hill Farm for a hands-on experience. Located in Southern Hokkaido, it features breathtaking views of Lake Toya and Mount Totei, while you try your hand at making butter or ice cream. Non-winter seasons also allow you to play with animals under the sun.

    Lake Hill Farm, 27 Hanawa, Toyako, Abuta District, Hokkaido 049-5724, Japan, +81 142-83-3376, www.lake-hill.com/english

    Otaru Aquarium: Otaru is a small harbor town worthy of a day trip from Sapporo City, and is also where the Otaru Aquarium is located at. From interactive daily shows to feeding sessions, you’ll never have a dull moment with the kids. After you’re done at the aquarium, there’s also the canal, high street, and seasonal festivals to explore together.

    Otaru Aquarium, 3 Chome-303 Shukutsu, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0047, Japan, +81 134-33-1400,  ​uu-hokkaido.com/corporate/otaru-aq

    Sapporo Satoland: Instead of carnival games and high-intensity roller coasters, Sapporo Satoland is an alternative kind of amusement park. Taking on a more casual approach, families can ride horses, play with farm animals like rabbits and cows, and indulge in fresh ice cream. Wind down with a BBQ session together, with freshly picked seasonal vegetables.

    Sapporo Satoland, 584-2 Okadamacho, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 007-0880, Japan, +81 11-787-0223,  www.satoland.com

    Sapporo Beer Museum: Sure, the kiddos can’t drink, but that doesn’t mean a visit to Sapporo Beer Museum should be missed. Hokkaido is a prefecture famous for its beer, and the Sapporo Beer Museum is an insightful look into the history and making of the ice-cold favorite. It’s also situated near a beer garden filled with food options which you can consider right after your tour.

    Sapporo Beer Museum, 9 Chome-1-1 Kita 7 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Hokkaido 065-8633, Japan, +81 11-748-1876, www.sapporobeer.jp/english/brewery/s_museum

  • Family Friendly Restaurants Hokkaido

    FAMILY FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN HOKKAIDO *Ultimate Guide To Traveling To Hokkaido With Kids

    Unique Hokkaido Specialty Dishes

    From specialty dishes to crowd-favorite haunts, there are endless food opportunities lurking around Hokkaido for different tastes and preferences. Here’s a list of some recommended gastronomical joints to add to your holiday agenda. Time to dig in!

    Genghis Khan Hitsujikai no Mise "Itadakimasu": Wagyu beef and fresh salmon sashimi are some of the most delectable cuts of protein to find in Japan, but Hokkaido is well-known for their mutton instead. Head to Genghis Khan Hitsujikai no Mise "Itadakimasu" for tender cuts of lamb meat, grilled to charred perfection. The meats are also carefully picked out for rich and juicy flavors, making it a suitable delicacy for groups of friends, family, and big celebrations.

    Genghis Khan Hitsujikai no Mise "Itadakimasu”, 5, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-Shi, Hokkaido 064-0605, South West 5-1-6, +81-50-3816-1664, home.sapporo.kokosil.net/en/jingisukan

    Mikuni Sapporo: For something a tad more upscale, book a table for Mukuni Sapporo. The French restaurant is just a minute away from Sapporo Station on foot and has exquisite menu items like Hokkaido hairy crab, Atsuma blue honeysuckle tarte au chocolat with lavender ice cream, and Kamifurano wild rabbit. Concerned about noisy kids or celebrating a special occasion? There are private rooms you can book to have the utmost privacy.

    Mikuni Sapporo, 060-0005 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Kita 5 Jonishi, 2 Chome−5, +81 11-251-0392, www.jrhotels.co.jp/tower/restaurant/mikuni

    Soup Curry Shabazo: Soup curry hits especially hard in Winter, so if you’re visiting during cold weather, make sure to enjoy this dish that is popular in Hokkaido. Soup Curry Shabazo uses boiled lamb stock with varying options of vegetables that will keep both your tummy and heart warm. It has 7 different spicy levels, so kids can enjoy it too!

    Soup Curry Shabazo, B1, Sapporo North Plaza, 4, Kitaichijo Nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, syabazo.owst.jp

    Yakitori no Ippei: Lively and bustling with chatter, Yakitori no Ippei is a skewer joint that is suitable for couples, families, or friends. Rest assured that the meats here are of the finest quality, with the pork yakitori and tsukune yakitori (a blend of pork and chicken) recommended. Make sure to dip them in the egg yolk and mustard sauce for the complete experience.

    Yakitori no Ippei, 1 Chome-17-3 Nakajimacho, Muroran, Hokkaido 050-0074, Japan, +81 143-44-4420, www.e-ippei.com

    Kani Honke Sapporo: Hokkaido is also famous for its variety of seafood, and crabs are no exception. Kani Honke Sapporo specializes in all sorts of crab dishes, from red king crab meat to crab broth. Little ones can enjoy the Children’s Kaiseki set, which includes crab croquettes, sushi, and ice cream.

    Kani Honke Sapporo, 2 Chome-1-18 Kita 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0003, Japan, +81 11-222-0018, www.kani-honke.co.jp

  • Family Friendly Hotel Hokkaido

    FAMILY FRIENDLY HOTELS IN HOKKAIDO *Ultimate Guide To Traveling To Hokkaido With Kids

    Child-Friendly Amenities

    Whether you’re visiting in Winter or Summer, chances are you’d want a hotel or resort that is convenient yet also has plenty of facilities at your disposal. Look no further than the following list of family-friendly hotels in Hokkaido for a seamless, stress-free stay!

    Chateraise Gateaux Kingdom Sapporo Hotel & Spa Resort: One of the ultimate kid-friendly stays is definitely Chateraise Gateaux Kingdom Sapporo Hotel & Resort. Not only does it have multiple swimming pools, children’s pools, spas, and amusement facilities, but there is also a patisserie museum to make your own snacks. As a bonus, books and baby cars are available for rental too.

    Chateraise Gateaux Kingdom Sapporo Hotel & Spa Resort, 132 Higashibarato, Kita Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 002-8043, Japan, +81 11-773-2211, www.gateauxkingdom.com

    Hotel Clubby Sapporo: Traveling with family means needing tons of space, and luckily, that’s what you’ll find at Hotel Clubby Sapporo. Large rooms are just the tip of the iceberg for your stay, which will also include both Japanese and Western selections of breakfast alongside yogurt and milk jelly treats.

    Hotel Clubby Sapporo, 060-0032 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Kita 2 Johigashi, 3 Chome, +81 11-242-1111, clubby-sapporo.jp

    Vessel Inn Sapporo Nakajimakoen: A fuss-free stay is easily found at Vessel Inn Sapporo Nakajimakoen. Kids 18 years old and below stay for free, but beyond that,  baby beds, baby guards, free wi-fi, and complimentary breakfast are all provided for families with kids.

    Vessel Inn Sapporo Nakajimakoen, 4  Chome-1-2 Minami 9 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0809, Japan, +81 11-513-0700, www.vessel-hotel.jp/en/inn/sapporo/

    Hoshino Resorts Tomamu The Tower: Wake up to gorgeous views at Shumukappu’s Hoshino Resorts Tomamu The Tower. The hotel is surrounded by nature, where activities offered include tree climbing and night safari tours. Summer is extra special as you can book the Bokujo Bed, which allows you to cozy up in a big, open space outdoors to stargaze.

    Hoshino Resorts Tomamu The Tower, Nakatomamu, Shimukappu, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido 079-2204, Japan, +81 167-58-1111, www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/uniquehotels/tomamuthetower

    Hotel Mystays Premier Sapporo Park: Hotel Mystays Premier Sapporo Park is one of the most kid-friendly hotels around, giving you full assurance that your child will be safe throughout. Besides excellent customer service and attention to detail, the property also provides soft mattress flooring, bright furniture, locked drawers, and rentable toys and storybooks.

    Hotel Mystays Premier Sapporo Park, Japan, 064-0809 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Minami 9 Jonishi, 2 Chome−2−10, +81 11-512-3456, www.mystays.com/en-us/hotel-mystays-premier-sapporo-park-hokkaido

    Sapporo Kitahiroshima Classe Hotel: Perfect for all seasons, Sapporo Kitahiroshima Classe Hotel's lush greenery spaces allows for golf during Summer with views of wildlife in the distance. However, in winter, it becomes a space for snowmobiling and snow rafting, where all ages can join in the fun. It’s also situated between Chitose and Sapporo, making it a convenient spot to get to different sub-cities.

    Sapporo Kitahiroshima Classe Hotel, 316-1 Nakanosawa, Kitahiroshima, Hokkaido 061-1101, Japan, +81 11-373-3800, www.ambix.co.jp/en/kitahiroshimaclasse

    Asahikawa Park Hotel: If your little ones can’t contain their excitement to visit the animals at Asahiyama Zoo, then make it even better with a stay at the nearby Asahikawa Park Hotel. The hotel has packages that combine a room stay with the zoo ticket, making the booking process easier to plan. There are also kids amenities like a kid’s playroom and waterproof storybooks for loan.

    Asahikawa Park Hotel,​​ 070-8061, 3-8-38 Takasagodai, Asahikawa City, Hokkaido Prefecture, asahikawa-ph.com

    Grand Park Otaru: If you plan to spend an equal amount of time inside your room as outdoors, then you’re better off getting one with a stunning view, such as Grand Park Otaru. Their spacious room’s large windows allow for panoramic views of the mountains and seas. The property is also a stone’s throw from the canal walks and a JR station so you can get around easily.

    Grand Park Otaru, 11-3 Chikko, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0008, Japan +81 134-21-3111, www.parkhotelgroup.com/otaru/grand-park-otaru

    Hilton Niseko Village: For a hotel stay filled with tons of activity options, Hilton Niseko Village is where it’s at. It has an indoor onsen that you can soak in during colder months, but other seasons also let you try outdoor bonding activities like tree trekking and zip lining. Adventure time!

    Hilton Niseko Village, Niseko, Abuta District, Hokkaido 048-1592, Japan, +81 136-44-1111, www.hilton.com/en/hotels/ctsnvhi-hilton-niseko-village

    Akazora: A home away from home without the hotel vibes, Akazora is a good pick if you’re planning a ski holiday in Hirafu. Rooms are large and have all you need to live comfortably, with lockers also provided for ski equipment. Its vicinity to shopping and restaurants also makes it a viable choice for families.

    Akazora. 6-12, Kutchan, Abuta District, Hokkaido 044-0081, Japan , www.mnkniseko.com/en/accommodation/akazora 

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