• A backcountry skier descending from the summit of Mt. Oputateshike. The peak in the center in the distance is that of Mt. Tokachidake. Approx. 11:15 a.m. on May 5

    On May 5, backcountry skiers visited Mt. Oputateshike (2,013 m), at the northern end of the Tokachi Volcanic Group, and skied down the abundant snow that remains on the steep slope from the summit,...

  • Snow removal work is underway on the Trans-Shiretoko Highway (National Highway Route 334, 23.8 km), which has been closed for the winter between the town of Rausu in eastern Hokkaido and the town of Shari in the Okhotsk region. On April 12, members of the press were invited to view the snow removal work being carried out.

  • Asahikawa-based Takasago Sake Brewery has dug out two types of snow-stored sake that had been ageing for approximately three months under the snow in the town of Biei in the Kamikawa region. The sake was unaffected by the relatively low levels of snowfall, and the taste is said to be as mild and mellow as in previous years.

  • The Hidaka mountain range, which has been unofficially nominated as national park, is dotted with ‘knife ridges,’ that are cut off at both sides. Since the opening of the Nozuka Tunnel on National Highway Route 236 (from the town of Hiroo in the Tokachi region to the town of Urakawa in the Hidaka region), the number of climbers on Mt. Toyoni-dake (1,493 m) has rapidly increased, and this knife ridge is the most difficult traverse.

  • A monitor cycling tour on the frozen surface of Lake Nukabira was held for the first time in the town of Kamishihoro in the Tokachi region of eastern Hokkaido. Lake Nukabira is a special area of the Daisetsuzan National Park, where, in principle, vehicles are not allowed. However, the tour was held with permission from the Ministry of the Environment, which was received in February in anticipation of the demand for outdoor activities. The tour, which will be introduced in earnest next season, allows visitors to ride on the clear ice and view scenic spots, including the group of arches of a former National Railways bridge, during the severe winter season.

  • Jozankei Onsen is one of Japan’s most famous natural hot-spring resort With over a 150-year history, and more than 75 different naturally occurring hot springs from the bottom of the Toyohira river which runs through the valley, Jozankei is well known to the Japanese public. Often being featured on TV programs extolling the benefits of the healing waters and introducing the many hotels and activities which can be enjoyed in the area.

  • One of the reasons why Sapporo is aiming to host the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics is to establish itself as a world-class urban snow resort. The city hopes to be better recognized globally so that it can welcome more tourists from abroad and boost its economy. Currently, foreign tourists are attracted to world-famous ski destinations such as Niseko, some 100 kilometers away from Sapporo, and tend to pass through Sapporo, tourism industry officials say. The city still has a long way to go to become an internationally renowned tourist attraction, as challenges remain, including the shortage of luxury hotels.

  • Mt. Soranuma-dake (1,251 m), a popular mountain with summer hiking courses that take in Bankei-numa Swamp and Mamisu-numa Swamp, boasts a winter-only course that takes in another swamp. On the Kara-numa Swamp Course, hikers walk on the frozen surface of the water.

  • The activity of ‘Snurfing’ – riding bindingless snowboards – is gaining popularity in Hokkaido. The boards can be made by hand and – because they are difficult to ride – the thrill can be experienced in nearby places such as parks and neighborhood hillsides. The reason behind the activity’s popularity is its accessibility to people of all ages.

  • This winter, Hokkaido has been hit by record-breaking snowfalls. Transportation was paralyzed and large piles of snow lined the main roads and residential streets, heavily impacting the lives of the residents. In an attempt to solve this situation, ‘smart snow removal’ that utilizes information and communication technology (ICT) such as artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance sensors, is attracting attention.