15. Jan 2023 | Nature

Hokkaido Trivia – Which Side Has More Snow?

We had extremely warm days recently, as warm as in April  But it was only for 2 days and we’re back to the normal Hokkaido weather.

If you’re following the weather forecast in Hokkaido, you might have realized that it snows more on the western coast along the Sea of Japan than on the Pacific and Okhotsk coast.  Just a week ago, Sapporo, Otaru, Iwamizawa and all the towns in the western side of Hokkaido were coping with heavy snow that even affected their infrastructure. At the same time, Abashiri (and probably other towns) in the eastern side were wondering when can we ever open our ski courses! ?  As of January 14, the ski course in Abashiri has yet to open due to lack of snow.

The Hidaka mountain range that runs in the middle of Hokkaido like a backbone of this island, changes the climate from west to east.  More snow on the western side and comparatively little snow on the eastern side.

Speaking of Abashiri, it’s also the drift ice that covers the Okhotsk Sea that prevents heavy snow here.  The ice plays the role of a “lid” on the ocean, that prevents steam to rise and form snow clouds.

So, if you’re here in Hokkaido for LOTS of snow, you might be more satisfied with Sapporo, Otaru and their nearby towns.  But as a resident, I’m grateful that I live in this eastern Hokkaido – just the right amount of snow to enjoy winter!

Do take care in your winter activities, and enjoy your visit to Hokkaido!!

Mail box completely covered in snow