Tohoku Region, April 11, 2017, by Lily Crossley-Baxter
What makes Japan so amazing to travel in is the variety—with every new prefecture, city or village you find something unique. Consisting of 47 prefectures, including 43 traditional prefectures, two urban prefectures (Osaka and Kyoto), one territory (Hokkaido) and the Metropolis of Tokyo, Japan has a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of surprises to unearth. If you’re thinking of venturing outside of the obvious, here are some highlights to help you pick your prefecture!
We’ve divided them by region, with this first part travelling up to the northernmost parts of Japan for Hokkaido and Tohoku! If you are after snow, hiking, onsens and amazing festival—this is the region for you!
It’s own region and technically a territory, Hokkaido is a winter wonderland with famous skiing areas like Niseko, plenty of delicious foods to keep you warm and stunning scenery throughout the year.
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Noboribetsu: The island’s most famous onsen area, it has 9 kinds of water and is ranked among the world’s most exceptional hot springs. Surrounded by forests and mountains you can try the benefits of sulphur, salt and iron, as well as visitng Hell Valley, where sulphurous gas seeps from the grounds.
Furano Lavender Fields: Covering the landscape in swathes of purple, the lavender farms are free in Hokkaido, with a backdrop of mountain ranges you can enjoy the lovely views with plenty of cafes and cart rides.
Blue Pond: A result of works on the Biei River to protect towns from volcanic mud flows, this pond is a stunning glassy blue and you may recognize it from computer backgrounds around the world.