The untouched natural beauty of Hokkaido’s many mountains and lakes is a wonder to explore at any time, but if you visit during the delightful summer months, you can enjoy an incredible array of hiking and mountain biking trails that would otherwise be covered in snow during winter. For a casual hike overlooking Sapporo, take the ropeway to the top of Mt Moiwa, a small peak with a cable car and an overlook just south of the city center.
If you’d rather get out of town for a few days, consider Lake Shikotsu, an idyllic crater lake in Shikotsu-Toya National Park. The lake is surrounded by volcanic peaks where you can camp, hike and bike, or you can explore the caldera of Mt Tarumae, one of the region's most active volcanoes. Afterwards, head to the lake’s northern shore for a dip in the open-air lakeside hot springs.
Hikers and mountain bikers should also take a trip to Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan’s largest national park. This spot boasts mountains, rivers, waterfalls and forests, while also being the home of the Sounkyo Gorge. You can rent bicycles in the town of Sounkyo to explore deep into the gorge, where plunging waterfalls crisscross 300-foot cliffs and dramatic rock formations rise from the lush forests.