Shikotsu-Toya National Park
Begin your tour of national parks here at one of the most popular. Not far from Sapporo this park has several gorgeous lakes and volcanoes. It is also home to two canyons several hundred meters long, blanketed in thick moss. These canyons also have no entrance fee.
Daisetsuzan National Park
Head east and you can find Daisetsuzan National Park situated right in the center of the main island. This is Japan’s largest national park. There are no train stops anywhere in the park so a car rental in Hokkaido is an excellent option for getting here. Daisetsuzan approximately translates to “great snowy mountains,” so plan for snowy conditions from October to June. In some places patches of snow remain year round! Those looking for a challenging hike should considering stopping by.
Akan and Shiretoko National Parks
Continuing your road trip in Hokkaido heading east there are two more parks. The first is Akan, featuring mysterious lakes. Then situated on an eastern peninsula arrive at Shiretoko park. Besides having more beautiful lakes and hot springs, this park is home to Japan’s largest bear population. Most hikers wear tiny bells to warn of their location. But don’t worry: Bears usually shy away from any human contact.