If you're a keen birdwatcher, or just like soaking up sublime scenery, the eastern side of Hokkaidō – Japan's northernmost prefecture and second-largest island – is definitely the place for you.
With miles of stunning countryside that's home to gushing waterfalls, gorgeous rugged coastline and wetlands brimming with bird life, you won't find anywhere else like this on the planet. It's holy ground for nature lovers.
But don't just take our word for it: with four of Japan's 32 national parks nestled within the region of Eastern Hokkaidō, you can be sure there's plenty of outdoors exploring to be done.
Start by heading to the waterways of the Kushiro Shitsugen Wetland National Park to see endangered birds like the red-crested crane in their own natural habitat, before spending some time visiting the stunning caldera lakes of Akan Mashu National Park for some of the world's clearest water and more than 150 different species of avian life.
Then, when you're done there, you've still got Daisetsuzan National Park to explore. In this vast wilderness of untouched mountains that's bigger than the entirety of some Japanese prefectures, there's plenty of snow and alpine blooms, as well as opportunities to mountaineer the park's challenging but accessible peaks with a guide.
Last, but by no means least, there's Shiretoko National Park, where you can explore more than 40,000 hectares of mountains, lakes, ice-inundated shores, meeting the dozens of wild species that call these varied habitats home as you go.
Then, when you fancy something completely different, you can be sure that East Hokkaidō has it up its sleeve: whether you want to head out in a boat from Mometsu to explore the vast ice floes of the Sea of Okhotsk or simply soak up the bucolic bliss of lavender fields in Furano, there's a type of scenery for every kind of traveller to enjoy and explore.Then of course, if you don't fancy doing that, in Hokkaidō there'll always be a hot spring for you to relax in.
Wondertrunk & Co's goal is to bring lesser-known parts of Japan into the global spotlight. They combine local voices with those of foreign travelers to transform these regions into destinations the whole world can enjoy. If this whets your appetite for Japanese adventures, read about Iriomote Island or head to wondertrunk.co for more info.