Though commonly associated with winter sports, hiking, and Sapporo Beer, Hokkaido is home to some of the most breathtaking coastal villages and beach towns in Japan. While swimming is usually not an option outside the summer season, these historic towns and quaint villages are worth putting on a winter coat for.
With a population of just 1,100, this small fishing village is a must for nature lovers and travelers looking to get out of the city. Don’t be fooled into thinking there is nothing to do here. Kamoenai offers visitors a number of activities including camping, fishing, swimming and hot springs. Like most of Hokkaido, local seafood options here are cheap and delicious.
Kamoenai, Furuu District, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
This mid size town boasts some of the most beautiful seaside views in all of Hokkaido. Shakotan’s three capes (Cape Shakotan, Cape Kamui, and Cape Ogon) draw tourists from all over the country and the world. The capes overlook the town’s jagged, rocky coastal line and the Sea of Japan. The sunset here is truly a sight to behold.
Shakotan District, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
A former mining town and neighbor to Kamoenai, Furubira is known for its rocky cliffs, vegetation, hot spring, and the Zengenji temple. The seafood specialty here is taroko (cod roe), which is shipped all over the rest of Japan from this small town.
Furubira, Furubira District, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
Located in the southernmost part of the Shakotan Peninsula, Yoichi is a drinker’s paradise. Known for its wine and whiskey, it is home to the internationally recognized Nikka Whiskey Distillery, which offers visitors daily tours of its facilities. While the guided tour is not available in English, guests are welcome to explore the facilities in their own time. If drinking isn’t your thing, the local farms offer a variety of delicious fresh fruit.
Yoichi, Yoichi District, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
Another fishing village, Tomari attracts travelers all year round. They come for local seafood, hot springs, and a gorgeous view of the sea and nearby mountains. Those with an adventurous palate will not want to miss the local specialties, including uni (sea urchin), namako (sea cucumber), and squid.
Tomari, Furuu District, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
One of the oldest towns in Hokkaido, Iwanai is home to many families who have lived in the area for generations, resulting in a Japanese accent that is unique to residents of the town. Iwanai is best known for its sushi restaurants, Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, hot spring resorts, festivals, and a ski resort.
Iwanai, Iwanai District, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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