HIDDEN HOKKAIDO

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IWANAI

When you dream of Hokkaido, several places come to mind.  Sapporo with its annual Snow Festival, Hakodate with its stunning night view, or Shiretoko with its expansive untouched nature.  It’s no surprise why these and other well-known destinations leave such deep impressions on its visitors.  With inbound tourism reaching an all-time high, it's about time visitors began exploring the lesser known and overlooked.  Let me tell you a few reasons why you shouldn't skip Iwanai on your next Hokkaido vacation.

WINE & DINE

Iwanai has the most snack bars per capita in Hokkaido and is ranked 11th in all of Japan.  On top of that, there are over 40 restaurants serving up a variety of Japanese favorites.  Iwanai has also developed a reputation for offering some of the best sushi in Japan.  Truly a foodie's paradise, come enjoy the cuisine and stick around for a few drinks .

Ikura served on rice

Ikura served on rice

CULTURE

Iwanai is one of the oldest towns in the region.  Unlike many Hokkaido towns, it predates the Meiji era, having started as a seasonal fishing village in 1450,  With its long history come some unique traditions. Visit the first week of July for the annual Iwanai Shrine festival. One of Hokkaido’s oldest festivals, you can eat delicious local food and witness authentic rituals most tourist never see.

Iwanai Shrine Mikoshi

Iwanai Shrine Mikoshi

POWDER CAT TOUR

Iwanai is where the power meets the Sea of Japan.  The best way to access a blissful day of first-line untracked powder is by snowcat.  Iwanai Resort snowcat tours offer deep snow, home cooked food, superior customer service and arguably the best terrain on the island. There aren't many places on the planet where you can ski deep powder all day, right on the ocean.

Deep powder and ocean front views

Deep powder and ocean front views

PICASSO

The Arai Memorial Art Museum at Kogen Hotel is the largest privately owned Picasso collection in Asia.  Over 160 original sketches and paintings make this museum a must see Truly one of Iwanai's amazing destinations, come check out the Picasso exhibit this summer.

Arai Memorial Picasso exhibit

Arai Memorial Picasso exhibit