Hokkaido, Japan, is popular for its snow-capped mountains and ski resorts during the winter season. But what happens in summer? In June, we were lucky enough to check into Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido for its grand summer opening. Here’s our list of top things to do in Hokkaido when it’s not snowing outside!
#1 Seek adventure in the mountains
Guided by the resort’s experienced “GOs” (Gentil Organisateurs – the name given to Club Med employees worldwide), the mountain biking experience at Club Med Tomamu is a must-try for one simple reason: the splendid views! It’s suitable for all levels, too – even beginners. If you prefer walking, the all-inclusive resort offers guided hiking tours. We opted for an hour-long hike up a hill and were rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the property and its beautiful natural surrounds.
#2 Immerse yourself in a sea of clouds at Unkai Terrace
Take it from us: however you plan your itinerary, make sure you monitor the weather forecast a day before visiting Unkai Terrace. The gondola that takes you up to the terrace is highly dependent on weather conditions. We made the mistake of pushing back our Unkai trip to our final morning (4.30am, to be exact) in Hokkaido; unfortunately, the gondola and viewing terrace were closed due to slight drizzle and extreme wind. Unkai means sea of clouds, so if you’re lucky, you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of clouds – we heard it’s super surreal!
#3 Explore Farm Tomita’s lavender fields
We know how tempting it is to lie in bed all day when you’re on holiday (especially if you’re staying somewhere as comfortable as this) but a day-trip gives you a taste of what the region has to offer, beyond resort boundaries. Located 90 minutes by car from Club Med is Furano’s Farm Tomita, a hotspot for its flower-filled fields. Apart from a wide spread of fresh blooms in all shapes, sizes and colours, here you’ll also find one of the oldest lavender fields in Japan, set against a scenic backdrop of mountains. We went in mid-June and while the flowers weren’t in full bloom, we could smell a faint lavender scent wafting through the air. The best time to visit is early to mid-July when the blooming season is at its peak.
#4 Visit the famed Blue Pond in Biei
From Farm Tomita, take a short detour to Blue Pond in Biei, an iconic tourist spot just half an hour away by car. The man-made pond was a result of works carried out on the Biei River to prevent mudflow after a nearby volcano (Mt Tokachi) had erupted in 1988. Apparently, the striking blue colour you see is a result of the accidental presence of minerals, including aluminium hydroxide, in the water.
#5 Take a dip in Japan’s largest indoor pool
Located just opposite Club Med Tomamu, Mina-Mina Beach offers a variety of family-friendly facilities and activities like a wave pool, paddle boarding and spa baths. Our hands-down favourite is Kirin-no Yu, an outdoor bath directly facing the rich forests of Tomamu. There’s also a sauna, steam room and heated relaxation room that uses aroma oils extracted from the plants and trees of Hokkaido. The best part? Towels, shampoo and soap are all provided for, so you don’t have to bring anything!
Where to stay?
Open since December 2017, Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido is an up-and-coming travel destination in both the winter and summer seasons. The all-inclusive resort covers full-board dining (and free-flow alcohol) at Itara – the main restaurant serving a wide variety of international and Japanese fare – most in-house activities like tennis, flying trapeze and hiking, as well as a comprehensive kids’ club programme. It’s a 75-minute drive from Chitose International Airport, and 40 minutes by car from Obihiro Domestic Airport.
Check out Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido’s summer offerings.
Liked this? Head to our Travel section for more:
Your essential guide for visiting Japan
Shopping in Jaipur: where to go and what you need to see