Discover the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan, with spectacular scenery and hot mineral springs.

Yearning to escape the cold winter and fly to somewhere exotic and warm? Hokkaido, an island of Japan, offers a surprisingly temperate climate – and ample opportunities for relaxation and taking in the stunning surrounds.
July to August is peak season for viewing Hokkaido’s vast rolling lavender fields. Blanketing hillsides around the picturesque town of Furano the purple flowers bloom en masse in a spectacular display. Either side of the lavender season, the region’s farmland is awash with the colours of poppies, lupins and sunflowers.

Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital city, is known for its refreshing beer. Established during the Meiji period, Sapporo is the oldest Japanese beer brand. Housed in a brewery dating from this period the Sapporo Beer Museum tells the fascinating story ­of brewing in Japan, with tastings of the delicious brew.

Hokkaido also provides the ultimate in rejuvenation. Unwind in the island’s onsen – natural mineral hot springs. The resort town, Noboribetsu, promises eleven kinds of thermal waters, indoor and open-air. And to view something truly unique, head outside town where the springs feed Hell Valley’s hot-water ponds. Here, steam shoots from the ground and you’ll notice the other visitors, too ­– curious snow monkeys, who emerge from the forest into this otherworldly landscape.

While other parts of Asia endure their mid-year rainy season, Hokkaido’s warm and dry climate offers the perfect escape for city-weary Sydneysiders.

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