I’ve often been asked for recommendations for Hokkaido accommodation. And as with what I always do when I get asked the same question repeatedly – I write a (too) long post about it.
In this post, I am going to share my personal recommendations for accommodation in the various areas of Hokkaido. I have not stayed in ALL the hotels in Hokkaido before, so I cannot guarantee my recommendations are the best. Some of the recommendations are based on my personal experiences, some are based on reader feedback, some merely based on location.
Air Terminal Hotel
If you have an early morning flight out of New Chitose Airport, the first thing I recommend you do once you secure your air tickets is to book a night at Air Terminal Hotel for your last night. Air Terminal Hotel is directly connected to New Chitose Airport, and we almost always spend our last night here for our Hokkaido trips. Staying at Air Terminal Hotel gives you free access to the onsen at New Chitose Airport and free breakfast.
Mercure Hotel Sapporo
Mercure Hotel Sapporo is located in the Susukino district which I personally find more ‘happening’ compared to the Sapporo station district. HOWEVER, if you are using the train a lot and/or travelling in winter via public transport, Mercure may not be for you and it may be a better idea to stay in the Sapporo station district.
JR Inn Sapporo
Dragging your luggage through snowy pavements with kids in tow is NOT a good way to start your vacation. So particularly if you are travelling to Sapporo in winter and planning to use the public transport, I highly recommend you find a hotel that is connected to Sapporo station.
When I want to find a hotel near a JR train station and with that as my only consideration, I almost always go straight for JR Inn. JR Inn is a hotel chain ran by the rail company JR, and hence they have the advantage of being located very close to the JR stations. I recommend JR Inn Sapporo because on their website, it says “About 4 min. walk from JR Sapporo Station West Gates. Accessibility without being drenched with rain.” Accessibility without being drenched with rain, I assume, would mean without having to go into the snow in winter?
JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo
JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo is right above Sapporo station. Which means you can get to the hotel without having to step out of the station at all. So as far as accessibility from Sapporo station is concerned, JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo is unbeatable. However, it is not cheap.
Hotel Nord Otaru
Hotel Nord Otaru is a popular hotel in Otaru, conveniently located along Otaru canal. It is highly rated for family stays, as they have affordable Superior Twin Rooms that can fit 4 people. Parking is also available at the hotel for 1000yen per stay, so you can leave your car at the hotel and explore Otaru city centre on foot.
Hotel Alpen Niseko
If you are planning on skiing at Grand Hirafu, Hotel Alpen Niseko’s location – right smack at Grand Hirafu Base – is pretty unbeatable. However due to its prime location, you can expect prime pricing during ski season. You can probably get a nicer room elsewhere in Hirafu for the same price, but if location and convenience (for the sole purpose of skiing) is of utmost important to you, you can try Hotel Alpen Niseko.
Hilton Niseko Village
Hilton Niseko Village is very kids-friendly. They have a small indoor kids playroom in the lobby. Their beginners ski area has a travellator to get you up the ski slope and they have excellent ski programme for children. The only thing I didn’t like about Hilton Niseko Village was that it was too touristy. But then again, the whole of Niseko is touristy. And I prefer the food options at Hirafu compared to Niseko Village. But Hilton Niseko Village does provide free shuttle to Hirafu, so you can always catch the shuttle bus out for dinner.
Oh, there is one other thing that I do not like about Hilton Niseko Village: the lack of a coin laundry.
Niseko Northern Resort Annupuri
If you are in Niseko outside ski season and looking for an affordable resort just to spend a night, you can try Niseko Northern Resort Annupuri. We stayed here in June 2016 and I felt it was very value for money. The room was very spacious and comfortable and the buffet breakfast was not bad. You probably need to have a rental car if you stay here though because of the resort’s rather remote location.
When you travel with kids, staying in a hotel with big slides in their pool can’t be wrong. Toya Sunpalace may be somewhat dated, but its facilities such as big pools with slides and free floats, plus availability of laundry (which is typically hard to find in onsen ryokans), make this my choice accommodation at Lake Toya. If you are not driving, Toya Sunpalace actually provides a free courtesy bus service between Sapporo and the resort.
Lake View Nonokaze
Image Source: Lake View Nonokaze
If you are looking for something more modern and luxurious along Lake Toya, Lake View Nonokaze is probably the most reputable ryokan in the region. One great thing about Lake View Nonokaze is that they have private onsen for rent – for those who would like to try onsen but too shy to enter a public bath. Lake View Nonokaze also provides free shuttle service between Sapporo and the resort.
Hotel Mahoroba is the only ryokan I have stayed in at Noboribetsu. But I enjoyed my stay there so much, I don’t think I would go anywhere else. They had a slide in the onsen, a pretty up-to-date arcade and the dinner was great. If you are not driving, they provide shuttle service from Sapporo to the resort (currently priced at 500yen per pax per way).
Hakodate Kokusai Hotel
I chose Hakodate Kokusai Hotel when we were in Hakodate in June 2014 because it was in the middle of Hakodate Morning Market and Red Brick Warehouse district – allowing us to get to both places within a short walk. The room was super spacious for Japan’s standard, albeit somewhat dated.
La Vista Hakodate Bay
Image Source: La Vista Hakodate Bay
For the same reason I recommend Hakodate Kokusai Hotel, I would also consider La Vista Hakodate Bay which has the same advantage of being right in between Hakodate Morning Market and Red Brick Warehouse district. Based on the photos on their website, La Vista Hakodate Bay looks more modern and luxurious than Hakodate Kokusai Hotel. But since it’s location that I’m after, between the two, I would book whichever is cheaper. Hakodate Kokusai Hotel is usually cheaper.
However if you need an onsen, it is also worthy to mention that La Vista Hakodate Bay has an onsen while Hakodate Kokusai Hotel doesn’t. So maybe you wouldn’t mind paying a bit more for the onsen and a more modern room.
Route Inn Grantia Hakodate Ekimae
If being close to the JR station is important to you, then look no further. Route Inn Grantia Hakodate Ekimae is right smack outside JR Hakodate station.
JR Inn Asahikawa
Image Source: JR Inn Asahikawa
Frankly, I have no special preference for any hotels in Asahikawa. I always go for the cheapest I can find on hotel booking sites. Jr Inn Asahikawa was actually recommended to me by a reader. Being part of the JR Inn chain, it has the advantage of being directed connected to JR Asahikawa station. Hence, I would go for this if I am arriving in Asahikawa by train, especially in winter.
New Furano Prince Hotel
If it is within my budget and if I am driving, I would go for New Furano Prince Hotel when I am in Furano. New Furano Prince Hotel is a destination in itself – when I first visited Furano and was not staying there, we specially drove there to visit Ningle Terrace. The price for a room at New Furano Prince Hotel fluctuates like crazy though. When I saw a twin room going for about SGD150, I quickly booked it for my June 2016 trip. But in the peak of summer, it can easily cost more than SGD400 – which I don’t think is worth it anymore.
Furano Natulux Hotel
Image Source: Furano Natulux Hotel
Furano Natulux Hotel is the default hotel choice for travellers who want to be near JR Furano station. One of the advantage of staying near JR Furano station, on top of easy access to the station if you are using public transport, is that there are better dining options compared to staying at, say, New Furano Prince Hotel. Some of my favourite restaurants in Hokkaido such as Kumagera and Yuigadokuson are within walking distance from Furano Natulux Hotel.
Furano La Terre
If you are driving and looking for a place to base yourself to visit BOTH Furano and Biei, I like Furano La Terre’s location. Furano La Terre is located in between Furano and Biei and right along Route 237. This means you can get to either Furano or Biei pretty quickly with your rental car. I have never stayed here before so I don’t know if their onsen is as fab as it looks, but I would stay here based on location.
Hoshino Resort Tomamu
If you want to visit Tomamu, be it in summer for Unkai Terrace or winter for skiing and Ice Village, you really don’t have much choice when it comes to accommodation. Hoshino Resort Tomamu kind of monopolises the region, unless you want to stay in a pension a short drive away, or the condominium I will mention later. I have stayed here twice in June 2014 and December 2014, and I love their onsen and breakfast and just about everything else like free diapers in the lobby (no kidding). It is one of my favourite resorts in the whole of Hokkaido. I would recommend anyone who wishes to spend a night at Tomamu to stay here – if your budget allows it.
Condominium in Resorts Tomamu
If you are travelling in a family or group of more than 4 people and hence are required to book more than one room at Hoshino Resort Tomamu, chances are the resort would be out of your budget. This condominium is probably Tomamu‘s most well-kept secret, and I have to thank a reader for telling me about it. The condominium is actually located at the resort, which means you can walk to the ski grounds or Ice Village. It works out to be much cheaper for large groups. Just that you don’t get all the frills like wave pool & onsen access and breakfast that comes with a stay at Hoshino Resort Tomamu.
If you don’t already have an AirBnb account, I would REALLY appreciate it if you sign up for an account with my referral link. It gives you SGD50 credit instantly once you sign up, and I get a referral credit after you take a trip. It would really help to support me keeping this blog running, so… TIA! 😀
Richmond Hotel Obihiro
Just as Mercure Hotel Sapporo is my default hotel choice in Sapporo, Richmond Hotel Obihiro is my default hotel choice in Obihiro. Rooms are spacious, modern, reasonably price and it is located right opposite JR Obihiro Station. Can’t ask for more.
Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga
As far as onsen ryokans in Hokkaido are concerned, Tsuruga Group Hotels is a big name. If your budget allows it, Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga is THE place to be when visiting Lake Akan. Walking into the lobby of Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga, you will be greeted by kimono-clad ladies and wood carvings by the local master wood carver. Around the lobby, you will find complimentary soup given out to guests to warm themselves up. You can even make your own onsen eggs and touch a marimo at the lobby too. The onsen here boasts 33 different baths – it’s no wonder many locals flock to this prestigious hotel at Lake Akan for their getaways.
Okay, so you may not have the budget to stay in Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga. At least I didn’t have the budget for it when we were visiting Lake Akan in our December 2014 trip. But here’s the budget-friendly trick to enjoy the amenities there without having to pay a premium. Stay at Hanayuuka, also under the Tsuruga Group Hotels, located further down the road. They provide free shuttle bus over to Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga and guests of Hanayuuka are free to use the facilities there.
Shiretoko Prince Hotel Kazanamiki
Image Source: Shiretoko Prince Hotel Kazanamiki
I have only stayed in Shiretoko once back in March 2010, and the ryokan I stayed in then has since closed down. But if I had to choose a ryokan at Shiretoko today, I would go for Shiretoko Prince Hotel Kazanamiki. Because of the facilities they have for kids. 😀
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