Important Tips for Tourists Traveling to Hokkaido
When planning a trip to Hokkaido, it’s important to keep the following points in mind to ensure a pleasant and enjoyable experience:
Climate and Clothing
Hokkaido has long, cold winters, with heavy snowfall between December and February. Warm clothing is essential during this period. On the other hand, summers are relatively cool and comfortable, but temperatures can drop in the mornings and evenings. It’s a good idea to bring something to layer up with.
As Hokkaido is a vast region, it may take some time to travel between tourist destinations. When using JR trains or buses, plan your trip with enough time for transfers. If you’re renting a car, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Japanese traffic rules.
While most Japanese people speak Japanese, some can also speak English or Chinese. Learning basic Japanese or English phrases will make it easier to communicate with locals. Translation apps are also recommended.
Local Manners and Customs
Japan has unique manners and customs, such as removing shoes before entering a room, proper chopstick usage, and keeping your voice down in public spaces. Be mindful of these customs during your trip.
Hokkaido is known for its fresh seafood and vegetables, providing a variety of delicious meals. If you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, research your options beforehand to ensure a worry-free dining experience.
Wi-Fi and Communication
Free Wi-Fi is available at airports and major tourist spots, but there may be areas with weak signal coverage. It’s a good idea to prepare a pocket Wi-Fi or SIM card in advance.
In case of an emergency, you can contact the police at 110 or emergency medical services at 119. Some Japanese medical facilities have staff who speak Chinese, but not all facilities offer this service. Having a translation app or an emergency language guide can provide peace of mind.
Hokkaido has a wide range of popular souvenir items, such as cheese, chocolate, sweets, and ramen. Be sure to bring home some local specialties, but be mindful of customs regulations when taking them back to your country.
We recommend obtaining travel insurance for international trips. Choose an appropriate plan to cover any accidents or illnesses that may occur during your trip.
Credit Cards and Cash
Cash is still the primary payment method in Japan, but credit cards are accepted at major tourist spots and stores. However, smaller shops and rural tourist destinations may require cash, so be prepared to exchange currency as needed.
Caution: Dangerous Animals in Hokkaido
When visiting Hokkaido, be aware of the following potentially dangerous animals:
- Red foxes
- Ezo deer
- Brown bears
- Black flies (nukeka)
- Yellow hornets (kebuka suzumebachi)
Be cautious and maintain a safe distance from these animals to prevent injury or infection from parasites.