Hokuto Travel Guide
Situated at the base of the Japanese Southern Alps, Hokuto is a beloved alpine getaway from many Japanese who live on Honshu.
With cooler weather than the lowlands during the oppressively humid summers and stunning colours in the fall, we think you will enjoy your stay here as well.
Come check out our Hokuto guide of travel as we cover the best things to do in Hokuto, Japan.
Begin your time in Hokuto by spending a couple hours admiring art at the Hirayama Ikuo Silk Road Museum. An institution that opened in 2004 to display the works of the now late artist Hirayama Ikuo, it exhibits art he created, along with pieces made by artists in countries located along the historic route of the Silk Road.
Within, you’ll find over 9,000 pieces crafted in a variety of styles, from ancient Middle Eastern forms to modern works. Paintings, drawings, sculpture, and other forms of visual art are shown off here, giving the passionate art lover plenty to do on a day where the weather makes other activities in the region inconvenient or impossible.
This centre also hosts concerts from performing artists located along this ancient route, so be sure to check a performance out if you have the chance to do so.
While Japan is most famous for contributing sake to the wide world of alcoholic drinks, it also enjoys a stellar reputation for the quality of its whiskey. Learn more about how the most prominent brand of this drink is made by touring the Suntory Distillery.
Making full use of the pure water that is in abundance at the foot of the Japanese Southern Alps, some of the world’s finest alcohol is produced in more than a dozen stills in their flagship facility. The smell of freshly cooked whiskey will make dedicated drinkers thirsty throughout the tour; fear not, though, as samples are provided to those at the end of the tour.
To ensure you are served, be sure you have sober transport after the tour, as the Japanese take a very dim view of intoxicated driving of any sort. To avoid being too heavily affected by the sampling, it is also advised that you avoid doing this tour on an empty stomach – as such, grabbing lunch before going is strongly recommended.
Get a taste of the gorgeous outdoors that Hokuto is famous for by paying a visit to Makiba Park. Situated at the refreshing elevation of 1,100 metres above sea level in the Yatsugatake Mountains, it offers much more than just stunning views – with a petting zoo, sheep farm, and pony riding available it is the perfect place to go as a family while on a visit to Hokuto.
After visiting with these adorable animals, grab some food and refreshments at the on-site restaurant, which makes its meals mostly from locally produced meats and produce.
If you find yourself in the Hokuto area between late July to mid-August, be sure to check out the Akeno Sunflower Festival. Celebrating the blossoming of these stunning flowers, which number more than 600,000 at the peak of the season, you won’t just have the chance to take amazing selfies with these photogenic plants, but you’ll also be able to sample local food from a variety of stalls as well.
Nature lovers will want to make room in their travel schedule to check out Doryuno Falls during their visit to Hokuto. While it is not large in scale, it makes up for it in its quaint appearance, flowing down the side of a mountain in a manner that resembles a bridal veil.
Do not miss this place in Autumn, as the fall colours combine with the waterfall and the grand mountains in the distance to create unforgettable photo opportunities.
After a family visit to Makiba Park, relax together by spending an afternoon enjoying the summer sun at Verdant Garden Verga. A family fun park offering shallow cool pools (along with a centrepiece pool featuring a picturesque man-made waterfall), it is the perfect accompaniment to a hot summer day. If you feel like unwinding in hot water, there is also an Onsen on-site, so take advantage of it if you have spent a long day hiking in the wilderness surrounding Hokuto.
Cherry trees are not an unusual sight in Japan, as they can be found across the country from south to north. However, do make an effort to visit the Jindai Cherry Blossom at Jissoji Temple if you are here during blossom season.
Estimated to have been planted at least 1,800 years ago, this haggardly looking tree is thought to be the oldest of its kind in Japan. This means it was likely planted in ancient times when emperors and shoguns ruled this archipelago.