Bradt Travel Guide: Hokkaido

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Author: TOM FAY

Category: Lifestyle , Sport & leisure

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides

ISBN: 9781804690994

RRP: $47.99


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New from Bradt is the first ever, standalone English-language guide to Hokkaido, Japan’s second-largest island and northernmost prefecture. Home to under 5% of the country’s population, this is a land of vast, wild expanses that demands exploration at any time of year and feels a world away from Tokyo. Penned by an outdoors-loving travel writer resident in Japan, Bradt’s Hokkaido delves far deeper into this frontier land than country-wide guidebooks can possibly do. Author Tom Fay provides detailed coverage of the island’s history, unique wildlife, local food, the Ainu (indigenous people), outdoor activities, skiing logistics, hiking courses and the practicalities of visiting in winter, when deep snow carpets the ground and the sea turns to ice. Hokkaido’s varied landscapes include remote mountain ranges, fertile lowland plains, sweeping forests and enormous wetlands home to rare birds and other wildlife. Even for the Japanese, Hokkaido has a somewhat wild and exotic aura place names have distinct Ainu origins and the capital Sapporo is closer to Russia’s Vladivostok than to Tokyo, while the Siberia-influenced climate and wide open spaces are unlike anything found in the rest of Japan. Hokkaido’s mild summers are ideal for sightseeing, cycling, camping and hiking. Why not climb the island’s highest mountain in Daisetsuzan National Park an untouched wilderness of simmering volcanoes and stunning nature or marvel at colourful fields of flowers around Furano and Biei? In winter, you can go to snow festivals, walk on sea ice (or board an icebreaker) to explore the Sea of Okhotsk, watch flocks of sea eagles or track brown bears in Shiretoko National Park, or head to popular ski resorts such as Niseko where the huge dumps of perfect powder snow attract skiers and snowboarders from around the world. Throw in hot springs (and thus ryokan hot-spring inns), active volcanoes, speciality seafood and quirky foodstuffs such as chocolate-covered crisps, excellent transport links and renowned Japanese hospitality, and Hokkaido is a thrilling and varied off-the-beaten-path travel destination. Bradt’s Hokkaido is instantly the essential companion.

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