The northernmost of Japan’s four islands, Hokkaido famously receives up to 18 metres of snow every year direct from Siberia, so locals know a thing or two about staying warm in an onsen! Whether you visit during peak snow season or in another season, the temperate climates are ideal for a visit to the many traditional onsen that dot Hokkaido.
Noboribetsu Onsen is the source of some of the highest quality spring water in all of Japan. That also makes Noboribetsu one of the most popular onsen in Japan, and their Jigokudani, or Hell Valley (don’t mind the name, it’s not that hot!) sees tourists flock from all over to Japan and beyond to visit its soothing waters.
Deep within the stunning Shiretoko National Park you will find Kamuiwakka Onsen, less of a traditional spa as it is a warm mountain stream. Kamuiwakka is best suited to those with a sense of adventure as reaching its natural basin, below a hot waterfall, requires a moderate 20-minute climb.
If that wild watery adventure isn’t your cup of hot tea, a visit to the decidedly more placid Toyako Onsen might be more to your taste. This hot spring resort sits at the shores of Lake Toya, which resides beneath the magnificence of Mount Uzu, an active volcano.