What's the Weather like in Hokkaido in April
Spring weather makes a tentative start in Hokkaido in April and now is the first time of the year when you can catch a glimpse of flower fields, colourful skunk cabbage and cherry blossoms slowly bloom into life. The snow starts to melt in the plains but a most definite cover is still very much visible on the highest peaks of Hokkaido. For the first time this year, you should enjoy average daily temperatures above freezing for the entire month.
Highs of 11°C and night-time lows of 3°C make this a much more comfortable month in which to spend many endless days outdoors and this is certainly true the further the month progresses. Although temps can be very much in the single digits for the first half of the month, random days in the low 20s can certainly be common in the last two weeks, very similar to Sapporo. Always pack a jacket, however, as cold fronts in Hokkaido can be sneaky.
Sunshine Hours and Rain
There is a very definite ying and yang to the April climate, as although the average daily sunshine increases to 6 hours, the rainfall also increases slightly from March, to reach an expected 79mm. If you're planning to explore the whole island, it's definitely a good idea to start from the southern tip and slowly move northwards, to give the spring heat a time to catch up with you.
Average Sea Temperature
The average sea temperature this month increase slightly to 7°C.
Hokkaido Hotels in April
Yunokawa Prince Nagisatei
Hakodate is a large coastal city in the southern half of Hokkaido and is a gorgeous place to visit in April. For a luxury stay, choose the Yunokawa Prince Nagisatei, one of the very best accommodation choices in town. This grand hotel boasts 115 rooms, some of which boast private balcony hot spas and uninterrupted ocean views. If you can stretch your holiday budget, you'll be infinitely rewarded! In addition, the hotel offers three types of dinners to its guests: a Japanese style dinner with local seafood, buffet style with a variety of cuisines and a sushi dinner.
Pension Puppy Tail
For a less extravagant yet equally delightful stay, then check out the Pension Puppy Tail, which offers a cosy and friendly family stay at a great price. The lovely couple who runs this B&B may not speak much English, but will go to much effort to help you in any way they can. A country-style charming option ideal for budget-travellers, the Puppy Tail is not very central yet easily accessible on public transport.
Hakodateyama Guest House
If you're looking for a half-way option then the Hakodateyama Guest House may be just the thing for you. The hilltop guesthouse boasts some truly amazing views yet has the feel and comfort of a home away from home. The decor is rustic, manager delightful and the whole place has a gorgeous cosy feel. Pack your bags with snacks and drinks before you check in, but note that there is a delicious noodle stand and public bath just a few minutes' walk away. Choose this place and you'll enjoy (almost) the views of the Yunokawa and the warmth of the Puppy Tail. A perfect combination.
Ski Resorts in Hokkaido
Although Hakodate's southern location means it will be warmer here than on the northern part of Hokkaido, you'll still have a chance for a day or two of skiing. There are a total of 5 resorts in proximity to the city, yet although 3 are within a 30km radius, two are a little further out and may necessitate an overnight stay.
Hakodate Nanae is merely 20 odd kms north of town and although it's quite small and subtle by international standards it still boasts a 683m vertical descent and plenty of runs for novice and intermediate skiers and snow boarders. This resort has 8 runs and three ski lifts and extends its opening season every year depending on snow fall so do check conditions before visiting.
Noboribetsu Ski Resort
Noboribetsu ski resort is a little larger than Hakodate Nanae, located 200kms north of Hakodate and boasts 7 lifts, 7 runs and a 400m descent. This resort is also suitable for novice and intermediate skiers but also offers plenty of action for experienced skiers as well. This resort town is also renowned for its incredible onsens so make sure you take some time out for a therapeutic, hot bath.
Bars and Restaurants
Hakodate's morning markets are a bustling scene of frenzy from 6am and are the ideal place to head to early if you want to savour a steaming hot, seafood rice bowl (called domburi) for breakfast. Over 300 stalls under one roof is what you'll find here, and although much of it will be pure eye-candy (unless you have self-catering facilities) you'll also find a plethora of ready to eat local specialties.
While in Hakodate, make reservations at the Lucky Pierrot, a truly unique dining experience. This kitschy eatery is full of bright and colourful decorations and offers larger-than-life meals. You can order gigantic sandwiches like the Chinese Chicken Hamburger, the Lucky Egg Hamburger or the Mt. Hakodate Hamburger, which could probably feed a whole family. Best of all, all of the food is locally sourced, home-made and very delicious.
Things to do in Hokkaido in April
Your first order of business, when you reach Hakodate, is to view it from its highest viewpoint. Head up to Mount Hakodate after dusk and enjoy breathtaking night views of this incredibly beautiful coastal city. It will take you just a few minutes by rope car to reach the summit and you'll be so impressed with the sparkling sight that you may well be enticed to come back on a crystal clear April day to enjoy it during the daytime as well.
The Yunokawa Hot Springs
The Yunokawa hot springs are the city's foremost steamy attraction, and very easy to reach from all corners of the city. Although mostly renowned for its luxury spa resorts, there are also plenty of public baths which you can visit for the day. This is the last month where you'll get the chance to experience a truly unique sight: that of Japanese macaque monkeys soaking their cold bones in the baths of the Hakodate Botanical Gardens.
Goryokaku and Motomachi
History lovers will enjoy both Goryokaku (a mid 19th century fortress) and Motomachi, the historical centre of Hokkaido. Between the Old Public Hall, Russian Orthodox Church and the Gogoku Shrine (among many other attractions) will keep culture aficionados quite busy for at least an entire day.