Hokkaido (北海道, Hokkaidō) is Japan’s second largest and most northerly island that remained largely isolated from the mainland for much of its history, populated by the indigenous Ainu people. Today, the population of Hokkaido is concentrated in Sapporo, the capital, and around the area to the southwest, and much of the island is vast expanses of green.

Hokkaido is known for its natural beauty, cold winters, and fresh seafood. Many Japanese visit the island in the winter for skiing on snow that is reputedly some of the best in the world, and in the summer to avoid the humid and hot climate on the other islands of Japan.

Owning to the size of the prefecture of Hokkaido, it is divided into 14 sub-prefectures called shichō (支庁), but these can be more conveniently grouped together to form the southern, central, northern, and eastern areas.

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