The island of Hokkaido has the third-largest population of the 5 main islands in the country of Japan. Hokkaido island's last census was conducted in 2015, with a population of 5,383,579. The lowest population density in Japan is 64.5km, which is the population density of the island. By the nominal number of the population itself, it ranks 21st in the world. The major cities of the island are Asahikawa and Sapporo, the former being the famous beer brand that is known around the world, which was first created on this island. Sapporo is also the largest city in Hokkaido and is considered the 5th largest city in Japan. There are nearly 2 million inhabitants in the capital city, up from the official census of 1,957,914 in 2019.
Hokkaido Island is translated as the Northern Sea Circuit and is considered Japan's second-largest island. Hokkaido comprises the northernmost prefecture, which is also the largest - making it big enough to be considered its region. The Strait of Tsugaru separates the island of Hokkaido from the closest island, Honshu. They are connected by an undersea railway called the Seikan Tunnel, which is an engineering marvel that has impressed the world over with the ingenuity of the Japanese focus on efficient transportation.
Although Japanese settlers have ruled the southern tip of Hokkaido since the early 16th century, the island itself was considered foreign territory because it was largely inhabited by the native people of the island, the Ainu tribes of people. Geographers and explorers searched the island during the Edo period. The Japanese government at this time was limited to the Oshima Peninsula and did not officially begin the migration to the island until the 17th century. Of course, this caused a large clash between the settling Japanese people and the Ainu populations.
During the Meiji restoration of 1869, Ezo was annexed by the Japanese empire, as the mandate at that time was growing into a ferocious wave of colonialism. At this time, it was renamed Hokkaido due to the island's position. Once the territory was annexed under this new regime, vast migration occurred from the Japanese mainland which colonized the entire island. The Ainu people were made illegal and disposed of all their goods, property, and culture. The Ainu population assimilated and was largely discriminated against by the colonists.
Although the island is largely known for the famous beer brand named after the principal city, Sapporo, most of the population is employed in the service sector. In 2001, the service sector and other related services made up more than 75% of the GDP of the island. With this being said, Hokkaido island has the highest production of agricultural products, and supplies much of the mainland with affordable access to meat and produce. During the winter, Hokkaido becomes a prime destination for skiing and other related sports.
Hokkaido is also well known for the Japanese "Melody Roads", which are made from grooves that are cut into the ground. When a car drives over the grooves, a vibration is heard within the car.