Cultures & Traditions of Chitose: A Local Guide to History, Customs, Festivals

Cultures & Traditions of Chitose:
A Local Guide to History, Customs, Festivals

Cultures & Traditions of Chitose: A Local Guide to History, Customs, Festivals

Welcome to the charming city of Chitose, located in Hokkaido, a northern island of Japan. Immerse yourself in the rich cultures and traditions of this region, known for its breathtaking natural beauty and warm hospitality. In this guide, explore the fascinating history, vibrant customs, and exciting festivals that make Chitose a unique and memorable destination.


Chitose's history dates back to the Jomon period, with evidence of early human settlements found in the area. In the Edo period, Chitose flourished as a post town along the trade route connecting Sapporo and Kushiro. Later, it became an important railway junction, contributing to its growth as a regional hub.

During World War II, Chitose played a significant role as a military airbase. Today, remnants of this military presence can be seen in the form of air museums and historic sites. The city has since transformed into a modern urban center while embracing its historical heritage.

Customs and Etiquette

When visiting Chitose, it's essential to respect local customs and etiquette. The Japanese culture emphasizes politeness and harmony, and by following these cultural norms, you can ensure a positive and enjoyable experience:

  • Remove your shoes when entering traditional establishments, such as temples, ryokans (traditional inns), and some restaurants.
  • Bowing is a common form of greeting. Bowing slightly when meeting someone demonstrates respect.
  • Try to learn a few basic Japanese phrases, such as "hello" (konnichiwa) and "thank you" (arigatou gozaimasu). The locals will appreciate your effort.
  • Tipping is not customary in Japan, as exceptional service is considered part of the job.
  • When dining, avoid sticking chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice, as this is associated with funeral rituals.


Chitose is famous for its vibrant festivals, which showcase the local culture and provide a glimpse into traditional Japanese celebrations. Here are some festivals you should not miss:

Yotei Summer Festival

This festival takes place in July and celebrates the magnificent Mount Yotei, a dormant volcano that dominates the Chitose skyline. Enjoy lively parades, traditional dances, fireworks, and delicious local food during this vibrant summer festival.

Tanuki Festival

Held in October, the Tanuki Festival pays homage to the mischievous and mythical creature known as the Tanuki. Marvel at colorful floats, join in traditional dances, and indulge in local street food as you embrace the festive spirit of Chitose.

Ice Festival

Chitose's winter wonderland comes alive during the Ice Festival, held in February. Admire intricate ice sculptures, witness stunning ice carving competitions, and participate in snow activities. Don't forget to try some hot local snacks to keep warm!

Local Delicacies

Chitose is a gastronomic delight, offering a variety of delicious dishes that showcase the region's bountiful produce. Here are some local delicacies you must try:

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan is a popular local specialty consisting of grilled lamb and vegetables. Enjoy the experience of cooking your own meal at traditional restaurants that provide grills on each table.

Ishi-yaki Salmon

Ishi-yaki Salmon is a unique Chitose dish where salmon is cooked on a heated stone slab. This cooking method imparts a smoky flavor and creates a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture that is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Hokkaido Soft-Serve Ice Cream

No visit to Chitose is complete without trying Hokkaido's famous soft-serve ice cream. Indulge in creamy and velvety flavors such as Hokkaido milk, lavender, melon, and many more.

Chitose offers a delightful culinary experience that will leave you craving for more.

Plan Your Visit

Chitose is easily accessible via New Chitose Airport, which serves both domestic and international flights. The airport is a gateway to various attractions in Hokkaido, making Chitose an ideal starting point for your exploration.

While in Chitose, take time to visit the picturesque Lake Shikotsu, explore the lush greenery of Shikotsu-Toya National Park, or go hiking in the breathtaking Daisetsuzan National Park, known for its stunning vistas and hot springs.

Experience the warm hospitality of the locals and immerse yourself in the cultural charm of Chitose. Start planning your visit today!