A Tour Around Hokkaido with Simon Richmond

A Tour Around Hokkaido with Simon Richmond


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Japan’s most northern main island retains a remote and untamed quality. Come here for magnificent national parks, Ainu culture, historic towns, superb ski slopes in winter, flower-covered fields in summer, and bubbling onsens year-round.

Hokkaidō, Japan’s second-largest island, is a relatively new addition to the country – up until 1869 when full colonization began, this was the land of the Ainu people. There’s still a wild and untamed quality to Hokkaidō – dominated by forests, snow-covered volcanos, and vast national parks: it has Japan’s lowest population density. The indigenous Ainu population is now tiny, but it’s possible to encounter and learn about their ancient culture and society if you know where to look.

In summer, visitors flock to the island for its cooler temperatures and spectacular displays of flowers, while in the winter, the ski slopes of Niseko are coated with perfect powder snow. There are many onsen (natural hot springs) in which to soak and relax. Historic cities include the capital Sapporo, famous for its Snow Festival and beer, and Hakodate, one of the first Japanese ports to open to foreign traders in the mid 19th century. In Hokkaidō’s far northeast corner, you can hike through the World Heritage-listed Shiretoko National Park and marvel at the winter phenomena of drift ice in the seas off Abashiri.

Led by Simon Richmond, the author of travel guidebooks including the Rough Guide to Japan and Lonely Planet Japan, this interactive seminar will highlight the history, culture, and scenic delights of Hokkaidō. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Japan’s northern frontier.

Simon Richmond is a writer and photographer who has specialized in travel for over 25 years. He co-wrote the first five editions of the award-winning Rough Guide to Japan and Rough Guide to Tokyo. Simon’s expertise on Japan was gained whilst living for several years in Tokyo in the early 1990s and working as an editor for the business news organization the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. He first visited Naoshima in 2000 and has returned several times since to document this unique art project as it has spread to other islands in Japan’s Inland Sea.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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