Hokkaido vs Okinawa: Which One Should You Visit??

Hokkaido or Okinawa.. Which city is the best holiday destination in Japan?

Northern treasure or southern paradise ?? If you ever wonder which one of two greatest parts of Japan to visit , this article may help. Introducing Hokkaido and Okinawa, and which one is better than another at many prospects 😉

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Just by seeing the size of the land, Hokkaido obviously offers vast wild nature and dynamic landscapes. It’s colourful in summer time with blooming flowers and fresh greens, and in winter, it turns into white wonderland covered by snow. On the other hand, Okinawa itself might be much smaller comparing to Hokkaido, but it is consists of 363 islands in total. The prefecture owns hundreds of world-class beautiful beaches which attract divers from around the world, and the untouched wild tropical rain forest.

Conclusion: Simply if you love hot weather and beaches, head to Okinawa! If you are seeking for beautiful nature, landscapes and don’t care about bikini, Hokkaido is a better choice.

Recommended activities in Hokkaido!
Furano & Tomita Farm Day Tour with All-You-Can-Eat Melon
▷  Asahiyama Zoo & Biei Blue Pond Day Trip in Hokkaido 

Recommended activities in Okinawa!
Nagannu Island Swimming Experience from Okinawa
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium


Hokkaido might be the most gourmet place in Japan, as it’s super rich in seafood, dairy and agricultural products. I bet you there is never enough time to try all their local food while you are in Hokkaido. However, Okinawa is one of the rarest places which developed their own food culture which is not similar to any other places. Also because it’s a tropical island, Okinawa is gifted with delicious fruits.

Conclusion: If you generally love seafood, such as crabs, tunas and salmon, Hokkaido wins your heart. But if you are a challenge seeker, Okinawa may bring you more delicious surprise.

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Both prefectures have their own long-time histories. Hokkaido has traditional Ainu culture and Ainu people still exist today but tourists would not see or meet their culture unless visiting museums. Okinawa has strong culture as it was previously developed as one country called “Ryukyu”. People in Okinawa still speak very unique Japanese language and there are still many traditional style houses and numbers of historical sights.

Conclusion: Both have most interesting native cultures in Japan but it strongly remains in Okinawa !

Traffic and Transportation

Both prefectures are highly recommended to travel by self driving as transportation is not frequent like other big cities in Japan. Their roads are wide and heavy traffic jam very rarely occurs. Some cities in Hokkaido like Sapporo and Hakodate offers tourist great transportation within cities. Hokkaido has numbers of scenic driving roads through the nature while Okinawa owns breezy drive-way by the coast and some bridges with spectacular views. If you are willing to hop a few islands in Okinawa, ferry is the only way and it may slow down your trip.

Conclusion: They are two best prefectures to drive in Japan!

Check out the best itineraries in Hokkaido and Okinawa in 3–7 days!

3 Days Itinerary: Sapporo, Hokkaido
1 Week Itinerary in CENTRAL HOKKAIDO

OKINAWA Itinerary for 3 Days
Okinawa Itinerary for 7 Days


Shopping is a must to do to complete our trip. Hokkaido offers millions of delicious options for visitors and their sweets and snacks are extremely popular. The best place to shops is New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido’s international airport has hundreds of shops for last minute shoppers. Okinawa also offers great souvenir snacks but more interesting things to shop is their traditional craft items. Kokusaidori Street is the biggest shopping area in Naha city.

Conclusion: Food→Hokkaido, Craft items→Okinawa

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Thanks for reading! Which two greatest cities of Japan do you like more?? Hokkaido and Okinawa are both one of the most attractive cities in Japan, so I’d strongly recommend you to visit both if you have a chance! Here are two articles suggesting the best highlights of Hokkaido and Okinawa!

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Written by

"The world is my oyster" A globetrotter 🌎 and hammock lover 🌞 who loves taking adventures to fuel wanderlust. Born and raised in Japan, I have lived and explored countries around the world. As a resident of Japan and based on my travel experience, I'd love to share my knowledge and tips for travelling Japan with my readers. I hope my story will help you plan your trip and have a great time in Japan 🌈