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Yezo Hokkaido Hokkaido

. . . The Flowery Land . . .                

Daisetsuzan National Park

From mediæval times until the late 1800s, the island whose modern name is Hokkaido was known as Yezo (or alternatively as Ezo, Yeso, or Yesso).

Hokkaido may well be known as “The Flowery Land” (at least from the viewpoint of the Hokkaido government), but Hokkaido could also be known as the land of volcanos, thermal hot springs, lakes, mountains, forests, wetlands, bears, deer, foxes, badgers, owls, horses, and, yes, we have to say (if you have ever seen the lavender fields of Furano) flowers . . .

Visit Lake Akan

One of the more mysterious areas of Hokkaido is Akan National Park, which contains the beautiful Lake Akan, the town of Akan, one of the last remaining enclaves of the indigenous Ainu people, and a lake life form named Marimo—arguably one of the stranger life forms.

See Marimo

As part of your excursion to Lake Akan, you are well advised to spend the time on a boat trip to the Marimo Research Station sited on an island in the lake. The self-guided tour of the research station is full of interesting sights.

Visit Kushiro

Kushiro is a great place to visit, first for its extensive wet-lands area, and second, as it offers a convenient star-base for visiting other sightseeing spots on the eastern end of Hokkaido.

Visit Sounkyo Ravine

With so many thousands of places to visit in Hokkaido, those who enjoy the outdoor environments of the National Parks should have Daisetsuzan National Park on their travel itinerary, and the first place to visit in Daisetsuzan is Sounkyo Ravine at the northern border of the park.

Visit Lake Mashu

Hokkaido is home to hundreds if not thousands of beautiful lakes of all shapes, sizes, and surrounding terrain. One of the more photogenic lakes of Hokkaido is Lake Mashu a land-locked lake situated in the crater of a volcano in Akan National Park.

Visit Lake Oonuma

A relatively unknown lake and National Park resort is Lake Oonuma quite near Hakodate, which is usually the first stop for many travellers to Hokkaido.

Recently we read a fine book by writer Will Ferguson entitled Hokkaido Highway Blues.

Will Ferguson was teaching English in Japan when he suddenly decided to hitchhike from one end of Japan to the other (from Cape Sata at the southern tip of Kyushu to Cape Soya at the northernmost point of Hokkaido), following the trail of cherry blossoms that bloom in a wave from south to north. The story ends—kind of unfortunately—with Ferguson stuck on Rishiri island in one of the biggest winter storms in decades because a reporter had told him (erroneously) that the northernmost point of Japan was the north of Rebun Island.

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Page Updated 2011 December 10