Tips for Planning a Winter Trip to Hokkaido, Japan

Hokkaido in winter in Japan is a fascinating place to visit.

There are wonderful hotels scattered all over the place where you can enjoy winter sports and winter resorts at the same time, such as beautiful snowy landscapes of magnificent nature, delicious local food, hot springs, skiing, and snowboarding.

Winter at Niseko Ski Resort in Hokkaido = Shutterstock 7

Winter at Niseko Ski Resort in Hokkaido = Shutterstock


However, such winter trips to Hokkaido need to be well planned.

Anyway, first of all, Hokkaido in winter is cold, so be careful what you wear.

You need to wear much thicker clothes than usual. But that is only when you are outside. It is warmer inside buildings and rooms in Hokkaido. So we recommend that you wear clothes that are easy to take off and put on.

◎Check this page for Hokkaido winter temperatures, weather trends, and what to wear.

Weather and climate in Hokkaido

Also, although this information is not widely known, the most famous airport, New Chitose Airport, which is considered the gateway to Hokkaido, often cancels flights in winter due to snow.

The recommended airport in Hokkaido is Asahikawa Airport. Its service rate is over 99%, and flights are almost never cancelled, even in winter.


Asahikawa Airport is located in the middle of Hokkaido, about 25 minutes to Asahiyama Zoo, about 20 minutes to Biei, about 1 hour to central Furano, and about 1 hour and 30 minutes to Sapporo by JR express or about 2 hours to Sapporo by bus.

30 January 2018: King Penguin walking parade show on snow with people around watching with fun at Asahiyama Zoo, Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan = Shutterstock

As you know, New Chitose Airport is a huge airport and many budget airlines operate there, but we feel it is quite a risk to plan a trip to/from New Chitose for your precious winter vacation.

Asahikawa Airport’s only scheduled winter flights are to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, but we recommend that you consider this as an option when planning your winter trip to Hokkaido.

◎For more information on Hokkaido airports and popular tourist destinations, please see this post.

Hokkaido! 21 Popular Tourist Areas and 10 Airports

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