Five Great Things About Hokkaido
I have just spent a few days at Hokkaido and I am reminded of why I like it so much. In no specific order, I especially appreciate the:
Skiing – I was just at Niseko for three days of skiing. The snow was superb and even in the middle of January there were no lift lines. In fact, I did some night skiing on a Friday night and at times felt I had my own private ski resort. And Hokkaido is dotted with other excellent ski resorts such as Furano, Kiroro, and Sapporo Teine.
Golf – Some of the best golf courses in Japan are in Hokkaido, including Hokkaido Classic Golf Club where I have provided turfgrass advisory services for the past two years. The courses in Hokkaido are notable for using cool-season grass.
Most courses in the other parts of Japan have tees, fairways, and roughs composed of warm-season grasses. Hokkaido Classic Golf Club is also the place where I first ate ジンギスカン, which leads to the third thing I really like about Hokkaido . . .
Food – Hokkaido is blessed with an abundance of good food. Potatoes, grains, dairy products, fish, meats, crab, and sundry prepared products make this one of the best places to eat in all of Japan. For lamb try the Matsuo ジンギスカン. For crab try Kani Honke. Everyone knows Sapporo beer. More people should try Nikka Whisky. From chocolate-covered potato chips to camembert cheese cake, the Marusei butter sandwich or the buta-don at Obihiro, there is a great food at Hokkaido.
Chitose Airport (CTS) – Yes, I list an airport as one of the great things about Hokkaido. This is one of my two favorite airports (along with PDX). The New Chitose Airport serves Sapporo and is the gateway to Hokkaido. The airport is spacious, has scores of excellent restaurants serving some of the afore-mentioned foods, has scores of shops selling some of the afore-mentioned delicacies, and if you ask nicely it is often possible to get a free sample before purchasing, which is even better.
Natural environment – Hokkaido is a beautiful island with lots of wildlife. On the golf courses it is common to see foxes, large raptors, and sometimes bears.