Hokkaido
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Hokkaido defies the image of Japan as a crowded nation. It's a different world up here, or at least it feels like it, with 20% of Japan's land area but only 5% of its population.

Hokkaido defies the image of Japan as a crowded nation. It's a different world up here, or at least it feels like it, with 20% of Japan's land area but only 5% of its population. Japanese identify this northern land with its wildlife and mountains, greenery and agriculture, snowy winters, temperate summers and arrow - straight roads disappearing into the horizon.

But there's more to it than the scenery. The Ainu, Hokkaido 's indigenous people, are making a determined return after a century of forced assimilation. Sapporo is a bustling modern city that can meet all your urban needs before you head out to explore. And the island is winning a reputation as a haven for thrill - seeking travelers wanting to ski and hike in its mountains, explore its magnificent national parks, relax in its hidden onsen (hot springs), and experience its offerings at their own pace. Enjoy it at your leisure.