Muslim Travellers in Japan
Hokkaido is located in the northern most part of Japan and it is the second largest island after Honshu. In Japan, it may be the northern end district, but its latitude in the world is almost the same as other major US and European cities. Hokkaido enjoys a cool climate and is rarely affected by the rainy season and typhoons. You can enjoy the seasons with cherry blossoms and rapeseed blossom in spring, lavender in summer, autumn leaves in autumn, and snow in winter.
Hokkaido is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, and the Sea of Okhotsk. It is made up of glorious multi-faceted mountains, large marshlands, and natural lakes and marshes that offer beautiful views. It is loved by many as a tourist spot where visitors can enjoy the nature. It is also a treasure trove of gourmet such as fresh seafood, sweets, etc.
This article will be introducing tourist attractions in Hokkaido that are full of charms!
New Chitose Airport is the gateway to the north and a proud airport with the third highest number of users in Japan that reach 1.7 million annually. It is a popular place bursting with energy where everybody with various purposes comes together, whether they are here for sightseeing, business, or coming home.
Among its many attractions, the "Doraemon Wakuwaku Sky Park" is the world's first entertainment facility that is built as an annex to an airport. The facility is home to Japan's largest "Doraemon" and many attractions with secret tools as its theme.
The Doraemon and Nobita that we saw on TVs and comics invite visitors into the exciting "World of Doraemon". There are also many other areas where children and adults can be totally engrossed in the fun, including shops offering Doraemon original goods, cafes where visitors can enjoy Doraemon taiyaki, and kids free zone where they can play on toboggans shaped like bean-jam pancakes!
HOW TO GET THERE
- About 37 minutes by “Rapid Airport” Train to Sapporo station.
- About 70 to 80 minutes by bus from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo station.
- About 60 km, about 1 hour via highway by car.
Mt. Usu Ropeway is the ultimate sightseeing spot for enjoying the views of Mt. Usu. An observation deck can be found at the peak station that offers a panoramic view over Lake Toya, Mount Yotei, and the Pacific Ocean.
A "crater observation deck" is located in the opposite direction of the observation deck. From here, visitors will be able to see the "Ginnuma Crater" volcanic bay created by a crater when Mt. Usu erupted in 1977. The view of the bare mountain face with white smoke drifting up from the volcanic bay is quite impressive. The crater observation deck is also connected by a mountain trail to Usucho in Date. It is a popular trail for trekking along the ridge of a mountain range.
HOW TO GET THERE
- About 15 minutes from JR Toya station by Donan Bus bound for Toyako Onsen. Get off at the last stop - Toyako Onsen Bus Terminal. Change to Donan Bus bound for Showa Shinzan and get off after 15 min at the last stop.
- About 15 minutes by car from Date Interchange on the Do-oh Expressway to Showa Shinzan.
Rusutsu Resort is the largest amusement park and golf course in Hokkaido. It is offers extensive nature experiencing activities and a perfect place as a summer resort. The ski resort is the largest in Hokkaido with a total of 37 skiing spots made up of 3 hills. It offers various types and level of courses, from a family course with children in mind, to a long course overlooking Lake Toya, and a super advanced course with a maximum slope of 40 degrees. A hotel at the foothill offers a truly resort experience.
This resort is very popular among skiers from all over Japan. It is the best place to visit with friends and enjoy yourselves. Instructors are able to instruct foreign tourists in their language. Sapporo facilities are also equipped for Muslims.
HOW TO GET THERE
- About 2 hours 10 minutes from Sapporo by shuttle bus for Rusutsu Resort’s guests.
- About 90 minutes by car from Sapporo.
Otaru is very well known in Japan as a foremost sightseeing city in Hokkaido. There are many famous places here, particularly modern buildings with exotic atmosphere.
The first thing that comes to mind when we think of Otaru is the unique views of Otaru Canal. A promenade with tastefully positioned stone-structured warehouses and gaslights continues along the waterway built as a distribution center for the port town, making Otaru a great sightseeing spot. The numerous blue LED lights and candles surround the canal in a magical atmosphere. Especially recommended for those who like to take pictures.
And then, there is the Otaru Music Box Museum located at the Fairytale intersection. This building is built over 100 years ago and one of the popular attractions in this city visited by many tourists. The hall built in well hole style is closely packed with music boxes in various designs and melodies. Nearby, there are other stores related to the museum, such as workshops where visitors can experience making music boxes, and specialty stores offering teddy bears and various characters.
HOW TO GET THERE
- About 30 minutes from Sapporo by JR Hakodate mainline “Rapid Airport”.
- About 1 hour by highway Otaru bus from Sapporo to Otaru.
- About 40 minutes by car via Sasson Expressway.
Sapporo is the seat of Hokkaido's government. In addition to beer and ski resorts, it is famous for the Sapporo Snow Festival, an annual event that showcases gigantic snow and ice sculptures.
First, let's visit the Nijo Fish Market located at the heart of Sapporo. This is a popular tourist attraction with more than 100 years of history that houses about 50 stores today. It is a charming market where visitors can enjoy fresh seafood with real gourmet dishes on offer, as well as simple gourmet dishes and simple food tasting costing less than 1,000 yen.
Next, let's go to the Shiroi Koibito Park that is full of more than 120 varieties of roses! Here, visitors will be able to take a plant tour to see the production line of "Shiroi Koibito", a famous Hokkaido confectionary. This confectionary theme park also allows visitors to watch, eat, and have fun by creating an original "Shiroi Koibito" and watching the performances by candy craftsmen.
HOW TO GET THERE
- About 37 minutes from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo station by “Rapid Airport” Train.
- About 70 – 80 minutes by bus from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo Station.
- About 60 km, about 1 hour from New Chitose Airport via highway by car.
Noboribetsu is very famous as a hot spring area. Noboribetsu Hot Spring is in fact the number 1 hot spring town that is visited by more than 3 million visitors every year.
The source for Noboribetsu hot spring is Jigokutani (Hell Valley). Jigokutani produces 3,000 hot water every year with its 15 pits in a large pit located at the bottom of the valley measuring 450 m in diameter. Noboribetsu hot spring is described as “a department store of hot springs” because of the various quality of hot springs found here and enjoyment of various efficacies, which is said to be quite rare globally.
Noboribetsu Bear Park located near the Noboribetsu Hot Spring town is a unique tourist attraction. This park keeps about 100 Hokkaido brown bears at all time. These brown bears are known to be the largest land animal in Japan and can be found only in Hokkaido. It is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can enjoy the bears, each with their own unique characters, and the charms of a unique facility.
HOW TO GET THERE
- About 1 hour 40 minutes by car from Sapporo, 10 minutes from Hokkaido Expressway Noboribetsu-higashi Interchange.
Japanese cuisineJapanese cuisine known as Washoku. It is refined and elegant and has been cooking for thousands of years. As a result, Japanese food evolved into a unique culinary tradition.
RamenRamen is a Japanese soup dish. Ramen basically consists of a hot soup, noodles and garnishes for flavour. The primary types of Ramen soup flavours are Miso, Shio and Shoyu.
SashimiSashimi is a traditional Japanese dish. Sashimi is fresh, raw fish that is sliced very thinly and served uncooked without rice. The simplicity of sashimi lends itself well to aesthetically pleasing dishes.
Ekiben (Railway Boxed Meals)- Chirashi zushi (Decoration Sushi)The Railway Boxed Meals known as Ekiben are a specific type of Boxed Meals sold on trains and train stations in Japan. Usually, it does offer a tasty Chirashi Zushi (vinegared rice topped with an assortment of fish and other ingredients) at its station!
SweetsTraditional Japanese sweets are known as wagashi which is often served with tea, especially the types made of mochi, azuki bean paste, and fruits.
TempuraTempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been lightly battered and deep fried. Tempura batter absorbs less oil, making it a healthier option for deep-frying and giving the dish a less greasy finish.
Shiroi Koibito Park Shiroi Koibito Park is equipped with a prayer room located on the second floor of the Tudor House. The prayer room is separated into men and women prayer rooms, with wudhu' facilities and qibla marks. The prayer room is opened from 9:00 to 19:00.
Rusutsu Resort The resort provides a praying area for Muslim visitors. The prayer room is equipped with prayer mats and even slippers to wear in the wudhu' facility. Prayer room users may also borrow compasses to find out the Mecca direction. The resort also prepares menus that will allow Muslim visitors to enjoy Hokkaido foods while observing the Halal principles. In 2012 when the resort facility is certified, restaurants in this resort are certified Halal, making them the first non-Muslim restaurants to conform with Halal standards in Japan.
Otaru Mosque The construction of the Masjid Al-Noor was started in June, 2008 and completed in February, and the Masjid Al-Noor Otaru was officially registered as an Islamic religious institution with the Government of Japan on 1st of October, 2013. The mosque located in the most northern part of Japan.
Chitose Outlet Mall RERA The prayer room in the mall was established back in September 2012. With an area of about 30 square meters, the prayer room is separated into male and female praying areas of the size of about 3-meter square each, completely equipped with facilities for wudhu' and mats for shoes. The prayer room is opened during business hours from 10:00 to 19:00.