BumblebeeMum
Tokyo + Kyoto + Hokkaido Itinerary over Christmas / New Year
Tokyo + Kyoto + Hokkaido Itinerary over Christmas / New Year

Hi bumblebeemum,

Thank you so much for your amazing blog. I don’t think I would know where to even start without this. I’m trying to finalize an itinerary for a Japan trip this December/January with my parents (who have no Japan experience at all, and I’ve never been to Hokkaido!). So far, we have flights to Tokyo and my plan is to use the 14 day national rail pass, but also rent a car for 3 days in eastern Hokkaido.

Does the itinerary below look feasible to you?

Format is place for overnight accommodation +Minimum time on train/car from previous destination in hours, excluding travel from stations to hotels, between sights etc.

23/12/16 Tokyo (Arrive Haneda airport 3.35PM and pick up Jr pass)
24/12/16 Kyoto 2.25
25/12/16 Kyoto (Visit Nara)
26/12/16 Tokyo 2.25
27/12/16 Hakodate 4
28/12/16 Noboribetsu 2.75
29/12/16 Tomamu 2.25
30/12/16 Tomamu –
31/12/16 Akan-ko 4 (travel time includes 2.5 hour train to Kushiro, pick up car, at Kushiro St., visit marshlands area with cranes and head on by car for ~1-1.5 hours to lake Akan)
1/1/17 Sounkyo 3 (also drive around Lakes Mashu and Kussharo, through Akan and Daisetsuzan National Parks to Sounkyo)
2/1/17 Sapporo 2.5 (Travel time includes 1 hour drive from Sounkyo to Asahiyama zoo [which is not open on 1st Jan, but hopefully is on 2nd Jan], then return car at Asahikawa St. and take 1.5 hour train to Sapporo)
3/1/17 Hakodate 5.5 (day trip to Otaru – 1.5 hour return trip, the head to Hakodate – 4hour from sapporo)
4/1/17 Tokyo 4
5/1/17 Depart Narrita airport – 11.05AM

Thanks in advance for any suggestions! I’m a bit fearful about the next step of finding accommodation, especially for the onsen towns over such a peak period – some already seem to be full/outrageously priced for those dates!

By George on July 27, 2016

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2 Comments

  • George says:

    Hi bumblebeemum,

    Thank you so much for your amazing blog. I don’t think I would know where to even start without this. I’m trying to finalize an itinerary for a Japan trip this December/January with my parents (who have no Japan experience at all, and I’ve never been to Hokkaido!). So far, we have flights to Tokyo and my plan is to use the 14 day national rail pass, but also rent a car for 3 days in eastern Hokkaido.

    Does the itinerary below look feasible to you?

    Format is place for overnight accommodation +Minimum time on train/car from previous destination in hours, excluding travel from stations to hotels, between sights etc.

    23/12/16 Tokyo (Arrive Haneda airport 3.35PM and pick up Jr pass)
    24/12/16 Kyoto 2.25
    25/12/16 Kyoto (Visit Nara)
    26/12/16 Tokyo 2.25
    27/12/16 Hakodate 4
    28/12/16 Noboribetsu 2.75
    29/12/16 Tomamu 2.25
    30/12/16 Tomamu –
    31/12/16 Akan-ko 4 (travel time includes 2.5 hour train to Kushiro, pick up car, at Kushiro St., visit marshlands area with cranes and head on by car for ~1-1.5 hours to lake Akan)
    1/1/17 Sounkyo 3 (also drive around Lakes Mashu and Kussharo, through Akan and Daisetsuzan National Parks to Sounkyo)
    2/1/17 Sapporo 2.5 (Travel time includes 1 hour drive from Sounkyo to Asahiyama zoo [which is not open on 1st Jan, but hopefully is on 2nd Jan], then return car at Asahikawa St. and take 1.5 hour train to Sapporo)
    3/1/17 Hakodate 5.5 (day trip to Otaru – 1.5 hour return trip, the head to Hakodate – 4hour from sapporo)
    4/1/17 Tokyo 4
    5/1/17 Depart Narrita airport – 11.05AM

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions! I’m a bit fearful about the next step of finding accommodation, especially for the onsen towns over such a peak period – some already seem to be full/outrageously priced for those dates!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Your dates are super peak season in Japan unfortunately so yeah, accommodation is terrible expensive during that time.

      Your itinerary looks EXTREMELY rushed to me. Daylight hours are very short in winter, it seems to be you will be spending a lot of precious daylight hours on the train / road. I actually would skip the Kyoto part altogether and just go to Hokkaido. For that, you can consider getting this pass instead, which is much cheaper than a 14-days Japan Rail Pass:
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361_southhokkaido.html

      The above pass only gets you as far as Sapporo and not into Eastern Hokkkaido. So you may want to consider driving for the Eastern Hokkaido segment of the trip. With 14 days, this is what you can do:

      23/12/16 Tokyo (arrive 3.35pm)
      24/12/16 Tokyo – Hakodate
      25/12/16 Hakodate – Sapporo
      26/12/16 (rent car) Sapporo – Asahikawa (If you want to visit the zoo on this day, you need to set off very early. Which means you will need to pick up the car the previous night and park it at your hotel.)
      27/12/16 Asahikawa – Sounkyo
      28/12/16 Sounkyo – Lake Akan
      29/12/16 Lake Akan – Kushiro
      30/12/16 Kushiro – Obihiro – Tomamu
      31/12/16 Tomamu
      1/1/17 Tomamu – Sapporo (return car)
      2/1/17 Sapporo – Noboribetsu
      3/1/17 Noboribestu – Hakodate
      4/1/17 Hakodate – Tokyo
      5/1/17 Depart Narrita airport – 11.05AM

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