Exploring the Wilderness of Hokkaido

Hokkaido University began as Sapporo Agricultural College (SAC) and at that time, Sapporo was a small city of about 3,000 people in a vast wilderness. When Inazo Nitobe was a student at SAC, he and his classmates often went out with their teachers to explore the land and many of the graduates and teachers were instrumental in identifying and cataloging the flora and fauna of Hokkaido.
Although Hokkaido University is located in Sapporo, now the largest city in Hokkaido with 1.8 million residents, current students can still explore the wilderness that exists in other parts of the island. World Heritage site Shiretoko is a popular destination and students might have the chance to see red-crowned (Japanese) cranes or brown bears. Many students are also drawn to Hokkaido’s winter. Many students experience snow for the first time and learning how to walk on the snow and ice is a challenge. The snow is also attractive to skiiers and snowboarders from around the world.