Home >> Itineraries,Japan Travel >> Hokkaido Self-drive with Kids (June 2014) Part 3 – Furano -> Biei -> Tomamu -> Obihiro -> New Chitose Airport

Continued from: Hokkaido Self-drive with Kids (June 2014) Part 2 – Sapporo

Furano Wine House

We arrived at Furano in the afternoon and headed straight for lunch at Furano Wine House.

Furano Wine House was located at the top of a hill and the view from there was splendid even on this rainy day! We got a table next to the window where we could enjoy the beautiful scenery while dining.

Furano Wine House in June 02

The most famous dish at Furano wine house was the cheese fondue. We ordered their lunch set which came with a mini cheese fondue, and also their four cheese pizza.  The cheese fondue and cheese pizza were both made with locally produced Furano cheese!

We also ordered a locally produced Furano grape juice – the kids loved it!

Furano Wine House in June 01

The best part of the meal was… the kids meal! It was cheap and the prawn was gigantic! Excellent value for money!

> Furano Wine House is on my list of Kids-Friendly Restaurants in Hokkaido. Click here to find more kids-friendly restaurants in Hokkaido! <

Furano Wine Factory

After lunch, we drove down the hill to the wine factory.

Furano Wine Factory in June 01Furano Wine Factory in June 02

There was a lavender hill in front of the wine factory, but June was too early for lavender season.  These lavender were still in their infancy.

Furano Wine Factory in June 03

We went for a walk around the cellar.

Furano Wine Factory in June 04Furano Wine Factory in June 05

Then we went upstairs for free wine tasting. You can just grab a small plastic cup and help yourself to the barrels of wine available. Unlimited wine for free!

Furano Wine Factory in June 06

The kids also helped themselves to a cup each and they got their first taste of wine. :p

Furano Wine Factory in June 07

Before anyone got drunk, we left and headed to our next destination: Tomita Melon House.

Tomita Melon House

When we first arrived, the boys were more interested in the tractors than the melons.

It started raining, so I shooed the boys off the tractors and into the melon house to seek shelter. We were welcomed by the enticing display of melons!

furano tomita melon house in June 01

While waiting for the rain to stop, we went around to buy all sorts of melon snacks. The kids loved the melon snacks and ate so much!

When the rain became lighter, we quickly dashed back to our car and headed for Farm Tomita which was just beside the melon house.

> Tomita Melon House is on my list of Hokkaido Best Sweets Cafe.  Click here to find more wonderful Sweets Cafe in Hokkaido! <

Farm Tomita

Furano Tomita Farm in June 01

June was too early for lavender season and most of the flowers were not in full bloom yet. But it was a nice visit nevertheless.

Furano Tomita Farm in June 02Furano Tomita Farm in June 03

We walked all the way to the end of the farm where there was a terrace cafe from which we could get a beautiful panaromic view of the flower field. By June it was already so beautiful, how nice it would be if I could visit in July / August when everything is in full bloom!

Furano Tomita Farm in June 05Furano Tomita Farm in June 07

There were some lavender hills at the back, but as mentioned, June was too early for lavender viewing.

Furano Tomita Farm in June 06

I just had to take a photo with the baby lavenders. These were the most mature lavender I could find in the farm when we were there.. Better than nothing. :p

Furano Tomita Farm in June 04

The kids were more interested in posing with the lavender ice-cream than the flowers.

It started raining again after a while, so we quickly headed back to our car and didn’t have time to visit all the shops around the farm.  In my earlier visit in October 2013, we did some shopping at the beautiful dried flower shop and dined at the cafe at Tomita Farm. Click here to read about my earlier visit to Tomita Farm!

> Tomita Farm is on my list of Kids-Friendly Restaurants in Hokkaido. Click here to find more kids-friendly restaurants in Hokkaido! <

Furano Cheese Factory

Since it was raining, we decided to go to an indoor destination next – Furano Cheese Factory.

Furano Cheese Factory in June 02

There were some free cheese for sampling:

Furano Cheese Factory in June 01

MF was super excited to sink his teeth into the black squid ink cheese (because black was his favourite colour).

Furano Cheese Factory in June 03

But the moment it went into his mouth, he spit it out. I tried a piece myself and frankly found it absolutely disgusting! We quickly bought ourselves some milk to wash away the awful taste of squid ink cheese.

Furano Cheese Factory in June 04Furano Cheese Factory in June 05

In the factory, there was a fake cow which you can milk – it was coin operated.

Furano Cheese Factory in June 06Furano Cheese Factory in June 07

Furano Delice

Next, we headed to Furano Delice for tea break (never mind the fact that we have been eating non-stop since we arrived in Furano.. but what else could we do on a rainy day?).

Furano Delice in June 01

> Furano Delice is on my list of Hokkaido Best Sweets Cafe.  Click here to find more wonderful Sweets Cafe in Hokkaido! <

Furano Marche

We then headed to Furano Marche to do some shopping. Furano Marche turned out to be much smaller than expected, and it was hard to get between the buildings when it was raining heavily. (They provided umbrellas, but still it was a hassle with the kids around.)

furano marche

Haruchan Sushi

Since it was raining heavily, we decided to just go back to our hotel and bum until dinner time. For dinner, we went to restaurant called Haruchan sushi which was recommended by the Furano Cheese Factory for their cheese steamboat which uses cheese from Furano Cheese Factory. We ordered the cheese pot and a pork shabu shabu.

Furano haruchan sushi 01Furano haruchan sushi 02

It was pretty puzzling for a sushi restaurant to be selling cheese pot and shabu shabu. The food was forgettable.. So I guess a jack of all trades is a master of none.

There was a festival going on right outside the restaurant. It was raining, so we just took a quick look around before going back to our hotel.

furano summer festival 01furano summer festival 02

 

Day 10

Flower Land Kamifurano

We started the day with a visit to Flower Land Kamifurano.

Flower Land Kamifurano in June 01Flower Land Kamifurano in June 05

June was still too early for flower season, but there were a few fields that were blooming.

Flower Land Kamifurano in June 02Flower Land Kamifurano in June 15Flower Land Kamifurano in June 04

Although many of the flower fields were still bare, the view from Flower Land Kamifurano of the surrounding area was breath-taking!

Flower Land Kamifurano in June 03Flower Land Kamifurano in June 16

Even 18 month old MY could appreciate the scenery!

Flower Land Kamifurano in June 11Flower Land Kamifurano in June 06

Since it was not peak flowering season, the good thing was that we had the whole place to ourselves! The kids had fun just running around.

Flower Land Kamifurano in June 10Flower Land Kamifurano in June 20

The little one particularly liked the little flowers!

Flower Land Kamifurano in June 13 Flower Land Kamifurano in June 14Flower Land Kamifurano in June 12

There was a tractor ride going around the farm for a fee and MF (who has a thing for tractors) kept asking to ride on it. Flower Land Kamifurano is not very big and it was pretty lame going around on the tractor AFTER we have already explored the whole place on foot. But the kids loved the tractor ride anyway.

Flower Land Kamifurano in June 17Flower Land Kamifurano in June 08Flower Land Kamifurano in June 07

So we had a repeat telecast of all the flowers we had seen earlier.

Flower Land Kamifurano in June 09  Flower Land Kamifurano in June 19Flower Land Kamifurano in June 18

Shikisai No Oka

Next, we drove on to Biei. Driving to Biei from Furano, we arrived at the area called Panorama Road first. Our first stop was Shikisai No Oka.

shikisai no oka biei hokkaido in June 01

Most of the flowers were still at infancy stage, but we could see that the flower fields went on and on and on…. Shikisai No Oka is much bigger than Flower Land Kamifurano, which makes taking the tractor ride here a much better idea.

shikisai no oka biei hokkaido in June 08shikisai no oka biei hokkaido in June 03

In June, there was only a patch of red and yellow flowers that were in full bloom.

shikisai no oka biei hokkaido in June 02shikisai no oka biei hokkaido in June 06shikisai no oka biei hokkaido in June 05

There was a lone tree in the middle of the flower fields which makes for good photo opportunities.

shikisai no oka biei hokkaido in June 04shikisai no oka biei hokkaido in June 09

I would love to come here in July / August when the flower fields are in full bloom. If it is already this beautiful in June, how wonderful it must be in a month’s time!

shikisai no oka biei hokkaido in June 07

Panorama Road

Our next stop in the Panorama Road area was Shinnei No Oka.

Shinnei no Oka Biei Hokkaido in June 01Shinnei no Oka Biei Hokkaido in June 04Shinnei no Oka Biei Hokkaido in June 02

The scenery of the rolling hills around Shinnei No Oka was so beautiful!

Shinnei no Oka Biei Hokkaido in June 03 Shinnei no Oka Biei Hokkaido in June 05 Shinnei no Oka Biei Hokkaido in June 06

Our next stop was Sanai No Oka which also offered a beautiful view of the rolling hills of Biei.

Sanai no Oka Biei Hokkaido in June 01 Sanai no Oka Biei Hokkaido in June 02

In case you are wondering where the kids were, they were happily sleeping in the car all the way since we left Shikisai No Oka. We just took turns to hop out to take photos while leaving them in the car.

Our lunch destination was Farm Restaurant Chiyoda which was also in the Panorama Road area. Our initial plan was to have lunch before going to the Patchwork Road area, but because the weather was so good and the weather forecast said that it would rain in the afternoon, we decided to go to Patchwork Road area first.

Patchwork Road

Our first stop in the Patchwork Road area was Hokusei No Oka.

Hokusei no Oka Biei Hokkaido in June 01 Hokusei no Oka Biei Hokkaido in June 02

We climbed up the pyramid-shaped observation deck for a view of the surrounding area.

Hokusei no Oka Biei Hokkaido in June 03

Next, we went to Hill of Zerebu.

Hill of Zerebu and Atom Biei Hokkaido in June 01 Hill of Zerebu and Atom Biei Hokkaido in June 02

I would recommend skipping Hill of Zerebu if you are visiting in June because the flowers have not bloomed yet. But if you’re visiting in July – October, it should be worth a visit.

Hill of Zerebu and Atom Biei Hokkaido in June 03 Hill of Zerebu and Atom Biei Hokkaido in June 04

Next, we drove around the Patchwork Road area in search for celebrity trees.

Ken and Mary Tree Biei Hokkaido in June

Ken and Mary Tree

 

Parent and Child Tree Biei Hokkaido in June

Parent and Child Tree

 

Seven Star Tree Biei Hokkaido in June

Seven Star Tree

 

The whole drive around Patchwork Road was extremely scenic. My photos do not do the place any justice, you need to visit it for yourself (or google for some professionally taken photos :p).

Farm Restaurant Chiyoda

After a while, everyone was bored of celebrity trees and decided to go for lunch. So we drove back to the Panorama Road where Farm Restaurant Chiyoda was.

The restaurant was extremely popular and we had to wait some time for a table. Their most popular dish was the beef stew and I can understand why. It was SUPER yummy!

We also ordered their steak which was not bad – not the best steak I’ve had in Japan but not too bad.

The kids meal was disappointing though – there was hardly any meat in the curry.  The jersey ice-cream that came with it was pretty crappy too.  Should have just ordered one more beef stew for the kids!

Farm Restaurant Chiyoda Biei Hokkaido in June 01 Farm Restaurant Chiyoda Biei Hokkaido in June 02

One bad thing about Farm Restaurant Chiyoda was that they only have beef on their menu. So if you have anyone in your company who does not take beef, he or she would be stuck eating plain potato.

> Farm Restaurant Chiyoda is on my list of Hokkaido Best Food.  Click here to find more wonderful food in Hokkaido! <

More of Panorama Road

After lunch, we drove to the nearby Tree of Philosphy to take some been-here-done-that photos. It was drizzling by then, so we just snapped some photos from the car.

Tree of Philosophy Biei Hokkaido in June

Next, we decided to go for after-lunch coffee at Sanai No Chaya Curve, which is a small cottage just beside Sanai no Oka.

The cottage is famous for its affogato. We tried one coffee and one green tea affogato and both were delicious! We also ordered a toast with jam which was quite nice.  Can’t believe we were having toast immediately after lunch.  But what else could we do on a rainy day??

If the weather is good, you can sip your drink on the terrace while enjoying the beautiful view around Sanai No Oka.

Sanai no Oka Chaya Curve Biei Hokkaido in June 03

There is also a little pavilion nearby with a great view.

Sanai no Oka Chaya Curve Biei Hokkaido in June 04

Word of caution: The interior of the cottage is not very child-friendly at all. It only has one counter with high stools and the place is full of breakable pottery! Hence, we did not stay long (because staying any longer would increase the chances of one of the kids breaking something).

Sanai no Oka Chaya Curve Biei Hokkaido in June 05

> Sanai No Chaya Curve is on my list of Hokkaido Best Sweets Cafe.  Click here to find more wonderful Sweets Cafe in Hokkaido! <

Ningle Terrace

After the coffee break, we left Biei and drove back to Furano and visited Ningle Terrace.

Ningle Terrace Furano in June 01 Ningle Terrace Furano in June 02 Ningle Terrace Furano in June 03

After spending some time browsing through the shops at Ningle Terrace, we decided to go for dinner. We visited Kumagera, which is a pretty famous restaurant in Furano and appeared on many TV shows before.

Kumagera

Kumagera Furano in June 01

We had a table with a stove in the middle for their famous hot pot.

Kumagera Furano in June 02

Although they are more famous for their hotpot with various types of meat such as chicken and venison, we ordered their seafood hotpot instead. Doesn’t it look delicious?

The fire was started and the hot pot was cooked right in front of us. When it was done, TADA!

And for those who like your beef rare like me, you have to try their beef sashimi rice!

I would highly recommend dining at Kumagera if you are visiting Furano. They were very tourist and foreigner friendly and the food was so good! (No wonder they keep getting featured on variety shows all around the world.)

> Kumagera is on my list of Hokkaido Best Food.  Click here to find more wonderful food in Hokkaido! <

After dinner, we left Furano and drove to our next destination: Tomamu.


Day 11

Hoshino Resort Tomamu

We woke up bright and early to go up to Unkai Terrace. Unkai means ‘sea of clouds’ in Japanese and this postcard of Unkai Terrace shows you what you can see on a perfectly good day.

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 01

The gondola only operated from 4.30 to 7am in June, so we had to wake up really early and dressed everyone up warmly and headed out. But we actually weren’t that early, by the time we dressed the kids and took the resort shuttle from the hotel tower to the gondola station, it was about 6am.

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 02

When we arrived at the gondola station, there was a poster showing the current unkai condition, so you can still change your mind before buying the expensive gondola tickets if there is no unkai the day you are there. Lucky us, it said there was beautiful unkai that day!

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 03

So up the gondola we went! The kids LOVE gondola rides.

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 04

And through the clouds we went..

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 05

Higher, higher…

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 06

And we were above the sea of clouds!

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 07

We arrived at the terrace and went around taking photos non-stop! It was pretty cold at the terrace, so if you did not pack warm clothing (since it’s summer), don’t worry, there were many winter jackets available for guests to help themselves to for free. However, there were no kids jackets, only adult ones.

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 08

There are two levels to the terrace but they were all packed with people on this beautiful morning! The kids managed to squeeze their way to the front.

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 10

It didn’t help that there was a TV crew doing filming and taking up so much space on the terrace.

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 11

There was a mailbox at the terrace. We received a postcard that could be sent to anywhere in Japan for free, but they did not sell stamps there so that we could mail it back to Singapore. So if you want to mail your postcard overseas, bring your own stamps!

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 09

We walked around the terrace to take more photos.

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 12

There was a short walking trail beside the terrace which offered beautiful views of the unkai with the surrounding mountains and allowed us to get away from the crowd.

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 13 Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 14 Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 15

By the time we came back from the walking trail, many people have descended the mountain and the terrace was significantly less crowded.

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 16

We found a table and had a hot drink while enjoying the scenery.

Unkai Terrace Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 17

We took the gondola back down and went for buffet breakfast that was included in our stay.

Hoshino Resort Tomamu Breakfast Buffet

After eating, we went back to the room where MY went back to sleep. I brought MF to the resort centre to see what activities were available for a 3 year old.

Hoshino Resort Tomamu Activity for Children in June 1

They had balance bikes that were free to use. MF went for a short ride on it.

Hoshino Resort Tomamu Activity for Children in June 2 Hoshino Resort Tomamu Activity for Children in June 3

Next, we decided to try ice-cream making (chargeable). We paid for the activity at the resort centre shop and received a ‘ticket’.

Ice-cream Making Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 10

We brought the ticket up to the second storey where all the activities were held. They also had bread making and cookie making, but I thought those seemed too difficult for a 3 year old. An English-speaking staff came to teach us how to make ice-cream and MF was able to complete all the tasks (except the shaking of the tin which all of us had to take turns to do because it was super tiring!).

Ice-cream Making Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 12 Ice-cream Making Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 13 Ice-cream Making Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 14 Ice-cream Making Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 15

MF was super excited to see the end product.

Ice-cream Making Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 16

Tada.. We made ice-cream!

Ice-cream Making Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 17

And MF got to enjoy the fruit of his labour.

Ice-cream Making Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 18

By then it was almost time to check-out, so we went back to the hotel and bid farewell to Tomamu. We had a very enjoyable stay at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu!

Hoshino Resort Tomamu Shuttle Bus

Obihiro

From Tomamu, we drove to Obihiro where we had lunch at my favourite buta don (pork rice bowl) shop, Panchou, which was located near Obihiro station.

hokkaido best food obihiro panchou buta don

> Panchou is on my list of Hokkaido Best Food.  Click here to find more wonderful food in Hokkaido! <

After lunch, we went shopping at Rokkatei and Ryugetsu main store in Obihiro before driving back to New Chitose Airport.

obihiro-ryugetsu

New Chitose Airport

We checked in to Air Terminal Hotel where we would be staying for the final night. After resting for a while, we went to walk around New Chitose Airport. New Chitose Airport is an awesome place to visit and I can easily spend a whole day there.

We first visited Royce Chocolate World.

You can see how the famous Royce chocolate is made, right here at New Chitose Airport!

Next, we passed by Steffi’s Nature World, which is a place where you could take photo with life-size animal stuffed toys (I think), but did not go in. There was a small play area outside Steffi’s Nature World that was free and suitable for small babies.

For older kids, move on to Doraemon Waku Waku Sky Park!

MF had been asking to visit the Doraemon Waku Waku Sky Park since our last visit.  He was so happy to see Doraemon this time that he did a Doraemon impersonation.

Doraemon Waku Waku SkyPark New Chitose Airport Hokkaido 04

At Doraemon Waku Waku Sky Park, there was an awesome FREE play area for kids!

The play area was super fun, considering it was free. The kids had lots of fun!

Doraemon Waku Waku SkyPark New Chitose Airport Hokkaido 01

There was an interesting target board where the kids used their socks as ammo. Very creative! (Though not the most hygienic.. Lol!)

Doraemon Waku Waku SkyPark New Chitose Airport Hokkaido 03Doraemon Waku Waku SkyPark New Chitose Airport Hokkaido 02

If your kids are more of the sit-down-and-do-craft type of kid rather than the run-and-jump-around kind, just opposite the play area is a craft area. You need to pay to do the craft though.

There is also a ‘library’ full of Doraemon comic books – and they have them in different languages!!

If your kids like Doraemon, they would definitely LOVE dining at the Doraemon theme cafe!

There was a trick mirror along the corridor and the kids had a good laugh at it!

The kids had so much fun there and they were only willing to leave when the place was closed.

We went around exploring the rest of the airport and had dinner before going back to the hotel to rest before our flight home the next day.

New Chitose Airport is a great place to hang out with kids.  Click here to see my post “10 Activites for Kids at New Chitose Airport”!

 


Other posts for this trip

Complete summarized itinerary for this trip
Part 1: New Chitose Airport -> Otaru

Part 2: Sapporo
Part 3: Furano -> New Chitose Airport

Posts of my other trips to Hokkaido with the kids:

Hokkaido in Autumn (October 2013)
Part 1: Flight, Hotel Mercure Sapporo, Toyota Rent-A-Car Sapporo
Part 2: Itinerary (with telephone numbers and GPS Map Codes)

Hokkaido in Winter (December 2014)
Complete summarized itinerary
Part 1:  Sapporo
Part 2: Asahikawa, Lake Akan, Lake Mashu, Iozan, Lake Kussharo
Part 3: Kushiro, Obihiro, Tomamu
Part 4: Chitose, Lake Shikotsu, Niseko, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya, Rusutsu
Part 5: Sapporo, Otaru, New Chitose Airport


This post is archived under my Japan Travel Blog:
japan-travelogue


 

 

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33Comments

  1. Karen Choo says:

    It was nice reading your blog. It provide useful information. Plan to go to Hokkaido next year with my 2 kids. Do you mind to share which hotel you are staying ? Plan to self drive as well. Tq so much.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Where are you planning to visit in Hokkaido? I usually drive around and change hotel every night.. For Sapporo, I like Mercure Hotel.. but for my next trip I’m planning to try Holiday Inn next to Susukino station because it is very near Mercure but cheaper for the dates I’m going. I have also tried Royal Stay Sapporo which has very cheap family rooms but would not recommend it if you are not familiar with Sapporo because the location is not as good as Mercure or Holiday Inn.

      • Karen Choo says:

        Thank you for your reply. I was thinking to drive and change hotel everyday but not sure during the summer time, the hotel will be full or not. Will like to go to lake toya, Furano, biel. Probably will follow your blog destination as it is really useful. I have 2 kids age 6 and 5.

        • bumblebeemum says:

          At Lake Toya, I recommend Toya Sunpalace because of their pool, the kids will enjoy it. They even have a free laundry so you can wash their swimming costumes etc after that. For Furano, we stayed at Hotel Edel Warme which was a bit run down and they have no laundry so i don’t think i would stay there again. Biei has very limited accommodation, so we stayed 2 nights at Furano and went Biei as day trip. Alternatively you can spend the night at Asahikawa if you are planning to visit the Asahiyama zoo.

  2. […] totally enjoyed our stay at Tomamu.  It was the second time we stayed here in the year (read about our Summer stay here) and both stays were extremely enjoyable.  I found Tomamu to be an extremely value-for-money snow […]

  3. […] The next morning, we had a quick breakfast at Yoshinoya before checking out of the hotel and taking the airport limousine to New Chitose Airport.  Once at the airport, the kids went to play at the free playground in Doraemon Waku Waku Skypark while I sipped on a Doraemon latte.  (Read more about this free playground on this post.) […]

  4. […] To be continued: Hokkaido Self-drive with Kids (June 2014) Part 3 […]

  5. […] Tomamu Hoshino Resort Hoshino Resort at Tomamu offers a host of activities for kids in summer, ranging from nature activities to craft activities to sports programmes, river programmes and hot-air ballooning.  A major attraction of Tomamu Hoshino Resort in summer is its Unkai Terrace, where you can take a gondola to the top of the mountain to witness a sea of clouds! Click here to read about our visit to Hoshino Resort Tomamu in June 2014! […]

    • Sarah Eng says:

      Hi! I am planning a trip to Hokkaido this Jun with my kids. Kind of last min, can u help to suggest places to stay in Furano and Biei area? Thanks!

  6. Amy says:

    Hi, thanks for the information on your blog. we are planning a small group trip in Hokkaido for 5-6 days with 3 kids (6months, 1.5 yr old, 2.5 yr old). We also plan to drive around furano and tomamu area. Do you recommend bringing a stroller or just carrier is enough for the 1.5 yr old. How do you like the hoshino resort, do you recommend staying there? Is there any easy hiking trail (suitable to go with small kids) in that area?

    Thanks.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If you are driving, you can just bring a stroller. The kids can sleep more comfortably.

      I love tomamu resort! Stayed there twice last year for summer and winter. When are you travelling? Most summer activities at Tomamu only starts from 1 July. It seems the most suitable activity for young kids is the balance bike. They have a straider course starting from 26 April:
      https://www.snowtomamu.jp/summer/activity/adm.php

      The main reason we stayed in Tomamu in summer was for the unkai terrace.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Oh yes, there was also a wave pool at Tomamu Resort which I think the kids would enjoy. :)

  7. Kit says:

    Dear Bumblebee Mum

    We are planning a self drive trip to Hokkaido in mid June with our 2.5 year old toddler. Where would you recommend as a stopover for the night between Noboribetsu and Furano, as we would prefer to break up the long drive. After reading your blog, I had planned on Tomamu. However, the room rates for Hoshino Tomamu is rather high during the period we have planned (not sure why for I had thought it is more of a winter rather than summer destination). Besides Sapporo, what are my alternatives? Thanks.

    Cheers
    Kit

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hi,

      Tomamu does seem like the ideal stopover. Tomamu is also very popular in Summer because of its Unkai Terrace and its vicinity to Furano.

      An alternative would be Chitose. You can visit Lake Shikotsu enroute, then go shopping at Chitose Rera Outlet before spending the night at Chitose city. There is nothing particularly exciting at Chitose imo, but if you just want a budget option to spend the night, city hotels tend to be cheaper and Chitose is kind of mid-way between Noboribetsu and Furano.

  8. Thank you for writing such an informative and very entertaining post! My family and I are planning a trip to Hokkaido very soon and your post has helped me so much in the planning of our trip!

  9. Nick says:

    Hi BBM,

    I’ve moved onto this thread. I have trip planned with my wife to Hokkaido in July, but during those dates, almost all the hotels in Biei and Furano are sold out. (Even Mercure Sapporo is going for $150USD). Do you have any suggestion? I don’t mind paying a little bit more for a nice place, but the ones I have seen on booking.com seem super old and super expensive.

  10. J says:

    Dear bumblebeemum

    Is there any good ryokan or onsen hotel to recommend in Furano region?

    I have booked new prince furano x 2 nights but was thinking of spending one night in a ryokan/onsen hotel.

    Adults travelling; any advice?

    Thank you!

    J

  11. Mat says:

    Hi BBM,

    Thanks for the great sharing!

    You seem to be driving alot at night (or when the sky has already turned dark). Is it easy/safe to drive at night?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I have driven quite a lot in Hokkaido before so I’m quite comfortable with their roads, even when they are pitch dark. Generally in Summer, it is pretty safe to drive at night, as long as you watch the speed and don’t fall asleep! But I will definitely not advise driving at night in winter.

  12. daisy says:

    Hello! Great travel blog you have here :) thanks for sharing all your invaluable tips. I am travelling to hokkaido June 8 -16 with my daughter (7) and wanted to consult you on the itinerary. Sapporo 8-11 Jun , noboribetsu 12 Jun. I also want to visit hakodate . Where else would you suggest between noboribetsu and hakodate? I love your write up on furano but (a) would it be too rushed/far (b) would you suggest 1 night or 2 in noboribetsu? Thank u!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      In between Noboribetsu and Hakodate, there’s Lake Toya.

      (a) Does seem a bit rushed if you want to go to Furano, though not impossible. Maybe you can reduce 1 day in Sapporo if you want to go to Furano.

      (b) 1 night in Noboribetsu is sufficient.

  13. Gringo Low says:

    Hi,
    Thank you for your very informative blog on Hokkaido.. Planning a last minute holiday in Hokkaido from 19/6 and will be there for 9 nights and pretty much relied on your information to plan my itinerary. I just completed the itinerary and will be booking the accommodation soon. Would like to have your opinion regards my itinerary and was wondering if it would be tight. Btw we are traveling as a family of 5 adults (1 elderly) and one two year old child. Hope the rental cars there are large enough for all our luggages, stroller and foldable wheelchair. Anyway, my itinerary is :-
    19/6 – Arrive at night and stay at airport hotel
    20/6 – Pick up car and drive to Lake Shikotsu and then to Noboribetsu and stay 1 night there.
    21/6 – To Sobetsu Fruit Village and then Lake Toya and stay 1 night there.
    22/6 – To Hakodate and stay 1 night
    23/6 – To Otaru and stay 1 night
    24/6 – To Sapporo and stay 3 nights
    27/6 – To Asahikawa Zoo and then to Biei and stay in Furano 1 night
    28/6 – Move around Furano before heading to airport to catch 8.30pm flight from Chitose airport.

  14. Wendee says:

    Hi bumblebeemum, thanks for sharing your tips. I am planning a trip there in Aug 16. It would just be my hubby, myself and my 21 months old girl. I would like to ask how is it driving from Sapporo to Furano and Asahikawa (we are thinking of visiting the famous zoo). Do you know how are traffic conditions like? Is it easy to drive (as in straight road or hilly?) Do you know if there is anywhere I can get information of their highway rest stop? Thank you in advance.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      There will be some curvy and hilly roads. The roads around Furano and Biei are pretty rural and especially around Biei, there are some pretty sharp curves and places like Furano Wine House are located on top of a hill (but on top of hills is where you get nice views). But overall, it is pretty easy to drive in Hokkaido in Summer.

      You can get information on highway rest stops from Drive Plaza:
      http://en.driveplaza.com/

  15. V v says:

    Hi,
    We are going to Hokkaido for the first time in January 2017. I hope you don’t mind feeding me with some information. I am a mum with 2 kiddos like you are. We were considering to self drive in January. Do you think it is allright? Is it safe? Is the road condition very slippery?We have done lots of road trip here in Australia but not with snow condition, it seems that it is much easier to drive then to take public transport to certain areas like lake shikaritetsu and furano.

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