Spring in Hokkaido is unusually short compared to the rest of Japan, and tends to last only a short month before summer arrives. Nevertheless, the melting of snow brings about new activities for everyone to try out!

More winter sports!

Loved skiing so much that you’re disappointed spring is here? Fret not because sometimes even up to early summer, popular ski resorts such as Niseko are still open for visitors to continue winter sports. Hokkaido receives an abundance of wonderful powder snow that makes it great for skiing or snowboarding, and the large amount of snow stays through spring till summer.

Niseko ski squad
Niseko ski squad” by Rory Hyde is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

But unlike winter, spring is full of sunshine, so these ‘winter sports’ brings about a whole new experience of skiing and snowboarding under clear skies and bright warm sun! Do remember though, that since the snow is so white and the sun really bright, your eyes might suffer without sunglasses or tinted goggles in spring!

Photo by Perfect Zero is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Water sports

When the temperature rises to signal the end of Hokkaido’s cold harsh winter, the large blocks of ice start to melt and this results in very rapid flow of large volumes of water along rivers. Dangerous as this may sound, the fast river waters make this season the best for water sports such as canoeing, kayaking and rafting.

Shikotsu Lake,Hokkaido
Shikotsu Lake, Hokkaido” by Hiroyuki Takeda is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

room with a view
room with a view” by lesterwalbrugh is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

All these exciting river adventures are best done in spring with fresh meltwater, but can also be done in summer if you prefer frolicking around water at a warmer temperature. End your day with a nice BBQ dinner and overnight camping trip to fully enjoy the beauty of spring.

A farming experience in rural Hokkaido

Want to escape the hustle and bustle of Singapore in search of a quieter space during Spring? Rural Hokkaido is the place to be! With this vast amount of land, there is plenty of space for agriculture and animal farms. Every spring, farmers around Hokkaido start their work in farms again and would always welcome international visitors looking to escape the cities for a moment of peace or seeking to get their hands dirty and try out farming.

barley farm
barley farm” by Nakae is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Opportunities are easily available most commonly through WWOOF Japan (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) or nature groups based in Hokkaido, but there are many more farms that welcome visitors and may have their own websites for inquiries. This spring, why not choose to spend it volunteering at vegetable farms or dairy farms, and enjoy some wonderful quiet time in the rural parts of Hokkaido? You may even have a chance to make butter and ice cream with fresh milk!

Wildlife spotting!

This may be a challenging activity for some since it involves a bit of trekking and a lot of patience to spot these animals emerging from their winter stupor. Spring is also the season when most animals mate and reproduce, so expect to see tons of fluffy fox and bear pups, as well as baby deer.

Photo by Emmanuel Eragne is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It is important to note that animals do get aggressive if you approach their young, so do respect nature while wildlife watching and do NOT approach or feed the wild animals. For your information, foxes in Hokkaido carry a parasite that can be fatal if left untreated, so keep a lookout for these furry animals and only watch them from a distance!

oyakosika” by tetu is licensed under CC BY 2.0

飛ぶよオオワシ” by tetu is licensed under CC BY 2.0

View sakura, and other flowers

Of course, what is Spring without our favourite cherry blossoms? Spring in Hokkaido does not happen until April, but this is the perfect time to grab your picnic mats, some sandwiches, and find your best spot under one of the countless cherry trees spread across Hokkaido.

Hkdmori Oniushi Park 01
Oniushi Park” by Hkdmoritown is licensed under CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Spring, being the season of new beginnings, mean that other flowers apart from the cherry blossoms are in full bloom as well. Rapeseed flowers bloom every spring in the same period cherry trees flower, and these rapeseed flowers turn the once snow covered fields into a sea of golden yellow. You can stand in the middle of the field and enjoy the seemingly endless boundaries of these yellow flowers with the mountains of Hokkaido serving as your backdrop. If you’re a fan of flowers and gorgeous scenery, do make a trip to Hokkaido in spring to enjoy nature’s beauty!

Photo by estockiausdel is under Public Domain, via Pixabay

Despite the terribly short spring season, Hokkaido does offer a great selection of activities for the tired Singaporean to rejuvenate and enjoy a great time. Summer temperatures in Hokkaido can reach as high as in Singapore, so if you’re not a fan of the extreme cold in winter nor the humid warmth in summer, Spring is your best time to visit and it still provides you with a huge range of activities to try out!

*Header image by satoshi sawada is licensed under CC BY 2.0




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