BumblebeeMum
Itinerary for Hokkaido in January
Itinerary for Hokkaido in January

Would like to check with you my below itinerary:-

Chitose -> Sapporo (3 night at Mercure Hotel)
1. Otaru (by train)
2. Shiroi Koibito Park (Ishiya Chocalate Factory)
3. Sapporo Beer Factory
Drive from Sapporo -> Asahikawa (2 night )*** visiting Asahiyama Zoo & Asahikawa ramen village
Asahikawa -> Tomamu (2 night) (**ice village, Shinchan kid’s park)
Tomamu οƒ  CTS (1 night)

By Anonymous on August 27, 2015

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53 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Would like to check with you my below itinerary:-

    Chitose -> Sapporo (3 night at Mercure Hotel)
    1. Otaru (by train)
    2. Shiroi Koibito Park (Ishiya Chocalate Factory)
    3. Sapporo Beer Factory
    Drive from Sapporo -> Asahikawa (2 night )*** visiting Asahiyama Zoo & Asahikawa ramen village
    Asahikawa -> Tomamu (2 night) (**ice village, Shinchan kid’s park)
    Tomamu οƒ  CTS (1 night)

  • Anonymous says:

    13 Jan to 24 Jan

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If you are travelling in winter, looking at the places you want to go (Asahikawa & Tomamu), I would not drive. I would use the train instead.

      And btw, Ice Village is at Tomamu while Crayon Shin-chan Kids Park is at Rusutsu. They are different ski resorts.

  • Anonymous says:

    Many thanks for your advice.

    Accept for Asahikawa zoo for penguin parade; I do have interest on ice breaking cruise;

    Did you think I got chance to meet “Drift ice” during mid Jan?

    How should I plan my itinerary?

    Many thanks your advice

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Mid-Jan may be a bit too early. As a rough gauge, the Aurora icebreaker cruise started on 20 Jan 2015 this year. Actual dates may vary year to year because it is weather dependent, but I would think mid-Jan is too early. If you want, you can push it all the way to the end of your trip to try your luck. But you may be disappointed because nobody can really tell when there will be drift ice. (During my trip in March 2010, we never made it for the ice breaker cruise because there was no drift ice on the days we were there.) Note that Abashiri is a 6 hours train ride from CTS / 5 hours trains ride from Sapporo / 3.5 hours from Asahikawa. If you want to put Abashiri all the way at the end of your trip, you are going to have a loooong ride back to New Chitose Airport. If you haven’t booked your air ticket, I would advise you to fly out from Memanbetsu airport instead of New Chitose Airport if you are ending your trip at Abashiri.

      For a round-trip from CTS, Abashiri should preferable be somewhere in the middle of an Eastern Hokkaido trip. So the train route to take would be CTS – Tomamu – Kushiro – Abashiri – Asahikawa – Sapporo – CTS.

  • Wendy Wong says:

    Hi BumbleBeeMum,

    What a great blog on your Japan trips, I manage to convenience my hubby to bring my 6mo baby to go to Hokkaido next Jan. Thanks to the tips, manage to get a good fare deal by flying thaiairway from SIN-Saporo.
    Would need some advise from you as we are planning to have F&E self drive, 4Adults(2A is my parents in early 60’s) & 9mo baby by then. Our travel date will be 17th – 26th jan 2016, omit the travel we have 8D in Hokkaido. Will you be able to advice some itinerary which is feasible for us? For driver we have 3 drivers but only worries is if snowing n wet road which will limit us. Places I can think of is only otaru and Hakodate and we wish to tryout at least one onsen too. Hope you will be able to help wif some tips and advices. Esp what to take note bringing a 9mo baby.
    TIA.
    Regards
    Wendy(your IG follower?)

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hi Wendy,

      Thank you for following me on IG. πŸ™‚

      The roads will definitely be snowy and slipper at that time. Please read my winter driving tips on this post:
      http://bumblebeemum.net/2015/08/29/free-easy-hokkaido-winter-trip-essential-travel-tips/

      Generally, I do not recommend going to South to Hakodate in winter. Eastern Hokkaido is more interesting during that time, with Tomamu ice village in full swing, cranes gathered at their feeding grounds and Icebreaker cruise starting. There is also a chance that you can catch Chitose Ice Fesitval at Lake Shikotsu (the exact starting date is not out yet it seems):
      http://www.welcome.city.sapporo.jp/event/winter/lake-shikotsu-ice-festival/?lang=en

      Hence I wouldn’t spend my time on the long drive to Hakodate. What I recommend would be round-trips as follows:

      CTS – Tomamu – Tokachigawa Onsen – Kushiro / Tsurui – Lake Akan – Abashiri or Monbetsu (for icebreaker cruise) – Asahikawa – Sapporo – Lake Shikotsu – CTS

      You may not have time for Otaru because 8 days is pretty short for winter and Otaru is a bit off this route.

      If you do go for the ice-breaker cruise, I would not bring the baby on the cruise because it is extremely cold out in the open sea. I recommend you go to Monbetsu, where there is an indoors observation tower where the ice-breaker cruise departs (you need to ride an electric car over from the point where the cruise departs to the observation tower). So while the rest of your entourage goes for the cruise, you can still observe the drift ice from the tower with the baby in the warmth. You can read more about my visit to Monbetsu Drift Ice Observation Tower on this post (Day 8):
      http://bumblebeemum.net/2010/03/04/self-drive-trip-to-eastern-hokkaido-february-march-2010/

      • Wendy Wong says:

        Hi BumbleBeeMum,

        Thank you very much for your rely, just to check if we would like to some factory visit like Sapporo beer, ishiya chocolate factory all these places do we need to have more days in Sapporo? And if we wish to go to otaru any place we can cut short or how long the journey can be. I will discuss with my family on the proposed itinerary πŸ™‚ thank you.

        • bumblebeemum says:

          One day in Sapporo is good enough to visit Sapporo Beer Factory and Ishiya Chocolate Factory.

          If you really want to visit Otaru, then you can do the classic loop of:

          CTS – Sapporo – Otaru – Lake Toya – Hakodate – Noboribetsu – Lake Shikotsu – CTS

          • Wendy Wong says:

            Thank you, meaning the classic route will defeat the purpose of going in winter to experience the Ice breaker Cruise right? Just to check how about the Penguins parade? Which route is abt to get to see it? I’m sorry if there’s too much question as is kinda hard to make decision. Thank you.

            • bumblebeemum says:

              That is right. Personally, I feel cities like Otaru and Hakodate can be visited in any season. It seems a bit of a waste to go these places for a winter trip. If you do the Eastern Hokkaido route, the penguin parade is at Asahiyama Zoo (near Asahikawa). If you do the classic route, there is also a penguin parade at Noboribetsu’s NIXE Marine Park. However, I very much prefer Asahiyama Zoo because admission is much cheaper and I think the penguins at Asahiyama Zoo are bigger and cuter.

              Don’t worry about having too many questions. When I plan my trips, I change my mind every other day about where I want to go too! It’s like I want to go everywhere, but don’t have time to go everywhere and just cannot decide.

              • Wendy Wong says:

                Really appreciate your help. I myself have been to Hokkaido 10yes back with your group.. Totally understand what u mean.. Is just too many nice place n not enough time to spend within a week. I will discuss with family on their likings and update again, thank you. Have a nice day

                • Wendy Wong says:

                  Sorry to side track, where did you get the long-John for ur 9mo during then?

                  • bumblebeemum says:

                    I borrowed from a friend. But just last weekend, I was at Traveller World at Vivocity. They were having sale for their wool wear and winter pants for kids and I picked up some for my boys. They have a good selection for babies there too. You can get those one-piece winter jumpsuits. The Hokkaido babies are usually dressed in those, look very nice and warm.

                    • Wendy Wong says:

                      Hi,
                      Thanks for the recommendation. I will try to drop by this weekend to check out. May I check with you, if I were to stick to the eastern route that you have suggested but I do not wish to go for the ice breaking cruise can I omit any place and add on to go otaru?i think the trip we mainly wish to be a gourmet route n do some sightseeing and asp dropping by wholesale market and outlet. I read ur earlier post tat you actually pre book a hotel room and check in to rest at Sapporo after an overnight flight. Is it necessary as I have an infant? Please advice does the car rental company provide a car seat or we have to rent it as well? Thank you.

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      My kids have an uncanny habit of puking on the planes (sometimes on me), so I like to go to the hotel once we land to bath everyone before heading out. It is not absolutely necessary really, especially if you are running on a tight schedule. You don’t need to worry so much about the baby if you are driving, because you can put the baby into the infant seat on the car and the baby will just continue to sleep if he or she is tired. It’s the adults that probably need the rest and shower sometimes.

                      If you scrap Abashiri, I guess you can drive directly from Lake Akan to Asahikawa to buy you some time to visit Otaru. But be prepared for a very long drive between Lake Akan and Asahikawa. You can also consider scraping the stay at Tokachigawa Onsen.

                      For markets, Washo Market at Kushiro is along the route. For gourmet, Obihiro is along your route (between Tomamu and Kushiro), do stop by for the buta don. Rokkatei main store is also at Obihiro. At Lake Akan, there is a fantastic cafe called Pan de Pan. Then at Asahikawa, you can visit Asahikawa Ramen Village. So there’s no lack of good food in Eastern Hokkaido. πŸ™‚

                      As for car seats, you must put in a request for one during booking.

                    • Wendy Wong says:

                      Thank you so much…
                      Please advise if following route is feasible?
                      CTS-TOMAMU-Kushiro-Lake Akan-ASAHIKAWA – OTARU- Sapporo-CTS
                      I’m not sure if I should stay more days in Sapporo or continue to Lake Shikotsu.
                      As we would like to go to mitsui oulet as well. Normally does it takes up whole day for the outlet?
                      If we stay more days in Sapporo do we take public shutter or continue to have car rental?

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      If you have 8 days, your route will probably go like this:

                      Day 1: CTS – Tomamu
                      Day 2: Tomamu – Kushiro
                      Day 3: Kushiro – Lake Akan
                      Day 4: Lake Akan – Asahikawa
                      Day 5: Asahikawa (to visit Asahiyama Zoo)
                      Day 6: Asahikawa – Otaru
                      Day 7: Otaru – Sapporo
                      Day 8: Sapporo

                      Do you all like to shop? I know people who can spend entire days at outlet malls, I also know people who will be done in 2 hours. It’s all a matter of preference. I personally find winter not a great time for outlet shopping, because they will be selling mostly winter wear which we don’t have much use for.

                      If you do not want to visit Lake Shikotsu, you can return the car when you return to Sapporo. I don’t think you have time for that many days in Sapporo anyway, so if the rental difference is not that great (bearing in mind some companies may charge drop off fee, and going to the airport by public transport will cost about 1000 yen per adult), I may consider keeping the car for convenience.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Yes the itinerary sounds good for us. So for Asahikawa we will need to spend two nights there? Any recommendation for the stay? In fact we not really shopper but would like to take a look and see if we can get any stuff from there. Is it possible for us to take a day trip to lake shikotsu from the outlet if we are done within 2hrs?

                      Another things is the Otaru stay.. Any idea if grand park Otaru is really far from Otaru canal? Since we are driving , there should have area for us to park nearby the canal?

                      One last thing is for the shoe,…in notice from ur blog u do wear high cut snow boots, is it necessary? Please advice.

                      Thank you so much.

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      For Asahikawa, you can try Asahikawa Grand Hotel. I remember they have quad rooms that are good for families. You will need to spend 2 nights there to avoid driving in the dark. Lake Akan to Asahikawa is a very long drive, by the time you reach Asahikawa, you won’t have time to visit the zoo. So you will have to visit the zoo the next day. Following that, your next drive is from Asahikawa to Otaru is again a very long drive. So if you attempt that drive after visiting the zoo, you will definitely be driving in the dark.

                      There is nothing much to shop or see in Asahikawa frankly. I recommend you have a relaxing breakfast at Lake Akan, stroll around the lake a bit before driving on to Asahikawa. You can stop for sightseeing in between at Sounkyo region. There are two waterfalls there. If weather is good and you are ahead of time, there is even a ropeway at Sounkyo you can ride. You can also kaypoh and see them setting up the Ice Festival at Sounkyo. It should be more or less set up already, because the festival is scheduled to start on 23 Jan 2016.

                      If you are driving, distance shouldn’t be a problem. Parking is the problem, because parking is expensive near the canal area. But with a baby and so many adults, I would just pay for parking. Alternative is to find a hotel that is right smack at the canal area, like Hotel Vibrant Otaru.

                      Yes, high cut boots are necessary since you are going Tomamu. If the boots are not high enough, snow will fall in from the top of the boots when you trample into deep snow, whether deliberately or accidentally. They are not absolutely necessary in the cities because you will be walking on pavements where snow has been cleared. Anyway high cut boots help keep your legs warm, so I do recommend them.

                    • Wendy Wong says:

                      Appreciate your prompt response BumbleBeeMum, if tats the case will just plan accordingly.
                      I’ve discuss with hubby and he would like to stay in Sapporo a day before traveling to tomamu and stay for a night there. The only diff is just longer traveling journey right.
                      So we plan to do the following
                      Day 1: CTS – Sapporro
                      Day 2: Sapporro Tomamu
                      Day 3: Tomamu – Kushiro
                      Day 4: Kushiro – Lake Akan
                      Day 5: Lake Akan – Asahikawa
                      Day 6: Asahikawa (to visit Asahiyama Zoo)
                      Day 7: Asahikawa – Otaru
                      Day 8: Otaru – Sapporo
                      Day 9: Saporro – CTS airport.

                      Just one last thing is regards on the tollway. I read trough u mention we need to loan a seperate unit for the tollway. Can we just get it from car rental?

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      For the first day, it depends on what time your flight arrives. If your flight arrives late, I recommend you spend the night at Air Terminal Hotel within the airport, NOT Sapporo. Going to Sapporo and then later on to Tomamu is going in the wrong direction. If you stay at Air Terminal Hotel, you save one day of car rental, some tolls and petrol fees and time. The downside is that there is nothing to do at CTS at night.

                      For the toll, it works pretty much like Singapore’s IU + cashcard. Many rental cars come with the ETC DEVICE (which is like our in-vehicle unit). But it is useless without and ETC CARD (which is like our cashcard) to be inserted into the device. So what you need to try to rent is not just the device but also the card. Not many car rental companies rent the card – just the bigger ones like Nippon and Nissan. Alternatively if you rent a car through Tocoo, you can rent an ETC card from Tocoo. It is not mandatory – if you fail to get an ETC card, you can always pay tolls with cash. Just that the toll fee is more expensive for cash payment compared to ETC payment.

                    • Wendy Wong says:

                      My flight arrive at CTS is 0820, which is in the morning. One of the reason is becos the resort at tomamu do not have room available one 18th when I check last night. The only available is on 19th. That’s why we thought we can just take our time to collect the car and go to mitsui outlet then drive to Sapporro and check in hotel. Then only travel to tomamu the following day. Or do you have any other recommendation stay in tomamu area? Or any feasible way can work ard? Or I reverse the route from last day to first?
                      Now I understand the card n unit system, will check with Tocoo when we book for the car.

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      Neh, I think you should go to Tomamu first and leave Sapporo / Otaru / Asahikawa till the end for the festivals. I wouldn’t miss the festivals if I was in Hokkaido at that time.

                      If you want to go outlet shopping, you can go Chitose Rera outlet which is nearer to CTS and spend the night at Lake Shikotsu. That way you are not detouring as much and the road between CTS and Lake Shikotsu is toll free. Again, you can kaypoh and see them setting up the Ice Festival on Lake Shikotsu. I think 18th is a bit too early for the festival, which usually starts end Jan.

                    • Wendy Wong says:

                      Ok I will take your advice if that’s the case, for Lake Shikotsu any recommendations for stay? I will need to start making room reservation to avoid disappointment or mess up the plan. Thank you…

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      I have not stayed at Lake Shikotsu before, but a reader stayed at Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort and told me it was very good.

                    • Wendy Wong says:

                      Alright I will go look out for it. Thank you very much for all the planning ?

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Hi Bumblebeemum,

                      My Hokkaido Trip itinerary is & hotel booking is done. But I still have not select the booking of car. I remember u did mention in one of the blog referring to the car insurance is not needed if we have travel insurance which covered something. May i know the details of it? can specify which Provider you get it from?
                      Another Q will be for the infant car seat, do we need to inform earlier when we make reservation? Any thing to specify?

                      Thank you.

                    • bumblebeemum says:

                      The insurance term is called Collision Damage Waiver. If you have a trusted friend who does travel insurance, you can ask them for insurance plans that covers collision damage waiver for rental cars.

                      Basically when you rent a car, if you do not purchase additional insurance, the car rental company will not pay for the first few hundred dollars of damages in the event of accident. E.g. If the waiver is $500 and you get into an accident *touch wood*, if the damage cost $100, you need to pay that. But if the damage is $1000, you need to pay the first $500 and the car rental company pays the rest.

                      What insurance does is to cover that first $500. So if your travel insurance covers CDW, in the event of accident, the insurance company will pay for that $100 or $500 in the above examples.

                      Yes, you always need to inform the car rental company in advance if you need an infant or child seat. I usually reserve them together with the rental car. Most companies charge a fee for them which will be added to the rental total.

                    • Wendy Wong says:

                      Thank you so much for all the information.

  • Tang says:

    Dear Bumblebeemum,

    Im planning to go hokkaido in mid jan 2016 for two weeks. Yes is abit rush & last minute. Hence, need your advice on the itinerary.

    Dont think will drive and maybe like what you say, would like to try try skiing for a day or two. Would niseko be a good place to go? If yes, beside niseko, where else should I attempt to visit? Would love to see any festival (if any). I would also like to visit otaru again. Was there in aug this year & like the food there…

    Hear from you soon…

    Thanks
    Tang

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Sure, you can visit Niseko. It should be pretty happening in mid-Jan, though I’m not sure if you can still get accommodation there at such last minute. Accommodation at Niseko during ski season tends to get booked out quite early.

      Mid Jan is a little early for festivals. Most festivals start at the tail end of Jan. E.g. Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival starts on 29 Jan. The only one that would have started would be Tomamu Ice Village.

      You can try your luck on the ice-breaker cruise at Monbetsu. It is supposed to start running from 10 Jan 2016:
      http://www.garinko.com/winter/#winter

      Places I can recommend you visit in mid-Jan would be Asahiyama Zoo (for the penguin parade), Monbetsu (for ice-breaker cruise), Lake Akan + Akan National Park (for the cranes) and Tomamu (for the ice village). This essentially goes in a loop around Eastern Hokkaido.
      > Click here for Google Map location

      You don’t really need a car for these places, except Akan National Park. I do recommend getting a car to explore Akan National Park. But if you really don’t want to drive, you can engage a private driver for a day to go to see the cranes, Lake Mashu, Iozan and Lake Kussharo.

      • Tang says:

        Hi Bumblebeemum,

        Thank you for your reply…

        The dates we are going, unfortunately the hotels are all fully booked. Hence got to give the snow festival a miss.

        Wanted to get your opinion if the below itinerary was feasible and bear in mind that we will not be driving:

        Day 1 – chitose to asahikawa
        Day 2 – asahikawa zoo
        Day 3 – asahikawa to lake akan
        Day 4 – lake akan, lake mashu, lozan
        Day 5 – kushiro, obihiro to see cranes or cranes is at lake akan?
        Day 6 – obihiro to tomanu
        Day 7 – niseko
        Day 8 – niseko
        Day 9 – otaru
        Day 10 – sapporo
        Day 11 – sapporo to sg

        Need your advice if the route was smooth (means we do not go back & forth from place to place) and also is it easy to get from place to place by train or other form of transport?

        Hope to hear from you soon…

        Thank you for your advice…
        Tang

        • bumblebeemum says:

          I would go in this order for a smoother travel:

          CTS – Tomamu – Lake Akan – Asahikawa – Sapporo – Otaru – Niseko – CTS

          The cranes are at a town called Tsurui which is in between Kushiro and Lake Akan. So you can go there either from Kushiro or Lake Akan, with Kushiro being nearer. I recommend that after Tomamu, you spend a day at Kushiro to visit Fisherman Wharf MOO, Washo Market and the cranes. After that, catch the bus from Kushiro to Lake Akan and explore Lake Mashu, Iozan and Lake Kussharo from there.

          As for Obihiro, it’s not particularly interesting. The only reason I went there was to eat buta don. So if you want to eat the buta don, during the train ride from Tomamu to Kushiro, you can just hop off the train at Obihiro, eat buta don for lunch and hop back on the train to Kushiro.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you for the reply…

            Most likely got to forgo Tomamu as the resorts are fully booked.

            Is this route ok? Wanted to use Sapporo/Otaru as last stop as we foresee will buy stuff at this two stop.

            CTS – Lake Akan – Asahikawa – Niseko – Sapporo – Otaru – Sapporo – CTS

            Questions:

            1) Can all these places be reached by JR? Probably need some help on how to read the JR timing

            2) any thing we can do in Asahikawa beside visting the zoo?

            Hope to hear from you soon…

            Thanks
            Tang

            • bumblebeemum says:

              Hmm… Your route looks a bit inefficient. If you really want to go these places, I would recommend this order:

              CTS – Lake Akan – Asahikawa – Sapporo – Otaru – Niseko – CTS

              1) Lake Akan is not reachable by JR. Tsuruga resort operates shuttle bus from CTS to their resort at Lake Akan:
              http://www.tsuruga.com/en/access/shuttlebus.html
              Then to go from Lake Akan to Asahikawa, you can take the public bus:
              http://www.tsuruga.com/en/access/publicbus.html

              Asahikawa to Sapporo to Otaru is easily done by JR.

              Niseko is not directly accessible by JR. If you are staying at Grand Hirafu area, the nearest station is Hirafu which is about 5km from the ski resort area. From Otaru, there is a direct train to Hirafu and you probably need to cab to your accommodation from there. Alternatively, you can also take the train until Kutchan station where you can catch the Niseko United Shuttle.

              To check any train timing, just use hyperdia and key in your start / end train station names:
              http://www.hyperdia.com/

              2) Asahikawa is just famous for the zoo and the ramen village:
              http://ramenmura.com/

  • Derrick says:

    Hi,
    I am planning a Winter Holiday to Hokkaido and whether possible to slot Tokyo in as well for Me, My Wife, My Son(4 Years Old), My Wife’s Uncle, My Wife’s Aunt, My Wife’s Cousin(19 Years Old) for 10 Days 8 Nights in late January 2017.
    We wish to go to areas like Hakodate, Lake Toya, Noboribetsu, Niseko, Otaru, Sapporo and Abashiri Icebreaker Cruise.
    I am thinking how to cover them in 6 Nights so I can leave 2 Nights in Tokyo to go to DisneySea and some recommended places.
    Should I fly to Hakodate Airport to carry out our holiday in Hokkaido then end up in Memanbetsu Airport to fly to Tokyo Haneda Airport then from there back to Singapore?
    Can advise what we must do in each area and the correct Itinerary?
    I am sorry to trouble you as your Blog is very detailed.
    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Thanks & Regards,
    Derrick

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hokkaido is pretty big and it seems a bit tough to cover all the places you listed in 7 days (6 nights). What you can do is, like you said, fly into one city and out of another to save time. For Niseko, I am not sure how much you all want to ski. If you want to, say, spend 2 days skiing, you will be hard-pressed for time for other stuff.

      For e.g. if you spend 2 full days at Niseko, your itinerary would probably be something like this:

      Day 1: Fly into Hakodate
      Day 2: Hakodate – Lake Toya
      Day 3: Lake Toya – Niseko
      Day 4: Niseko
      Day 5: Niseko
      Day 6: Niseko – Sapporo
      Day 7: Sapporo – CTS

      If you are not that keen to ski, you can skip Niseko entirely and your itinerary may look something like this:

      Day 1: Fly into Hakodate
      Day 2: Hakodate – Lake Toya / Noboribetsu
      Day 3: Lake Toya / Noboribetsu – Sapporo
      Day 4: Sapporo
      Day 5: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      Day 6: Sapporo (day trip to Abashiri Icebreaker cruise)
      Day 7: Sapporo – CTS

  • Yee says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    I have booked air tickets for two for period from 16 Jan 2017 to 26 Jan 2017 to Hokkaido.

    I have a rough plan for this trip. Seeking your opinion and some advice on better and smother journey. This is our first time in Hokkaido and we prefer to use public transport than driving in the snow.

    Would it be worthy if we include ice creamer cruise in our trip? If yes, where and when would you suggest ya?

    Day 1 (16/1)
    KL – CTS airport (Arrival before 9am) – Noboribetsu

    Day 2 (17/1)
    Noboribetsu – Tomamu

    Day 3 (18/1)
    Tomamu – Kushiro

    Day 4 (19/1)
    Kushiro – Lake Akan

    Day 5 (20/1)
    Lake Akan – Asahikawa

    Day 6 (21/1)
    Asahikawa – Sapporo

    Day 7 (22/1)
    Sapporo – Otaru

    Day 8 (23/1)
    Otaru – Niseko

    Day 9 (24/1)
    Niseko – CTS Airport

    Day 10 (25/1)
    Ice creamer cruise

    Day 11 (26/1)
    CTS Airport – KL

    Thank you very much.

    Wish hearing from you soon =)

    • bumblebeemum says:

      The ice breaker cruise is at Abashiri or Monbetsu. If you want to catch the ice-breaker cruise, you should go to Abashiri from Lake Akan. By public transport, there is a bus from Lake Akan to Kitami and from Kitami, catch a train to Abashiri.

      The one night in Niseko seems pretty rushed. If you are already going to Tomamu, you can skip Niseko imo.

      This is what I suggest from Day 5 onwards:

      Day 5 (20/1)
      Lake Akan – Abashiri

      Day 6 (21/1)
      Abashiri (ice-breaker cruise) – Asahikawa

      Day 7 (22/1)
      Abashiri – Asahikawa

      Day 8 (23/1)
      Asahikawa – Sapporo

      Day 9 (24/1)
      Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)

      Day 10 (25/1)
      Sapporo

      Day 11 (26/1)
      Sapporo – CTS

  • Gaynee says:

    Hi BumbleBeeMum,
    I’m planning to go Hokkaido with my family (2 adults & 1 kid – 8 yrs old) from 26 Jan to 1 Feb 2017. Places that we wish to visit are Sapporo, Otaru, Tomamu, Asahikawa Penguin Zoo and may be Noboribetsu. As we only have 5 nights in Hokkaido and don’t want to ski, hope you could advise and guide me where should we visit? Looking forward to hear from you.Thank you.

  • Alvin Lim says:

    Hi Bumble bee mum,

    I and my Wife is going to Hokkaido this 30th dec to 14th Jan. Though this is our second time going there. We were hoping to go eastern part of Hokkaido. We would like to try ski. And I’m a big fan of ramen. If you could help us with some itinerary. For this 2 weeks. Appreciated thanks

  • Ashley says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    Im so glad to have chanced upon your blog!! Its my first time in Hokkaido and I really need some advise if the below itinerary will work? We are a group of 4 adults in our late 20s travelling from 5th to 14th January 2018.

    Day 1: Land around 2pm at CTS. Heading to Lake Shikotsu and then to noribetsu (stay for the night)
    Day 2: Noribetsu – Lake Toya – Hakodate (stay for the night)
    Day 3: Hakodate
    Day 4: Hakodate – Niseko
    Day 5: Niseko
    Day 6: Niseko
    Day 7: Niseko – Sapporo
    Day 8: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
    Day 9: Sapporo (day trip to Furano for the cheese factory? worth it to go?)
    Day 10: Sapporo – CTS (3pm flight)

    We are contemplating if we should drive for some of the places as not all are very accessible by train. But then again, we have not driven on snowy roads, so am afraid it will be dangerous and time consuming. We also wanted to travel to the eastern side, is it possible or its too rush? If possible, any places to recommend. Initially wanted to go Shiretoko, but i saw your comment that winter is not accessible.

    • Queen Bee says:

      Day 1: If you are landing at 2pm, it would probably be getting dark by the time you reach Lake Shikotsu. The sky gets dark by 4+pm in winter. I would suggest you skip Noboribetsu and drive straight to Noboribetsu once you arrive to avoid driving in the dark.

      Day 9: I wouldn’t do a day trip to Furano from Sapporo in winter. You’ll be spending most of the time in winter since you can’t drive fast and the sky gets dark early.

      If you are headed to Hakodate, I would not recommend you try to squeeze in Eastern Hokkaido. You should choose between one: Eastern Hokkaido or Southern Hokkaido. Personally i would opt for Eastern Hokkaido over Souther Hokkaido for a January visit, as you can see the cranes at Tsurui, ice village at Tomamu and penguin parade at Asahikawa. Whereas Hakodate is not really seasonal – you see pretty much the same thing no matter what time of the year you visit.

      • Ashley says:

        Thanks for the reply!

        Ok noted will skip Shikotsu (though i really wanted to try the cheese mochi snack you raved about! maybe next time haha)

        I think i will just visit the cheese shop in Sapporo instead of travelling out to Furano

        I think we are leaning not to drive at all, due to the snow and the sky getting dark pretty early. If we are not driving, will you recommend to go to the parts at eastern hokkaido you mentioned about? Is it accessible via train and/or bus? Thanks!!

        • Queen Bee says:

          If you do not wish to drive, I suggest you keep to the current itinerary. Hakodate and Niseko can be quite easily accessed by public transport. Eastern Hokkaido will require driving. Places like Tsurui (where the cranes are) are really hard to get to without a car.

          • Ashley says:

            I see, so if we like to explore eastern area (which is nicer in winter right?), we definitely need to learn how to drive in the snow correct?

            One of our friend wanted to go Hakodate for the fresh seafood.. I guess we will do a day trip to see the Tomamu Ice Village from Sapporo. Do you think is doable?

  • Summermango says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    I love your blog on Hokkaido trips, its so much information. This is my first time visit Hokkaido and i would like to try on self-drive (never try to drive in winter before). Here’s my itinerary for my 10 days trip, need your help to advise. My date is 12 to 21 Jan 2018, i will be travelling with my hubby.

    Day 1: Land around 2pm at CTS. Stay at the airport hotel for a night
    Day 2: Collect car in the airport. Lake Toya -> Noribetsu
    Day 3: Noribetsu -> Tomanu
    Day 4: Tomanu -> Furano
    Day 5: Furano -> Biei
    Day 6: Biei -> Asahikawa
    Day 7: Asahikawa -> Sapporo (Return Car)
    Day 8: Take public transport. Sapporo -> Otaru
    Day 9: Sapporo
    Day 10: Sapporo -> CTS (Leaving from Sapporo at 11am)

    Thanks!

  • Summermango says:

    HI Bumblebeemum,

    It’s me again. I have change my route as below, do you think this is better? The reason i changed is because resort stay at Tomamu is fully booked.
    Option 2:
    Day 1: Land around 2pm at CTS. CTS -> Sapporo
    Day 2: Sapporo -> Otaru
    Day 3: Sapporo
    Day 4: (Pick-up rental car @ Sapporo -> Asahikawa
    Day 5: Asahikawa -> Mombetsu
    Day 6: Mombetsu -> Lake Akan
    Day 7: Lake Akan -> Kushiro
    Day 8 : Kushiro -> Obihiro -> Tomamu
    Day 9: Tomamu -> CTS (return rental car)
    Day 10: CTS (Flight at 3pm)
    Thanks!

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