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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.  So I planned around being 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.

87Comments

  1. Mummy Ed says:

    Can’t wait to read more about your trip so I can take notes 😀

  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

        • 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.

  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).

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