Hokkaido, in English translating to "Northern Sea Circuit", is Japan's second largest island after Honshu. The Seikan Tunnel connects the two island by a underwater railway, going below the Tsugaru Strait. The capital of Hokkaido prefecture is Sapporo, that with a population of close to 2 million people makes it the fourth largest city in Japan. Hokkaido, being located at the north end of Japan experience cold winters with lots of snow, while summers are often milder and not as humid as other regions of Japan.
Some of the most visited sightseeing spots in Hokkaido.
The Sapporo Snow Festival, first started in 1950, is a festival held annually in Sapporo that stretches over seven days in February. The main sites of the festival are Odori Park, Susukino and Tsudome, where visitors come to see the hundreds of snow status and ice sculptures. With some of the largest creations measuring up to 15 meters tall. Beside the snow and ice art, there is also a variety of concerts and events held throughout the festival.
The Odori Park and Susukino are located in central Sapporo while Tsudome requires riding a shuttle buss. (210 yen one way, every 15-30 minutes)
The ski resorts in Niseko are all located on Mount Niseko-Annupuri. With Niseko being the most famous ski resort in Japan it sees a large crowd of foreign travelers. Seeking it out for its fine powder snow and beautiful surroundings with the view of the inactive stratovolcano Mount Yotei in the distance.
From December to Mars, several bus companies offers direct bus lines to Niseko. Depending on pick-up locations the travel time varies from 2.5 and 4 hours for a one-way ride to Niseko.
There are both local and rapid train connections between Sapporo and Kutchan Stations. Rather than going directly to Niseko Station, Kutchan Station is the local public transportation hub. With a direct "Niseko Liner" rapid train, a one way trip usually takes a little more than 1.5 hours. The trains are fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass and Hokkaido Rail Pass.
From Kutchan there are buses going for the ski resorts every 1-2 hours. Depending on the ski resort the travel time varies from 15 to 45 minutes.