Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip (June 2016) Part 6: Obihiro – Yubari – Chitose

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip (June 2016) - Obihiro, Yubari, Yuni Garden, New Chitose Airport - Bumble Bee Mum

Continued from: Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip (Juen 2016) Part 5: Akan National Park, Kushiro, Akkeshi

From Ikeda, it was just a short drive to Obihiro where we spent our second last night in Hokkaido at our favourite hotel in Obihiro, Richmond Hotel Obihiro, which was located right opposite JR Obihiro Station.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (01) Obihiro Station

A note on parking at Richmond Hotel Obihiro: The hotel’s parking was full when we arrived, so we had to park our car at the basement carpark of Obihiro station across the road.  However, the hotel validated our parking coupon and we paid them the usual hotel parking fee.  This was SO much better than many of the other hotels I have stayed in, where if their carpark was full, they would ask us to go find a coin parking nearby and we would need to pay whatever normal parking rates those carparks charge (which is usually more than what hotels carparks charge for their guests).  So Richmond Hotel Obihiro has given me yet another reason to love them!

After we checked in, the husband hustled everyone out of the hotel to have dinner at Panchou, our favourite buta-don (pork rice bowl) shop which was a stone’s throw from Richmond Hotel Obihiro.  Because the last time we were here, we took our own sweet time and by the time we reached Panchou, they were closed.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (02) Obihiro Panchou Buta Don

And when we arrived at Panchou, there was a queue! WAH! This was my.. third visit I think? Last two times I didn’t have to queue.  Guess my luck has ran out.  But I was so glad it was no longer raining – I cannot imagine if I had to queue in the rain!

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (03) Obihiro Panchou Buta Don

After queuing for not-sure-how-long, we finally got our table and I ordered the biggest bowl of buta don they had.  Okay, I’m lazy to repeat myself so you can read what I said about Panchou on Instagram:

My third visit to Panchou and the only time I had to queue! Unfortunately my fear that their greater popularity and long queue would result in poorer food standard came true. Their pork slices were thinner than they used to be and drier. The signature sauce and the fragrance from the fats still made it a yummy dish for those who have never tried their older version. Seems to me they tried to slice their pork slices thinner thinking once-off tourists may not notice. Too bad, I noticed. Hahaha… Guess it's time to explore new buta don haunts in Obihiro! #bumblebeemumtravels #bumblebeemuminjapan #obihiro #butadon #panchou #帯広 #豚丼 #ぱんちょう #japantrip #japantravel #hokkaido #hokkaidotrip #hokkaidotravel #japanfood #japanesefood #japanfoodgopan #hokkaidofood #foodphotography #changirecommends #changiwifi #travelblog #travelblogger #iamtb #mondayescapes #traveltuesday #wednesdaywanderlust #travelthursday #citytripping #myfavouritetrip #familytravelhq

A photo posted by Bumble Bee Mum (@bumble_bee_mum) on


After dinner, we went to check out Kita No Yatai.  It was a Saturday night and Kita No Yatai was absolutely bustling!! All the stores were full of patrons chatting happily with the store owners sitting in the middle.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (04) Obihiro Kita No Yatai

I loved the atmosphere at Kita no Yatai.  Though I got to say it was not a very kids-friendly environment.  I doubted I could push a stroller into any of the tiny establishments that lined the street.

We just walked around the area around Kita No Yatai, which reminded me a bit of Susukino in Sapporo.  It struck me that the past two times I spent the night in Obihiro, I didn’t venture into the streets of Obihiro city centre after dark at all.  The first time, we drove to Tokachigawa Onsen for Sairinka festival.  The second time, it was just too cold to bring the kids out to walk after dark.  I concluded Obihiro was a city that came to life after dark.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (05) Obihiro Kita No Yatai

Day 14:  Obihiro – Yubari – Chitose

We started the morning with a visit to my favourite bakery cafe in Obihiro, Mugioto (ますやパン 「麦音」).  This was the second time I visited, you can read more about our first visit > here <.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (28) Obihiro Masuya Pan Mugioto

It was a sunny Sunday summer morning, which makes for a great morning for the ENTIRE town to gather at Mugioto for breakfast.  The queue was insane!  Luckily the kids could entertain themselves in the little playroom while the adults queued up for the bread.  Okay, I was too busy queuing for bread to go and take photos of the playroom.  So here are old photos from our December 2014 visit.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (27) Obihiro Masuya Pan Mugioto

Since it was summer, we sat at one of the many benches on the lawn to enjoy our breakfast.  Despite the crazy queue inside, there was more than enough space for everyone to sit and dine outside.  It was soooo good and relaxing!

After a very fulfilling breakfast, we went for a stroll at Manabe Garden (真鍋庭園) which was just about 2km away from Mugioto.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (06) Obihiro Manabe Garden

Manabe Garden was really lovely.   I highly recommend dropping in if you are visiting Obihiro in Summer.

Manabe Garden turned out to be a lot more kids-friendly than I expected.  Along the way, we passed by a Children’s Garden!

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (08) Obihiro Manabe Garden

The kids have been so deprived of play due to the lousy weather.  So we let them play to their hearts content here.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (09) Obihiro Manabe Garden

There were three different walking trails to choose from at Manabe Garden.  I went for the longest one with MF because I had to digest my huge breakfast.  The husband, MY and in-laws went for the shortest one.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (07) Obihiro Manabe Garden

By the time we got back from our longest trail, we found MY playing at the playground near the cafe at Manabe Garden.  MF immediately dashed over to join in,

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (10) Obihiro Manabe Garden

In the meantime, my in-laws were checking out the squirrel which was busy munching at the table filled with what I assumed was squirrel food.  So cute!

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (12) Obihiro Manabe Garden

Maybe the next time I am in Obihiro, I would have breakfast at Manabe Garden instead of Mugioto.  The playground and squirrel can so keep the kids entertained!

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (11) Obihiro Manabe Garden

From Manabe Garden, we went on to Ryugetsu Sweetpia Garden.

We bought some confectionery from the cafe which were okay.  Nothing to wow about frankly.  I conclude I’m not a big fan of Ryugetsu.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (13) Ryugetsu Sweetpia Garden

And we drove on to Yubari to check out some famous Yubari melons.  We arrived at the roadside station ‘Meroad’ (夕張 道の駅 メロード) and was welcomed by an over-enthusiastic melon-bear!

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (14) Yubari Roadside Station Michi No Eki MeRoad

There was a little supermarket there where I picked out an exclusive melon cake!

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (16) Yubari Roadside Station Michi No Eki MeRoad

And of course not forgetting to sink our teeth into some sliced yubari melons.  MF super loved Hokkaido melons and finished up the whole slice, leaving none for me!

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (17) Yubari Roadside Station Michi No Eki MeRoad

Fine… Two can play a game. I went to buy a melon soft serve and hid in a corner to enjoy it.  (Yes, I’m an evil mom like that.)

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (18) Yubari Roadside Station Michi No Eki MeRoad

Okay, I thought the melon soft serve was kind of blah.  Not creamy enough for me – it was slightly icey.  Not my type of soft serve.

After eating too much for a day, we had to work off those calories so our next destination was Yuni Garden.  It was our lucky day as far as meeting mascots were concerned.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (19) Yuni Garden

Truth be told, nobody wanted to go to Yuni Garden except me.  If we had done a vote, we would be driving back to New Chitose Airport to shop, eat or sleep.  Oh, I forgot to mention, my friends in the other car had ditched us and went straight back to Chitose right after breakfast.

However, I refused to go back to the airport when it was finally bright and sunny!! If it had been raining, sure, I would go back to Chitose right after breakfast too.  But after enduring days of rain and fog, I was so adamant on maximizing the good weather.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (21) Yuni Garden

I have concluded by the end of this trip that bright sunny summer days in Hokkaido are as rare as a Pikachu in Pokemon Go and must be treasured.  #TheThingsTravelGuidesDoNotTellYouAbout

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (20) Yuni Garden

It was finally starting to get dark by the time we were done with Yuni Garden, so back to New Chitose Airport we went.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (22) Yuni Garden

Usually my travel tales would end at this point.  Because after reaching CTS,  it is usually pretty uneventful.  I would have dinner at Hanamaru, snack at Kinotoya and Kitakaro, sleep at Air Terminal Hotel, and fly back to Singapore the next morning.  But somehow this time it was pretty eventful.

I think it was because CTS was undergoing major renovations.  So firstly, Hanamaru was GONE.  ARGH!!! In its place was another sushi restaurant – which was not bad but I still preferred Hanamaru.  But at least all my other food haunts like Kinotoya (with the famous BAKE cheese tarts) and Kitakaro were still around.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (23) New Chitose Airport Kinotoya Bake Cheese Tart

And this time round, the check-in for our Thai airways flight home was WAY faster than in the past.  Which gave us like an hour or so extra before our flight the next morning.  We used the extra time to check out Smile Road and noticed that Royce Chocolate Factory had expanded and even now have a Royce Bakery cafe!

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (24) New Chitose Airport Royce Bakery Cafe

LOOK AT THAT! A whole slab of Royce chocolate in a bun!

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (25) New Chitose Airport Royce Bakery Cafe

If you only have enough stomach space for one bread, make it this one.  OMG.  The molten Royce chocolate chocolate wrapped in fluffy pastry.

Hokkaido June Self-Drive Trip 6 (26) New Chitose Airport Royce Bakery Cafe

At Smile Road, I also spotted a sign that said that there was going to be a Hello Kitty attraction, Hello Kitty Happy Flight, opening on 22 July 2016 at New Chitose Airport.  WOOHOO!!

Okay, it took me more than a month from coming back to writing this, so that means Hello Kitty Happy Flight should be open already! If you are visiting Hokkaido now (or visiting Hokkaido soon) and have photos of Hello Kitty Happy Flight that you don’t mind me sharing on this blog, feel free to email them to:

Thank you very much in advance! I am DYING of curiosity to know what it is all about!!  Like GOSH.. I am looking at New Chitose Airport website and the cafe menu is like… OMG!!

I think I need to plan my next visit to Hokkaido soon.  Just for you, Hello Kitty.  And THAT chocolate bun from Royce Bakery Cafe.

Pin this up for later!

Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip (June 2016) - Obihiro, Yubari, Yuni Garden, New Chitose Airport - Bumble Bee Mum


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22 Comments on Hokkaido Self-Drive Trip (June 2016) Part 6: Obihiro – Yubari – Chitose

  1. Madeline Heng
    August 8, 2016 at 11:39 am (3 months ago)

    Hahaah I can’t wait to go back to Hokkaido again! We’re crossing our fingers for end this year or next year :)
    Madeline Heng recently posted…MiaMily HIPSTER Baby CarrierMy Profile

    • bumblebeemum
      August 10, 2016 at 12:29 am (2 months ago)

      Hope you make the trip and I’ll be looking forward to reading about it!

  2. Daddy B
    August 8, 2016 at 1:02 pm (3 months ago)

    Wow, you really make a full use of your day in Hokkaido, which really looks nice and entrailing. A pity my kids are still so small, otherwise we’d have gone for the same too.
    Daddy B recently posted…Grand Centara Resort @ Krabi Vacation 2016My Profile

    • bumblebeemum
      August 10, 2016 at 12:33 am (2 months ago)

      Yeah, I totally maxed out the sunny hours!!

  3. Jacinta
    August 11, 2016 at 10:11 am (2 months ago)

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    I really love your posts on Hokkaido! They were really helpful when I was researching for my upcoming trip in Oct. I’m a fellow Singaporean travelling to Hokkaido with my husband for our honeymoon and we hope to catch the autumn colors there.

    If it isn’t too much trouble, I was hoping you’d be able to give us some advice on our itinerary :) We’d be there for 11 days and plan to rent a car to get around. However, 11 days doesn’t seem long enough to cover the east of Hokkaido hence we’re not visiting Daisetzusan, Lake Akan, etc. We originally thought we could stay at Lake Shikotsu but just realized there aren’t many hotels there that won’t break our bank.

    13 Oct: Shin Chitose – Sapporo
    14 Oct: Sapporo
    15 Oct: Otaru
    16 Oct: Furano
    17 Oct: Biei, Asahikawa
    18 Oct: ??
    19 Oct: Lake Shikotsu – Noboribetsu
    20 Oct: Lake Toya
    21 Oct: Hakodate
    22 Oct: Hakodate
    23 Oct: Hakodate – Hakodate Airport to Sg

    Would you have any suggestion on where we could go in between Asahikawa and Lake Shikotsu? Also, are we spending too much time at Hakodate?

    Thank you very much :)

    • bumblebeemum
      August 14, 2016 at 12:44 pm (2 months ago)

      Maybe you can try Tomamu for 18 Oct? Alternatively just spend one more day at Sapporo at the beginning.

      With the time you have at Hakodate, you can go to Onuma Koen. Hopefully by the time you are there, the foliage is turning red. Onuma Koen is one of Hokkaido’s popular autumn foliage spot, but try to go there as late as possible because autumn foliage there usually peaks end Oct / early Nov.

  4. Ling
    August 19, 2016 at 10:46 am (2 months ago)

    Thanks for useful info and I would seek your quick view of my planned self drive itinerary to Hokkaido on coming Oct

    Day1 – Arrive in CTS airport early, pick up car rental, drive to Noboribetsu, overnight there

    Day2 – To Hokadate

    Day3 – To Lake Toya

    Day4 – To Sapporo, via Jozankei ( Housekeiyou dam), return car

    Day5- To Otaru via train

    Day6 – Sapporo

    Day7 – Back to KL


      • Ling
        August 22, 2016 at 4:01 pm (2 months ago)

        Thanks :)

        BTW, do you know if Malaysian need to apply international driving permit in order to drive in Japan? From few blogs I can see we must get the permit, hopefully if you aware and you could confirm?

        Thanks again.

        • bumblebeemum
          August 22, 2016 at 4:12 pm (2 months ago)

          Yes, from my understanding Malaysia is the same as Singapore. You need to apply for IDP and bring both IDP and local driving licence with you to Japan.

          • Ling
            August 22, 2016 at 4:35 pm (2 months ago)

            Let’s say i myself booked the Toyota rental car, during collection of car can we just show one driver(my friend)’s IDP, local license n passport? That way just one person need to apply the permit hehe…


            • bumblebeemum
              August 22, 2016 at 5:16 pm (2 months ago)

              Only if that person is the only driver. When renting a car, you will be asked to name all the people who will be driving and produce their licences to the car company. If you do not register yourself as a driver with the car company, I suspect you will have trouble with insurance should *touch wood* an accident occur while you are driving.

              • Ling
                September 9, 2016 at 4:42 pm (1 month ago)

                Thanks. We got the IDP applied after queued for 3 hours plus… Sigh..,

                Btw, would you recommend any reliable mobile wifi router if you gotten that before?


                • bumblebeemum
                  September 13, 2016 at 11:42 am (1 month ago)

                  When did you go to apply for your IDP?? I have never queued 3 hours plus for it.. I usually just walk in, apply and am out within 15 min. >_<

                  I used the one from Changi Recommends on my recent trip:

                  It works fine in the cities, but at rural areas, there is sometimes no network.

                  • Ling
                    September 13, 2016 at 11:54 am (1 month ago)

                    Hehe… I am from Malaysia…

                    • bumblebeemum
                      September 13, 2016 at 12:33 pm (1 month ago)

                      Ah… Okok… Then I guess you will have a get a mobile WIFI from Japan. I’ve never tried any of them but you can just google for “Japan mobile wifi rental” and there are quite a number of companies offering them. They can deliver it to your hotel or you can pick it up from the post office at the airport if you are arriving during normal working hours.

  5. RJ
    August 27, 2016 at 8:50 pm (2 months ago)

    Hi dear,

    Thanks for your detailed sharing of helpful information. Wanted seek for your advice on our upcoming trip to Hokkaido this November. We have been to Japan/Hokkaido several times but this is our first road trip in Hokkaido. We have a group of 4 adults and 2 kids (age 4 & 6)and will be flying off from Sg to Narita, and domestic flight to Sapporo.

    Our planned itinerary are as follow:-

    16/11 – Sg – NRT – CTS (will take a train to Otaru. Overnight in Otaru)
    17/11 – Otaru (car collection from Toyota) – Shiretoko Peninsula – Lake Toyako
    18/11 – Lake Toyako – Bear Farm – Hell Valley – Furano (Ninguru Terrace night visit)
    19/11- Furano – Obihiro – Kushiro
    20/11 – Kushiro – Lake Mashu – Lake Kussharo – Shiretako
    21/11 – Shiretako
    22/11 – Shiretako – Abashiri – Lake Akan – Onneto – Tamamu
    23/11 – Tamamu – Biei – Sapporo
    24/11 – Sapporo – CTS – NRT

    Hope you can let us know if the above trip workable? or anything that we need to take note of. Also, is Shiretako and Tamamu open during early winter? Thanks!!!


    • bumblebeemum
      August 30, 2016 at 4:03 pm (2 months ago)

      On the whole, I don’t think your itinerary works for winter. It’s too rushed as daylight hours are very short. And some places like Shiretoko and Furano / Biei are more of summer places than winter places. For your dates, I recommend you visit the region between Sapporo and Hakodate instead.


      16/11: CTS – Noboribetsu
      17/11: Noboribetsu – Hakodate
      18/11: Hakodate
      19/11: Hakodate – Lake Toya
      20/11: Lake Toya – Niseko
      21/11: Niseko – Shakotan – Otaru
      22/11: Otaru – Sapporo
      23/11: Sapporo
      24/11: Sapporo – CTS

      • RJ
        August 30, 2016 at 4:17 pm (2 months ago)

        Hi dear, thanks for your suggestion. Actually we chooses sub-burp area as we wanted the kids to see natural places. We have made some changes on the itinerary and hope you can give some advice.

        17/11 Otaru – shakotan – lake toya
        18/11 lake toya – Noboribetau hell valley – Furano
        19/11 Furano – Kushiro
        20/11 Kushiro – lake Masshu – Abashiri
        21/11 Abashiri – Obihiro
        22/11 Obihiro – Biei – Sapporo
        23/11 Sapporo
        24/11 Sapporo


        • bumblebeemum
          August 30, 2016 at 5:02 pm (2 months ago)

          Hmm.. Still feels a bit rushed especially at the start.. Maybe something like this?

          16/11 CTS – Sapporo
          17/11 Sapporo – Otaru
          18/11 Otaru – shakotan – lake toya
          19/11 lake toya – Noboribetsu
          20/11 Noboribetsu – Furano
          21/11 Furano – Lake Akan
          22/11 Lake Akan – Around Akan National Park – Abashiri – Lake Akan
          23/11 Lake Akan – Obihiro
          24/11 Obihiro – CTS

          • RJ
            August 30, 2016 at 5:45 pm (2 months ago)

            Thanks dear. Your suggestion are great! Just that on the 18/11 we hope to be at Furano coz wanted to celebrate anniversary at the Ningala terrace. Hence likely we will follow your suggestion but omit the night stay in Noboribetsu. Is Kushiro not worth to go? Also any suggestion to do for Abashiri? Thanks a lot !!

            • bumblebeemum
              August 31, 2016 at 10:11 am (2 months ago)

              It is a bit rushed to drive all the way from Otaru to Shakotan to Lake Toya to Furano in a day. If you need to be in Furano on 18th, this is what I suggest:

              16/11 CTS – Noboribetsu
              17/11 Noboribetsu – Lake Toya
              18/11 Lake Toya – Furano
              19/11 Furano – Lake Akan
              20/11 Lake Akan – Around Akan National Park – Abashiri – Lake Akan
              21/11 Lake Akan – Kushiro – Obihiro
              22/11 Obihiro – Sapporo
              23/11 Sapporo
              24/11 Sapporo – CTS

              Kushiro is not very interesting, except for Washo Market. Usually visitors use Kushiro as a rest point before hitting Akan National Park. If you want, you can pop by Washo Market between Lake Akan and Obihiro.

              Abashiri is most famous for their prison museum (which I have never been because it’s not my kind of thing) and drift ice museum. In winter visitors go there for the ice-breaker cruise, but your dates are too early. If you want to take it easy, you can just skip Lake Abashiri and spend more time around Akan National Park. Reserve a lunch at Sora near Lake Kussharo, I highly recommend it. Not sure if the swans have arrived at Lake Kussharo by the time you are there, if they have you can go to Sunayu to feed the swans. You can also drive to Kaiyodai, passing by a bunch of dairy farms – hopefully you get better weather than us while you are there. You can read more about our Akan National Park visits on the posts below:




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