Looking for a romantic getaway with your better half? Well there’s no better way to do it than in each other’s warm embrace in Hokkaido’s cold winter. With Japan’s Bullet Train now extending its service to Hokkaido, getting to Japan’s north most region has never been easier. If you are heading to Hokkaido with your significant other, here’s seven ways to make it a romantic vacation that he/she won’t soon forget:
Ring the Niisa Bell
Start your trip with a visit to this popular attraction, found at the Asari Peak at the Kiroro Ski Resort. Featured prominently in the critically-acclaimed Thai movie “One Day,” this bell was installed in 2006 as part of a government-sponsored tourism program. That said, its rather mundane beginnings are now eclipsed by a belief that couples who ring the bell twice would get married—hence its nickname, “Lucky ‘N Love Bell.”
Enjoy skiing down the slopes
It is no secret that Hokkaido’s main attraction is its slopes of soft powder snow. Pick up a new sport and learn to ski as a couple when in Hokkaido.
While the island has a good number of skiing options, it’s Kiroro that comes out on top with 21 meters of snowfall per season. This abundance of snow means that you and your partner are guaranteed several days of skiing during your stay. If you’re both new to the sport, don’t worry—the slopes here are beginner-friendly, with experienced instructors offering lessons. Skiing gear is also available for rent.
Eat at The Crest Café
If skiing got you and your partner hungry, you don’t need to go back to the hotel for a bite. Head on to The Crest Café, which is housed in a lovely cabin at the top of the Nagamine ski course. Not only does this café offer reasonably priced Japanese meals, but on clear days, it also offers stunning views of the surrounding skiing areas making it a couple food blogger/instagrammer ideal romantic dining spot.
Try more winter activities
If you’d like more fun during your stay, there are a wide range of other winter activities available in Hokkaido. For example, you and your partner can try riding a snow buggy, a 4×4 vehicle modified to run smoothly on snowy ground, across the woods. Or you both can wear a snow bubble ball each and play around. If you want some peace and quiet, check out the forest trails which are open even during the cold season. And for those people who have a more adventurous streak in them (like the people behind this Singapore Travel Blog), you can also try snowboarding – like skiing, gear and lessons are also available on site.
Visit the historic port town of Otaru
While Sapporo may be considered as Hokkaido’s present-day capital, back in the olden days, most businesses revolved around Otaru. This port city, previously the center of the island’s coal industry, has reinvented itself into one of the island’s prime tourist attractions. Couples can start with a leisure stroll along the Otaru Canal which is lined with charming heritage houses. Then they can head to the Otaru Music Box Museum, where other than admiring the antique music boxes on display, couples can also make their own music box. Alternatively, you can also learn the traditional art of glass-blowing from the many workshops in the city.
Go on a cruise
Since it is a port city, Otaru is also one of the top starting points for a romantic cruise. These cruises not only cover the entire length of the Otaru Canal, but also many points of interest in the Hokkaido region. Some of the top attractions include Cape Kamui and the Shakotan Peninsula, which is known for its 42 kilometer coastline ringed with imposing cliffs and rock formations.
Relax at a sauna or an onsen
Skiing is fun but it’s still very tiring. So if you’re feeling a bit beat after a day at the slopes, you can recover by spending a time at the resort’s sauna. Better yet, try an onsen, or a traditional Japanese hot spring bath. Bathing in an onsen is not only recommended for travelers who want to get the full Japanese experience. It’s also the perfect après-ski activity as the waters at these baths, owing to their high mineral content, are said to have medicinal properties. That in turn, makes a visit to an onsen the best choice for rejuvenating tired muscles.
Stay at a five-star hotel
What’s a romantic holiday without a nice hotel to end the day in? There are two five-star hotels to choose from in Kiroro: the Sheraton Hokkaido Kiroro Resort and The Kiroro, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel. Both properties are managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, one of the biggest hotel groups in the world. In fact, The Kiroro is the first Tribute Portfolio hotel in the Asia-Pacific region. With these hotels under an international brand, you and your partner are guaranteed a quality stay.
These are just some of the things on offer in Hokkaido for your perfect romantic getaway. With a setting like this, you and your significant other would be set for a trip the both of you won’t soon forget.