Best Things to Do in Hokkaido in December

If you are going to go sightseeing, you want to incorporate into your itinerary things that you can only see and experience during that time of the year. In this issue, we will introduce the conditions, events, and recommended spots in December in Hokkaido for those who wish to do so.


About Hokkaido in December

Illumination at Shiroi Koibito Park

atmospheric temperature

December is the peak of winter in Hokkaido, and from around mid-December the average temperature in Sapporo drops below freezing, especially at night, and it becomes bitterly cold. It is not unusual for temperatures to fall below -10°C in inland areas, and this is the time when snow begins to accumulate.


This month is filled with many events for Christmas and the end of the year. In Sapporo, Odori Park is famous for its white illumination, offering a fantastic sight. Beautiful illuminations are also held along the canals in Otaru, creating a romantic atmosphere.


This is the best time to travel for snowy landscapes. Resorts where visitors can enjoy winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding will open, and events where visitors can enjoy snow and ice artwork and illumination will be held in various locations. Onsen (hot springs) unique to winter are also an attraction, and visitors can enjoy snow baths.

December Fashion

Warm clothing is essential, and you must dress warmly, with down jackets, heavy coats, sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats, and other warm clothing so that no skin is exposed. Waterproof and non-slip shoes for snow-covered roads are also important. Hokkaido winters are cold, so make sure you are well dressed. However, once you enter an indoor spot, it is heated and the temperature difference from outside is large, so layered clothing is recommended.

The Christmas season is here! 3 Illumination Spots

As the Christmas season approaches, the city is decorated with sparkling lights and a special atmosphere. We encourage you to visit during this Christmas season.

Shiroi Koibito Park (白い恋人パーク)

Shiroi Koibito Park is a confectionery factory and theme park located in Nishi-ku, Sapporo. It is the headquarters of Ishiya Seika, a confectionery manufacturer and the production base for Shiroi Koibito Cookies, a popular confectionary in Hokkaido. Visitors can observe the confectionery production line and participate in a hands-on confectionery making experience.

The Shiroi Koibito Park Illumination is held every year from mid-November, and decorates the Rose Garden in the park with twinkling lights. Visitors are delighted by the illumination of more than 100,000 lights and the lighting up of the Karakuri Clock Tower. The atmosphere is so romantic that it is almost like being in Northern Europe.

Goryokaku (五稜郭)

Goryokaku is a star-shaped castle in Hakodate, Hokkaido, and was the first Western-style castle built in Japan. It is registered as a Special National Historic Site and is now a park. The Goryokaku illumination is a wintertime tradition in Hakodate, where the moat is decorated with light bulbs to create a star of light. 2,000 light bulbs are lit around the 1.8 km-long moat, and the Goryokaku Tower observation deck offers a wonderful view of the Goryokaku ruins below.

Kanamori Red Brick Warehouse (金森赤レンガ倉庫)

Hakodate Christmas Fantasy

Hakodate Christmas Fantasy is a Christmas event held every December near the Kanamori Red Brick Warehouse in Hakodate’s bay area. The giant tree floating on the sea, decorated with approximately 150,000 illuminated bulbs, is a popular photo spot. Especially during the Christmas period, families and couples come to view and take commemorative photos.

Soup bars and popular local eateries will also be set up at the venue to warm up your chilled body. There are many Kanamori red brick warehouses, cafes, and restaurants in the vicinity, so you may want to take a break there when it gets too cold.

3 spots to enjoy skiing in Hokkaido

Hokkaido is dotted with many ski resorts that offer abundant snow and vast natural beauty. From beginners to advanced skiers, here are some ski spots to enjoy Hokkaido’s winter to the fullest.

Niseko Tokyu Grand HIRAFU (ニセコ東急 グラン・ヒラフ)

Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu is a mecca for winter sports that attracts many fans from Japan and abroad. The resort is popular for its excellent powder snow and a wide variety of courses that can be enjoyed by everyone from intermediate level skiers to children.

Rusutsu Resort Ski (ルスツリゾートスキー場)

Located 90 minutes by car from New Chitose Airport and served by a free daily bus service from Sapporo, the ski resort is spread over three mountains with a total run distance of 42 km. 37 courses are available, so it is impossible to complete a full day’s tour. The fluffy powder snow allows you to enjoy winter sports to the fullest.

Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU (星野リゾート トマムスキー場)

Hoshino Resorts Tomamu Ski Area is conveniently located about 90 minutes by train from New Chitose Airport. There are 29 courses, all of which are organized in an unbiased manner, and an “auto-gate system” has been introduced, eliminating the need to present your lift ticket each time you board the lifts, making it possible to board smoothly with just your ticket in your possession.

In addition, this is a spot where parents and children can enjoy skiing at their leisure, as it is equipped with snow escalators, including a dedicated kids ski course and a dedicated lesson course that even children can enjoy. Enjoy skiing in comfort!

Editor’s Comment


There are many recommended spots such as ski resorts and illumination spots! Please dress warmly and enjoy winter to the fullest!

Let's share this post!