Sweden is, for lack of a better term, so hot right now. It’s currently the 11th most popular tourist destination for us Aussies and the fact that it’s in almost complete darkness for half of the year is definitely not turning people away – in fact, this Scandinavian metropolis’ enviable landscape and lifestyle has even spawned a few fans across in Asia.
For some reason, there’s a small town in Japan called Sweden Hills and it looks almost exactly like Sweden.
Located in northern Japan, about 50 minutes north of Sapporo City, Sweden Hills is kind of like teleporting out of bustling Japan and into a Nordic wonderland. And despite being a almost 8000 kilometres away from the country, Sweden Hills is a pretty spot-on replica of a small town you might find a outside of Stockholm.
All the homes are coloured in a traditional red and white style, the shops serve Swedish delicacies and the town even celebrates important Swedish holidays. It’s pretty mad, and yet there’s something truly endearing about it all.
Its location, though odd, was actually pretty well thought out. Back in 1979, the Swedish Ambassador for Japan visited this small village – at the time it was called Tobetsu Town – and noted how much the atmosphere and scenery reminded him of his homeland. He then decided to construct a ‘sister city’ that would adopt the Swedish culture and customs.
Residents have even gone so far as to learn the language and host their own Midsummer Festival (maypole included) to make it a truly authentic deal.
Add onto that that the town even constructs its own ice hotel (which we assume is meant to pay tribute to that popular Ice Hotel) every winter, and it’s just like home.
If a trip to Europe is off the table, this seems like the perfect compromise.
(Images: Sweden Hills)
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