The Hokkaido Area北海道地区
Hokkaido is the second-largest island of Japan, and also its largest and northernmost prefecture. The island was formerly known as Ezo, and is famous for its unique Ainu culture that its descendants have meticulously maintained, through celebrating their history with museums and cultural events dotted across the area.
Climate-wise, Japan’s four distinct seasons are no more clearly exemplified than in Hokkaido. The dry, warm summer is more pleasant than the uncomfortable humidity of further south. Winter, on the other hand, transforms the island into a snow-shrouded wonderland, drawing in winter sports enthusiasts.
Quite different from other islands and prefectures of Japan, Hokkaido is a sparsely populated rural mix of farms, forests, volcanoes, hot springs and ski resorts, combining to create dazzling natural vistas that stay with any tourist lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit.
The island is divided into several sub-prefectures, but for the purposes of this book we have split Hokkaido into four geographical sections - north, central, east and south.