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HOKKAIDO, in the far north of Japan, is an entertaining Asian winter playground that has, over the years, stamped itself firmly on the travel calendar. Say “ski” and the response will be “Sapporo”. While the snows, partying crowds and winter ice-carving carnivals will not disappoint, Hokkaido Island is also an attractive summer destination.

There are spas, hikes, rides, scenic vistas at every turn and a dramatic, scenic coastline. In winter, however, the place really comes into its own. For a true taste of Japan skiing and white powder, Hokkaido ski resorts and hotels offer an attractive range for all wallets.

As Japan’s fifth largest city, Sapporo has grown by leaps and bounds. The city’s population was all of seven in 1857! Sapporo Breweries, the oldest beer company in Japan, set up shop here in 1877 and runs the Sapporo Beer Museum. This was renovated in 2004 and has developed into one of the city’s major draws, with official “Hokkaido Heritage” recognition. Alas the tours are in Japanese but English audio tapes are available.

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