Hokkaido Best Places to Visit in Early Summer & Sample Itinerary


Few months back, while everyone was busy planning a winter trip to Hokkaido, I wrote a post on Essential Travel Tips for Planning a Hokkaido Winter Trip.  Now that year-end holidays have ended, it’s time to…. plan for the Summer holidays!

Since most of my readers are from Singapore and our school holidays are in June, this article will focus on places to visit in Hokkaido’s early Summer – that is late May to June. For a visit in the REAL Hokkaido Summer, which is July & August, it’s a different story altogether so let’s leave that for another time.

Late May – June is actually somewhat in between seasons in Hokkaido.  You may consider it late Spring – too late for cherry blossoms.  You may also consider it early Summer – too early for lavender.  But neverthess, there is still plenty to see (and eat) at this time.

Hokkaido Places to Visit in Late May

Shibazakura & Tulips in Northern Hokkaido

If you are visiting in late May, like flying off the very night school’s out, I recommend you head up NORTH.  This is the time for shibazakura and there are two famous spots in Hokkaido for them: Takinoue and Higashimokoto.  Both of them are in Northern Hokkaido.

Image Source: Takinoue

Takinoue Shibazakura Park (Image Source: Takinoue.com)

Best Places to Visit in Hokkaido in Summer - Higashimokoto Shibazakura

Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park (Image Source: shibazakura.net)


Also in the region is Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park which is located in between Takinoue and Higashimokoto.

Best Places to Visit in Hokkaido in Summer - Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park

Image Source: Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park


If you are visiting at this time of the year, I recommend you rent a car and drive the route from Takinoue to Kamiyubetsu to Higashimokoto.   The larger towns in the region are Abashiri and Kitami and you can find a hotel in these towns to base yourself.

Best Places to Visit in Hokkaido in Summer - Abashiri

No, there will be no snow in Abashiri in Summer. This is the only photo I could find in my photo collection which says “Abashiri”.



If you have more time, I would recommend driving all the way up to Shiretoko.   Shiretoko Five Lakes is gorgeous in summer.

Video Credit: goko.go.jp

In Summer, besides trekking around the five lakes, you can also join wildlife cruises to see brown bears and whales.

Image Souce: kamuiwakka.jp

Image Souce: kamuiwakka.jp


Hokkaido Places to Visit in Early-Mid June

Eat eat eat

By early June, the tulips in Kamiyubetsu are probably wilting, as are most of the shibazakura.  During this period, I would just hang around the major cities like Sapporo, Otaru and Hakodate and eat eat eat.

> Click here for my Hokkaido Food Guide

In particular, Sakaimachi in Otaru has some of the best confectionery in Hokkaido (or imo the whole of Japan) lined up in a row.

> Click here for our eating tour of Otaru

Best Places to Visit in Hokkaido in Summer - Otaru

And Hakodate, with its morning market, Snaffles cafe and Lucky Pierrot is a food galore!

> Click here to read about our visit to Hakodate in June 2013

If you are going to Hakodate in early June, you may want to plan a side-trip to Mount Esan where Azalea will be in bloom.  The annual Esan Azalea Festival (Tsutsuji-matsuri Festival) is held from late may to early June.

Best Places to Visit in Hokkaido in Summer - Mount Esan

Image Source: City of Hakodate


Yasokoi Soran Festival

If you are planning to visit Hokkaido in early-mid June, take note of the dates for the Yasokoi Soran Festival and plan to be in Sapporo when it is happening.  The dates fluctuate quite a bit from year to year, so you will need to visit the website each year to check the exact dates.  Book your accommodation well in advance for this though.  When I checked in January, my favourite Hotel Mercure Sapporo was already fully booked for the weekend of this year’s festival.

Video credit: YouTube ‘Tourism’

Hokkaido Places to Visit in Mid-Late June


By this time, the lavender around Furano will have grown quite a bit, though nothing as spectacular as what you see in travel guides where the photos are usually taken during the flowering peak in July / August.  However, this is still a nice time to check out the lavender buds while enjoying relatively cheap accommodation.  (Accommodation prices in the region sky-rocket in July and August.)  As tiny as they are, you will be able to smell them already when you are there.

Best Places to Visit in Hokkaido in Summer - Furano Wine Factory

Small lavender field at Furano Wine Factory


Despite not reaching its peak, the flower fields at Tomita Farm are still a sight to behold.

Tomita Farm in mid June



Heading up North from Furano, Biei is another town you should definitely visit.  If you have time for one flower field in Biei, make it Shikisai No Oka.

Shikisai No Oka in mid June


But in my opinion, the beauty of Biei does not just lie in the colourful flower fields. The whole countryside scenery of Biei is breath-taking.

Shinnei No Oka (Biei) in June


Everywhere you drive in Biei, you will be surrounded by these beautiful ‘patchworks’.

Hokkaido Shrine Festival

Back in Sapporo, the Hokkaido Shrine Festival will be happening from 14 to 16 June annually.   The parade that takes place around the city on 16 June is something you would not want to miss.

Best Places to Visit in Hokkaido in Summer - Hokkaido Shrine Festival

Other Places of Interest Worth Visiting

In this section, I will recommend places that are only open during Summer and closed in Winter – so you may want to consider putting them into your Summer trips.

Unkai Terrace (Tomamu)

In early Summer through Autumn, a gondola brings you up to the terrace where you will be above a sea of clouds.  Note, however, that unkai (the sea of clouds) does not always appear – it really depends on your luck that morning.  Unkai Terrace is open from mid-May to mid October.  Please check the official website for exact opening dates for the year.

> Click here to read about our visit to Unkai Terrace in June 2014

Shakotan Peninsular

Best Places to Visit in Hokkaido in Summer - Cape Kamui

Most of the restaurants and ryokan at Shakotan Peninsular close throughout winter.  But by late April, they will slowly start to open for business again as people start to visit the area for hiking (if you consider a walk along the cape hiking) and seafood.

Best Places to Visit in Hokkaido in Summer - Shakotan Peninsular

In particular, the region is famous for its uni (sea urchin) and the uni here is only available in the months of June to August.

> Click here to read about our visit to Shakotan Peninsular in June 2014

Sample Itineraries

Below are some suggested itineraries for travel in Hokkaido between late May to June.  You will have to tweak it depending on the number of days you have and your exact dates of travel, but base it on the following:

  • To visit Northern Hokkaido in late May
  • To be in Sapporo during the Yasokoi Soran Festival and Hokkaido Shrine Festival
  • To visit Furano / Biei as late as possible in June

Hokkaido trip in late May

Day 1:  CTS – Asahikawa (lunch break at Asahikawa Ramen Village) – Takinoue – Abashiri

Day 2: Abashiri – Kamiyubetsu – Higashimokoto – Shiretoko

Day 3 – 4: Shiretoko

Day 5: Shiretoko – Lake Akan

Day 6: Akan National Park

Day 7: Lake Akan – Kushiro – Obihiro

Day 8: Obihiro – Tomamu

Day 9: Tomamu – CTS

If you have more time, you can return to Sapporo at the end of this.  Chances are you will be there in time for Yasokoi Soran Festival.

Hokkaido in Early June

Day 1: CTS – Lake Shikotsu – Lake Toya

Day 2: Lake Toya – Hakodate

Day 3: Hakodate / Mount Esan

Day 4: Hakodate – Niseko

Day 5: Niseko

Day 6: Niseko – Shakotan Peninsular – Otaru

Day 7: Otaru – Sapporo

You can spend the rest of the time in Sapporo, and try to coincide this with Yasokoi Soran Festival.

Hokkaido in mid – end June:

Day 1 – 3: Start your trip in Sapporo, try to coincide the date with Hokkaido Shrine Festival.

Day 4: Day trip to Otaru from Sapporo

Day 5: Sapporo – Tomamu

Day 6: Tomamu – Furano

Day 7 – 8: Furano / Biei

Day 9: Furano – CTS

Links / Telephone Numbers / Map Codes

Below are links of official websites and telephone number / map codes (for GPS) of destinations in this post:

  • Takinoue Shibazakura Park 芝ざくら滝上公園
    [Map Code: 570 699 650]
  • Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park 東藻琴芝桜公園
    [Tel: 0152-66-3111 | Map Code: 638 713 571]
  • Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park 湧別のチューリップ公園
    [Tel: 01586-2-3000 | Map Code: 404 550 751]
  • Shiretoko Five Lakes  知床五湖
    [Tel: 0152- 24 – 3323 | Map Code: 757 730 365]
  • Mount Esan 恵山
    [Map Code: 875 185 761]
  • Tomita Farm ファーム富田
    [Tel: 0167 39 3939 | Map Code: 349 306 019]
  • Shikisai No Oka 四季彩の丘
    [Tel: 0166-95-2758 | Map Code: 349 701 186]
  • Hoshino Resort Tomamu 星野リゾート トマム
    [Tel: 0167-58-1111 | Map Code: 608 511 277]
  • Cape Kamui 神岬町
    [Map Code: 932 582 660]
  • Cape Shakotan 積丹岬
    [Map Code: 932 745 326]

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Travel Tuesday Bumble Bee Mum

99 Comments on Hokkaido Best Places to Visit in Early Summer & Sample Itinerary

  1. yellowlemonie
    February 10, 2016 at 7:51 pm (9 months ago)

    This is just what we needed – we are planning a trip to Hokkaido in early June! :) thank you for sharing!

    • bumblebeemum
      February 11, 2016 at 10:02 am (9 months ago)

      You’re going to have a great time!

      • Budi
        August 18, 2016 at 11:55 am (2 months ago)

        Hi Bumblebeemum.
        I will visit Hokkaido at 14 May until 22 May 2017.
        What place I have to visit during my period?
        Could you give me the simple itinerary for Middle of May in Hokkaido?
        I really want to visit Matsumae Castle to see the cherry blossoms.
        Is there any cherry blossoms at my date in Hokkaido?

  2. Lai Mei Ying
    February 13, 2016 at 5:46 pm (8 months ago)

    Hi Bumble Bee Mum,

    Just wannna check with you if my itinerary doable. Arrive Chitose Airport, 22/6/16 @ 8:20am. Departing to KL 29/6/16 @ 8:50am. Intend to self-drive.

    Day 1 – Chitose – Noboribetsu (stay a night)

    Day 2 – Noboribetsu – Hakote (stay a night)

    Day 3 – Hakote – Sapporo (based here till Day 7)

    Day 4 – Sapporo – Furano & Biei (back to Sapporo)

    Day 5 – Sapporro – Asahikawa (day trip)
    (return car)

    Day 6 – Sapporo – Otaru (day trip)
    (public transport)

    Day 7 – Sapporo City Tour
    (may opt for checking out and check in to Air Terminal Hotel)
    (please advise)

    Day 8 – morning flight to KL

    Appreciate your advise on the above.

    Thanking you in advance.


    • bumblebeemum
      February 13, 2016 at 9:05 pm (8 months ago)

      This itinerary looks okay too. Though I do feel that Furano and Biei warrants more time.

      And if you have a morning flight, I do recommend spending the last night at Air Terminal Hotel.

      • Lai Mei Ying
        February 15, 2016 at 2:24 pm (8 months ago)

        Thank you very much for your comment..

        If Furano and Biei needs more time to explore, is it logical for me to do a day trip
        for 2 days from Sapporo. Day 4 – Furano and Day 5 – Biei.

        Air Terminal Hotel is rather full and expensive (Rm400+ per night). Is it possible for
        me to catch the earliest train from Sapporo to Chitose Airport for my 8:50am flight?

        Thank you.

        • bumblebeemum
          February 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm (8 months ago)

          While it is possible to do 2 day trips, I wouldn’t recommend it. If I want to spend 2 days exploring Furano / Biei, I would spend a night at Furano or Biei. The one way drive from Sapporo to Furano / Biei is 3 hours. By going to and fro from Sapporo, you are adding 6 hours of driving which can be spent on sightseeing or eating.

          If you catch the first train at 6am, you will reach CTS at about 6.50am so you’ll be on time.

  3. JJ
    February 18, 2016 at 6:32 pm (8 months ago)

    Hi, thanks for sharing useful map code in Hokkaido. Do u have any idea is Hokkaido weather still cold in May to June? What apparel should I bring for kids?
    Thank you.

    • bumblebeemum
      February 19, 2016 at 6:58 am (8 months ago)

      By Singapore standards, yes it’s still cold in May to June. You are looking at about 15 degrees Celsius with the possibility of dipping to below 10 at night. I would let my kids wear Uniqlo heat-tech sleeve inside and another long-sleeve shirt outside. And bring one more jacket or sweater for the night time.

  4. rochelle
    February 23, 2016 at 6:18 am (8 months ago)

    Hi, thanks for the blog. It is very handy for my upcoming trip to hokkaido 10-20jun. However, it coincide with yosakoi and i am unable to get an affordable hotel in sapporo between 10-12jun. Can you please advise alternative nearby suburb for commute if we would like to see the festival? Or should i pick up a car at chitose airport then visit sapporo on way back.
    We are a group of 3 adults, 3 kids and 2 elders

    • bumblebeemum
      February 24, 2016 at 9:53 am (8 months ago)

      Yeah, hotel prices in Sapporo will be very expensive during festival periods even in the suburbs. Unless you stay at a neighbouring city like Chitose or Otaru but train tickets also cost money. With the number of people you have, if you want to save money on accommodation, you can try looking for apartments from sites like HomeAway or Airbnb.

      • rochelle
        March 9, 2016 at 6:29 am (8 months ago)

        Thanks for your advice.
        I am planning to rent a car from Times car rental in jun. However, the 20% foreigners’ offer is valid till apr only.
        How did you register as a member? I tried but they do not accept chinese nor english names.
        Kindly please review thru my itnerary
        10jun: sapporo
        11jun: sapporo
        12jun: rent car to otaru
        13jun; tomamu
        14jun: lake akan
        15jun: shari
        16jun: shari
        18jun: furano
        20jun: afternoon flight back home


        • bumblebeemum
          March 10, 2016 at 3:32 pm (8 months ago)

          I did not sign up for membership for TIMES since I was using their 20% discount for foreigners promotion.

          12 June: I would just do a day-trip to Otaru from Sapporo by train.

          The rest of the itinerary looks good. :)

  5. hui ling
    February 24, 2016 at 5:26 pm (8 months ago)

    Hi bumblebeemum, my family is visiting Hokkaido on a self drive from 24-30 Apr. Tentatively we are thinking of the following itinerary

    Day 1 – Chitose – Noboribetsu

    Day 2 – Noboribetsu – Hakodate

    Day 3 – Hakodate – Lake Toya

    Day 4 – Lake Toya – Otaru

    Day 5 – Otaru – Sapporo
    (return car)

    Day 6 – Sapporo

    Day 7 – Leave for airport

    I know it is not the best season to visit Hokkaido as it is still too early for the flower season, but is there anything worth visiting that you think we should consider including into our itinerary? Thanks a lot in advance!

    • bumblebeemum
      February 24, 2016 at 9:00 pm (8 months ago)

      There is a chance of catching sakura towards the end of your trip based on the forecast:

      I would do everything in reverse and go Hakodate at the end to increase my chances of seeing sakura there.

  6. Janice Chew
    February 29, 2016 at 10:27 am (8 months ago)

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    My hubby and I really like your posts which give many practical suggestions. It makes planning much easier for our family trip to Hokkaido on the 2nd week of June 2016.
    Our family of 3 is planning to drive on this 8D6N trip. Itinerary as follows and I would appreciate your comments to further fine tune our plan.

    Day 1 : Night flight to New Chitose Airport and reach the next morning at 8am.
    Day 2 : Leave baggage at concierge service at Sapporo hotel after breakfast (as it is too early to check in). Take a train to Otaru and come back to Sapporo in the evening. Spend a night in Sapporo.
    Day 3 : Rent a car after breakfast and leave Sapporo for Noboribetsu. Stay 1 night there.
    Day 4 : Leave Noboribetsu after breakfast and visit Farm Tomita, Furano Cheese Factory, Biei and check in to Asahikawa hotel.
    Day 5 : Leave Asahikawa after breakfast and go to the northern region to visit Shibazakura Park at Higashimokoto and Tulip Park at Kamiyubetsu. Stay a night at Monbetsu.
    Day 6 : Leave Monbetsu after breakfast and go back to Asahikawa to visit Asahiyama Zoo. Stay a night at Asahikawa.
    Day 7 : Leave Asahikawa and head on to Chitose. Return our rented car at Chitose. Stay a night at Chitose.
    Day 8 : Take a morning flight to leave Hokkaido.

    As you know the road conditions and the locations of the places that we plan to visit, will it be too tiring for us to drive from Day 3 to Day 7 ?

    Another question will be room booking. I’m making room reservation mostly a room for 2 as my son ( who is 14 years old ) prefer to sleep in his sleeping bag and we can do a bit of saving. Do hotels in Japan allow this manner of booking ? That means I book for 2 but there are 3 persons in the room.

    Is there any surcharge impost for payment to hotels by using credit card ?
    Or is it more advisable to pay cash ?

    Thanks a lot in advance.

    • bumblebeemum
      February 29, 2016 at 10:54 am (8 months ago)

      Your itinerary looks too rushed. Also, I wouldn’t go to shibazakura park and tulip park in second week of June – it is too late for those. I suggest you spend one more day at Furano / Biei instead of rushing up North.

      Also, is there any reason you want to visit Noboribetsu? It is not along the way and you are making quite a big detour just to go to Noboribetsu and subsequently to Furano. Generally for short trips like yours, I do not advice making such detours. If I want to go to Noboribetsu, I would go there on the first day directly from CTS. And personally, I prefer Lake Toya to Noboribetsu.

      This is what I would do:

      Day 1 : Night flight to New Chitose Airport and reach the next morning at 8am.
      Day 2 : CTS – Lake Toya / Noboribetsu
      Day 3 : Lake Toya / Noboribetsu – Otaru
      Day 4 : Otaru – Sapporo
      Day 5 : Sapporo – Asahikawa
      Day 6 : Asahikawa – Biei – Furano
      Day 7 : Furano – CTS
      Day 8 : Take a morning flight to leave Hokkaido.

      By June, the snow would all have melted away so it is pretty easy to drive.

      For your son, he should be considered an adult already so you should be booking a room for 3 person. Try Super Hotel which is a pretty budget-friendly hotel chain with rooms that have bunk beds. Hotel rooms in Japan are notoriously small, your son may not even have space to lay his sleeping bag in some cases.

      I haven’t encountered surcharges for credit card payments in hotels. However petrol kiosk will have surcharges for credit cards. Anyway for hotels, I usually book through third party websites like Agoda or hotels.com and they will charge to my credit card.

      • Janice Chew
        February 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm (8 months ago)

        Thanks for your comment.
        We will review our itinerary.

  7. BC
    March 8, 2016 at 5:16 pm (8 months ago)

    hi Bumble Bee Mum
    Below is my tentative itinerary for our trip from 22 to 31 May. Appreciate any comments :

    Day 1 Chitose to Biei
    – Pick up car. Take early lunch
    – Drive around Biei
    Qn: is there anything of interest between Chitose & Kamifurano ?

    Day 2 Biei to Sounkyo
    – visit Blue Pond
    – hike Big Snow Mountain

    Day 3 Sounkyo to Shari or Abashiri
    – visit Takinoue Park (Pink Moss)
    – Kamiyubetsu Tulip
    – Or direct to Abashiri or Shari

    Day 4 Shari or Abashiri
    – drive to Shiretoko Pass, Mount Rausu (maybe Rausu town) & back

    Day 5 Shari to Obihiro
    – maybe Cape Notoro / Shibazakura park, before going to Obihiro

    Day 6 Obihiro

    Day 7 Obihiro to Chitose to Sapporo
    – Mitsui Outlet
    – Return car
    Qn: I want to avoid the toll-ways. Is Highway 274 prone to heavy traffic ?

    Day 8 Sapporo

    Day 9 Sapporo

    Day 10 Sapporo to home

    • bumblebeemum
      March 9, 2016 at 1:34 am (8 months ago)

      Day 1 CTS to Furano is a pretty boring drive. The only place that looks interesting in between is Yubari, but I would only go there if it is melon season. Otherwise I would go to Tomamu, but unless you are planning to spend a night at Tomamu there is no point going there. I will just eat my fill at CTS and drive straight from CTS to Furano.

      Day 2 Are the hiking trails around Daisetsuzan open already in May? I am not big on hiking so I have never researched much on this, but May sounds a tad early for hiking in Hokkaido.

      Day 3 I would end at Abashiri. Sounkyo to Shari sounds terribly far.

      Day 5 Shari to Obihiro sounds like a really long drive too. I would spend a night at Lake Akan to break up the drive.

      The problem with avoiding highway is not so much of heavy traffic. It is more of getting stuck behind slow-moving vehicles on single-lane roads. For long distances, I would just use the highways.

  8. Joey
    March 14, 2016 at 11:47 pm (7 months ago)

    love your blog and informative tips … we 4 adults and 2 kids (2years old) going on 16-26June … Arrived CTS 8.20am, and we would like to follow your mid-end June plan.. But we would like to add in Asahikawa in our list .. So which day we should add in?
    Hmm not sure other places we can add in our list since we have total 10days and the last day flight is early morning 8.55am from CTS … Would love to hear your comment soon.. Thanks

    • Joey
      March 15, 2016 at 12:08 am (7 months ago)

      This is our first time to Hokkaido.. Here is my list.. And hope hear some advice from you.. Thanks ..

      Day 1 CTS – Sapporo
      Day 2 Sapporo – Tomamu – Furano (rent car )
      Day 3 Furano – Biei (rent car )
      Day 4. Biei – Asahikawa (rent car)
      Day 5 Asahikawa – Sapporo (return car)
      Day 6. Otaru (day trip by train)
      Day 7. Sapporo
      Day 8. Sapporo
      Day 9. Sapporo
      Day 10 Sapporo – CTS (flight 8.55am)

      Wanna get advice if we should stay one night at Otaru on day 6 then return Sapporo on day 7? it’s too rush for day trip to Otaru with 2 kids (2yo)?

      Or we should continue driving from Asahikawa to Otaru ? U have idea the journey take how long if driving ?


      • bumblebeemum
        March 18, 2016 at 8:14 pm (7 months ago)


        Your itinerary looks a bit rushed to me. I would spend one night at Tomamu.

        I think a day trip with Otaru is sufficient if you are just visiting the city centre (Sakaimachi, Otaru canal). You will only need 1 more day if you plan to visit Otaru Aquarium or go fruit-picking at Yoichi. If you plan to do the aquarium or fruit-picking, then yes, I would advise you to keep the car and drive to Otaru from Asahikawa, spending a night in Otaru.

        For driving times in Hokkaido, Google maps does a pretty good estimate for summer driving.

  9. Jasmine Low
    March 17, 2016 at 8:10 am (7 months ago)

    Hi bumblebee mum!

    Thank you for all your informative posts about hokkaido. I couldn’t possibly find a better guide than yours.:)

    Am wondering if you would be able to provide me some expert advise on following?

    My family of 5 adults and 1 16month old baby will be Travelling to Hokkaido end July – early August (11 nights total). Arriving in asahikawa airport at 10am and departing new chitose at 6pm.

    1) could you advise me on our itinerary?
    FURANO/BIEI/ASAHIKAWA (4nights) Day 1: reach asahikawa airport at 10am. Pick up rental car. Drive to Furano stay (4nights)
    Furano sights
    day 2: asahikawa and asahiyama zoo
    Day 3: biei / furano
    Day 4: furano

    day 5: drive to lake shikotsu
    Day 6: drive to lake toya
    Day 7: lake toya

    SAPPORO (4 nights)
    day 8: drive to Sapporo
    day 9: Sapporo
    Day 10: Sapporo
    Day 11: morning drive back to new chitose. Spend day at new chitose before evening flight back

    – Should we spend the first night at asahikawa instead?
    – Do you think we’ll be incredibly bored at furano and Sapporo?
    – any suggestions of other places we shd go instead of planting ourselves at the above mentioned places?

    2) we are planning to hire a car throughout the trip. However we are also contemplating on returning our car at Sapporo as parking might be more costly there. Do u think that would be more advisable to do so? And depend on public transport during our Sapporo trip?

    3) do you think food will be a problem for my 16 month old? Shd I prepare extra food along the way or do u think I could order from the restaurants directly?

    Thank you so much in advance!!!


    • bumblebeemum
      March 23, 2016 at 12:47 pm (7 months ago)

      Sorry for the late reply. Just saw this comment because it went into spam. :p

      1) If you are arriving at Asahikawa and staying at Furano, I suggest you do Asahikawa and Asahiyama Zoo on Day 1. This way you don’t need to drive back up to Asahikawa again. I would spend the night at Asahikawa if this is after an overnight flight.

      No, why would you be bored at Furano? You are going at the best time for flowers and lavender at Furano / Biei. Take your time, admire the flowers, go cafe hopping. I would never go bored in Furano if I am there in late July – early Aug.

      In Sapporo, you can go to Otaru for one day. Then you only have 2 days left in Sapporo. If you are bored, just go cafe hopping. Sapporo is all about food for me.

      2) If you are going to Otaru, looking at the number of people you have, I would keep the car. If you have the car in Sapporo, I highly recommend visiting Takino Suzuran Hillside Park. It is a very nice park with lots of stuff for the kids to play and flowers and waterfalls for adults to admire, and it is best visited with a rental car. So if I were you, I would just keep the car all the way.

      3) Are you giving your 16 year old outside food yet? When my boy was around that age, he was already eating egg sushi, udon, fish with rice etc. We also buy bread and fresh fruits for him.

  10. Est
    March 19, 2016 at 10:13 pm (7 months ago)

    Hello b.b mum
    Thank you for your very detailed and pictured blog. It’s amazing how u can detail ur trips so clearly including all the food u ate!

    I’m going to Hokkaido this mid April 2016 w my family. There r 6 of us.. And our first time there. We bought multi city tickets flying in to Sapporo and out of Hakodate. Could you kindly review the following itinerary?

    Sun: Reach CTS 11am
    Sapporo 2nights (otaru canal on monday via train)
    Tues: Sapporo to lake toya
    Wed: drive to niseko, stay one night
    Thurs: drive to Hakodate
    Sat: evening flight out of Hakodate

    Greatly appreciate if u have any suggestions! Would u recommend niseko? Mainly going there for milk kobo n to see snow. Hehe
    I’m hoping to try as many of the yummy food u recommended in your blog!
    The road would still be wet/snowy I assume?

    I have yet booked any accommodations.. hope to hear from u! Thanks!

      • Est
        March 24, 2016 at 8:53 pm (7 months ago)

        Thanks so much for the reply!! Can I ask, but where would u recommend I stay in niseko? I chose sun palace for lake toya but can’t decide where in niseko is good..

        • bumblebeemum
          March 28, 2016 at 10:08 am (7 months ago)

          Hilton Niseko is actually not bad, albeit a bit touristy and lacking in Japanese character. But if you do not know Japanese, everyone at Hilton speaks English so you will not encounter language barrier there.

  11. Mr Ng
    March 21, 2016 at 9:57 am (7 months ago)

    Hi bumblebee mum, great blog you have out here! :)

    I am planning a family trip of 4 (with parents) to Hokkaido from 12 to 23 May. we are trying to avoid self drive as we have some reservation on driving on different sides of roads from Singapore. would like to seek your advice on my itinerary and any tips if possible.

    Thanks! :)

    (12 May)Day 1- Chitose airport to Hakodate (rest)
    Day 2- Hakodate
    Day 3 and 4- Lake Toya or Noboribetsu (possible by JR train right?)
    Day 5-Asahikawa
    Day 6-Takinoue/ Higashimoto Shibazakura (is there any day trips or easily accessible by public transport?)
    Day 7- Furano/Biei? (but I was researching online but didn’t see any day trips in mid may and not really accessible by public transport)
    Day 8- Last few days in Otaru and Sapporo (isit too many days?)

    • bumblebeemum
      March 21, 2016 at 12:57 pm (7 months ago)

      Erm… Japan and Singapore use the same side of the road. I do suggest you consider self-driving for Takinoue and Furano / Biei. Singaporeans usually have little problems driving in Hokkaido in summer.

      Also, I will push up Otaru and Sapporo and go to the shibazakura fields toward the end of the trip to allow more time for the flowers to bloom.

      The onsen towns of Lake Toya and Noboribetsu both require a cab ride from the nearest train stations.

      This is what I would suggest:

      12 May: CTS – Hakodate
      13 May: Hakodate
      14 May: Hakodate – Toya
      15 May: Toya
      16 May: Toya – Sapporo
      17 May: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      18 May: Sapporo
      19 May: Sapporo – Asahikawa
      20 May: (self-drive) Day trip to Furano / Biei
      21 May: (self-drive) Day trip to Takinoue & Kamiyubetsu tulip park. (I don’t recommend going all the way to Higashimokoto as it is very far.)
      22 May: Asahikawa – CTS
      23 May: Flight home

      • Mr Ng
        March 21, 2016 at 10:22 pm (7 months ago)

        Oh i am so blur! Thanks for the recommendations! i read somewhere on ur blog that that there might be some onsen resorts that charter buses from Sapporo to Lake Toya right?
        Hope we would be able to catch some sakura remnants and shibazakura/tulips blooms during the trip. Thanks and may u will enjoy ur future travels with ur family to Japan as well!

          • Mr Ng
            March 22, 2016 at 8:03 am (7 months ago)

            Oic. Thx for the hotel recommendations! Sry one more question, would u recommend getting the Hokkaido railway pass for the first 3 days?

            • bumblebeemum
              March 22, 2016 at 8:33 am (7 months ago)

              Neh.. The 3 day Hokkaido rail pass costs 16,500 Yen. The fare for CTS to Hakodate with reserved seat is 8420yen and the fare for Hakodate to Toya with reserved seat is 5490yen. So nope.

              If you need to check train fare, use hyperdia:

  12. Alicia
    April 13, 2016 at 12:21 am (6 months ago)

    Hi bumblebee mum! Great blog u have here :)

    Just want to get some advice, i have booked hotels at hakodate (2nights) and sapporo (7nights) respectively. My family wishes to take day trips to asashikawa, otaru as well as noboribetsu from sapporo. Would u suggest we get the 4 day flexible hokkaido jr pass in this case? Thanks :)

    • bumblebeemum
      April 14, 2016 at 5:37 pm (6 months ago)

      You mean you want to use the 4 day pass for the following 4 days?

      1) Sapporo – Hakodate
      2) Hakodate – Sapporo
      3) Sapporo – Asahikawa – Sapporo
      4) Sapporo – Noboribetsu – Sapporo

      If it is then yes, you can use the 4-Day flexi Hokkaido rail pass.

  13. NCL
    April 16, 2016 at 10:26 pm (6 months ago)

    Hi Bumblebeemum

    My family(2A2C) is going Hokkaido on self drive arriving on 31 May and return on 7 Jun.
    Would like to tap on your advice on our itinerary as follows :
    Day 1 – arrive at Saporro
    Day 2 – pick up car and drive to Otaru
    Day 3 – Otaru to Lake Toya
    Day 4 – Lake Toya to Noboribetsu
    Day 5 – Noboribetsu to Rera outlet to Furano
    Day 6 – Furano to Biei to Sounkyo
    Day 7 – Sounkyo to Takinoue park,Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park,to Asahikawa zoo to Sapporo
    Day 8 – Return SG

    • bumblebeemum
      April 17, 2016 at 11:41 pm (6 months ago)

      You should go Takinoue and Kamiyubetsu at the start of your trip. If you go at the end, it would be too late for shibazakura and tulips.

      Also, you will not have time to do Takinoue, Kamiyubetsu and Asahikawa Zoo in one day. I am not sure what time you arrive on day 1 and whether you can squeeze in Asahiyama Zoo on Day 1. But you should head up North right away once you arrive if you want to catch the shibazakura and tulips. So you pretty much need to reverse your itinerary.

      Day 1 – CTS – Asahikawa
      Day 2 – Asahikawa – Takinoue – Kamiyubetsu – Sounkyo
      Day 3 – Sounkyo – Biei – Furano
      Day 4 – Furano – Rera Outlet – Noboribetsu
      Day 5 – Noboribetsu – Lake Toya
      Day 6 – Lake Toya – Otaru
      Day 7 – Otaru – Sapporo
      Day 8 – Sapporo – CTS

      • NCL
        April 18, 2016 at 9:01 am (6 months ago)

        Thanks for your advice.
        But I have booked nonrefundable hotels for Sapporo.
        So I will give up staying at Otaru.
        Is it worth staying Furano Biei 2 nights and staying at Noboribetsu?

        So what do you think about my new plan?
        Day 1 – CTS – Sapporo
        Day 2 – Sapporo – Asahikawa – Takinoue – Sounkyo
        Day 3 – Sounkyo – Kamiyubetsu – Biei
        Day 4 – Furano Biei
        Day 5 – Furano – Rera Outlet – Nobo
        Day 5 – Nobo
        Day 6 – Lake Toya
        Day 7 – Lake Toya – Otaru – Sapporo
        Day 8 – Sapporo – CTS

        • bumblebeemum
          April 18, 2016 at 11:05 am (6 months ago)

          Hmm… I would put Kamiyubetsu and Takinoue together on Day 2 and shift Asahikawa to Day 3.

          Day 1 – CTS – Sapporo
          Day 2 – Sapporo – Takinoue – Kamiyubetu – Sounkyo
          Day 3 – Sounkyo – Asahikawa – Biei
          Day 4 – Furano Biei

          The rest of the itinerary looks good.

          • Neo Ching Leong
            April 18, 2016 at 10:16 pm (6 months ago)

            Hi Bumblebeemum,
            Thanks a lot for your help.
            Looks like Day 2 will be a long day.
            And have to book 2 nights Lake Toya as Noboribetsu become so expensive.

            • bumblebeemum
              April 19, 2016 at 8:07 am (6 months ago)

              Yeah.. No choice since you already booked hotel in Sapporo. But I’m sure it can be done because there are day trips from Sapporo to visit Takinoue and Kamiyubetsu.

              You can also try booking 1 night in Niseko if you don’t want to spend 2 nights in the same hotel at Lake Toya. For your dates, accommodation in Niseko should be very cheap. It will be super deserted frankly, but I like. Haha…

              • NCL
                April 19, 2016 at 8:44 am (6 months ago)

                Checked that Niseko still more expensive than Toya. I also don’t want to pay for expensive simple breakfast you posted previously in Niseko Village. Haha

                  • NCL
                    April 19, 2016 at 11:17 pm (6 months ago)

                    Thanks for the tips. Niseko ghost town this period. Contented with Lake Toya for the time being.

                    • bumblebeemum
                      April 20, 2016 at 10:44 am (6 months ago)

                      Hahaha.. Yeah, ghost town indeed! But I like. Lol…

  14. rochelle
    April 18, 2016 at 10:08 pm (6 months ago)

    We are a family with 4 and 7 years old kids travelling to hokkaido in mid jun.
    2 specific questions to seek your advice
    1) on our way from otaru to tomamu, is there anywhere we can stop, sightsee ?
    2) we intend to take a wildlife cruise. I am debating between utoro or rausu? I think the kids are interested in wild life but am worried we cant see any on the rausu cruise. Please advise


    • bumblebeemum
      April 19, 2016 at 8:03 am (6 months ago)

      1) Are you driving? If you are, you can stop for a break at Chitose Rera Outlet. But this requires you to exit the tollway and go back in again. The drive from Otaru to Tomamu uses expressway all the way. So for this case, I usually just stop at the roadside stations along the expressway (those labelled PA or SA).

      2) I haven’t tried the wildlife cruises. Maybe you can contact the cruise operator to check with them what are the chances of spotting whales on the Rausu cruise. If it isn’t very high, then go for the Utoro cruise instead. The brown bear sighting cruise looks interesting. But again, do check with them if brown bear sightings are guaranteed.

      • Rochelle
        April 19, 2016 at 9:54 am (6 months ago)

        yes, we will be driving. I saw your post on Takino Suzuran Hillside National Park , is it worth a detour?


        • bumblebeemum
          April 19, 2016 at 10:20 am (6 months ago)

          Oh yes, it is a very nice park and along the way. You can go there. :)

  15. Xiuyue
    May 8, 2016 at 10:17 am (6 months ago)

    Thanks for sharing all the informative sharing.
    Can I seek your opinion for my plan from 9 to 19 June?
    9th June: Chitose airport – Sapporo
    10th June: Sapporo – Shiroi Kob – Sapporo
    11th June: Day trip by train from Sapporo to Otaru to Sapporo
    12th June: Rent car – Sapporo – Niseko
    13th June: Niseko – Hakodate
    14th June: Hakodate – Lake Toya
    15th June: Lake Toya – Noboribetsu
    16th June: Noboribetsu – Furano
    16th June to 19th June: Stay in Furano and explore Furano/ Biei/ Asahikawa
    19th June: Furano to Chitose airport (2p.m. flight)
    Can you also advise if I should take the HEP or just rent etc pass?

    • bumblebeemum
      May 9, 2016 at 1:55 am (6 months ago)

      If you pick up the car at Sapporo and return it to CTS, you cannot get the HEP because HEP requires the car to be returned to the same outlet it was picked up from. If you can get an ETC card at a nominal fee, you should consider doing so.

  16. Jun
    May 13, 2016 at 11:09 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi, good reference. We rent a car but the shop does not sell HEP, do u know can we rent it from other shop just only the HEP?

    • bumblebeemum
      May 16, 2016 at 12:47 pm (5 months ago)

      Nope you can’t. You must rent from a HEP handling shop and get the HEP from the shop you rented the car from.

  17. ivy
    May 18, 2016 at 4:35 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi Bumblebeemum, did you self-drive for hokkaido all the time?? alternative is take train? or it doesn’t get to those area?

    • bumblebeemum
      May 21, 2016 at 7:42 am (5 months ago)

      Yeah.. I tried train on my first trip to Hokkaido and found the train network very sparse and infrequent in Hokkaido as compared to mainland Japan. And in Hokkaido, the best places to visit are the rural areas which are hard to access by train and much nicer to just drive around.

  18. Amanda Tay
    May 23, 2016 at 2:31 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi Bubblebeemum, will be heading to Hokkaido from 31st May – 6th June
    Would like you to kindly advice if this itinerary is good/feasible?

    Day 1: Reach Kansai airport, check into Kansai airport hotel
    Day 2: Chitose airport – Sapporo
    Day 3: Sapporo – Biei (Just for Shikisai no Oka) – Asahikawa (Walk around +
    Asahikawa Ramen Village) – Sapporo
    Day 4: Sapporo – Odori – Maruyama Koen – Sapporo
    Day 5: Sapporo – Otaru – Sapporo
    Day 6: Sapporo – Sapporo Central Wholesale Market – Shiroi Koibito Park –
    Sapporo Beer Museum – Susukino – Sapporo
    Day 7: Sapporo – Chitose Airport to fly to Osaka

    Airbnb is in Sapporo and paid for so we have to travel back to Sapporo daily

    • bumblebeemum
      May 24, 2016 at 1:13 am (5 months ago)

      Are you driving on Day 3? If you are, the itinerary looks feasible. :)

      • Amanda
        May 26, 2016 at 10:06 am (5 months ago)

        Hi, no we’ll be taking the JR. Also would you recommend I do Shikisai no Oka on Day 3 or Day 6? Will the flowers have bloomed yet?

        • Amanda
          May 26, 2016 at 10:10 am (5 months ago)

          Slight change in itinerary for Day 3.
          Day 3: Sapporo – Nakafurano (for Saika no Sato) – Tomita Melon House – Bibaushi (for Shikisai no Oka) – Asahikawa (for Aoba ramen just next to Asahikawa Station) – Sapporo

          Will this be too rushed? Taking the JR

        • bumblebeemum
          May 26, 2016 at 10:42 am (5 months ago)

          The main rainbow flower fields would not have bloomed yet. To give you an idea, these are some photos of Shikisai no Oka we took in late June:

          Frankly if I didn’t have a car, I wouldn’t think it was worth the hassle of going to Biei just for Shikisai no Oka in early June. I recommend you rent a car from Sapporo for one day to drive to Biei. The beauty of Biei at that time is not so much of the flower fields, but really the feeling of driving around the countryside along Panorama Road and Patchwork Road.

          • Amanda
            May 26, 2016 at 10:46 am (5 months ago)

            Do you recommend I go visit the Tomita Melon House instead? Sorry for so many questions, have not been to this part of Japan before.

            • Amanda
              May 26, 2016 at 10:47 am (5 months ago)

              And what about Saika no Sato, would the flowers have bloomed?

              • bumblebeemum
                May 26, 2016 at 10:58 am (5 months ago)

                Let me try to answer all your questions at one go.

                Firstly, you really need a car for the Furano / Biei region if you want to cover it in one day. You can take JR up to Asahikawa or Biei and rent a car from there if you want to minimise driving. But using public transport to get around Furano and Biei is really quite a pain. If you have time, yes you can slowly wait for the train. The train comes like every 1 – 2 hours? If you miss one, you will be waiting at least another hour for the next train. Furthermore, to get from Bibaushi to Shikisai no Oka is a 2km distance – if you are walking, it is quite a long walk. Also, I don’t think the train will stop at Lavender Batake station (where Tomita farm / Tomita Melon House is) on your dates. It only stops there during flowering season if I’m not mistaken. You will need to use Nakafurano station, which is again about 2km to Tomita Farm / Tomita Melon House. So if you are rushing, public transport won’t do. You will spend all your time waiting for the train and walking to and fro the station and your destination.

                If you have a car, yes you can go to Tomita Melon House. Without one, it is going to be extremely rushed.

                And nope, I don’t think the flowers at Saika No Sato will be blooming that early in June also.

                • Amanda
                  May 26, 2016 at 11:14 am (5 months ago)

                  Thank you so much for answering my endless queries >.<

                  What if we were to take a cab from Nakafurano Station to Tomita Melon Farm? Is it easy to flag one? Also where else do you recommend we go to see flower fields since Shiksai no Oka and Saika no Sato flowers are barely blooming. As we have already purchased 5 days JR rail pass, I don't think we wish to spend more money renting a car.

                  • bumblebeemum
                    May 30, 2016 at 11:59 pm (5 months ago)

                    I have never tried flagging a cab in Furano before so I’m really not sure how easy it is to get one or how much it would cost. But I guess if you are going to Tomita Melon Farm, you should go to Tomita Farm as well since they are just next to each other. Make your effort of getting there from Nakafurano worth it. :p

  19. DN Ng
    May 25, 2016 at 12:38 am (5 months ago)

    Hi, Bumblebeemum,

    Can you please advice for my itinerary as follows from 29th May to 3 June 16 :

    Day 1 29th Chitose Airport – Check in hotel
    Day 2 30th Sapporo
    Day 3 31st (Rent car) Sapporo – Furano – Biei ( Overnight in Biei)
    Day 4 1st June Higashimokoto -Asahikawa Zoo – Kamiyubetsu – Takinoue- Sapporo
    Day 5 2nd June Sapporo
    Day 6 3rd June Sapporo – Flight to Tokyo

    Is it too rush for day 4 ? We had booked the hotel on day 5 in Sapporo, so unable to overnight in Asahikawa.

    Thank you.

    • bumblebeemum
      May 26, 2016 at 10:02 am (5 months ago)

      Definitely Higashimokoto will be too far and rushed for you. Day 4 is not feasible. If you want to try to catch the shibazakura, go to Takinoue as early in your trip as possible. I would head North the moment I arrive.

      Day 1: CTS – Asahikawa
      Day 2: Day trip from Asahikawa to Takinoue and Kamiyubetsu
      Day 3: Asahiyama Zoo – Biei / Furano
      Day 4: Biei / Furano – Sapporo
      Day 5: Sapporo
      Day 6: Sapporo – flight back

  20. monica tham
    June 9, 2016 at 1:19 pm (5 months ago)

    also for food!!! 😉

  21. JJ
    June 10, 2016 at 10:26 am (5 months ago)

    Dear bumblebee mum,

    Thanks for ur sharing! U r awesome. We r back in town from Hokkaido. This was a memorable family trip. We catched Unkai, shibazakura!
    Too bad It was a rainy day when we visited Furano and Ningle Terrace. Weather was freezing cold. I know it’s too early for flower viewing as there were no flower blooming at Flowerland and Tomita Lavender farm. However, we enjoyed great dinner at Kumagera! :)

    • bumblebeemum
      June 27, 2016 at 1:56 pm (4 months ago)

      I’m so envious that you caught shibazakura! We were too late for them when we were there in June.

      The weather in Hokkaido was absolutely crazy wasn’t it? I heard it even snowed a few days before we were there! Our whole family fell sick because of the colder than expected weather.. You would think we would have known better after going there so many times, but no.. Hokkaido still surprises me when it comes to its erratic weather.

      Glad you enjoyed your dinner at Kumagera!

  22. SP
    June 14, 2016 at 2:52 am (4 months ago)

    Dear bumblebee mum,

    Your blog is amazingly detailed and useful. U have no idea how much it helps me to crystalize my plans to Hokkaido this August.

    It will be a week trip + 2 adults+ self drive (hubby only) from 10 Aug to 16 Aug. My itinerary is as follows. Could u help me to see if improvements are needed:

    10th – Day 1: Arrive at CTS (10 am)- drive to Noboribetsu (staying at Hotel Mahoroba for a night for the onsen experience)
    11th- Day 2: Depart for Lake Toya- tour Lake Toya surroundings- spend a night a Sapporo (mainly because i want to let hubs take a break from the driving)
    12th- Day 3: Depart for Furano- will stay 3D2N at Furano
    13th Day 4: Furano/Biei
    14th Day 5: Furano to Sapporo- tour Sapporo city- stay a night at Holiday Inn (return car once we hit city)
    15th Day 6: Sapporo- Otaru (via train)- Sapporo
    16th Day 7: Outlet shopping AM => Chitose Airport (flight at 3pm, so not much time at outlet actually)

    (I can’t afford to squeeze in Hokadate).

    Do let me know what you think of this arrangement? Most of my accom is booked except for that night at Sapporo after Lake Toya. I m still undecided if that is a good move.

    Secondly, I booked Hotel Mahoroba via their website and it seems slightly cheaper than 3 party sites. I have got a booking confirmation, but since i didn’t supply my credit card, I m not sure if my booking is confirmed or not. Do u have experience booking with the hotel direct?

    Thirdly, is parking in the attractions usually free? (like Cheese factory or the lavender farms…especially during August? To be honest i m quite worried bumming up against hordes of Chinese tourists).

    Lastly, i m going with Times for car rental. They are pretty decent ya? I need a reliable GPS from them!

    Thanks so much for your advice!

    • bumblebeemum
      June 27, 2016 at 2:23 pm (4 months ago)

      For Day 2, why do you want to spend the night at Sapporo instead of Lake Toya? I would spend the night at Lake Toya instead.

      In Japan when you book directly with the hotel, they usually do not require credit card confirmation. They just assume you will honour your booking. They are honest like that. So as long as you have the booking confirmation, your booking is confirmed and you just pay them when you check in.

      Most attractions around Furano and Biei have free parking. Nothing you can do about the hordes of tourists. They will be there.

      Yup, TIMES is pretty decent. All rental cars I have used in Japan came with reliable GPS. Just make sure you have the telephone numbers and map codes of your destinations on hand.

      • Anonymous
        June 27, 2016 at 3:35 pm (4 months ago)

        Hey Bumblebeemum!

        Thanks a lot for your advice! Did u just come back from another holiday?

        The reason for the 11th day-stay over Sapporo instead of Late Toya is purely a stopover point, before driving up to Furano the next day. I plan to stay mostly in Lake Toya and heading back to Sapporo to sleep at night. But if the driving distance between Toya and Furano is not long at all, i will take your advice. :)

        • bumblebeemum
          June 28, 2016 at 9:31 am (4 months ago)

          Yeah, I just came back from Hokkaido.

          It may look like Sapporo is much nearer to Furano on the map, but truth is getting in and out of Sapporo is annoying due to the numerous traffic lights. It takes a long time just to get from Sapporo City Centre to the expressway. Whereas at Lake Toya, you hit the expressway almost immediately after leaving the onsen town. So if you drive straight from Lake Toya to Furano, it may look like a long 3 hours drive. But if you add up the time to drive from Lake Toya to Sapporo and Sapporo to Furano, the total time is like 4.5 hours at least?

          • Anonymous
            June 29, 2016 at 12:32 am (4 months ago)

            Oh thanks for the great tip! Yes I have changed my hotel booking to stay a night at Lake Toya! :)
            Last question (I promise), a friend told me by mid August, the lavenders would be mostly gone. i m in Furano from 12-14 Aug..based on your experience, do u think i will be able to catch the sights of lavender fields?

            • bumblebeemum
              June 30, 2016 at 2:01 pm (4 months ago)

              You may.. I heard the farms start taking out the lavender some time in mid August but I don’t know the exact date they actually do it. Even if the lavender are gone, there are other flowers. Don’t fret too much over it and enjoy whatever flowers there are! :)

              • SP
                August 17, 2016 at 6:14 pm (2 months ago)

                Hi Bumblebee Mum, I just came back from my trip Hokkaido and I wanted to drop a note to express my gratitude for your tips and advice- whether it was food, accommodation, routes, map codes(super useful!!) etc. My husband said it was a trip-following-the-steps-of-bumblebee-mum. It would not have been possible without your blog/help. I will definitely be making a trip back to Hokkaido soon!

                • bumblebeemum
                  August 22, 2016 at 11:15 am (2 months ago)

                  Glad you had fun! It’s hard to not want to go back to Hokkaido again after you have been there once. :)

  23. Jo
    July 21, 2016 at 1:00 pm (3 months ago)

    Hi Bumblebeemum!

    I am really impressed with your detailed info on Hokkaido. Kudos!

    I am a trip to Hokkaido in 3rd week of November (12 to 19) and will be arriving at Sapporo airport ard 1655pm.

    I would like seek your advice on

    1. accommodation
    2. food
    3. place of interest

    I’m with 4 adults, 2 teens (12 & 13) and 2 children (11). We have no plan to ski so will skip the ski resort. Would definitely want to try onsen resort and would like to explore on sight seeing and food.

    Thinking of staying just Sapporo city for couple of days and another place for few days. What would be your recommendation.

    Many thanks

    • bumblebeemum
      July 22, 2016 at 8:10 pm (3 months ago)

      For sightseeing and food, you can go to Hakodate. You can do something like this:

      12/11: CTS – Sapporo
      13/11: Sapporo
      14/11: Sapporo
      15/11: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      16/11: Sapporo – Noboribetsu / Lake Toya (onsen)
      17/11: Noboribetsu / Lake Toya – Hakodate
      18/11: Hakodate – CTS
      19/11: Flight back

      If you are using public transport, I suggest you stay somewhere near Sapporo station. E.g. JR Inn Sapporo. At Noboribetsu, I like Hotel Mahoroba. At Lake Toya, I like Toya Sunpalace for somewhere more budget-friendly, but if you are willing to splurge, I heard Nonokaze is really good. And for Hakodate, I like the location of Hakodate Kokusai Hotel / La Vista Hakodate Bay.

      • Jo
        July 25, 2016 at 8:33 am (3 months ago)

        Hi Bumblebeemum

        Many thanks for your recommendation and really appreciate it. Do you recommend airbnb in Hokkaido? I was thinking of self-drive, do you think it is advisable during November?

        My arrival is about 1655 hour on 12 Nov and departing 1930 hour on 19 Nov. What’s the hotel recommendation in Sapporo for 3Adult (actually, my elder already 12 yo) and 1 kid (11 yo – small build).

        Should we stay at hotel in Noboribetsu or Lake Toya? Don’t quite like the idea of one night in each city.

        Look forward to your comments.


        • bumblebeemum
          July 26, 2016 at 11:10 am (3 months ago)

          For the above route, self-driving is not absolutely necessary. Though you will probably find convenience in having a car just for the day at Lake Toya if you want to go to Lake Toya.

          In winter, just in case it snows, I do recommend you stay near Sapporo station if you are using the train. You will probably need to book two twin/double rooms as family rooms are not very easy to find in Japan. I did manage to book a quad room at APA Hotel Sapporo Susukino-EkiNishi during my recent trip, but that hotel is not great in terms of accessibility by public transport.

          You only have enough time for either Noboribetsu or Lake Toya. Personally I prefer Lake Toya.

          • Jo
            July 26, 2016 at 11:16 am (3 months ago)

            Dear Bumblebeemum

            What do you think of this itinerary:

            12 Nov: Day One – Singapore to Hokkaido via TZ 216 (0615/1655)
            – Collect car @ CTS airport – Noburibetsu Onsen (approx. 45 mins to an hour drive)
            – Arrived Noburibetsu Onsen (Recommended Onsen: Noburibetsu Grand Hotel or Hotel Mahoroba)

            13 Nov: Day Two – Noburibetsu
            14 Nov: Day Three – Noburibetsu / Hokodate
            – Drive to Hokodate (approx. 3 hours)
            15 Nov: Day Four – Hokodate
            – Arrived early evening – dinner (Recommended hotel: Hokodate Kokusai Hotel / La Vista Hakodate Bay)
            16 Nov: Day Five – Hokodate / Sapporo
            – Drive to Sapporo (approx. 4 hours) (Recommended hotel: Mecure Hotel or Excel Hotel or JR Inn Sapporo)
            17 Nov: Day Six – Sapporo
            18 Nov: Day Seven – Sapporo
            – Otaru
            19 Nov: Day Eight –Hokkaido to Singapore via TZ 215 (1930/0450)

            How is it?

            • bumblebeemum
              July 26, 2016 at 12:01 pm (3 months ago)

              Day 1: You will probably be driving in the dark because of short daylight hours. If you’re not comfortable with that, I suggest you spend the first night at Air Terminal Hotel and pick up the car the next morning to drive to Noboribetsu.

              The rest of your itinerary looks good, not too rushed. I would actually fit in a stop at Lake Toya on Day 5 to break up the drive from Hakodate to Sapporo. No need to stay there, just stop by the lake side to enjoy the scenery and maybe have lunch there before driving on.

              • Jo
                July 26, 2016 at 12:05 pm (3 months ago)

                Thanks thanks! Yes, we will stop by Lake Toya. What would be most convenient transport – self-drive or train?

                • bumblebeemum
                  July 26, 2016 at 12:11 pm (3 months ago)

                  Self-driving would be more convenient if you would like to visit Noboribetsu Onsen and Lake Toya as these two places are not directly accessible by train.

                  • Jo
                    July 28, 2016 at 11:21 am (3 months ago)

                    Hi Bumblebeemum

                    Thanks for adv on the arrival at airport. I decided to stay in Sapporo first then venture out to Noboribetsu and Hokodate via self drive.

                    I’m having huge trouble now to look for quad rooms…. seems like all hotels are full already :(

                    • bumblebeemum
                      July 28, 2016 at 1:12 pm (3 months ago)

                      Yeah, quad rooms are very hard to find. It is easier to find 2 x double / twin rooms.

  24. Michelle0929
    August 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm (2 months ago)

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    My family is planning to go Hokkaido in end May 2017 for about 8 to 9 days (end May to early June). There are 6 to 8 of us (including 2 kids – 11 yrs and 13 yrs).

    This is our first trip to Hokkaido and will appreciate if you could advise the following:

    a. Any recommend itinerary?

    b. Where should we stay (preferably lesser change of hotel, may be max 2 to 3 change)

    c. We are also considering self drive, please advise what is more convenience, public transport or self-drive.

    d. Any places of interest that we should not missed during this period of staying (end May to early Jun)

    Look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

    • bumblebeemum
      August 30, 2016 at 3:14 pm (2 months ago)

      For you dates, I do suggest you visit Takinoue for shibazakura at the start of your trip. So head up to Asahikawa and do a day trip of Takinoue shibazakura park and Kamiyubetsu tulip farm from there. You can also do a day trip to Biei from Asahikawa. After that, you can come back down to Sapporo. From Sapporo, you can do day trips to Otaru, Lake Toya, Noboribetsu. Hopefully you will also be able to catch the Yosakoi Soran Festival in Sapporo towards the end of your trip.

  25. Marcella
    September 10, 2016 at 11:21 pm (1 month ago)

    Hi Bumblebee mom,

    I will have a short visit to Japan around mid-June, and since my flight will be to and from Haneda, there’s something I want to know:
    1. Is it possible now to use JR pass from Tokyo to Hokkaido?
    2. Since it’s only a short visit, do you have any recommended itinerary in Hokkaido for 3 days 2 night there? I honestly interested in the flower fields, but I’m not sure about the season.
    3. For the lodging, do you have any budgeted recommendation on that too?

    I am actually conflicted to plan my trip, whether to visit Hokkaido for that very short time, or just focused on exploring the mainland. If you deemed it a waste to only have three days there, I will completely understand..

    Thanks in advance!!

    • bumblebeemum
      September 13, 2016 at 11:52 am (1 month ago)

      1. Yes, you can use JR Pass for the shinkansen between Tokyo and Hokkaido.

      2. Mid June is too early for the flower fields. If you use the rail and for a short trip, you are more likely looking at Southern Hokkaido (i.e. Hakodate).

      3. For budget accommdation, you can try the hotel chains like Super Hotel or Toyoko Inn.

      Yeah, if it’s just a short trip, it doesn’t seem to warrant the time to go all the way to Hokkaido just for a few days. I would just focus on mainland actually.

  26. TC
    October 9, 2016 at 10:43 am (2 weeks ago)

    Hi bumblebeemum, I stumbled upon your blog when googling for Hokkaido itinerary. We as a group of 6 have booked flight tickets to Hokkaido during mid April (16 to 23) next year. And we just realized that mid April is actually not the best time to visit Hokkaido as the unkai Terrance and zoo are both not open :(((

    Hence we might resort to visiting the following places:
    a) Lake Toya
    b) Niseko
    c) Noboribesu
    d) Otaru
    e) Hakodate
    f) Is furano and biei worth going? We wanted to see some flowers too if possible.

    How would you go with these places and is there any other places that you would recommend going?

    Hope to hear from you soon thanks!

    • bumblebeemum
      October 11, 2016 at 3:30 pm (2 weeks ago)

      Yeah.. Mid April is change of season.. Change of season is never the best time to visit Hokkaido. But that also usually means accommodation is cheaper, so all is not lost. :p

      Places like Lake Toya, Noboribetsu, Otaru, Hakodate and Sapporo are nice to visit regardless of season. Niseko Hirafu ski area should still be operating – they usually operate till the end of Golden Week. But I would give Furano and Biei a miss. April is too early for flowers.

      • TC
        October 11, 2016 at 5:03 pm (2 weeks ago)

        Hi BBM, thanks for the reply! 😊 I saw there is a blue pond at biei which is really nice, do you think April is a nice time to drop by? Will it change color according to season?

        • bumblebeemum
          October 13, 2016 at 1:19 am (2 weeks ago)

          I think it’s always blue.. Except maybe in winter when the lake totally freezes.


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