The Ultimate Seasonal Guide to Hokkaido in Autumn
For many of us, Hokkaido is the inspiring winter destination. The Sapporo Snow Festival is the major visitor highlight as the island transforms into a white winter wonderland. But this northern Japanese island is equally beautiful throughout the rest of the year. Spring cherry blossoms and autumn foliage create two of Japan’s most inspiring landscapes, filling the panoramas with a kaleidoscope of colours. During the summer, endless national parks and a mild climate help to make Hokkaido an outdoor playground, plus the Sapporo Summer Festival is a universal attraction.
With so much on offer in Hokkaido, choosing the time of travel also means that it is the starting point for your accommodation search. The location of the attractions vary from season to season, and getting it right could means benefits like saving on travel time, or getting a better deal on your hotel if you’re interested in staying closer to particular sights. As such, I have put together a list of top activity recommendations and the top hotels booked for the Autumn season.
Autumn in Hokkaido
Japan is famous for its autumn colours and Hokkaido is well regarded as the best place in the country to see it. The landscapes are caressed by nature’s spell, with a stunning mix of yellows, oranges, deep reds, and shimmering soft greens. Hokkaido’s mountains and hot springs make autumn a wonderful time to relax, explore nature, and discover the foliage.
Where are the top spots to get the best Autumn Colors as memories for photographs? In Sapporo where autumn arrives sooner than the rest of Japan, these are among the undisputed highly accessible sightseeing spots popular with locals and foreigners alike: Nakajima Park, Hokkaido University, Maruyama Park, Ishiyama Green Space, Jozankei Onsen. To find out more details, click here.
Autumn is the peak harvest period in Hokkaido. How about getting your hands dirty and experiencing the Autumn Harvest the authentic way? It is definitely not just a good sight-seeing option but great family activity as well, especially if there are young childrens in your travelling party. What can be better than showing them the basics 😉 To know more about this activity, click here.
The other possibility is of course feasting in the annual Sapporo Autumn Fest! Where there is such a wide range of autumn flavors lined up in each area of Odori Park, prepared by chefs of Sapporo’s best restaurants, chances are that one would be spoilt for choice and unable to make up your mind. To find out more, click here.
How about Hokkaido Wine Tasting for wine lovers? With the extreme temperature difference and humidity found in Hokkaido’s seasonal temperature, this is becoming one of Japan’s leading grape wine producing region. With the option to wine tasting, enjoy delicious cuisine together with the wine, and buying some wine back home as souvenir, it just sound heavenly! To know more about this activity, click here.
In this very special period, from autumn turning winter, there is this special fish that swims upstream to spawn in the river. That’s right, they are salmons! And one of the best recommended spot to watch the Salmon Run is Noshi Park Bridge (10-minute walk from Hassamu-Chuo Station, 3 stations from JR Sapporo Station) or the Chitose Salmon Aquarium where one can observe up-close of salmons swimming upstream. To know more about this activity, click here.
For the nature lovers, this should strike a chord. Wild Dance of Migrating Birds can be seen during this season of Autumn or Spring at Miyajima-numa, a Ramsar Convention designated site located in the city of Bibai, around an hour’s trip from Sapporo by car. It is famous as a gathering site for white-fronted geese and tundra swan. But get your timings right to avoid disappointments. Their usual morning take-off timing occurs at sunrise around 5:00 am, and they return around 4:30 to 5:30 pm in the evening. To find out more, click here.
About 40min by car, one will reach the famous Jozankei! Famous for the hot springs, Jozankei isn’t just about Onsens. Besides the attraction of hot springs in this area, there is more options for 1-Day Activity in Jozankei. From horseback exploration for a range of courses where one can go up the mountains in about an hour one way, such as “Yuhidake”, “Asahidake” and “Mount Hakken” and enjoy the beautiful colors surrounded by the majestic mountains, to river rafting or canoeing along Toyohira River to experience the beauty of the valley in autumn. To find out more, click here.
For a more comprehensive list of things to do in Autumn in Hokkaido, feel free to click here.
Popular Hokkaido Hotels in Autumn
The most booked hotels are those in Sapporo with good transport connections, helping visitors easily access the famous autumn foliage sites. To get a head-start to looking in the right direction, here are some hotels that you could consider right off:
Dormy Inn Premium Sapporo
With its iconic local hospitality and internationally-styled facilities, this hotel provides a neat balance between traditional Japan and Western comforts. As an example, the sumptuous breakfast covers cuisine from across the world but still has huge offerings of salmon rolls. Dormy Inn Premium Sapporo comes with many complimentary extras, like free ramen noodles in the evening and fresh coffee throughout the day. A large onsen public bath can be used for free by hotel guests, which is extremely energising after a day on Hokkaido’s autumn walking trails. This three-star hotel is located between Odori Park and Susukino Station.
Guest rating: 9
Address: 6-4-1 Minami 2 Jo Nishi, Sapporo
Sapporo Aspen Hotel
Autumn visitors to Hokkaido can be travelling in many different directions, enjoying the mountains and hot springs of an island that adores mystical colours. Sapporo Aspen Hotel may be in the city, but it has an ideal location for accessing all sides of the island. Sapporo Station is less than ten minutes’ walk away and valet parking is available for visitors with rental cars. Inside the hotel there’s a modern and elegant feel, with well-appointed bedrooms and large private bathrooms. Rooms on the upper floors feature views towards the mountains and their autumn hues.
Guest rating: 8.4
Address: 5 Kita 8 Jo Nishi 4-chome Kita-ku, Sapporo
Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo
With over 500 rooms, this modern five-star hotel is one of the most popular choices in Hokkaido. Location is everything during the autumn months and Keio Plaza is perfect for both the city and wider Sapporo. Sapporo Station is just a five-minute walk away while a variety of city attractions can be easily accessed on foot. This hotel towers above the city and many of the rooms offer a distant view onto the mountains. Interiors are clean and elegant, reflecting a modern minimalist style that’s popular in 21st-century Japan. Each room has a private bathtub and the hotel has a large swimming pool.
Guest rating: 8.3
Address: 2-1 North5 West7, Sapporo
Mitsui Garden Hotel Sapporo
Sapporo Station is an easy five-minute stroll from Mitsui Garden Hotel, making it easy for visitors going on day trips to see the famous autumn foliage across Hokkaido. After a day exploring, the hotel’s onsite public baths provide a serene space to unwind and rest the legs. The comfortable rooms easily reflect the hotel’s three-star rating, with well-equipped bathrooms and a refrigerator. For the location, Mitsui Garden Hotel offers excellent value for those exploring the city or heading out to the rest of Hokkaido.
Address: 6-18-3, Kita-Gojo-Nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Guest rating: 8.3
Nest Hotel Sapporo Ekimae
While the Nest Hotel has a modern Western facade, the atmosphere is as traditional and unique as Hokkaido’s autumn colours. Many kinds of sashimi are included in the breakfast, an on-site onsen (spa) becomes a hub of activity in the evening, and the hotel staff are eager to showcase local hospitality. To complete the Japanese experience, walk five minutes to Sapporo Station and take a train to any of the autumn foliage sites across Hokkaido. From this station there are easy subway connections to most of Sapporo’s sights.
Guest rating: 7.6
Address: 2-9, Kita Nijo-nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Which Hokkaido season inspires you?
Hokkaido is dominated by national parks and a sense of wilderness, providing an outdoor playground throughout the magical winters, spring cherry blossoms, mild summers, and wonderful autumnal colours. With four distinctive seasons, choosing the season-to-go is the first step in deciding where to stay in Hokkaido. Let these top recommendations for Autumn season inspire you with your upcoming Hokkaido adventure.
Have you been to Hokkaido? Do share with us about your Hokkaido adventures!
[Note: There are links on this page that are affiliate links, that will at no cost to you, earn me a small commission to sustain the cost of keeping this website healthy and useful. Regardless of whether I am paid commission or not, I personally only recommend products that I have used or researched and found to be good. If you have any feedbacks or questions about these products, feel free to let me know.
Cheers! 😉 ]