Noboribetsu Onsen © Kentaro Ohno
The famous hot-spring resort of Noboribetsu Onsen is situated inside the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. The spa complex is one of many found in Hokkaido, but being closest to Sapporo is very popular. Hot mineral springs gush out about 10,000 tons of water a day, and it is said to have healing properties for a range of disorders. There are more than 30 hotels and bath houses grouped together along a narrow street along with shops, souvenir stores and whatever else visitors may need. The street itself is not particularly picturesque but the natural surroundings are beautiful, with the hot water originating in the sulphuric volcanic springs above the resort. The area is also known for its cherry trees, which make a stunning sight in spring, and there are some worthwhile hiking trails in the park. If you're after luxury you can find high-end accommodation and spa treatments that are some of the best in the country but there are also cheaper options for those travelling on a budget. It is possible at some spots to bathe in the natural springs outdoors, which is the most atmospheric option. The springs are a popular excursion from Sapporo and the trip can easily be made in a day, which is all you need to enjoy the relaxing hot water.