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COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

It’s time to channel the adventurer within because you and a lucky friend have the chance to win either return flights to Hokkaido or a 7-night stay at Club Med Kiroro.

Japan’s northernmost region of Hokkaido invites you to step into untamed wilderness, stunning national parks, diverse wildlife and rural landscapes unlike anywhere else in Japan.

Read on to learn about Hokkaido’s natural and untouched beauty spread amongst its northern, eastern, central and southern corners. Hokkaido is an unparalleled paradise for skiers, hikers, adventurers, campers and overall lovers of the outdoors.

Are you up for the challenge? Click ‘Enter now’ to answer four questions for your chance to win one of 2 major prizes and exciting runner-up prizes!

One of Japan’s least explored areas, home to grandiose volcanoes and Japan’s biggest national park

Majestic mountains, rugged coastlines and sprawling fields of vibrant lavender create the unspoiled natural beauty of northern Hokkaido. Visit Japan’s largest national park, Daisetsuzan, referred to by the native Ainu people as the ‘playground of the gods’. Apart from magnificent stratovolcanoes, expect to encounter rare wildlife and picturesque views that’ll make you pinch yourself!

Also in northern Hokkaido, Furano and Biei feature picturesque landscapes of rolling rainbow-patterned hills backed by the Tokachi mountain range. A must-see spot during the summer!

Impressive wetlands, lush greenery and diverse flora and fauna

Kushiro Shitsugen National Park is a must-see when you venture through Hokkaido’s eastern corner. A unique natural gem of considerable size, the area covers 29,000 hectares, 7,900 of which are protected under the Ramsar Convention. Japan’s largest marsh, Kushiro Wetlands is home to over 700 species of plants and 1,300 species of wildlife. When you visit, make sure to keep an eye out for the endangered Red-crowned crane, a designated National Special Natural Monument that has bounced back from the brink of extinction due to dedicated conservation efforts.

In the north-eastern corner of Hokkaido, Shiretoko Peninsula is one of Japan’s last vestiges of true wilderness. Occupying most of the peninsula, Shiretoko National Park is best known for its expansive primeval forests, unique flora and fauna and outdoor activities for every season.

Spectacular ski resorts, bubbling hot springs and Ainu culture

Central Hokkaido is the air gateway to the prefecture and also home to the largest city of Sapporo and quaint canal town of Otaru. In winter, head to world-class snow resorts in Niseko and Kiroro to enjoy some of the driest, lightest powder snow in the world. In summer, Niseko plays host to some of Hokkaido’s biggest cycling events against the backdrop of sprawling mountain ranges.

If you like hot springs, head to the volcanic area of Hell Valley in Noboribetsu. Part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park, it boasts incredible hot steam vents and sulphurous streams and is the main source of hot spring water for Noboribetsu Onsen. 

Also in central Hokkaido, UPOPOY National Ainu Museum in Shiraoi offers a unique insight into Ainu culture through activities and demonstrations that change every season.

Historical sites, an adventurer’s playground and enchanting cherry blossom displays

Hakodate opened as Japan’s first trading port and you can still see the combined influence of Western and Japanese traditions as you explore the city today. Best explored on foot, Goryokaku Park houses some special historical sites including Goryokaku, a Western-style star-shaped fort, and Hakodate Magistrate’s Office. The stunning aerial view of the fort can be seen from adjacent Goryokaku Tower and is especially breath-taking in early May during the cherry blossom season when over 1,600 trees are in bloom.

30km north of Hakodate lies Onuma Quasi-National Park, a scenic spot which is excellent for lake canoeing, boat touring and cycling.

The town of Matsumae is home to Matsumae Castle, the only castle in all of Hokkaido and hence the northernmost castle in the country. This unique site is also ranked one of the top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots in the country.

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