• The popular Momoiwa Observatory Course. Climate change threatens to impact the ecology of alpine plants, which have many fans. Photographed last June

    The town of Rebun, a remote island in northern Hokkaido, has formulated the ‘Rebun Island Ikimono Tsunagari Project’ (forms of life connection project), a 10-year regional biodiversity strategy sta...

  • "Mt. USU Terrace" boasts an Usuzan Ropeway Lake Toya summit observatory with a panoramic view of the natural environs enjoyable from the comfort of a sofa. The Terrace installed new deck space with sofa seating and held an invite-only pre-opening on April 21. Additional deck space was installed in areas such as to the side of the preexisting deck, and new sofas seating up to 30 people became available on April 23.

  • Kushiro on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido has produced a television program for Taiwan in a bid to promote the attractions of winter in the coastal city. The program features a celebrity from Hokkaido and a Taiwanese social media influencer visiting sightseeing spots in Kushiro, including the Kushiro Marsh and the Akanko Onsen hot spring resort.

  • Yamaura Teiichi (56), a Japan Airlines captain originally from Otaru in central Hokkaido who currently resides in Hyogo Prefecture, has been making announcements in the Hokkaido dialect on flights to and from Hokkaido, becoming a topic of conversation among passengers and aviation fans. Inspired by a conversation at a class reunion, he began making these unique announcements three years ago. He hopes that his announcements will remind passengers of their hometown and help stir a feeling of excitement toward traveling in Hokkaido.

  • The Lake Shikotsu Management Council, a general incorporated association made up of people involved in tourism around Lake Shikotsu, has formulated new local rules for the use of the lake's entire waterfront, and began putting them into effect in April. Named ‘Lake Shikotsu Rules,’ the new rules comprise 13 items, including limits regarding launching areas for non-powered vessels such as canoes and SUPs, and ensuring that life jackets are worn when using such vessels. The rules are published on the council's website and will also be made available on the websites of individual commercial operators.

  • On April 15, the pre-opening event of a café-bar and guesthouse run by ‘PoRtaru,’ a limited liability company (LLC) established by Otaru University of Commerce students, was held in the Hanazono shopping district of Otaru. The company hopes the facility will be used as a base for regional interaction, and plans to review its opening hours and services in response to users’ opinions, before operations are scheduled to begin in earnest in mid-May.

  • ‘MUJI HOUSE Nippo-no-Ie Kamishihoro’ an office sharing facility with an accommodation function, being constructed by the town of Kamishihoro in the Tokachi region of eastern Hokkaido, has been completed, with guests to be accepted from April 29. Developed in collaboration with a subsidiary of Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd., which operates the MUJI lifestyle goods store, the interior is furnished with MUJI brand furniture and sundries. The MUJI HOUSE is the first of its kind in Hokkaido, and features a simple interior and exterior with white as its base color. It is designed for ‘workation’ (work vacation) use, in which people work while traveling.

  • he Kushiro Wetland Nature Restoration Council has revised its ‘Canoeing Guidelines’ for enjoying the nature of the wetlands while canoeing down the Kushiro River. The guidelines provide information on areas where navigation is prohibited due to revetment work, and dangerous areas where there are frequent accidents, as well as re-emphasize consideration for nature.

  • "Down the Teshi" is one of Japan's largest canoe touring competitions, taking participants down the Teshio River. On April 2, the competition Executive Committee decided to hold this year's event on a 34-kilometer course between Nayoro and Bifuka on July 17. The competition has been cancelled for the past two consecutive years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be held with thorough COVID-19 measures and a reduction in both the schedule and scale.

  • A guesthouse known as ‘Hokutosei Square’ that utilizes two carriages from the ‘Hokutosei’ sleeping-berth express train, Japan’s last blue train to be withdrawn from operation in 2015, will open in the city of Hokuto – where it used to pass through – on April 22.