Hokkaido is located in a cool temperate zone, as opposed to the temperate zone of Honshu, Japan's main island. There are four distinct seasons here, and the area is characterized by low temperatures and low humidity throughout the year. It offers a wealth of natural beauty and marked seasonal changes in scenery.
Temperatures are lower than in December, and warm clothes are indispensable. However, it is very warm indoors, and heavy outdoor clothing might be too much when you come in from the cold. Unless you are staying outdoors all day, it is best to have an outfit that is easy to put on and take off.It is very dry indoors because of the warm air conditioning. Be careful of static electricity or dryness of the skin. Road surfaces can be as slippery as skating rinks.
Winter shoes sold in Hokkaido have non-slip rubber soles. Check whether your shoes have these soles. If not, or if you are unaccustomed to walking on icy roads, it may be advisable to use non-slip attachments (available at airports, souvenir shops etc.).
February sees continued cold temperatures outside, but it is warm indoors. Care needs to be taken in choosing what to wear in terms of temperature adjustment.
Temperatures remain very low in the mornings and evenings, but the number of sunny days starts to increase. During snowfall, the wind rarely blows and it is not so cold. However, when the wind is strong, it is cold enough to make your ears sting. Be sure to prepare cold-weather protection gear.
Snow remains in Hokkaido in March. It is rather cold in the mornings and evenings, but snow begins to melt in the warm spring sunshine, and butterbur sprouts appear in the mountains and on empty ground. The number of days with fine weather increases, and most people wear light coats when going out. Hokkaido has heavy, wet snow or rain at this time of year. If rain is forecast, it is a good idea to take a folding umbrella.
The higher frequency of warm days causes snow to melt and plants to bud all at once.It feels like spring, but temperatures are not so high.
It is still cold in the mornings and evenings, but Hokkaidoites wear light coats from late March onward, and rooms are kept at a comfortable temperature. It is a good idea to have a light spring coat that is easy to put on and take off, as well as several layers of clothing.
The dusty conditions found in spring are unique to Hokkaido, and are caused by sand scattered to add traction and trash that was covered with snow during winter. These tend to accumulate on roads and are blown around by the wind.
Those who wear contact lenses should take care.
Various flowers begin to bloom from around May.
Cherry blossoms peak at this time of year, with the cherry blossom front crossing Hokkaido between late April and late June.
There are more warm days, but it is still cold in the mornings and evenings. A coat is necessary when going out for cherry blossom viewing or at night.
June is a month when many flowers bloom in Hokkaido.
Hokkaido has the lowest rainfall of the year between May and July, and nice weather continues. It is light from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. at this time of year in Sapporo, resulting in many hours of sunshine. It is an ideal climate for trips.
Hokkaido enjoys dry, crisp weather in July and August.
It is an ideal season for trips, enabling visitors to savor the beautiful summer of the region.
Temperatures can reach 30 degrees Celsius during the day, and most people wear short-sleeved clothes. However, as it is cooler in the mornings and evenings, it is advisable to take light, long-sleeved clothes when going out.
Fall is in full swing, and it gets colder every time it rains.
Autumn leaves can be seen on the mountains toward the end of the month.
As the wind gets colder, the northern air becomes clearer and the most beautiful skies of the year can be seen. Coats are needed both day and night.
Many sunny days can be expected in October, and autumn leaves are seen even on the plains. Toward the end of the month, autumnal colors can be seen throughout Hokkaido.
At the same time, the first snow falls and temperatures drop, turning rain into snow in the mountains.
Be sure to take a warm coat and a light stole or muffler when going out, especially at night, as temperatures can drop as low as zero degrees Celsius.
November brings the winter cold.
People begin heating their houses and wearing light winter coats around November.
Early in the month, all of Hokkaido is covered with autumn leaves, while more snowy days are seen from mid-to-late November.
In addition to a coat, a muffler and gloves are necessary to keep the hands and neck warm.
1Hokkaido has more snowy days in December. As the snow is wet, a folding umbrella comes in handy.
Snow covers the roads between December and February, often melting during the day but freezing again in the morning and evening.
At night in particular, treacherous black-ice road conditions are found. Roads look dry, but are as slippery as skating rinks. Care must be taken when going out at night.
Outdoor temperatures are low, but indoors may feel too hot due to heating. Prepare clothes that are easy to put on and take off.