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Hokkaido - Highlights of our June 2016 Trip - Bumble Bee Mum

Hellooooo world! I am back after taking an almost one month break from blogging.  There is a Chinese saying ‘rest is to allow you to walk longer’.  And boy, do I have a long walk to do as I share with you more on what we have been doing during our trip to Hokkaido earlier this month!

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 74

Yup, if you have been following me on Instagram, you would know I was in Hokkaido AGAIN! This was my… 5th time there if I counted correctly. WHY?? When the world is so big, would I go to Hokkaido again??

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 73

I’m sure some of you have been to places like Bangkok or Hong Kong or Malaysia more than 5 times also RIGHT? We all just have our pet places in the world to visit when we are too lazy to plan too much and just want to get out of the country and go somewhere to ‘nua’ (laze).  To me, Hokkaido is THE place.

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 75

As with my previous Hokkaido trips, I am going to start with an outline of our itinerary and in my upcoming posts, I will share more details.  I have also thrown in the map codes from Mapion this time round, because I heard from readers (and also from my personal experience) that some of the map codes I got from Toyota which I shared last time don’t always work.

Itinerary

Day 1: New Chitose Airport – Furano

1) Lunch at Kumagera
Map Code: 349 032 102

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 01

2) Furano Winery
Map Code: 349 060 668

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 02

3) Campana della Vigna Rokkatei
Map Code: 349 090 412

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 03

4) Tomita Farm & Tomita Melon House
Map Code: 349 306 019

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 04

Stay: Furano

Day 2: Furano – Biei – Asahikawa

1) Furano Jam Factory, Anpanman Shop and Rokugo Observatory
Map Code: 550 803 422

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 05

2) Furano Cheese Factory
Map Code: 550 840 173

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 06

3) Lunch at Yuigadokuson
Map Code: 349 032 095

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 07

4) Flower Land Kamifurano
Map Code: 349 519 480

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 08

5) Miyama Toge Art Park
Map Code: 349 639 703

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 09

6) Sanai No Chaya Cafe Curve
Map Code: 349 792 775

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 10

7) Dinner at Daikokuya Jingisukan
Map Code: 79 343 888

Stay: Asahikawa

Day 3: Asahikawa –  Biei – Asahikawa

1) Blue Pond
Map Code: 349 569 817

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 11

2) Shirohige Waterfall
Map Code: 796 182 604

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 12

3) Mount Tokachidake Observatory
Map Code: 796 093 491

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 13

4) Lunch at Farm Restaurant Chiyoda
Map Code: 349 734 239

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 14

5) Cafe Gosh
Map Code: 349 728 319

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 15

6) Shikisai No Oka
Map Code: 349 701 246

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 16

7) Shinnei No Oka
Map Code: 349 790 676

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 17

8) Biei Senka
Map Code: 389 009 569

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 18

9) Dinner at Asahikawa Ramen Village
Map Code: 79 410 485

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 19

Stay: Asahikawa

Day 4: Asahikawa – Lake Shikotsu – Lake Toya – Niseko

1) Lake Shikotsu
Map Code: 867 063 416

2) Lake Toya
Map Code: 321 518 438

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 20

3) Silo Observatory
Map Code: 321 726 760

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 21

4) Cafe IF (Niseko)
Map Code: 398 385 633

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 22

5) Dinner at Torimatsu
Map Code: 385 840 166

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 23

Stay: Niseko

Day 5: Niseko – Sapporo

1) Shinsennuma
Map Code: 398 581 079

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 24

2) Lunch at Prativo & Niseko Milk Kobo
Map Code: 398 321 134

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 25

3) Yosakoi Soran Festival (Sapporo)

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 26

4) Dinner at Sapporo Bier Garten
Map Code: 9 554 169

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 27

Stay: Sapporo

Day 6: Sapporo

1) Cafe Anniversary
Map Code: 9 488 575

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 28

2) Lunch at Sushi Zen Honten
Map Code: 9 488 640

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 29

3) Yosakoi Soran Festival

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 30

Stay: Sapporo

Day 7: Sapporo

1) Sapporo Central Wholesale Market
Map Code: 9 548 175

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 31

On this day, we split into groups. Some of us went cafe-hopping while the rest stayed around Susukino to do shopping along Tanukikoji. I was part of the cafe-hopping group and we went to the following cafes:

2) Chocolate Masale Cafe
Map Code: 9 460 061

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 32

3) Ritaru Coffee
Map Code: 9 518 012

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 33

4) Morihico Coffee
Map Code: 9 488 110

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 34

The rest of the evening was spent catching the last of Yosakoi Soran Festival.

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 35

Stay: Sapporo

Day 8: Sapporo – Otaru

1) Breakfast at Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou
Map Code: 493 842 096

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 36

2) Shukutsu Peninsula
Map Code: 493 842 279

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 37

3) Yoichi Nikka Distillery
Map Code: 164 665 188

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 38

4) Lunch at Shokudou Misaki (Shakotan)
Map Code: 932 686 366

5) Otaru

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 39

Stay: Otaru

Day 9: Otaru – Asahikawa – Sounkyo – Kitami

1) Sankaku Market
Map Code: 164 719 530

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 40

2) Lunch at Tenkin (Asahikawa)
Map Code: 79 343 798

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 41

3) Daisetsu Asahigaoka / Taisetsu Forest Garden
Map Code: 623 459 391

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 42

4) Waterfall of Ginga and Waterfall of Meteor
Map Code: 623 177 759

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Part 4 (10) - Sounkyo Onsen Waterfalls

5) O-Bako (Along route 39, 15 min from Sounkyo)
Map Code: 743 692 824

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Part 4 (12) - Sounkyo Onsen Obako

Stay: Kitami

Day 10: Kitami – Abashiri – Shiretoko – Kitami

1) Lake Abashiri

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 43

1) Abashiri Seafood Market
Map Code: 305 531 177

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 44

2) Koshimizu Flower Garden
Map Code: 958 080 604

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 45

3) Oshinkoshin Waterfall
Map Code: 894 727 262

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 46

4) Furepe Waterfall
Map Code: 757 632 609

5) Shiretoko Saihate Ichiba
Map Code: 757 571 373

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Part 4 (32) - Shiretoko Saihate Ichiba

6) Shiretoko Five Lakes
Map Code: 757 729 081

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 47

7) Shiretoko Pass
Map Code: 757 493 152

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 48

8) Rausu Visitor Centre
Map Code: 757 410 503

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 49

9) Rausu Kunashiri Observatory Deck
Map Code: 757 352 687

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Part 4 (41) - Rausu Kunashiri Observatory Deck

Stay: Kitami

Day 11: Kitami – Akan National Park – Kitami

1) Lake Mashu
Map Code: 613 781 491

2) Iozan
Map Code: 731 713 770

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 51

3) Lake Kussharo
Map Code: 638 148 559

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 52

4) Shiretoco Gelato
Map Code: 429 777 468

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 53

5) Shiretoco Factory
Map Code: 429 777 600

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 54

6) Cafe Kaiyodai
Map Code: 976 104 477

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 55

Stay: Kitami

Day 12: Kitami – Lake Akan – Kushiro

1) Pan de Pan
Map Code: 739 342 639

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 57

2) Lake Akan

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 56

3) Lunch at Sora
Map Code: 731 546 439

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 58

4) Washo Market
Map Code: 149 256 361

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 59

5) Daichan Kushiro Zangi
Map Code: 149 256 554

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 60

Stay: Kushiro

Day 13: Kushiro – Akkeshi – Ikeda – Obihiro

1) Akkeshi Seafood Market
Map Code: 637 162 597

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 61

2) Cape Aikappu
Map code: 637 040 468

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 62

3) Lunch at Akkeshi Gourmet Park Conchiglie
Map Code: 637 191 592

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 63

4) Ikeda Wine Castle
Map Code: 369 595 881

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 64

5) Happiness Dairy
Map Code: 369 626 713

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 65

6) Dinner at Panchou

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 66

7) Kita No Yatai

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 67

Stay: Obihiro

Day 14: Obihiro – Yubari – New Chitose Airport

1) Breakfast at Mugioto
Map Code: 124 503 523

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 68

2) Manabe Garden
Map Code: 124 474 778

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 69

3) Ryugetsu Sweetpia Garden
Map Code: 124 801 596

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 70

4) Yubari Michi No Eki Meroad
Map Code: 700 080 240

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 71

5) Yuni Garden
Map Code: 320 573 604

Hokkaido Self Drive Trip Itinerary June 72

Stay: Air Terminal Hotel (New Chitose Airport)

Trip Reflections

The exact dates for this trip was 6 to 19 June 2016.  It is important to note the exact dates because as I mentioned in my post on visiting Hokkaido in early Summer, there are two festivals in Sapporo during June which I usually encourage my readers to catch if they visit Hokkaido in June: Yosakoi Soran Festival and Hokkaido Shrine Festival.

Since we have already visited Hokkaido Shrine Festival back in 2014, this time round I planned to catch the Yosakoi Soran Festival, which was from 8 to 12 June 2016 this year,  by booking ourselves in Sapporo from 10 to 12 June 2016.  So depending on the dates of the festival and your exact dates of travel, you probably want to play around with the sequence of the destinations and not follow what we did wholesale.

 

 

I usually do not advise visiting Furano and Biei in early June.  The reason we were there in early June was because I booked accommodation in Asahikawa about 5 months before our trip with hopes of catching shibazakura in Takinoue on our second day there.  I followed updates on the flowering conditions on Takinoue’s Facebook Page up to the day we arrived in Hokkaido and decided then that there wasn’t much shibazakura left and it wasn’t going to be worth the long drive.  But more so than anything, I fell sick the very first day we arrived in Hokkaido and really wasn’t up for making the long drive to Takinoue.  Which was why we ended up bumming around Furano and Biei in early June.

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Hokkaido - Highlights of our June 2016 Trip - Bumble Bee Mum

 

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the author

Supposed to be a stay-home mom, but hates staying home. Definition of parenting is bringing the boys out for 'experiential learning' in Singapore, Japan and wherever else in the world her husband can afford to pay for.

176Comments

  1. Mummy Ed says:

    Can’t wait to read more about your trip so I can take notes 😀
    Mummy Ed recently posted…LPG Endermolift at Aura & Miracles (review & discount code)My Profile

  2. May says:

    Hello, thank you for your wonderful write-ups.
    I am planing a trip on 10-16 July for 2 persons, would really appreciate if you can kindly look thru my itinerary and give me some advise. First trip to Hokkaido 🙂

    Day 1 – Arr Sapporo (central fish market, shiroi koibito chocolate factory)
    Day 2 – Otaru day trip (Otaru canal, musical box)
    Day 3 – Pick up car & drive to Furano (lavender, cheese factory, Tomita farms)
    Day 4 – Biel (Blue pond, patchwork/panorama road?)
    Day 5 – Lake Toya (Bear park, Noboribetsu, Niseko, Mt Yotei)
    Day 6 – Back to Sapporo
    Day 7 – Depart Sapporo

    1) Is it easy to get a car rental in Sapporo town as we would need to pick up the car early on day 3 to drive to Furano. Which car company would you recommend? Can prebook online? Or should we just pick up the car at airport and switch our itinerary around to combine Otaru and Lake Toya (stay one night in Otaru and drive to Lake Toya the next day)? What is your advise? Is it easy to find parking lots in Hokkaido? How do we do the payment for carpark? Are the roadsigns in English?

    2) Please advise what hotels to stay in Sapporo, Furano, Biel, Lake Toya & maybe Otaru.

    3) The point of interests that I listed are just a guideline. Any additional places you think I shouldn’t miss? Is the sequence to get to different point of interests correct? Hope there is no backtracking.

    4) Where is the location of the lavender fields or other flower fields?

    5) Is it worth the trip to travel to Tomamu for the Unkai Terrace?

    6) I read about this farm called Jozankei Waiwai farm for cherry picking. Have you been there? Any idea which day I should slot that in? Or is there another place you can recommend for fruit picking?

    7) How do we pay for highway toll fees? Cash or is there a card like our cashcard that we can buy?

    8) Can you also recommend all the “must eat” places?

    9) Should I stay in Biel or Asahikawa? How far apart are they? If stay in Asahikawa, then can you amend my itinerary please and advise hotel.

    Sorry to have so many questions. Hope you can help as I need to book the hotels asap. Thank you so much…..

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If you do not want to backtrack, I would do the following sequence:

      CTS – Lake Toya – Otaru – Biei – Furano – Sapporo – CTS

      So I would rent the car from CTS when I arrive and return it when I reach Sapporo.

      Rental car should be pre-booked online. It is very easy to find parking in Hokkaido. For coin parking, you usually pay to the machine. For tourist attractions / national parks that require a parking fee, there is usually an attendant at the entrance at the carpark to collect the parking fee.

      2) For Sapporo, I like to stay at Mercure.
      http://bumblebeemum.net/2015/01/21/japan-hotel-review-hotel-mercure-sapporo-hokkaido/

      For Furano, I like New Furano Prince Hotel. There is no need to change hotel for Biei and Furano, I would just stay in the same hotel. As for Lake Toya, I like Toya Sunpalace for something reasonably priced. But if you have the budget, check out Nonokaze.

      4) There are super a lot of flower and lavender fields. It’s not possible to visit them all, but you can check out the major ones on this post:
      http://bumblebeemum.net/2016/04/12/hokkaido-furano-biei-best-attractions-in-summer-july-august/

      5) Doesn’t look like you have the time for Tomamu.

      6) I haven’t heard of Waiwai farm, but this cherry farm is near Furano:
      http://www.oh-cherry.com/

      7) There is a card like our cashcard, but it depends on whether your car company can rent you one or not. Without it, you can just pay for toll in cash or credit card. You grab a ticket from the machine when you enter the expressway and when you leave the expressway, you pass the ticket to the staff who will let you know how much is your toll fee and you just pay to him in cash or credit card. You can read more on this post:
      http://bumblebeemum.net/2016/05/11/hokkaido-expressway-pass-etc-card-toll-fees/

      8) You can check out my Hokkaido food guide:
      http://bumblebeemum.net/2015/03/30/hokkaido-best-food/

      9) Biei and Asahikawa are 1 hour drive apart. I wouldn’t stay in Asahikawa unless I am trying to save money. I would stay in either Furano or Biei. I prefer Furano where there are more restaurants.

      • May says:

        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer.
        Now I can start booking the hotels.
        Do you have any ryokans with kaiseiki dinner to recommend?

        • bumblebeemum says:

          There are some pretty good ryokans around Hokkaido, depends on where you are visiting. At Lake Toya, you can try Nonokaze. At Lake Akan, you can try Tsuruga.

          • May says:

            Are there any ryokans in Furano, Biel or Asahikawa?

            • bumblebeemum says:

              You can try Tokachidake Onsen or Shirogane Onsen. Around Furano, there is Furano La Terre.

              • May says:

                Thank you. My revised itinerary is now as follows:

                Day 1 – Arr Sapporo (stay Sapporo Mercure Hotel)
                Day 2 – Pick up car & drive to Lake Toya (stay Lake Toya Sun Palace)
                Day 3 – Lake Toya – Otaru (stay Otaru Vibrant Hotel)
                Day 4 – Otaru – Asahikawa – Biei – Asahikawa (stay Asahikawa)
                Furano Prince hotel costs S$731 per night!!!
                Day 5 – Asahikawa – Furano – Asahikawa (stay Asahikawa)
                Day 6 – Asahikawa _ Sapporo/Chitose (stay Air terminal hotel)
                Day 7 – Depart Chitose

                1) Based on my itinerary, do I need a ETC card? Need to reserve a ETC card?
                2) Where do you park when you stay at the Vibrant Otaru?
                3) On the way to Otaru from Lake Toya, is it worth it to make a side trip to Niseko?

                Thank you for your patience…. 🙂

                • bumblebeemum says:

                  1) If Day 4 or Day 6 falls on a weekend, you can consider getting an ETC card if your car rental company can loan you one for a nominal fee. If not, just pay cash is okay since you are only using the tollway on these two days. From Sapporo to Lake Toya, you can avoid the tollway by usuing the Nakayama Pass.

                  2) There is an open air carpark behind Hotel Vibrant Otaru. Pass the card from that carpark to the hotel reception to be validated and pay them the flat rate daily parking (around 1000yen iirc).

                  3) Your itinerary looks very rushed as it is. I wouldn’t detour to Niseko. If you do, you will be hardly spending any time at Otaru because you will need to leave Otaru very early on Day 4. In addition, shops along Sakaimacho at Otaru close quite early.

                  • May says:

                    Thank you so much!!!! Because of your expertise, I am now more confident about our trip. Really appreciate it. Do you need me to get anything from Hokkaido for you?

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      Haha.. Thank you for the offer. There’s no need to get anything for me. The fact that people enjoy reading my blog is the greatest gift I can receive! 🙂

  3. Jay says:

    Hi ,

    Thanks for wonderful writeup and photos. I read all your blogs and currently planning for my coming trip in September. May I know it is easy to drive to Shinsennuma ? I plan to drive from Cape Kamui to Shinsennuma to Niseko then overnight at Lake Toya. When I look at the map, we need to walk from the road to the wet land. HOw far is it ? because We travel with 4 yr old kid.

    Thanks.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      It is a mountainous drive. Just drive slowly and within the speed limit, you should be fine – if weather is good. When we were there, weather was very bad and visibility was near zero. So we had a very hard time doing the drive. We survived though – by driving VERY slowly.

      The walk to Shinsennuma from the parking area was about 1.2km one way? Quite a long walk with a kid. It is possible to push a small stroller though. There was a point where the path split – one side with stairs and one side without stairs. If you have a stroller, you can use the side without stairs which was slightly longer.

  4. CCH says:

    Dear Bumblebee mum, would like to ask you about Thai airway connecting flight timing. Is 1 and half hour sufficient? How many hours is yours?
    Thanks!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Mine was about there, 1 – 1.5 hours. When we went there, we didn’t have a problem. But on our return flight, there was bad weather and our flight from CTS to Bangkok was diverted for refueling because we couldn’t land and we missed our connection. So if all goes well, 1.5 hours is definitely sufficient to make the connection. But if unlucky like us, then it’s really just too bad.

  5. Ken says:

    Hi !

    Thanks for your detailed recent posts on the “Hokkaido” trip. Read much of your itineraries.

    Base on your write-up, are you able to advise if this trip schedule, in early October 2016, feasible.

    In addition, some car rental company state insurance as “Zero excess”, “No N.O.C coverage”, etc. What are the differences ? What will you recommend the car type for ‘5 pax.’ ? Thanks.

    Itineraries :

    i) Obihiro
    ii) Shiretoko
    iii) Kitami
    iv) Sounkyo & Daisetsuzan
    v) Asashikawa
    vi) Chitose

    Regards,
    Ken

    • bumblebeemum says:

      The itinerary sounds perfect for early October. 🙂

      If I’m not mistaken, zero excess means full insurance coverage. ‘Excess’ refers to the amount of money you are liable to pay in case of damage before basic insurance takes care of the rest. So for e.g. if the excess is 100000yen and the car damage in the event of an accident is 200000yen, you will need to fork out 100000yen while the basic insurance covers the rest. So if the excess is zero means you pay nothing.

      N.O.C. refers to Non-Operational Charge. This is the amount of money you need to pay in the event the car cannot operate anymore during the course of the rental. It is on top of paying for the damages.

  6. Caroline Lim says:

    Hi, I would appreciate your advice please. We are going to Sapporo from 7-15 October. We land in Chitose on the 7th. We are thinking of the following route:
    1 Train to Sapporo
    2 Two nights in apartment (booked)
    3 Pick up car and drive to Otaru (day trip)
    4 Drive from Sapporo to Lake Toya/Noboribetsu (1 night in either)
    5 Drive from Noboribetsu to Asahikawa (1 night in Asahikawa)
    6 Drive to Furano/Biel (2 nights in either)
    7 Drive from Furano to Kushiro (2 nights in Kushiro)
    8 Return car at Kushiro airport, fly to Tokyo.
    We have not booked our car yet. Checking out Tocoo/Times. Would a basic CDW do or do we need to upgrade? Would I need to rent a pocket wifi during our travel?
    Thanks very much.
    Regards
    Caroline

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hmmm… For your dates, if you are planning to go as far as Asahikawa, I would recommend spending a night at Sounkyo for autumn foliage in the Daisetsuzan region. And I would replace Lake Toya / Noboribetsu with Lake Akan to reduce the time spent on the road. You can do something like this:

      7 Oct: Sapporo
      8 Oct: Sapporo
      9 Oct: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      10 Oct: Sapporo – Furano
      11 Oct: Furano – Biei – Asahikawa
      12 Oct: Asahikawa – Sounkyo
      13 Oct: Sounkyo – Lake Akan
      14 Oct: Lake Akan – Kushiro
      15 Oct: Kushiro (flight back)

      • Caroline Lim says:

        Hi, thank you. I guess we were being greedy wanting to see so many places in one go! It is our first trip to Hokkaido and I have my 85 years old mum with me. In your proposed route, you have us staying 3 nights in Sapporo. I like the idea as we probably can’t do much on our first day in Sapporo. However, would you consider us staying two nights in one of the other places?
        What would you add or take away in that itinerary? We considered Kushiro to avoid the long drive back to Chitose, even though there are plenty of flights from there to Tokyo. Is Kushiro worth visiting?
        Thanks very much again.
        Caroline
        Caroline Lim recently posted…Top 10 Hokkaido Must-Visit Restaurants (2016 Picks)My Profile

        • bumblebeemum says:

          If you want to reduce the change of hotels, you can spend 2 nights in Furano or Asahikawa instead of 1 night each.

          Kushiro itself is nothing much, but Akan National Park is worth visiting. And if you drive all the way till Akan, it makes sense to fly out of Kushiro to save on the drive back. What time is your flight out of Kushiro? If it is not too early and you can enough time to drive from Lake Akan to Kushiro airport to catch your flight on the last day, you can spend 2 nights at Lake Akan and skip Kushiro.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Forgot to answer your questions on car rental. Besides tocoo, you can also check out Tabirai. I heard from readers that Tabirai’s fees are a lot less confusing than Tocoo.

      Whether or not to upgrade your insurance to full coverage depends on whether you want to take the risk of having to pay for the damages in the event of accident.

      A pocket wifi is good to have as a back-up to find directions, especially if you stay at BnB type of accommodation or looking for specific restaurants that may not be registered on cars’ GPS systems. However do note that Hokkaido is pretty rural and pocket wifis don’t always work throughout Hokkaido. There will be areas where there is no network.

  7. Luan Yee says:

    Dear Bumblebee Mum,
    Thank you for sharing your travelling experience. I enjoy reading your blog on your Japan travels.
    I am planning a trip to Hokkaido next year and am thinking of late May early June. Alternatively we can also travel during Autumn.
    We have about 15 days to spare but could stretch it longer if necessary.
    We would like to cover the Southern, Central and Eastern parts of Hokkaido at a slow leisurely pace and do not want to drive too long a distance each day. I am thinking of 120 kilometres a day (please advise if this is too short a distance).
    We are open to any itinerary you suggest. Thank you.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Autumn would probably be a nicer time to visit than late May to June. To visit Southern, Central and Eastern Hokkaido with 15 days, you can do something like this:

      Day 1: CTS – Noboribetsu
      Day 2: Noboribetsu – Hakodate
      Day 3: Hakodate
      Day 4: Hakodate – Lake Toya
      Day 5: Lake Toya – Sapporo
      Day 6: Sapporo
      Day 7: Sapporo (day trip to Jozankei / Otaru)
      Day 8: Sapporo – Furano
      Day 9: Furano (day trip to Biei)
      Day 10: Furano – Obihiro
      Day 11: Obihiro – Kushiro
      Day 12: Kushiro – Lake Akan
      Day 13: Lake Akan
      Day 14: Lake Akan – Tomamu
      Day 15: Tomamu – CTS

  8. adrienne lim koon lie says:

    Hi Bumblebee mum,
    Appreciate all the input from your blog.
    I and my 2 daughters intend to self drive in Japan from 19th September for autumn foliage & we have line up our itineraries as follow:

    1. Your input would be much appreciated on our itineraries:-
    Day 1- on Sapporo
    Day 2- to Biei & Furano. Nite in Furano
    Day 3- on Furano & nite in Furano
    Day 4- to mt Asahidake & nite in Higashikawa
    Day 5- to Sounkyo Onsen/Daisetsuzan NP & nite in Kitami
    Day 6- to Abashari & Akan NP. Nite in Utoro
    Day 7- to Shiretoko NP & nite in Shari
    Day 8 – to Asahikawa & nite in Asahikawa
    Day 9 – to Noboribetsu Hell valley & nite in Noboritbetsu
    Day 10- some trekking in Noboribetsu & nite in Lake Toya
    Day 11- to Mt. Usu before heading to Mt. Yotei. Nite in Kutchan
    Day 12- to Otaru & Nite in Sapporo
    Day 13 – on Sapporo

    2. I am still confuse on the HEP and ETC. Is HEP just a plan/package to buy separately from the ETC card? With the above line-up do you think i should get HEP

    3. For Ryokan, i am not sure whether it matters if i booked for 2 persons room but have 3 persons staying instead. Are they really strict on this?

    Appreciate your input/ ideas

    Thanks alot ma’am.

  9. Michelle0929 says:

    Hi Bumblebee Mum,

    We intend to go Hokkaido end May to early June next year (28 May to 4 June). There will be 8 of us inlcuding 2 kids (11 yrs and 13 yrs).

    This is our first trip to Hokkaido and would appreciate your advice on the following:

    1. Recommended itinerary
    2. Which are the places that we should not missed during this period of time
    3. Where should we stay? Preferably not always changing hotel. Maybe 2 to 3 hotel change
    4. We are considering to self drive. Please advise if it is better to self drive or taking public transport

    • bumblebeemum says:

      1. You can check out our recommended itinerary on this post:
      http://bumblebeemum.net/2016/02/10/hokkaido-best-places-to-visit-in-early-summer-sample-itinerary/

      2. I wouldn’t miss the shibazakura in Takinoue for your dates.

      3. If you do not want to change hotel, then you can spend 2 nights in Asahikawa to visit Takinoue / Kamiyubetsu / Biei. After that, base yourself in Sapporo and do side trips to Otaru, Lake Toya, Noboribetsu from there.

      4. I generally prefer to drive in Hokkaido because their public transport is not great. Places like Takinoue, Kamiyubetsu, Biei and Lake Toya are not great to get around without a car.

      • Michelle0929 says:

        Hi Bumblebeemum,

        Thank you for your recommendation.

        1. Is shibazakura in Takinoue Japan, referring to 〒099-3232 Hokkaido Prefecture, Abashiri District, 大空町Higashimokotosuehiro, 393?

        2. Is this the place where we can see pink moss + tulip?

        3. How long for driving from Asahikawa to Takinoue?

        4. It’s advisable to stay at Memanbetsu and travel back to Sapporo OR stay at Asahikawa + Sapporo

        5. We are considering to find Airbnb instead of Hotel. Which is better or convenient (bnb or hotel) in Sapporo, Asahikawa and Memanbetsu?

        6. Any recommendation in hotel stay?

        Thank you and hear from you soon.

        Regards

        6. Any r

        • bumblebeemum says:

          1 & 2. Nope, that’s the one at Higashimokoto which is further. There are two big shibazakura spots in Hokkaido: One in Takinoue and one in Higashimokoto. Takinoue is slightly more accessible as Higashimokoto is pretty far Northeast. If you have limited time, you should go to Takinoue. Here’s the google map location:
          https://goo.gl/maps/ZFrwfYkmqjv

          3. It’s about 2 hours drive

          4. There is no need to stay at Memanbetsu if you are visiting Takinoue. Most people do it as a day trip from Asahikawa.

          5. BnB is usually more economical if you have a large group. For e.g. if you have 8 people, you usually have to book 4 hotel rooms which can be very expensive. If you can find a home to fit all 8 of you, it should be much cheaper than booking 4 hotel rooms.

          Convenience wise I like BnB when they have washer and dryer for me to do laundry. But depending on how the host does it, sometimes I find it inconvenient to ‘check in’ to a BnB if the host needs me to tell him / her the exact time of arrival so that he / she can pass me the keys. Unlike hotels where I can check in anytime I want. If the host just leaves the key in the mailbox or something there wouldn’t be this problem, so it really depends on the apartment.

          Hotel would be more of a pamper – with daily housekeeping, check-in counters and concierge.

          6. For Sapporo, we usually stay at Mercure:
          http://bumblebeemum.net/2015/01/21/japan-hotel-review-hotel-mercure-sapporo-hokkaido/

          For Asahikawa, I don’t really have a preference. I just go with whichever is cheapest. E.g. Asahikawa Grand Hotel has quad rooms that are pretty reasonably priced.
          http://www.asahikawa-grand.com/eng/stay/

          • Michelle0929 says:

            Thanks Bumblebeemum.

            1. For Takinoue, we will only see the pink moss, right? Can we see tulip as well.

            2. If we will like to see tulip, we should go to Kamiyubetsu, right?

            3. If we will to stay in Asahikawa, and visit to Takinoue and Kamiyubetsu on the same day?

            • bumblebeemum says:

              1. Takinoue is for pink moss, though I have seen photos online of tulips together with pink moss there:
              http://www.hokkaidolikers.com/en/articles/1049

              2. Yup, Kamiyubetsu is a better place if you really want to see a lot of tulips.

              3. Yup, most people do Takinoue + Kamiyubetsu as a day trip from Asahikawa via rental car.

              • Michelle0929 says:

                Thanks Bumblebeemum.

                Forgotten to ask you the following:

                1. Is there any firework that we can see during the period of time that we will be travelling (end May to early Jun 2017). If yes, where is the place? Is it daily event?

                2. Is there any theme park in Hokkaido? I have two kids who are more interested in the theme park.

                Thanks in advance 🙂

                Best Regards

                • Michellek0929 says:

                  Hi Bumblebeemum,

                  Kindly advise if there is any places (mountain) where we can still see snow during the period of end May to early June.

                  Best regards

                  • bumblebeemum says:

                    Weather in Hokkaido is kind of erratic so I can’t say for sure, but in general it doesn’t snow during that time. If you just want to see snow-capped mountains (you won’t exactly be able to reach the snow), the mountain ranges around Furano / Biei and Shiretoko when we were there in early June still had snow at the top. But a few days before we were there, the staff at the car rental kiosk said it was snowing – and that was early June. So like I said, no guarantee, but given how erratic the weather can be, you may see snow if your luck is good (or bad – whichever way you see it).

                • bumblebeemum says:

                  1. There is the Lake Toya long-run fireworks. It takes place every night at Lake Toya:
                  http://en.visit-hokkaido2.jp/travelPlanner/details.php?code=6207004000001

                  2. Yup, there are theme parks. The most famous one is in Rusutsu:
                  http://rusutsu.co.jp/amusement

                  • Michelle0929 says:

                    Hi Bumblebeemum,

                    We will arrive CTS in the morning on 26 May 2017 (Friday) and leaving CTS on 4 June (Sunday) morning 10 am flight.

                    We intend to self drive during the period since there are 8 of us.

                    Append is our raw itinerary and would appreciate your advice and suggestion:

                    Day 1 – 26 May 2017: Arrive CTS, collect car and drive to Lake Akan (stopover). Check in Abashiri or Kitami for 2 nights.

                    Please advise we should stay in Abashiri or Kitami and recommendation on hotel.

                    We intend to go Shibazakura Park @ Higashimokoto. Any places we should go?

                    Day 3, 28 May 2016
                    Check out and drive to Engaru (for tulips). Is this place same as Kamiyubetsu (tulip park)?

                    Check in Monbetsu or Takinoue for 2 nights. Please advise which is better. Besides visit the Ice Museum, any places of interest to recommend?

                    Day 5, 30 May 2017
                    Check out and proceed to Biei (for Blue Pond).
                    Check in at Biei for one night. Any hotel recommendation?

                    Day 6, 31 May 2017
                    Check out and proceed to Furano. Will check in Sapporo for 2 nights. Any hotel recommendation?

                    Day 7, 1 June 2017
                    Drive to Otaru and back to Sapporo

                    Day 8, 2 June 2017
                    Check out from Sapporo and drive to Lake Toya.
                    Check in Lake Toya for 2 nights.

                    Day 9, 3 June 2017
                    Drive to Rusutsu Resort (theme park) and return to Lake Toya in the evening

                    Day 10, 4 June 2017
                    Check out from Lake Toya and travel to CTS for our return flight at 10 am.

                    Look forward to hearing from you and many thanks in advance.

                    Best Regards

                    • Michelle0929 says:

                      Hi BumbleBeeMum,

                      Further to my message on 26 Oct 2016, please advise if it is worth to visit Biei and Furano during this period (end May).

                      Look forward to receiving your advice and comments soon.

                      Thanks & regards

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      I wouldn’t spend too much time in Biei / Furano in end May. Though it is not a bad idea to use the region to break up the long drive from Abashiri back to Sapporo.

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      Day 1: The drive from CTS to Lake Akan / Abashiri / Kitami is terribly long, especially after a flight. I don’t think you should go so far on your first day.

                      Day 2: Yup, Engaru and Kamiyubetsu should be referring to the same tulip park.

                      I would rearrange it as such:

                      Day 1: CTS – Asahikawa
                      Day 2: Asahikawa – Takinoue – Kamiyubetsu – Abashiri
                      Day 3: Abashiri (day trip to Lake Akan & Akan National Park)
                      Day 4: Abashiri – Higashimokoto – Biei
                      Day 5: Biei – Sapporo
                      Day 6: Sapporo
                      Day 7: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
                      Day 8: Sapporo – Rusutsu – Lake Toya
                      Day 9: Lake Toya – CTS
                      Day 10: Flight back

                      If your return flight is at 10am, I suggest you spend the last night at Air Terminal Hotel.

                    • Michelle0929 says:

                      Thanks BumbleBeeMum for your advice.

                      We are also considering to take a domestic flight from CTS to Memanbetsu, which is nearer to Abashiri. Will start our self drive from Memanbetsu. Would you think this is better?

                      Best Regards

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      Yup, if you don’t mind the extra flying, flying all the way North and driving down from there would save some driving time. Just that you may find yourself restricted in terms of car rental options for one-way rentals from Memanbetsu to CTS, compared to round-trip rentals from CTS.

  10. B says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    As I searched for map code via the website http://japanmapcode.com/en/ the results I have are somewhat different from the one you mentioned above. Eg. Kumagera from the website gives map code of 349 032 102*85 while Farm Tomita says 349 276 804*13. Just wondering which is more accurate? Thanks for advice ya!

  11. jelly says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    I am so glad to find your blog! 🙂

    This will be our very first virgin trip to Japan. We are planning our trip in mid April 2017 (tentative dates are 14 April to 29 April. We plan to arrive in Tokyo Narita Airport. Our itinerary will be Hokkaido, Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo.

    Would like to ask for your advice on planning our honeymoon! Both of us are first timer to Japan and we are quite uncertain on how to plan the trip.

    Here’s our very very raw plan:

    14 April – SIN-NRT-CTS
    14-19 April – Hokkaido
    20-23 April – Osaka/Kyoto
    24-28 April – Tokyo (with 1 day in Disneyland and Disney Sea)
    29 April – NRT-SIN

    Dates are tentatively as we have not booked anything at all, so dates are flexible and we can move around if needed.

    Both me and husband are more interested in sight-seeing and foodie and would like to try hot-spring.

    Greatly appreciate your help on how we can plan and suggested itineraries or hotels. We plan to self drive in Hokkaido too. Not sure if it is advisable to self drive in kyoto too?

    Thanks in advance.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hmm… For your dates, I would plan Hokkaido last because there is a better chance of seeing sakura in Hokkaido in end April:
      https://www.jnto.go.jp/sakura/eng/index.php

      Disneyland and Disneysea would require a day each. It’s not practical to do two parks in one day.

      Driving is the best way to get around Hokkaido. It is also a good way to get around Kyoto, just that parking in Kyoto is exorbitant. If it’s just you and your husband and you’re not rushing for time, using the bus in Kyoto would save you a lot of money compared to driving.

      Suppose you are using the 7-days Japan Rail Pass, this is what I would suggest:

      14 April: SIN – Tokyo
      15 April: Tokyo
      16 April: Tokyo
      17 April: Tokyo
      18 April: (start Japan Rail Pass) Tokyo – Kyoto / Osaka
      19 April: Kyoto / Osaka
      20 April: Kyoto / Osaka
      21 April: Kyoto / Osaka
      22 April: Kyoto / Osaka
      23 April: Kyoto / Osaka – Tokyo
      24 April: Tokyo – Hakodate (end of Japan Rail Pass)
      25 April: (Rent car) Hakodate – Lake Toya
      26 April: Lake Toya – Noboribetsu
      27 April: Noboribetsu – Sapporo (return car)
      28 April: Sapporo
      29 April: Sapporo – SIN

      Kyoto and Osaka are close enough to base yourself at one of the cities while you explore both cities.

      Lake Toya and Noboribetsu are nice onsen towns, so you can try hot springs there.

      • jelly says:

        Hi Bumblebee Mum,

        Taken into your consideration, here’s my preliminary itinerary
        14-18 April – Tokyo
        18-19 April – Hakone (is 1 night enough or should we do 2 nights here?)
        19-22 April – Osaka/Kyoto (hotel in Osaka)
        23-29 April – Hokkaido

        Any recommendation on hotel or Ryokan in Hakone?
        How should i plan my JR Pass?
        From Osaka, we intend to take domestic flight to Sapporo. Would it be better than taking the high speed rail since we need to travel back to Tokyo? Whats your recommendation?

        Thank you!

        • bumblebeemum says:

          I recommend at least 2 nights in Hakone to explore not just Hakone but also the Fuji Five Lakes region which is very scenic.

          In Hakone, my most memorable hotel stay was at Fujiya Hotel. The hotel is rather dated, but it is a destination in itself – full of history, beautiful Japanese architecture and nice gardens.
          http://www.fujiyahotel.jp/en/

          I think taking domestic flights would save you a lot of time. Actually if you take domestic flight from Osaka to Sapporo, then domestic flight from Sapporo to Tokyo, I don’t think you need the Japan rail pass. The shinkansen from Tokyo to Odawara (Hakone) only cost ¥3,740 and from Odawawra to Osaka it’s ¥12,620. Tokyo to Odawara is not that far, you can even opt for local train and it’s only ¥1,490 (80 minutes ride). So I would just skip the rail pass and buy individual tickets from Tokyo to Odawara, Odawara to Osaka. Then use domestic flight to and fro Sapporo.

          • jelly says:

            Thank you. for Hokkaido part, Can you advise if the itinerary below is suitable?

            21 April – KIX – CTS – Sapporo (Will probably arrive in late evening to CTS)
            22 April – Sapporo
            23 April – Sapporo to Otaru (Pick up car from Sapporo)
            24 April – Otaru to Lake Toya
            25 April – Lake Toya – Hakodate
            26 April – Hakodate – Noberibetsu – Lake Shikotsu
            27 April – Lake Shikotsu – Furano
            28 April – Furano – Bibei – Furano
            29 April – Furano – Asahikawa – CTS – KIX – SIN (our flight from KIX-SIN is 11pm)

            I’m not quite sure how to plan the hokkaido part. These are the few places i would like to visit. Can you advise if April is good to visit these area or if there is anywhere i should add or remove?
            1. Sapporo
            2. Otaru
            3. Furano
            4. Bibei
            5. Lake Toya
            6. Asahikawa

  12. Annie says:

    Hello Bumblebeemum, your blog is really informative! however i cant find much about early May itinerary 🙁

    i’m planning late apr/ early may (28 Apr – 12 May) to Hokkaido. by the way there’s very cheap tickets now offered by Thai Airways 🙂

    as me and my husband will be visiting hokkaido for the first time and we dont intend to rent car because we do not have any driving experience.

    im planning for JR flexi 4 days pass:

    Day1/2/3 Hakodate
    Day3 Noboribetsu
    Day4 Kutchan
    Day5/6 Kitami Area
    Day7/8 Otaru
    Day10 onwards will be sapporo

    but JR pass seems cant cover all the places, hence please recommend the most feasible way and help to improve my itinerary.

    Thanks!

  13. david says:

    Hi Bumblebee mum, I am planning for hokkaido family trip next year march during school holidays, I need your advise for the hotel…we will be traveling 2 adults with a child 10 years old. When i try to book for the hotel, charges for some hotel is expensive if i try to book for 2 adults and a child. Is it ok to just book for 2 adults room but sleep for 3 using existing bed? triple room is far too expensive. My concern is whether the hotel will not allow if i book for 2 adults but checkin with another child. Tq

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If you use websites like Agoda, they usually have a child policy that says whether or not your child will be allowed to stay with existing bedding. The city hotels are usually not fussy, though you need to be careful because some hotels don’t allow children at all – so avoid those hotels. But the ryokans at the onsen towns will definitely charge you for your child according to age.

  14. I am planning to do a self-drive with my family (2 adults, 2 elderly, 1 kid). Previously visited the west side of Hokkaido, so this time round planning to hit the eastern side. I am looking for between 7 to 10 days and I plan to go slow. Thus wouldnt want to drive too much in a single day, except for changing of sleeping spot.

    I will likely land in Asahikawa airport, and spend the first night at Furano, before heading east. I do not plan to do a loop, so I would take either route

    1) Furano > Obihiro > Kushiro > Kawayu/Akan > Shiretoko > Memanbetsu Airport

    2) Asahikawa > Kitami > Abashiri > Shiretoko > Kawayu/Akan > Kushiro/Kushiro Airport

    Would you recommend me covering route 1 or 2, and which places are more interesting?

    Our main focus is sightsee and I also thinking which is the best month to visit Hokkaido. I kind of looking at June/Jul, but read from your post that it was bad weather in June due to rain and fog. However I read from other sites that Hokkaido experience little rain in June and much more in Aug.

    So which period of the year would you recommend me to go?

    Thanks

    • Ken says:

      Mr. Jimmy,

      We have just completed an Eastern Hokkaido trip in early October 2016. Our trip schedules were as such. You may find some reference here. Thanks.

      i) Singapore – Tokyo Haneda – Obihiro (day 1)
      ii) Obihiro – Akkeshi – Obihiro (day 2 )
      iii) Obihiro – Shiretoko (stayed 1 night)
      iv) Shiretoko – Kitami (syayed 3 nighte)
      v) Kitami – Asahikawa (stayed 2 night)
      vi) Asahikawa – Sapporo (stayed 1 night)
      vii) Sapporo – New Chitose – Singapore

      Regards.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I think there will rain any month. When my friends went in July, they also said it rained half the time. But July would be ideal for the lavender and flower fields in Furano / Biei. If you go in July, I would recommend the first route.

  15. thebts says:

    Hi , can I find out what is the total expenses all in( AIR TICKETS/CAR RENTAL/LODGING/FOOD) for your trip from June6th-13th? Any tips to cut down on expenses as travelling to Japan usuallly involves rather high cost–as compared to Taiwan/HK

  16. JO says:

    Hi, our family of 3 adults are making our 1st trip to Hokkaido this Dec. Arriving CTS at 1730 on 31 Dec and departing from CTS on 12 Jan at 1725.
    We are interested in looking at interesting architecture buildings, to chillax n enjoy food n onsen.
    We are not planning to drive and we are not skiing.
    Would appreciate your recommendation.
    Thanks.

  17. LoveHokkaido says:

    Hi bumblebeemum,

    Really love your blog. So many informative articles on Hokkaido. 🙂
    Hope to make my 1st visit there next year.
    Can you help me check if the below itinerary is ok?

    05.30 : Flight reaches at 5pm [Air Terminal Hotel]
    05.31 : Pick up car at airport. Drive 4 hrs to kamiyubetsu tulip and pink moss park [if i dont want to change hotel so frequently, i should stay in Furano?]
    06.01 : Furano/Biei [Furano hotel]
    06.02 : Sapporo
    06.03 : Sapporo
    06.04 : Otaru
    06.05 : Otaru
    06.06 : Hakodate
    06.07 : Hakodate
    06.08 : Lake shikotsu, lake toya. Return car at airport. Take flight at 730pm

    I would like to follow your 2014 June schedule but on the reverse way as I would like to view the tulips.
    Is kamiyubetsu tulip park the only place to view many tulips? (looks kinda far to make a detour there) Haa..
    Thanks

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If you don’t want to change hotel so often, and your plan is to visit Furano / Biei as well as Kamiyubetsu / Takinoue, I recommend that you stay in Asahikawa. And to minimise your driving, you should go to Furano / Biei on 31 May enroute to Asahikawa, then do the day trip to see pink moss on 1 June.

      Your dates may actually be a bit too late for tulips at Kamiyubetsu frankly. You can try Daisetsu Asahigaoka (Taisetsu Forest Garden) instead. We saw tulips there during this trip.

      i.e.
      31 May: Drive CTS to Furano (sightsee) to Biei (sightsee) to Asahikawa (check-in for the night)
      1 June: Day trip to Daisetsu Asahigaoka & Takinoue from Asahikawa

  18. Joan says:

    Hi, thanks for writting such a informative blog on Hokkaido. Your posts on Hokkaido have helped me a lot in planning for my family trip in July. I am wondering how much time do you normally allocate for the domestic flight from Haneda? We will reach Haneda airport at 3.55pm and are planning to take the 5.30pm flight to Hakodate. Would 1.5hrs sufficient for the transit along with 2 toddlers (3yrs & 2yrs old).

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Is your Hakodate flight also departing from Haneda and by the same airline? If it is, 1.5 hours should be enough to make the transit. If for any reason your Haneda flight is delayed and results in you missing the domestic transfer, if your connecting flight is by the same airline, they will probably put you on the next flight to Hakodate.

  19. Fannie says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    Thank you for your decent photos and write-ups.

    I am planning 9D8N Hokkaido family trip next year June during school holidays.

    We intend to self-drive since there will be 4 of us incl. 2 kids (5 yrs and 14 yrs) and we target about 200 to 250 km/ day(please advise the distance) to cover Central and Southern of Hokkaido. Mainly focus on eat, Onsen and sightseeing.

    We will arrive CTS in the morning on 17 June 2017 (Sat) 8.10am and leaving CTS on 25 June (Sun) 9.20 am flight.

    This is our first trip to Hokkaido and we are open to any itinerary you suggest.

    Day 1 – Arrive CTS
    Day 2 –
    Day 3 –
    Day 4 –
    Day 5 –
    Day 6 –
    Day 7 –
    Day 8 – Chitose (Booking done – Air terminal hotel)
    Day 9 – Depart CTS

    Thank you.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      You can try something like this:

      Day 1 – CTS – Sapporo
      Day 2 – Sapporo
      Day 3 – Sapporo – Otaru
      Day 4 – Otaru (Day trip to Yoichi / Shakotan)
      Day 5 – Otaru – Lake Toya
      Day 6 – Lake Toya – Hakodate
      Day 7 – Hakodate – Noboribetsu
      Day 8 – Noboribetsu – CTS
      Day 9 – Depart CTS

      You can use Google maps to check the driving distances.

      • Fannie says:

        Hi bumblebeemum,

        Our 8D7N (18/6/17 – 25/6/17) Itinerary as follow:

        Day 1 – CTS 8.10am – Sapporo
        Day 2 – Sapporo
        Day 3 – Sapporo – Otaru
        Day 4 – Otaru (Day trip to Yoichi / Shakotan)
        Day 5 – Otaru – Lake Toya
        Day 6 – Lake Toya – Noboribetsu
        Day 7 – Noboribetsu – CTS
        Day 8 – Depart CTS

        1)Recommended self drive from Day 1?
        2)Rent a car from Day 3 depart from Sapporo to Otaru?
        3)Please advise the nearest Toyota Rent a car location from Mercure hotel Sapporo and estimated walking time.

        Sapporo Station office

        Sapporo Subway Station office

        Sapporo Station East office

        APA HOTEL-SAPPORO-SUSUKINO-EKINISHI
        (Former susukino GREENHOTEL2)

        Thanks.

  20. Ken says:

    Hi Bumblebee Mum,

    We would like to planning our trip to Hokkaido 9days from mid of June next year with 2 kids (6 yrs and 14 yrs). We decided of self drive + JR pass to cover Central and Southern of Hokkaido.

    Both me and wife are interested in sightseeing and foodie as well as hot-spring.

    This is our first trip to Hokkaido and appreciate for your advise on the following:

    1. Recommended itinerary (Day 8 – Air Terminal hotel because early flight on 9th day).

    2. Recommended Ryokan with onsen and traditional japanese style dinner.

    Thanks in advance.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      1. The classic route for central / southern Hokkaido would be CTS – Sapporo + Otaru – Lake Toya – Hakodate – Noboribestu – CTS. With 9 days, I don’t think you have time to go to Furano / Biei as well.

      2. At Lake Toya, if your budget allows it, Lake View Nonokaze is one of the best rated places to stay there. As for Noboribetsu, I like Hotel Mahoroba. We had their buffet meals ( which I liked a lot) instead of Japanese style meals. But they do serve Kaiseki meals too, according to their website.

  21. Lee says:

    Hi Bumblebee Mum,

    Great article. So much info and details. I have decided to select the classic route for central / southern Hokkaido where me and my partner will visit Hokkaido on 10-15 Apr 2017.

    Day 1) Take train from Chitose airport Hakodate upon touchdown.
    Day 2) Hakodate
    Day 3) Rent car and drive to Lake Toya + Noboribetsu
    Day 4) Drive to Sapporo and return car
    Day 5) Sapporo+ Otaru
    Day 6) Take bus to Chitose airport

    Could you advise me for the following?

    1) Will I have sufficient time to cover my journey based on the itinerary? Should i skip some city?

    2) Can i rent car from Hakodate and return it at Sapporo? Or Vice versa?

    3) Are any direct budget flight available between Hakodate & Sapporo? (Im excluding ANA)

    Thanks in advance!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      1) Are you using the train? Day 3 looks a bit too rushed. I suggest you choose either Lake Toya or Noboribetsu, not both.

      2) Yes it’s possible. But there will be a drop-off fee.

      3) I would use the train.

      • Lee says:

        Thanks for your input.

        1) Take Train from Chitose airport –> Hakodate;
        Rent car & drive from Hakodate –> Lake Toya/Noboribetsu –> Sapporo.

        I drafted this plan as driving 2 ways from Chitose-Hakodate and back to Sapporo seems to be tiring + boring journey. I’m still judging based on the timing & cost of the journey.

        • bumblebeemum says:

          Yeah, a direct drive from CTS to Hakodate is kind of boring. That’s why I always use Noboribetsu to break up the drive one way and Lake Toya to break up the drive the other way. So if I do drive, I would go:
          Day 1: CTS – Noboribetsu
          Day 2: Noboribetsu – Hakodate
          Day 3: Hakodate – Lake Toya

          Usually I won’t take a train all the way to Hakodate immediately after a long flight to CTS coz the thought of hopping on a 3+ hour train ride immediately after a flight is kind of tiring. But then again, it’s probably because I’m getting old. Hahaha.. If I was younger, I may do it.

          • Lee says:

            Hi, I’m back after long CNY holiday.

            Happy Chinese New Year to you and your family.

            I have re-plan my route as below; but could you further advice me on the following plan? I have decided to forgo Hakodate.

            Day1 – Rent car. Chitose –> Noboribetsu. Nixe Marine park or Ninja village more recommended?
            Day2 – Noboribetsu –> Lake Toya.
            Day3 – Lake Toya –> Niseko Grand Hirafu. Does dog sledding, skiing, etc available during second week of April 2017? Should i overnight at Niseko or drive to Sapporo/Otaru after finish snow activities at 4pm?
            Day4 – If i were to overnight at Niseko, would you reckon I drive to Otaru or back to Sapporo then cover Otaru the next day by JR line? I’m asking because I intends to cover Otaru Aquarium and Herring Mansion which is not accessible by Train.
            Day5 – Either Sapporo/Otaru depends on Day4 planning.
            Day6 – Balik Kampung. haha

            • bumblebeemum says:

              Day 1: Marine Park or Ninja Village… Depends on your interest?

              Day 3: Hrmmm… I’m not sure if the snow activities will still be available in second week of April. I won’t get my hopes up. I don’t recommend driving after dark when they is still snow on the roads. I would suggest staying at Niseko.

              Day 4: If you want to visit the aquarium and Herring Mansion, I suggest you drive to Otaru from Niseko.

  22. Mary Joan Lee says:

    4 of us will be having a self drive holiday Hokkaido this coming may 28 to june 10
    So far, here is my planned itinerary:
    May 28 – 11.30 am reach Shin Chitose Airport take car to Jyozankei & Toya
    May 29 – Lake Toya
    May 30 – drive to Hokadate
    May 31- Hokadate
    June 1- drive from H okadate to Noboribetsuat over night tomamu
    June 2- if in luck see Unkai in tomamu and to Furano
    June 3- Furano and Biel

    June 4 – Furano to Mt Asahidake (plan to stay in Ashikawa)
    June 5- Sounkyo Onsen
    June 6- from Ashikawa drive back to Sapporo(return car)
    June7-day trip to Otaru
    June 8- Sapporo
    June 9-Sapporo
    June 10-morning flight back
    Is the routing feasible and suitable? Any places that should be add in or to be changed so as to
    to modify my itinerary better?
    Places to eat and to stay in would also be appreciated. Thanks

  23. Mary Joan Lee says:

    Hi Bumblebeemun
    Forget to ask if we like to include shibazakura in Takinoue (if still in time to see the flowers) how should we modify the raw itinerary? Base on the travel route is there a lot of toll/express way to use? You recommend getting a ETC OR HEP?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      if you want to see shibazakura, you need to do it right at the start of the trip.

      May 28 – CTS – Asahikawa
      May 29 – Asahikawa (day trip to see shibazakura, along the way back you can drop by Sounkyo)
      May 30 – Asahikawa (day trip to Asahidake)
      May 31- Asahikawa – Biei – Furano
      June 1- Furano
      June 2- Furano – Tomamu
      June 3- Tomamu – Lake Toya
      June 4- Lake Toya – Hakodate
      June 5 – Hakodate
      June 6- Hakodate – Sapporo
      June 7- Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      June 8- Sapporo
      June 9- Sapporo
      June 10-morning flight back

      For this route, I think the HEP would be worth it because you have quite a bit of long drives along the expressways (CTS – Asahikawa, Tomamu – Toya, Toya – Hakodate, Hakodate – Sapporo).

  24. Pauline says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    Thank you for the extremely informative blog! 🙂 I’m heading to Hokkaido in mid June for my honeymoon and I’m more interested in scenery so I’m rather drawn to the central / eastern side. However, I’m a bit concerned that my current itinerary is rather packed. Could you help to have a look at it please?

    19 Jun: CTS – Furano
    20 Jun: Furano – Biei – Asahikawa
    21 Jun: Asahikawa – Kitami
    22 Jun: Kitami – Shiretoko – Kitami
    23 Jun: Kitami – Obihiro (or any other possible stopover on the way to Sapporo?)
    24 – 26 Jun: Sapporo
    27 Jun: Sapporo – CTS

    Or would you have any other recommendations for scenic places?

    Thank you!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If you are into scenic places, I would suggest you just skip Sapporo totally and take in Eastern Hokkaido at a more leisurely pace. I would also push Furano / Biei towards the end to allow the flowers more time to bloom.

      This is what I would suggest:

      19 Jun: CTS – Obihiro (or Tokachigawa onsen)
      20 Jun: Obihiro – Lake Akan
      21 Jun: Lake Akan – Shiretoko
      22 Jun: Shiretoko
      23 June: Shiretoko – Abashiri
      24 June: Abashiri – Asahikawa
      25 June: Asahikawa – Biei – Furano
      26 June: Furano
      27 June: Furano – CTS

      Not sure what time if your flight back. If it’s in the morning on 27 June, then I suggest you head back to CTS on 26 June and spend the last night at Air Terminal Hotel.

  25. Fannie says:

    Singapore driving license, can I use it to drive in Hokkaido?

  26. Jes says:

    Hello! love your blog, very informative & thank u for sharing so many travel tips in Hokkaido!
    I’m planning a self drive trip there in early July & would greatly appreciate any inputs. The main areas we want to cover is Furano, Biei & lake Toya. Do you think this would work:
    day 1: Arrvive. Hakodate
    day 2: collect car & drive to lake toya. stay lake toya
    day 3: lake toya- sapporo. day trip otaru
    day 4: drive to furano. stay furano
    day 5: biei, stay furano
    day 6: furano-tokyo
    we plan to spend day 7 onwards in tokyo.
    appreciate any suggestions you have, thank you so much 🙂

    • bumblebeemum says:

      It’ll work, albeit a bit rushed. On Day 3, you can go to Otaru before you go to Sapporo for the night. i.e. From Lake Toya, drive straight to Otaru then back to Sapporo. Rather than Lake Toya – Sapporo – Otaru – Sapporo. Know what I mean?

  27. Mary Joan Lee says:

    Gong Xi Fatt Chai, thanks for your suggestion we have finalized our itinerary as follow
    May 28 – CTS – Asahikawa
    May 29 – Asahikawa (day trip to see shibazakura, along the way back drop by Sounkyo)
    May 30 – Asahikawa (day trip to Asahidake)
    May 31- Asahikawa – Biei – Furano
    June 1- Furano-Tomamu
    June 2- Tomamu – Noboribetsu
    June 3- Noboribetsu – Hakodate
    June 4 – Hakodate
    June 5- Hakodate – lake Toya
    June 6- lake Toya-Sapporo
    June 7- Sapporo(day trip to Otaru)
    June 8- Sapporo
    June 9-Sapporo
    June 10-morning flight back
    We are now at the stage to book a car and are facing with some problems.
    1. We would like to have the HEP but the pick up point and drop off point is different (CTS-SAPPORO city). Should we still go ahead with HEP and spend a trip to CTS to return car? Or is there any other better way?
    2. Most of the car rental companies (although they are HEP participating companies) do not mention about if HEP is required but only mention about ETC .Can we just tick ETC and ask for HEP when we get the car?
    3. Is there always petrol station near the offices where we return car? (we have to return car with full tank right?)
    Thanks

    • bumblebeemum says:

      1. I heard from readers that Toyota allows you to return the car to a different location even if you book the HEP.

      2. You need to specify that you want the HEP when you make the booking. HEP and ETC are a bit different, you can read more here:
      http://bumblebeemum.net/2016/05/11/hokkaido-expressway-pass-etc-card-toll-fees/
      So if you tick ETC, they will just give you a normal ETC card which would charge you toll fees according to what you use rather than HEP rates.

      3. Yes, you need to return the car with full tank. Most rental companies will tell you which petrol kiosk near the return office you need to go to top up your petrol just before you return the car. Usually they provide a map with map code / telephone number of that petrol kiosk so that you can key it into the GPS. If they don’t provide, ask them where to top up petrol before returning. You will have to keep the receipt from the petrol kiosk for your final top-up, sometimes the car rental company will ask for this as evidence you have topped up at the nearest petrol kiosk just before returning.

  28. Qiu Jin says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    Thanks for your informative blog, i have reading many blogs to plan my upcoming trip but yours is one of the most informative and complete one.
    For that, It will be great if you could give me some advise on my itinerary as below. I will be travel with my family, all adults. Plan to rent a car for Day 1 to 4.
    Jun 16: CTS-Lake Toya
    Jun 17: Lake Toya-Noboribetsu
    Jun 18: Furano/Biei
    Jun 19: Furano/Biei
    Jun 20: Sapporo
    Jun 21: Otaru
    Jun 22: Sapporo
    Jun 23: CTS – back home

    I am concerned that we are backtracking but do not have enough time to make the round as I would like to achieve Lake Toya, Furano/Biei and Otaru at least.
    Hopefully you could help me improve the itinerary. Thank you.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I would push Furano / Biei to the end of the trip to allow the flowers more time to bloom. I get what you mean about the backtracking but don’t think you can do much about it if you want to visit both Lake Toya / Noboribetsu and Furano / Biei.

      You can arrange it this way:

      Jun 16: CTS – Sapporo
      Jun 17: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      Jun 18: Sapporo
      Jun 19 (rent car): Sapporo – Lake Toya
      Jun 20: Lake Toya – Noboribetsu
      Jun 21: Noboribetsu – Furano
      Jun 22: Day trip to Biei from Furano
      Jun 23: Furano – CTS

      If you flight out of CTS on Jun 23 is in the morning, then I would suggest you go back to CTS on Jun 22 evening and spend the last night at Air Terminal Hotel.

      • Qiu Jin says:

        Dear Bumblebeemum, thank you for your advise! Really appreciate your effort and time. We decided to follow your advice and tweek it a bit as we will be flying on Jun 23 morning. Unfortunately the air terminal is a little too pricey, hence we decided to stay at chitose city with airport transfer.
        Jun 16: CTS – Otaru
        Jun 17: Sapporo
        Jun 18: Sapporo
        Jun 19 (rent car): Sapporo – Lake Toya
        Jun 20: Lake Toya – Noboribetsu
        Jun 21: Noboribetsu – Biei
        Jun 22: Biei – Furano – CTS
        Jun 23: Fly off

        • bumblebeemum says:

          Staying at Chitose city would work too if it’s much cheaper. It’s always a matter of price vs convenience. I’m super lazy so I usually pay for convenience and stay at Air Terminal Hotel.. Lol. Have a great trip!

  29. Felicia Ho says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    Thanks for all the informative information. I know that October/ November may not be a good time to go Hokkaido but that’s the only month that I can leave for holidays. Would you be able to recommend if Oct or November will be better? And can you please advise if Thai airways or ANA airline will be more recommended. My mum concern is able safety. However, I found some offer that Thai Airway is having a super good promo tickets right now.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      October is definitely better than November. October is still autumn in some parts of Hokkaido. Autumn foliage is beautiful!

      Thai airways is more convenient as your luggage gets checked through all the way to CTS. For ANA, you still need to pick up your luggage and drop it off again at domestic transfer in Tokyo.

      • Felicia Ho says:

        Hi,

        Thanks for the recommendation, will discuss with my family tonight to shift the dates. However, just curious if I will be able to see snow in November?

        Regards,
        Felicia

  30. LimKopi says:

    Dear Bumblebeemum,

    I’m travelling to Hokkaido with my elderly parents on 29 Apr to 13 May 2017. This is our 1st time to Hokkaido and i intend to try self-drive (my 1st self-drive overseas) too. We be arriving at CTS on 29 Apr, Sat at 1700hrs. Can you pls advise which is the best itinerary to maximise our virgin trip to Hokkaido? Thank you so much for your informative and useful blogs! Thank you for your time too!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I suggest you head South first to Hakodate for cherry blossoms. You can try this:

      29 April: Spend the first night at Air Terminal Hotel
      30 April: Pick up rental car, drive to Noboribetsu
      1 May: Noboribetsu – Hakodate
      2 May: Hakodate
      3 May: Hakodate (day trip to Matsumae Castle)
      4 May: Hakodate – Lake Toya
      5 May: Lake Toya
      6 May: Lake Toya – Niseko
      7 May: Niseko – Cape Kamui – Shakotan – Otaru
      8 May: Otaru
      9 May: Otaru – Sapporo
      10 -12 May: Sapporo
      13 May: Flight back

      • LimKopi says:

        Dear Bumblebeemum,

        Really appreciate your time to reply me and giving me suggested routes! I will be using your suggested routes for our virgin trip to Hokkaido this Apr/May 17! May i check with you what about Bibei – Furano? Do you think worth to spend 1/2 day there?

        Thanks.

        • LimKopi says:

          Wow, very sad. Just tried to book Hokkaido Air Terminal Hotel on 29 Apr 17, but it was sold out. No rooms available. 🙁

          • bumblebeemum says:

            Ermm… Yeah… it happens. Usually Air Terminal Hotel is the first hotel I book once I book my air ticket. But I often hear from readers that they do get booked out. Is this for your last night? If it is, try other hotels in Chitose with shuttle services to CTS?

        • bumblebeemum says:

          I don’t think your dates are the best time to visit Biei and Furano. I may skip it altogether and focus on cherry blossom sites in Hakodate / Matsumae and Sapporo instead if you’re visiting late April – early May.

  31. Kat says:

    Planning our first trip after reading of how incredible Hokkaido is. Can you help us plan and advise to make it an enjoyable trip?

    Fly by scoot to new chitose airport. Just 2 couples travelling. We love to try onsen, seafood and of course the famous wagyu beef. Since it is our first trip we were thinking covering west Hokkaido for a start. Noboribetsu, Hakodate, Rusutsu/Toya, Otaru and Sapporo.
    Want to do self drive but open to train option.

    What’s your advice? Can it be done within our time frame? Also, what place of interest would you recommend?
    Accomodation wise, what are good and value for money places?

    Awaits your reply with earnest. Thanks

    • bumblebeemum says:

      How much time do you have? With 4 adults, it may be more economical to drive.

      For onsen, you can enjoy them at Lake Toya and Noboribetsu. For seafood, you should head to Hakodate Morning Market and also Sapporo Central Wholesale Market (Jyogai Ichiba) or Nijo Market in Sapporo. As for wagyu beef.. hmmm.. Hokkaido is not really the place for wagyu beef imo. It’s more of a seafood place.

      For accommodation, you can check out this post:
      http://bumblebeemum.net/2016/10/11/hokkaido-family-accommodation-recommendation/

      But if budget is your main concern, try the chains like Super Hotel, Toyoko Inn, Dormy Inn etc. Richmond Hotels are also pretty value for money in general.

  32. Carmen says:

    Hi bumblebeemum,

    Can u help me to outline how many nights needed if I would like to cover eastern hokkaido (akan, abashiri, shiretoko) n maybe if possible to incl a quick stay at niseko n to go otaru for half day? Is early June a good time n is it too late to book accommodation now? If we go by rail is it easy? In our 1st trip we rented car n went thru hakodate-lake toya-noboribetsu-furano-asahikawa-lake shikotsu, day trip to otaru n few nites in sapporo – so probably will not revisit these. Thanks for your help!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Neh, it’s not too late to book for early June now. You may have a bit of problem booking for Sapporo to catch the Yosakoi Soran Festival, but otherwise you should still be able to get accommodation. Early June is not the best time frankly, but Yosakoi Soran Festival is worth catching.

      You can try the following:

      Day 1: CTS – Tomamu
      Day 2: Tomamu – Obihiro
      Day 3: Obihrio – Kushiro – Lake Akan
      Day 4: Lake Akan
      Day 5: Lake Akan – Shiretoko
      Day 6: Shiretoko
      Day 7: Shiretoko – Abashiri
      Day 8: Abashiri – Sounkyo
      Day 9: Sounkyo – Otaru
      Day 10: Otaru – Shakotan – Niseko
      Day 11: Niseko – CTS
      Day 12: Flight back

      Depending on your exact dates, I would try to tweak it around to be at Sapporo during the Yosakoi Soran Festival.

      • Carmen says:

        Thank you. Can I ask if my flight arrives Tokyo Narita at 7.05am, do I have enuf time to trf to Haneda for the flight departing 11.30am to Sapporo? Or will the option of remaining at Narita for the connecting flight via Narita to Sapporo at 6.45pm be better – if so what can we do for the 11 hrs or so or only can remain in airport? For the flight back via Osaka which needs overnight Osaka is it best to overnight at the airport or we should get to town – what do u suggest if flight arrives Osaka at 2.55pm from Sapporo n the next day flight departs 11am fr Osaka? Thanks!

        • Carmen says:

          Day 1: CTS (arrive airport 1pm) – Obihiro
          Day 2: Obihrio – Kushiro – Lake Akan
          Day 3: Lake Akan
          Day 4: Lake Akan – Shiretoko
          Day 5: Shiretoko
          Day 6: Shiretoko – Abashiri
          Day 7: Abashiri – Sounkyo
          Day 8: Sounkyo – Otaru
          Day 9: Otaru – CTS (leaving airport 8.45pm)
          Is my above ite ok for a 9 day trip? Is it ok to cover eastern n not too rush? Thank you.

          • Carmen says:

            Hi! I revised my ite as below, is it ok for 8 nights or I should spend more time at eastern side (anything else I should see or do?) n exclude Otaru n Niseko? Are there any tolls for this route? I saw that u overnight Kitami – are there any other alternatives or Kitami is better in terms of location n price? Thank you in advance!
            Day 1 Chitose 1pm > Obihiro (overnight Obihiro)
            Day 2 Obihiro > Ikeda > Kushiro (overnight Kushiro)
            Day 3 Kushiro > Akkeshi > Lake Akan (overnight Tsuruga)
            Day 4 Lake Akan cruise > Kitami (overnight Kitami)
            Day 5 Lake Akan National Park (overnight Kitami)
            Day 6 Shiretoko National Park > Abashiri (to visit before or after Shiretoko?) (overnight Kitami)
            Day 7 Kitami > Sounkyo > Otaru (overnight Otaru)
            Day 8 Otaru > Shakotan > Nikka distillery > fruit picking > Niseko (overnight Niseko)
            Day 9 Niseko > CTS

            • Carmen says:

              Hi! Sorry I finally booked my airfares and I have an extra day ie Day 1 on 17 June We arrive Chitose at 1pm and Day 10 Our flight departs Chitose at 12.45pm. How should we amend our ite above? Any chance to see the tulips or pink flowers or any place to slot in? Thank you. Thinking to overnite Niseko then Otaru last nite but it’s more driving? Coz Day 10 need to leave so early. I think both Shrine n Yosakoi festivals would be over by the time Im there? Thank you in advance 😊

        • bumblebeemum says:

          Between 7.05am to 11.30am, yes, there is enough time to make the transit. Narita Airport is kind of boring.. I won’t bum at the airport the whole day. You can deposit your luggage in a locker and head to the city. 11 hours is plenty of time to visit Tokyo. So I guess whether it depends on whether you’re keen to explore Tokyo? If you are, you can take the 6.45pm flight. If not, I guess you can go to Haneda to get yourself to Sapporo earlier.

          As for Osaka, I would probably book a stay at Osaka Air Terminal Hotel (I have a thing for airport hotels coz I don’t like to lug my luggage around if it’s just for one night). After checking in and leaving my luggage there, I would head out to town for the rest of the day.

          • Carmen says:

            Thank you so much we chose the earlier flight … it’s reassuring to know we will have time to transfer! My revised ite, is it ok?
            Day 1 Chitose 1pm > Obihiro (overnight Obihiro)
            Day 2 Obihiro > Ikeda > Kushiro (overnight Kushiro)
            Day 3 Kushiro > Lake Akan (overnight Kushiro)
            Day 4 Kushiro > Akkeshi > Lake Akan cruise (overnight Tsuruga)
            Day 5 Lake Akan > Shiretoko cruise (overnight Shiretoko)
            Day 6 Shiretoko National Park > Abashiri (overnight Abashiri)
            Day 7 Abashiri > Sounkyo > Otaru (overnight Otaru)
            Day 8 Otaru > Shakotan > Nikka distillery > fruit picking > Otaru (overnight Otaru)
            Day 9 Otaru > Niseko (overnight Niseko)
            Day 10 Niseko > CTS (12.45pm flight)

            • bumblebeemum says:

              I would visit Akkeshi on Day 3, and leave Lake Akan and the rest of Akan National Park to Day 4. It’s a bit strange to keep driving to and fro Akan and Kushiro.

              Day 7 looks like too much driving. I would drop Niseko from the itinerary and spend the night of Day 7 at either Sounkyo or Asahikawa to break up the driving.

  33. Rachel says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    Thanks for a great blog with so much information. I am planning for my first family trip to Hokkaido (2adults, inlaws and 2 kids), would appreciated if you help me to review my itinery:

    Self Drive 6-13June :

    Day 1 – 8.30am CTS – Noboribetsu
    Day 2 – Noboribetsu – Hakodate
    DAy 3 – Hakodate – Lake Toya
    DAy 4 – Lake Toya – Otaru – Sapporo
    Day 5 – Sapporo – Furano – Biei
    Day 6 – Sapporo – Airport Hotel

    Do you recommend to visit the tulip park on early june ?

    Thank you.

  34. Micheri says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum

    I have been following your blogs for past one year or so and finally made up the decision to self drive Hokkaido with my family of three (Me, hubby and 15yo son) this May.

    23May to June 1 .
    Below is itinerary and would love to know your invaluable advice.

    Day 1 : SG- CTS (AIRPORT TERMINAL HOTEL) (arrive 5pm)
    Day 2:  CTS – Asahikawa (lunch break at Asahikawa Ramen Village) – Takinoue – Abashiri
    Day 3: Abashiri – Kamiyubetsu – Higashimokoto – Shiretoko
    Day 4 : Shiretoko
    Day 5: Shiretoko – Lake Akan
    Day 6: Akan National Park
    Day 7: Lake Akan – Obihiro-Tomamu
    Day 8: Tomamu – Otaru
    Day9 : Otaru -Sapporo
    Day 10: Sapporo – CTS(Dep: 1930 to Sg.)

    I am thinking of driving from Lake Akan to Otaru on Day 7 but it would be 5+ drive include p-stops.

    Perhaps I should start Day 2 to Otaru first?

    Day 1 : SG- CTS (AIRPORT TERMINAL HOTEL) (arrive 5pm)
    Day 2: CTS – OTARU
    Day 3 : OTARU- Sapporo
    Day 4:  Sapporo – Asahikawa (lunch break at Asahikawa Ramen Village) – Takinoue – Abashiri
    Day 5: Abashiri – Kamiyubetsu – Higashimokoto – Shiretoko
    Day 6 : Shiretoko
    Day 7: Shiretoko – Lake Akan
    Day 8: Akan National Park
    Day 9: Lake Akan – Obihiro-Tomamu
    Day 10: Tomamu – CTS

    Please advise. Thanks a Million in Advance.

    Regards

    Micheri

  35. Xian says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    Thank you for sharing such detailed information on Japan! I hope you can advise me on my coming Hokkaido itinerary (2 person) . I want to catch the autumn foliage as well as soaking in onsen during the trip. Also, I am wondering if I should self drive or take train.

    Period: 28 Oct – 4 Nov

    28 – 30 Oct CTS – Lake Toya (arrive CTS in morning and stay 2 nights at Lake Toya, plan to visit Silo observatory, take the evening boat ride, any other places you would recommend?)
    30 – 31 Oct Lake Toya – Otaru
    31 – 01 Nov Otaru – Biei – Furano (Plan to stay 1 night in Furano. Is it too rush?)
    01 – 04 Nov Furano – Sapporo (Plan to visit T38 observatory, Mt Mowai, Central market, Beer Museum, Chocolate factory, Nijo Market, any other places you would like to recommend?)
    04 Nov Sapporo – CTS (Flight at 10am)

    Thank you!!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If you want to see autumn foliage in late Oct – early Nov, I suggest you head south to Onuma Koen instead. I won’t go to Biei and Furano for your dates. If it’s for autumn folige and onsen, this is what I would suggest:

      28 Oct: CTS – Noboribetsu
      29 Oct: Noboribetsu – Lake Toya
      30 Oct: Lake Toya – Onuma Koen – Hakodate
      31 Oct: Hakodate
      1 Nov: Hakodate – Sapporo
      2 Nov: Sapporo
      3 Nov: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      4 Nov: Sapporo – CTS

      For 2 person, I would recommend using the train for the above itinerary. However, Lake Toya and Noboribetsu Onsen Town are not near the train stations, so you do need to bus / cab from the train stations to the onsen towns.

      • Xian says:

        Thank you for the information =) The itinerary looks good! But I hope to explore other areas if possible as this is my second time in Hokkaido. I have visited Noboribetsu and Hakodate previously, want to see other parts of Hokkaido. I like Otaru and Lake Toya thus want to visit these areas again. Do let me know if there is any places good to visit for these period. Mostly for scenery, onsen and food. Thank you!

        • bumblebeemum says:

          Hmm.. Your dates are not fantastic for other parts of Hokkaido. But I guess if you don’t want to visit Noboribetsu and Hakodate, you could go onsen hopping:

          28 Oct: CTS – Furano
          29 Oct: Furano (day trip to Biei)
          30 Oct: Furano – Lake Shikotsu
          31 Oct: Lake Shikotsu – Lake Toya
          1 Nov: Lake Toya – Jozankei
          2 Nov: Jozankei – Sapporo
          3 Nov: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
          4 Nov: Sapporo – CTS

          For this, you would need to drive until you’re back in Sapporo.

  36. Mona Ang says:

    Dear bumblebeemun
    Thank you for sharing such detailed information on Hokkaido! I hope you can advise me on my coming Hokkaido itinerary.Thanks in advance

    8-Jun New Chitose Airport – Noboribetsu
    9-Jun Noboribetsu – Lake Toya – Hakodate
    10-Jun Hakodate – Niseko
    11-Jun Niseko – Otaru
    12-Jun Otaru – Furano
    13-Jun Furano – Biei – Asahikawa
    14-Jun Asahikawa – Sounkyo – kitami
    15-Jun Kitami– Abashiri – Shiretoko – Katimi
    16-Jun Kitami – Akan National Park – Kawayu
    17-Jun Kawayu – Kushiro
    18-Jun Kushiro – Akkeshi – Ikeda – Obihiro
    19-Jun Obihiro – Yubari – Sapporo
    20-Jun Sapporo
    21-Jun Sapporo
    22-Jun Sapporo

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I would shift Furano to the back to give the flowers more time to bloom.

      12-Jun Otaru – Asahikawa
      13-Jun Asahikawa – Sounkyo – kitami
      14-Jun Kitami– Abashiri – Shiretoko – Katimi
      15-Jun Kitami – Akan National Park – Kawayu
      16-Jun Kawayu – Kushiro
      17-Jun Kushiro – Akkeshi – Ikeda – Obihiro
      18-Jun Obihiro – Furano
      19-June Furano / Biei
      20-Jun Furano – Sapporo
      21-Jun Sapporo
      22-Jun Sapporo

  37. Cindy says:

    Hi Bumblebeekum,

    I am so glad I chanced upon your blog. I have read through a few itineraries but I m not sure how I should best fit my itinerary. This will be our first visit to Hokkaido, with 4 adults and 1 child 2 years old and 1 infant, 3 mths old this coming jun 17.

    Dates we are looking at 5 jun to 15 jun 17.

    Concern
    Only one person will be driving so was thinking of minizimng self drive or break up into alternate days.

    Any Flowers to catch during this period.?

    I am keen to catch the 2 festivals in June, hokkaido shrine and yosakoi Soren festival.

    5 Jun (1pm) reach chitose airport, set off to Sapporo on Jr train
    6 jun free and easy at Sapporo
    7 jun Sapporo, catch Yosakoi festival
    8 jun Sapporo to Noboribetsu
    9 jun Noboribetsu – Hakodate
    10 jun free and easy at Hakodate
    11 jun Hakodate – Lake Toya
    12 jun Lake Toya – Otaru – Sapporo
    13 jun Sapporo – Furano – Biei – Sapporo
    14 June Sapporo Hokkaido shrine festival
    15 jun Sapporo – Airport

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      There will be flowers, but not in full blooms.

      The best time to catch the Yosakoi Soran Festival is actually during the weekend (10-11 June). This is what I would suggest:

      5 Jun (1pm) reach chitose airport, drive to Noboribetsu.
      6 jun Noboribetsu – Hakodate
      7 jun Hakodate
      8 jun Hakodate – Lake Toya
      9 jun Lake Toya – Sapporo
      10 jun Sapporo
      11 jun Sapporo
      12 jun Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      13 jun Sapporo (day trip to Furano / Biei)
      14 June Sapporo
      15 jun Sapporo – Airport

  38. kc says:

    Dear Bumblebee mummy,
    Your blog is very informative and easy to read. Interesting too. I’m travelling with the family to hokkaido from 2-12 jun. We arrive early 9am at new chitose on 2 jun 17, and will leave also early on 10am flight from New chitose on 12 jun 17. t’s our first ever trip to hokkaido and i’m hoping to get your advice on how to make it fuss free and fun.

    My original plan was to do do Asahikawa- furano- biel- noboribetsu- lake toya- otary- sapporo-new chotose. The paln was to be in sapporo from 8-10 jun for the festival (although i didnt know when we bought the air tixs), and new chitose on 11 jun.

    Can you advise whether furano and biel are good in the early part of my travel? thats from 2-6 jun?

    Thanks!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Furano and Biei are not at their best during early June, but you do have enough time to visit. Unless you prefer going to Hakodate? It’s kind of a choice between Hakodate or Furano / Biei imo.

  39. karen says:

    Hi,
    bumblebee mum. i have been reading your blog. It’s informative and easy to read.

    My family will be in hokkaido from 2-12 jun 17. we land in new chitose on 2 jun at abt 9am. The original plan is to do asahikawa-furano-biel-noboribetsu-lake toya-otaru-sapporo-new chitose.

    Based on your experience, will it be good to do furano and biel early on my trip 2-6 jun? Am i too early to see flowers?

    Thanks!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yeah, it’s too early to see flowers. There will be some spring flowers, but not as nice as what you see in travel guides which are typically taken in July / August.

      • KC says:

        Thanks for replying! I’m actually inspired by your travels and wanted to do a loop all the way down to hakodate too. But the husband thinks i’m biting off more than i can chew, so i thought never mind, I’m going to keep hakodate for the next trip in winter! Haha…another excuse to return to hokkaido.

        Looks like i am going to do furano and biel after all but now im thinking of doing this loop-around. Pls let me know what you think.
        2 jun- land in new chitose at 8.30 am. Collect car and drive to asahikawa. nite in asahikawa.
        3 jun- asahikawa/ sounkyo and surroundings. nite in asahikawa.
        4 jun- furano and all the farms. Biei. nite in asahikawa.
        5 jun- asahikawa and surrounds? nite in asahikawa.
        6 jun- drive to noboribetsu. stopby halfway at?? Then lake toya. Nite at lake toya.
        7 jun- Sapporo. nite in Sapporo.
        8 jun- Otaru. nite in sapporo.
        9 jun- Sapporo. nite in Sapporo.
        10 jun- Sapporo. nite in Sapporo.
        11 jun- drive from sapporo to new chitose airport. Nite in chitose.
        12 jun- fly home.

        Do you think its possible to squeeze furano and biei into one day? or i need 2 days to do this? Then may be better that i stay 2 nights at furano? I was checking the New Prince Furano but its all fully booked, so i thought maybe just stay put in asahikawa since they have more hotels there.

        Also want to check your take on the car rentals. My gf was telling me that there is a promo on nissan rent a car, and they allow free cancellations. But i just checked the website, and they say they do charge for cancellations. same for tocoo. I’m just worried in case plans change, then i must know whether there is a penalty.
        https://www.nrgroup-global.com/en/usage-guide.php#target02
        https://www2.tocoo.jp/en/contents/info/chg_n_cxl

        Appreciate your inputs. Thanks!

        • bumblebeemum says:

          You can spread Furano and Biei out into two days. There’s not that much to do around Asahikawa if you are not visiting the zoo. I’m not sure if your dates are in time for the canola fields, but you can try visiting them either on your way to Asahikawa on the first day, or on the way to Noboribetsu on 6 June. My main concern is that 6 June may be too late, coz ‘end May to early June’ sounds rather vague.
          http://good-hokkaido.info/en/canola-flower-takikawa/

          Staying in Asahikawa will give you more options and is generally cheaper than staying in Furano. I think it’s okay to stay put in Asahikawa.

          You seem to have many nights in Sapporo. I would do one night Noboribetsu and one night Lake Toya.

          The cancellation policy sounds pretty standard. You can make changes up to 7 days. Within 7 days, I don’t suggest you make major changes to you plans. In case of unexpected hiccups that you can’t control, try to get travel insurance to cover that.

  40. Dee says:

    HI There

    My friends and I are planning a 5day driving trip around Hokkaido.

    The itinerary as below:-

    (10-11 May) – Chitose Airport to Lake Toya (stay in Toya)

    (11-12 May) – Lake Toya to Hakodate (stay on Hakodate)

    (12-13 May) – Hakodate to Otaru (stay in Otaru)

    (13-14 May) – Otaru to Takinoue to Asahikawa (stay in Asahikawa)

    (14-15 May) – Asahikawa to Biei to Furano (stay in Furano)

    (15-17 May) – Furano to Sapporo (17 May early flight 9am).

    • Dee says:

      Do u think the itinerary is too rush?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I suggest you do a slight rearrangement this way:

      10 May: CTS – Lake Toya
      11 May: Lake Toya – Hakodate
      12 May: Hakodate – Sapporo
      13 May: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      14 May: Sapporo – Asahikawa
      15 May: Asahikawa (day trip to Takinoue & Kamiyubetsu)
      16 May: Asahikawa – Biei – Furano – CTS
      17 May: Flight back

  41. Jesika says:

    Dear Bumblebee mummy, i have been reading your blog about self drive to Hokkaido. My family will be in hokkaido from 21 july to 28 July 17.

    I hope you can advise me on my coming Hokkaido itinerary.Thanks in advance.

    22 – CTS – NOBORIBETSU (SHIRAOI AINU VILLAGE & JIGOKUDANI HELL VALLEY)
    23 – NOBORIBETSU – HAKODATE (ONUMA NATIONAL PARK, KONBUKAN, FORT GOYOKAKU, HAKODATE MEIJIKAN, MT HAKODATE NIGHT VIEW (CABLE CAR)
    24 – HAKODATE – LAKE TOYA – SAPPORO (MORNING MARKET, MT SHOWA, FRUIT PICKLING, Mt UZU (cable car), HOKKAIDO SHRINE, JR TOWER SHOPPING CENTRE
    25 – SAPPORO – FURANO – ASAHIKAWA ( SAPPORO BEER FACTORY, FURANO TOMITA FARM, FURANO CHEESE WORKSHOP, BIEI, KEN& MARRY, ICE PAVILLION)
    26 – ASAHIKAWA – OTARU – SAPPORO ( ISHIYA CHOCOLATE MUSEUM, ODORI PARK, TANUKIKOJI SHOPPING ARCADE
    27 SAPPORO – SAPPORO JR STATION UNDERGROUND SHOPPING

    Appreciate your inputs. Thanks!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      It looks rather rushed. I suggest you just play by ear.

      For e.g On 24th, maybe after doing all the things you want to do at Hakodate and Lake Toya, by the time you reach Sapporo, you may find you don’t have time for Hokkaido shrine so just drop it.

      As for 25th, it’s definitely too rushed. I suggest you skip Sapporo beer factory and head out to Furano first thing in the morning. And if you find you’re running out of time by late afternoon, drop Ice Pavillion.

      And on 26th, again play by ear to see how long you need at Otaru. If you find yourself still at Otaru by late afternoon, you may want to skip Shiroi Koibito Park.

  42. Miss Khor You Gnoh says:

    Hello,
    Hope this email finds you well.

    I’m planning self drive to Hokkaido in Sept 2017. This is the first time I am planning to travel there and self drive with my hubby. While searching from Internet to gather some information and happen I read your blog, and ii so fun and interesting for your Hokkaido trip. I am sincerely writing to you if possible can you help to plan me my itinerary for a 14 days self drive trip in Hokkaido. Sincerely, hope can hear from you soon. Thank you very much

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Do you have your exact dates? The thing about Hokkaido is that it changes rapidly with the season and a trip I do in early September would be quite different from what I would do in late September.

  43. claire says:

    Hi,

    i need help as its my first time with family to go to Hokkaido.
    Date: 19-26th June

    can help to see if this itinerary is workable.

    Day 1: Arrive at Hakodate
    Day 2: Hakodate
    Day 3: Hakodate – Lake Toya (stay 1 night)
    Day 4: Lake toya – Sapporo
    Day 5: Sapporo – furano (day trip)
    Day 6: Sapporo
    Day 7: Back SG

    2 Adults with a kid (6 yrs old)
    can advice should i rent a car or travel via train?

    Thank you in advance and appreciate your time.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yup, it will work. Just that the Furano day is a bit rushed, but if you are not visiting too many places around Furano, it’s okay.

      You can take the train. From Hakodate to Lake Toya, Lake Toya is not exactly near the train station, but you can just cab or catch a local bus from Toya station to your ryokan. Then from your ryokan, check if they have free shuttle service to Sapporo. As far as I know, Lake View Nonokaze and Toya Sunpalace have shuttle to Sapporo.

      For the day trip to Furano, you would need a car.

  44. Sean says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    I have been following your blogs for quite some time with all the useful tips and info, as I was planning a self-drive trip to Hokkaido since last year. I’ll be travelling with my wife, a 5 years old boy, a 2 years old girl, and my parents who are 82 & 73 years old separately.

    I’m hoping to have a relax trip as I have both kids and elderly people in the group. The travel date is around early August to see the flowers. This is going to be the first day for all my family to Hokkaido.

    My itinerary will be as described below:

    Day 1 – Arrive CTS in the early morning, pick up rental car and drive to Furano and start the sightseeing
    Day 2 – Stay in Furano-Biei-Asahikawa
    Day 4 – Half day in Furano-Biei-Asahikawa, drive to Otaru
    Day 5 – Sighseeing in Otaru, then drive to Lake Toya
    Day 6 – Sightseeing in Lake Toya, drive to Sapporo and return car
    Day 7 – Sapporo
    Day 8 – Sapporo
    Day 9 – Sapporo
    Day 10 – Depart to Singapore

    Questions:

    1. As I have overnight flight from Singapore to CTS, do you recommend to pick up the car during arrival to drive all the way to Furano? Or I should stay in Sapporo first?
    2. Should I spend weekend in Sapporo or outside the city? want to avoid the crowd as this is during Summer time.
    3. Is it convenience to take a train from Sapporo to CTS with kids and elderly people in my group?
    4. I might not need to spend too many days in Sapporo, should I go to Hokodate/Niseko/or spend 1 more day in Furano-Biei area?

    Many thanks!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Your itinerary looks a bit hectic for a group like yours. I would say spend 3 nights around Furano / Biei and two nights at Lake Toya. Otaru can be done as a day trip from Sapporo, so there is no need to stay Otaru then move to Sapporo.

      1. Yes, you can start with Sapporo if you think everyone would be tired after the overnight flight. But because you want to go to both Lake Toya and Furano, I would usually recommend a loop: CTS – Lake Toya – Sapporo – Furano – CTS rather than CTS – Sapporo – Lake Toya – Furano – CTS.

      If you see the map, you can see why this is so:
      First loop: https://goo.gl/maps/Gcr3L3JTnNv
      Second loop: https://goo.gl/maps/MWCxFT5ax7B2

      But it’s really no big deal, because on the whole you’re just looking at maybe an extra hour (70km) of driving.

      Personally, I would head straight to Lake Toya from CTS. The reason being even if I go to Sapporo first, I won’t be able to check-in yet. I find it more miserable hanging around a city right after a long flight with no hotel to check in to, and if you want to use the time while waiting for hotel to do some sightseeing in Sapporo, it would be just as tiring. Moving around the city is generally more tiring compared to moving around rural areas with a car imo. I would rather spend the time settling the car rental and driving to cover some distance. And let’s say you go to Lake Toya first, you can stop enroute at Lake Shikotsu (which is pretty near the airport) for a break. After that drive to Lake Toya, have lunch, and you’ll be just in time to check-in and rest.

      2. It’s a good idea to avoid Furano / Biei during the weekend.

      3. If your hotel in Sapporo is at Sapporo station, then yes, you should use the train. If you are staying at Susukino, the airport bus is better.

      4. For early August, I would spend one more day in Furano / Biei. Maybe even two.

      For me, this is what I would do:

      Day 1 – CTS – Lake Shikotsu – Lake Toya
      Day 2 – Lake Toya
      Day 3 – Lake Toya – Sapporo
      Day 4 – Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      Day 5: Sapporo
      Day 6: Sapporo – Furano
      Day 7: Furano / Biei
      Day 8: Furano / Biei
      Day 9: Furano – CTS
      Day 10: Flight back

      • Sean says:

        Hi Bumblebeemum,

        Much appreciated your useful tips and info 🙂

        I’ve revised my itinerary as below after more survey and getting your advice:

        Day 1 – Arrive CTS in the early morning, pick up rental car and drive to Furano and start the sightseeing. Stay at Furano.
        Day 2 – Stay in Furano-Biei-Asahikawa
        Day 3 – Stay in Furano-Biei-Asahikawa
        Day 4 – Drive to Sapporo after breakfast, might pop by Otaru if time allows. Return car in Sapporo city and stay in Sapporo.
        Day 5 – Stay in Sapporo
        Day 6 – Stay in Sapporo
        Day 7 – Pick up car from Sapporo city and drive to Lake Toya. Stay in Toya Sun Palace.
        Day 8 – Stay in Toya Sun Palace.
        Day 9 – Drive along Lake Shikotsu. Return car to CTS and stay at Air terminal hotel.
        Day 10 – Early morning 10:30am flight to Singapore.

        Questions:
        1. Should I pop by Otaru on Day 4 when I drive from Furano to Sapporo? Or I should do it on Day 7 before heading to Lake Toya?
        2. Do I actually need a car when I stay in Toya Sun Palace for two nights as it looks like a resort destination?

        Thanks,
        Sean.

        • bumblebeemum says:

          1. I would go to Otaru between Sapporo and Lake Toya.

          2. There are quite a number of sightseeing spots around Lake Toya area that are best accessed with a car. Such as Usuzan Ropeway, Silo Observatory, Lake Hill Farm and Sobetsu Fruit Village. Especially when you have a large group, I would suggest you drive.

  45. lost mummy says:

    Hi mummy,
    Need your help. I am arriving CTS on 12th June & leaving on 21st June, 21:00. I have planned for
    12th – 14th June: Sapporo (hotel booked)
    14th- 15th June: 1 night stay at Furano. (hotel booked)
    However, I am stuck here. Plan to go Asashikawa, Spunky, Abashiri, Shiretoko, Akan National Park, Kushiro, Akkeshi, Obihiro, Yubari, Back to CTS. What’s your view? Which are the places worth going?
    We are driving from Sapporo on the 14th onwards. Appreciate your advice.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      It will be rather rushed. I suggest you drop Asahikawa. Then this is what you can do:

      14 June: Sapporo – Furano
      15 June: Furano – Biei – Sounkyo
      16 June: Sounkyo – Abashiri – Shiretoko
      17 June: Shiretoko
      18 June: Shiretoko – Lake Akan
      19 June: Lake Akan – Kushiro
      20 June: Kushiro – Akkeshi – Obihiro
      21 June: Obihiro – Yubari – CTS

      • lost mummy says:

        Thanks for the prompt reply. I will follow your suggested itinerary. However, need your advice on the accommodation. Should I stay 1 night in Sounkyo, 2 nights in Shiretoko, 1 night in Lake Akan, Kushiro & Obihiro? Thanks

          • lost mummy says:

            Hi,
            I have settled my accomodation at Sounkyo & Obihiro. However, if i spend one night at Lake Akan & Kushiro, will it be too hectic for me to travel? This is in fact my first time in Hokkaido. So checking if I can stay both nights at one of the places. Kindly advise.

            • bumblebeemum says:

              Hmmm… Maybe you can stay 2 nights Kushiro and just visit Lake Akan along the way from Sounkyo to Kushiro then. Then you can do Akkeshi as a day trip from Kushiro. i.e.

              18 June: Shiretoko – Lake Akan + Akan National Park – Kushiro
              19 June: Kushiro (day trip to Akkeshi)
              20 June: Kushiro – Obihiro

  46. Vivian says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    Will be travelling to Hokkaido from 17-23 May. As it is our first time travelling to Hokkaido, will you be able to suggest an itinerary for us?
    We are flying back on 23 so we will have about 6 days in Hokkaido. We are a group of 5 adults and probably self drive.
    Thank you v much for your help!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      For your dates, you should head north to check out the canola at Takikawa, shibazakura at Takinoue and tulips at Kamiyubetsu. You can try something like this:

      17 May: CTS – Sapporo
      18 May: Sapporo
      19 May: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      20 May: Sapporo – Takikawa – Asahikawa
      21 May: Asahikawa (day trip to Takinoue and Kamiyubetsu)
      22 May: Asahikawa – Biei – Furano – CTS
      23 May: Flight back

  47. Mich says:

    Hi bumblebeemum

    I’ll be arriving at chitise aurport on 4th June and thinking to drive up to view shibasakura at takinoue park on 5/6th June’. I realise now that the festival may just have ended that weekend. Can we still see any flowers at the park even if not full bloom? From 2016 Facebook photos it looks ok though not full, any thoughts

    Also I guess we won’t see any tulips at kamiyubetsu. Any alternatives to that?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      5/6 June is a bit too late for shibazakura. There will probably still be sparse patches of pink, but personally I find it is not really worth the effort to drive all the way there if it’s way past the peak.

      Yeah, it’s too late for tulips at Kamiyubetsu. We did see tulips at Daisetsu Asahigaoka / Taisetsu Forest Garden (Day 9 of our trip). It’s a relatively short drive from Asahikawa. You can follow their Facebook page to see what flowers are blooming closer to your trip:
      https://www.facebook.com/DaisetsuOfficial/

  48. annacch says:

    Dear Bumblebeemum,

    Have been to Hokkaido last July-16. Planning for another early summer hokkaido trip in Jun-2018 bringing by parents and sis family with 2 kids, age 10 & 6.

    My plan:
    13 June SIN-> CTS (Hotel:Air Terminal Hotel)
    14 June CTS -> Lake Toya (Hotel:Toya Sun Palace)
    15 June Lake Toya -> Otaru (Hotel: Otaru-1st nite)
    16 June Otaru -> Shiroi Koibito Park (Hotel:Otaru-2nd nite)
    17 June Furano -> Asahiyama Zoo (Hotel: Furano)
    18 June Furano
    19 June Furano
    20 June Furano -> CTS (nite Flight back to SIN)

    If we do skip Sapporo, what is your advice. Cos normally Sapporo is a must go place whenever in Hokkaido? hee. Partly i feel that for city area, my big group of family member might not like walking much too.
    And any advice of the above iternary? I hope to minimise the travelling time thus plan to travel from Otaru to Shiroi Koibito Park & also from Furano to the zoo. i seldom see people do it this way from your blog. Would like to hear your advice?
    thank you.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I don’t think there’s ever really a MUST-visit spot, it really depends on interest. If your parents or sister are the kind of people who loves shopping (like my in-laws), they will be miserable if you skip Sapporo. Because shopping in Sapporo will be the highlight for them. But if your whole travel party are people who prefer scenic spots and don’t mind just doing a little bit of last-minute shopping at CTS at the end of the trip, then your current itinerary is fine.

      Most people stay in Sapporo and do Otaru as a side-trip, but you’re staying in Otaru and doing Sapporo (specifically Shiroi Koibito Park) as a side-trip. It’s not common, as most people prefer to stay in Sapporo since it’s much more happening at night.

      I don’t think you are really going to the zoo from Furano. You are leaving Otaru on 17 June right? That means you should be going from Otaru to the zoo first, then after the zoo go down to Furano. Doing this saves you the hassle of changing hotel, but it is quite a lot of driving for a day. Which is why most people will stay a night in Asahikawa to break up the driving.

      • Annacch says:

        One of the reason I think of cos from otaru to zoo is about 2 n half hrs ride. If Morning depart from otaru after breakfast, by the time we reach Zoo is late morning.. Walk awhile need lunch again in Zoo.. Do you have your meals at the zoo? Is true. I thought of the route from otaru to zoo then to furano.

        • bumblebeemum says:

          Otaru to the zoo is just like Sapporo to the zoo – takes about the same time. Both times I went Asahiyama Zoo was from Sapporo, so like you said, we reached late morning, walked until we saw the restaurant and had lunch there, then continued walking. So yup, we had our lunch in the zoo. But that being said, I don’t think I have ever finished exploring the whole zoo within a single visit. I went in winter though, summer should be better coz they open till later.

  49. Gordon says:

    Thanks for sharing so much useful travel information on this blog.

    This is my second trip to Hokkaido which I am going on 6th June . In the first trip in June 2013, I visited Sapporo, Otaru, Furano, Biei , the pink moss hills at Takinoue and tulips at Kamiyubetsu park tulips. Unfortunately I do no have much time and to save some time, I decided to take an internal flight to bring me to Memanbetsu and then drive downwards.

    Day 1: CTS fly to Memanbetsu Airport arriving at 2.20 pm. Get the rented car and drive towards Shiretoko. Staying at Shiretoko or Shari town
    Day 2: Take a cruise to go whale watching. Visit other sights. Staying at Shiretoko or Shari town
    Day 3: At Shiretoko area. Go and visit the shiretoko national park and visit Ransu. Staying at Shiretoko or Shari town
    Day 4: Drive down towards Kushiro. Along the way visit lake Akan, lake mashu. Maybe Higashimokoto Shibazakura if still in season. Stay at Kushiro
    Day 5: Drive towards, on the way visit Obihiro. Stay night at Tomamu
    Day 6: Wake up early to visit Unkai terrace then drive to airport to catch 1 pm flight to Osaka.

    A few questions :
    Is it a better to stay at Shiretoko or Shari town or somewhere else. I feel that Shari town is more central and it may help reduce a bit of travelling time on day 4 when I start travelling down towards Ksuhiro and give me more time to visit lake Akan, lake mashu along the way. I would also like to go and see Higashimokoto Shibazakura if the pinkmoss is still around. Shari town also looks a bit bigger then Shiretoko and so perhaps offer more dining options.

    Should I cut a day at Shiretoko, try to do the cruise and national park in a day? Looks to rush if I do that though. That day can spent somewhere else perhaps.

    Any idea how to engage a English speaking guide for the Shiretoko park?

    I actually would like to visit farm tomita again but it looks difficult with my limited days. I would not mind giving up the unkai terrace for it but Furano seems to far away for me to get to from Kushiro without rushing on day 5. It aslo take about 2.5 hours to CTS where I need to catch a flight. Looks risky. Any suggestions.

    Would appreciate any suggestions you might have on my plans or places in this region I should visit. Thanks

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If given a choice between an onsen ryokan at Shiretoko with half-board and a hotel in Shari, of course I would prefer an onsen ryokan. But it boils down to budget, since an onsen ryokan would probably cost much more than a normal hotel. Usually if I have a budget to keep to, I stay one night at an onsen ryokan and two nights in a hotel in town.

      I think two full days in Shiretoko is just right. One day feels a bit rushed. When we visited Shiretoko in June, we only did it as a day trip from Kitami and I wished we had one more day. We could have gone for a leisurely walk around Shiretoko Five Lakes or slowly visited Fureppe Waterfall checking out the wild deers along the way if we had an additional day.

      Guide for Shiretoko Park – are you referring to Shiretoko Five Lakes? If I’m not mistaken, a guide is compulsory in June. You can book a guided walked at the visitor centre at Shiretoko Five Lakes.

      Yeah, Furano is a bit of a rush as it is not exactly along the way from Kushiro to CTS. I would suggest you skip Furano with the time you have, especially since you have already been there before.

      • Gordon says:

        Thank you for taking the time and effort to reply and give good tips. Hope you have a good holiday in June for yourself.

  50. Catherine says:

    Hello there! We ( 2 adults and out 3 year old daughter) are going to Hokkaido from the 26 June to 3 July 2017 all the way from Australia! And I have yet to book ANY accomodation!! I’m overwhelmed by everything and just wondering is it possible to just base ourselves in Sapporo and do day trips out to all these places you’ve mentioned? Or would you advise a few nights at Furano/ Asahikawa for say 2/3 nights? I’m not too keen on hiring a car and prefer taking public transport but if you think that is better, we could always do that!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      You’ll be spending a lot of time on the road if you base yourself in Sapporo and do day trips from there. I suggest you base yourself in Sapporo for the first half the trip and either Asahikawa or Furano for the later half of the trip. You may have some difficulty trying to book accommodation in Furano for end June / early July at this time, so if that happens, base yourself in Asahikawa.

      In Sapporo, it is possible for you to use public transport. However to visit Furano / Biei, having a car would be much more convenient. Let’s say you are basing yourself in Asahikawa, you can take JR train from Sapporo to Asahikawa and just rent a car from there to cover the Furano / Biei region.

  51. Le Yun says:

    Dear Bumblebeemum,

    We will be visiting Hokkaido from on 6/Oct ~ 11/Oct.
    Below is my plan, would like to seek your advice if this plan will be too hasty?

    6/Oct Arrive CTS at 8.10am, pick up rental car,
    to Noburibetsu (Hotel: Noburibetsu)
    7/Oct Noburibetsu –> Jozenki –> Otaru (Hotel: Otaru)
    8/Oct Otaru –> Farm Tomita Furana –> 四季彩の丘 –> Blue Pond –>
    Asahikawa (Hotel : Asahikawa)
    9/Oct Asahikawa –> Sapporo (Hotel: Sapporo)
    10/Oct Sapporo (Hotel : Air Terminal Hotel)
    11/Oct Return to KL

    And because of our trips have 3 elderly, so we are not visiting the zoo at Asahikawa. Any recommendation place before we headed back to Sapporo?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I would probably do the following:

      6 Oct: CTS – Sapporo
      7 Oct: Sapporo (day trip to Furano / Biei)
      8 Oct: Sapporo (day trip to Jozankei / Otaru)
      9 Oct: Sapporo – Lake Toya
      10 Oct: Lake Toya – Noboribetsu – CTS

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