Averages for Hokkaido in June
June is an absolutely wonderful month to visit Hokkaido and it is now that the summer heat makes it first, very welcomed appearance. Average temps this month are 16°C, although this is mostly because a few cold evenings, with lows of 12°C, are still to be expected. In the daytime, highs of 20°C are the norm and towards the end of the month, when Hokkaido gets ready to welcome summer in full, you are much more likely to experience days in the mid-20...
June is an absolutely wonderful month to visit Hokkaido and it is now that the summer heat makes it first, very welcomed appearance. Average temps this month are 16°C, although this is mostly because a few cold evenings, with lows of 12°C, are still to be expected. In the daytime, highs of 20°C are the norm and towards the end of the month, when Hokkaido gets ready to welcome summer in full, you are much more likely to experience days in the mid-20s. It's the first time in the year when you can wear short-sleeves during the day, but the still sporadic climate means that you'll need to have a light jacket with you at all times.
Rainfall increases a little this month, with a total of 84mm of rain pouring on Hokkaido, making it slightly humid on certain days. Yet this is still nothing compared to what you'd expect on Japan's main island, as Hokkaido remains blissfully unaffected by the rain-season so prevalent further south. It may not rain every day in June, but overcast days are quite common. Warming sea temperatures will reach 14°C this month and it is now that water activities on Hokkaido's splendid lakes re-open for the tourist season. A total of 6 hours of daily sunshine make for fantastic sightseeing days out and about in Hokkaido.
Where to stay
June is the ideal time to visit Furano and its amazing blooming flower fields. Whilst there, stay at the New Furano Prince Hotel, a grand place set in a quiet rural location, which offers rooms overlooking the splendidly maintained gardens and nearby flower fields. A complimentary onsen, spacious rooms and great restaurant and cafe make it a lovely, relaxing base for exploring the nearby countryside.
If you're looking for a more homely stay then the Pension Lavender may be more your thing. This gorgeous guesthouse offers rooms with and without private bathrooms, is run by a very accommodating local family and boasts a brilliant shared living room, ideal for socialising at the end of a long day out. The breakfast is particularly good here, with many local fruits and specialties served. A simply divine, low key stay which feels more like staying at a friend's house rather than paid accommodation. Set on the base of the Tokachi Mountains, and overlooking an endless stretch of flower fields, this pension is particularly recommended for solo travellers or those who want a little home comfort whilst travelling.
Pension Lavender, Hokkaido.
Things to do
Lavender has been a main export of Hokkaido for more than 50 years, yet you'll find many more flowering blooms to admire in the months between from June and August. Although the entire island of Hokkaido can be described as one extensive flower bed, there are certain regions where dedicated farms are open to the public. When in Furano, visit the Tomita Farm, by far the most popular spot for flower-loving visitors. As the place gets jam packed at the height of summer, June's a great time to visit as the crowds are still relatively sparse. The seemingly endless fields, with Mt Tokachi in the background are extremely photogenic and a splendour at sunset. The farm shop sells lovely lavender based products in case you want to take home a unique souvenir. Tomita's second farm, which is only 4kms away, covers an area of 14 hectares, and is the largest lavender field in Furano.
Flower Land Kamifurano is another popular attraction, where you can take tractor rides through the colourful fields or, alternatively, you can also self drive around the farm if you have a rental car. This farm is arguably just as precious as Tomita, but receives far fewer visitors, which can make it much more enticing for some.
If you want to enjoy the sight of several lavender and flower fields, then hop on the Furano-Biei Norokko train, which travels through several plains and gifts absolutely fantastic views. Check out this website for this and other great public transport options between Sapporo and Furano.
Get out and about!
After you've had your fill of lavender and flower fields, you may also want to explore the other wonders of this lovely region. The Daisetsuzan National Park is considered the wildest park in Hokkaido and is also the largest in Japan. This amazing hiker's paradise is not only close enough to Furano to visit on a day trip (only 50km away) but is also particularly ideal as a June destination. The temperatures, at this time of year, are just perfect even though you may see some snow patches which have yet to melt. Home to rugged plains, over 20 vertiginous peaks and countless alpine lakes and pristine streams, this place is a nature lover's paradise. This remote park is brimming with trails, yet as signs are in Japanese and the terrain quite challenging, it is highly recommended you take plenty of supplies, warm clothing and a detailed map which you can pick up from your hotel.
Daisetsuzan National Park, Hokkaido.
If you'd like to visit one of the most unknown towns in Hokkaido, then head north for about 60kms and spend a day in beautiful Asahikawa. The city's amazing zoo and aquarium (the largest and most popular in Japan) boasts incredible polar bear, seal and emperor penguin enclosures, with underwater glass tunnels which allow visitors to get up and very close to these amazing creatures. Aside the zoo, which is definitely reason enough to visit, Asahikawa is also enticing as you will likely be the only western tourist about. The city may be very popular among Japanese, but seems to exist way below the foreign tourist radar.
Dining and drinking out
No trip to Japan is ever complete without a little epicurean splurging, and if you visit Hokkaido you will definitely be in for an incredible gastronomic experience. Furano in particular boasts some fantastic eateries, cafes and bars.
For a delicious Japanese-style BBQ, head to Shiraka Genghis Khan, where you can select your favourite cuts of meat and cook them on your own table's centre grill plate. This chain of BBQ restaurants have sprung up all over Hokkaido, yet the Furano branch is said to be one of the very best. The all-you-can-eat lamb feast is the absolute meal to try and, of course, you could complement your meal with bottomless mugs of locally made Japanese beer. There is a great little cafe' next door to the restaurant which serves yummy custard cakes so make sure you leave some room for dessert!
If you want to flavour a scrumptious local specialty, then head to Kumagera for mouth-watering beef sashimi rice bowls, their absolute signature dish. This restaurant also makes a fantastic duck hot-pot and gets quite busy at dinnertime so you may have to share a table with other patrons, which just adds to the fun.