The island of Hokkaido is joined to the north of Honshu by the Tsugaru Strait. The countryside combines agricultural crops and forest, with in its centre, the high mountains which enabled the island's capital, Sapporo, to host the 1972 Winter Olympics. Hokkaido has six national parks and is given over to rural and skiing activities. The Ainu, the island's indigenous people, colonised during the Meiji period, has finally been recognised. A replica Ainu village is visible in Shiraoi Ainu Museum (Shikotsu-Toya National Park).

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