Hokkaido ski trip in December with teens
Hokkaido ski trip in December with teens


I chanced upon your blog while googling free and easy itinerary for Hokkaido and am I not glad! Your blog is so informative!

I am planning our first partial self drive from 10 to 22 Dec with a 15 yo girl and 18 yo boy. We are into sightseeing, and snow. My boy can ski but not my girl.

My initial initnerary looks like this :

10 Dec – New Chitose – Lake Toya (drive)
11 Dec – Lake Toya (drive)
12 Dec – Hakodate (drive)
13 Dec – Hakodate (drive)
14 Dec – Noboribetsu (drive)
15 Dec – Totamu (drive)
16 Dec – Totamu (drive)
17 Dec – Toramu (drive)
18 Dec – Sapporo (public transportation)
19 Dec – Sapporo (public transportation)
20 Dec – Sapporo (Otaru) (public transportation)
21 Dec – Sapporo (Arashiyama Zoo) (public transportation)
22 Dec – New Chitose Airport (public transportation)

I was drawn to western Hokkaido initially but noticed you seem to recommend eastern over western Hokkaido. Any particular reasons?

I also noticed you are not very into Hakodate. May I know why?

Does my itinerary look ok?

Thanks much for your guidance!

By HY on August 27, 2017

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  • Queen Bee says:

    I like to visit Eastern Hokkaido for the cranes. The cranes only gather at the feeding grounds in Tsurui (between Kushiro and Lake Akan) in winter. Whereas Hakodate can be visited in any seasons. That’s why for winter trips, I tend to prioritise visiting Eastern Hokkaido over Southern Hokkaido. But if you really want to visit Hakodate, your current itinerary is okay. 🙂

  • HY says:

    Hi Queen Bee,

    Thanks so much for your reply. As I am more familiar with The west, think I will continue to plan for it for now. I will read up more about Eastern Hokkaido and will let you know ifcwe change our mind.

    For now, I need to seek your opinion on a few more issues. Hope you can help.

    1) As I am landing in CTS only around 2 pm, and taking your advice to arrive at our destination before 4 pm in winter, it looks like I will have to stay a day in sapporo prior to moving off to lake Toya. Do you think I should jus spend the rest of day 1 at the airport hotel and then drive off to lake Toya the next day? Alternatively, I suppose we could start our holiday from Sapporo and stay a few days there (say from Day 1 to 5) before moving off but I am afraid it would be too early to catch the Asahiyama Zoo penguin parade?

    2) We are a family who does not like to move accommodation too often. Does it make sense for us to park ourselves in Lake Toya and explore Niseko, lake Toya and Noboribetsu from there?

    3) is it too far to drive from Hakodate to Tomamu without breaking for a night?

    4) Is it too far to drive from Tomamu to CTS? Our flight back to SG is at 3.40 pm.

    Looking at this reshuffled itinerary now:

    Day 1 : CTS- Sapporo
    Day 2 : Explore Otaru (day trip)
    Day 3 : Mount Moiwa, Beer Museum, etc (day trip)
    Day 4 : Asahiyama Zoo ( day trip)
    Day 5 : Sapporo- Lake Toya (start car rental)
    Day 6 : Usuzan Ropeway, Usuzan Craters (day trip)
    Day 7 : Niseko or Rusutsu (day trip)
    Day 8 : Lake Shikotsu and just enjoy Lake Toya
    Day 9 : Lake Toya – Hakodate
    Day 10 : Mount Hakodate (day trip)
    Day 11 : Hakodate – Tomamu
    Day 12 : Tomamu
    Day 13 : Tomamu – CTS

    Do you think this itinerary can work? Looking forward to hearing from you, as always.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Queen Bee says:

      1) If you’re arriving at 2pm, then yes, it makes sense to start with Sapporo.

      2) If you don’t want to change accommodation, then yup, Lake Toya is a good base for exploring Rusutsu, Noboribetsu and Niseko.

      3) Yes, I do think it’s too far to drive from Hakodate to Tomamu in a day in winter. I would recommend you spend a night at either Noboribetsu or Lake Shikotsu to break it up – since you are planning to visit these places anyway.

      4) Driving from Tomamu back to CTS in time for a 3.40pm flight shouldn’t be a problem. Just remember to take into account that after you return the car to the rental office, you still need to take the rental office’s shuttle service to the airport.

      And yup, your itinerary works. Except the Hakodate to Tomamu bit.

  • HY says:

    Thanks so much for your advice. Due to accommodation availability, I have now reverted to the original itinerary but with the first night spent in Sapporo prior to driving off to Lake Toya the next day. We are now set where accommodation in concerned and shall be moving on to stage 2 of our planning i.e. Car rental booking and detailed itinerary. Will now go plough through your very informative and helpful blogs for assistance. We are excited and really looking forward and we are really thankful for all your detailed sharing. Makes our planing so much easier!

  • HY says:


    I have made progress. Have reserved our rental car with tabirai. And we have decided to spend our first night at Hotel AreaOne Chitose (more wallet friendly) and pop by Chitose Outlet Rera for additional winter necessities.

    Can I trouble you with these questions :

    1) Wonder if you have any experience with Park Hotel Miyabitei in Noboribetsu? It’s more wallet friendly than Mahoroba and the rooms are bigger. The reviews are pretty positive too. Wonder if you have tried or heard anything about their dinners?

    2) Hakodate to Noboribetsu. If weather and time permits, we hope to take the orufure pass between Lake Toya and Noboribetsu. Is that wise?

    3) Noboribetsu to Tomamu. Is there any interesting/scenic/food rest stop along the way?

    4) Tomamu to Sapporo. Is there any interesting/scenic/food rest stop to recommend?

    5) It seems there’s a Lucky Pierrot (LP) in Nanae town near Onuma Koen. We were thinking of lunching there on our way to Onuma National Park from Lake Toya enroute to Hakodate. I read that there is always a queue at all LP outlets and that we should order in advance. Would that be your advice too.

    That’s all for now. Thanks for your time.

    • Queen Bee says:

      1) I have never tried it out or heard anything about it, but if the reviews are good, why not? I always try out different hotels based on reviews.

      2) Not really. The drive from Hakodate to Noboribetsu is already very long. I don’t recommend detouring to use the Orofure Pass.

      3) The most convenient stop for this is Chitose Rera Outlet – but you are already going there at the start of the trip. Other stops along this route are places like Yuni Garden and Yubari – but they are not too interesting in December. I would just use the expressway all the way, and stop at rest stops along the expressway if a break is needed.

      4) Same as the above.

      5) I didn’t know Lucky Pierrot can be ordered in advance.. Lol. It’s like a fast food joint. I always just go there and order when I’m there. I haven’t had a problem with queues during my visits.

  • HY says:

    Thanks much for your advice. Will heed them and drop Orufure pass. Will plan for that in future trips.

  • KK says:

    Hi Queen Bee

    I had booked a 13 days tickets to Hokkaido: SIN-Sapporo-SIN.
    My daughter said 13 days is too long and what could do more over there. She is 17 years old and not interested to visit the Zoo. We both will be using public transport to move around.
    I started nervous now. Do not know how to plan the Itinerary and how to get the trains/bus tickets.
    Is 13 days really too long to visiting Hokkaido? We are open if to move out of Hokkaido but need to return back to Hokkaido f or return flight home.

    I need to seek you suggestion on the Itinerary. Please help

    Thanks in advance

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