Bumble Bee Mum’s (Not So) Official Hokkaido Accommodation Guide

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.

New Chitose Airport Hotel Recommendation

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.

Visit Air Terminal Hotel’s Website for more information.

Sapporo Hotel Recommendation

Mercure Hotel Sapporo

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - Mercure Hotel Sapporo

In Sapporo, most of you who have read my travel blog would know my default hotel choice is Mercure Hotel Sapporo. You can read our review of Mercure Hotel Sapporo on the blog.

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.

Visit Mercure Sapporo’s Website for more information.

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?

Visit JR Inn Sapporo’s Website for more information.

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.

> Visit JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo’s Website

Otaru Hotel Recommendation

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.

Visit Hotel Nord Otaru website for more details.

Niseko Hotel Recommendation

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.

Visit Hotel Alpen Niseko’s Website for more information.

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.

Visit Hilton Niseko Village’s Website for more information.

Niseko Northern Resort Annupuri

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - 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.

Visit Niseko Northern Resort Annupuri’s Website for more information.

Lake Toya Hotel Recommendation

Toya Sunpalace

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.

Visit Toya Sunpalace’s Website for more information.

Lake View Nonokaze

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - 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.

Visit Lake View Nonokaze’s Website for more information.

Noboribetsu Hotel Recommendation

Hotel Mahoroba

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).

Visit Hotel Mahoroba’s Website for more information.

Hakodate Hotel Recommendation

Hakodate Kokusai Hotel

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - 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.

Visit Hakodate Kokusai Hotel’s Website for more information.

La Vista Hakodate Bay

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - 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.

Visit La Vista Hakodate Bay’s Website for more information.

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.

Visit Route Inn Grantia Hakodate Ekimae’s Website for more information.

Asahikawa Hotel Recommendation

JR Inn Asahikawa

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - 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.

> Visit JR Inn Asahikawa’s Website

Furano Hotel Recommendation

New Furano Prince Hotel

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - 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.

Visit New Furano Prince Hotel’s Website for more information.

Furano Natulux Hotel

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - Furano Natulux HotelImage 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.

Visit Furano Natulux Hotel’s Website for more information.

Furano La Terre

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - 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.

Visit Furano La Terre’s Website for more information.

Tomamu Hotel Recommendation

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.

Visit Hoshino Resorts Tomamu’s Website for more information.

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.

> Click here to visit Condominium in Resorts Tomamu on AirBnb

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! 😀


Obihiro Hotel Recommendation

Richmond Hotel Obihiro

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - 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.

Visit Richmond Hotel Obihiro’s Website for more information.

Lake Akan Hotel Recommendation

Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - 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.

Visit Akan Yuku no Sato Tsuruga’s Website for more information.


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.

Visit Hanayuuka’s Website for more information.

Shiretoko Hotel Recommendation

Shiretoko Prince Hotel Kazanamiki

Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendation - 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. 😀

> Visit Shiretoko Prince Hotel Kazanamiki’s Website

Over to You

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Hokkaido Family Accommodation Recommendations - Bumble Bee Mum

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  • Esther says:

    wow .. my dear, you are definately my life saver. Am cracking head checking on the accommodation and here you go with the list … thank you so much for your effort.

  • WAH! Envy! I saw your post on airfare and straight away messaged my husband but he says next year we should go NZ since the yen is not so favourable (and we are going to Osaka in Nov anyway). Sigh, can’t wait till we’re back in Hokkaido! I’ll definitely refer to your list for help when we do =)

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Your husband thinks just like mine – travel based on exchange rate! Haha.. NZ is super shiok lah. NZ has better scenery than Hokkaido imo! Though Hokkaido has better food.. haha… Look forward to reading about your NZ adventures.

  • claire says:

    Hello, bbm, I love your blog,could I ask for some advice regarding booking online, specifically booking. com? I normally book through agoda but this hotel that I’m looking at, Toyoko Inn in Sapporo, the one next to the crabs, for some reason doesn’t appear on agoda’s site, but does appear on booking. com. When I book through agoda, I pay everything upfront before I leave for Japan, so it’s really easy. I went to the booking. com site and I understand it’s a reservation, as in we pay when we check out of the hotel in Hokkaido? I’ve never booked on booking.com before, so am a bit paranoid something will go wrong with my reservations later. I read an earlier blog of yours where you mentioned that you made reservations before through booking. com. Could you please advise me? Thank you very much.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      For Booking.com, it depends on the hotel’s booking policy. Some hotels require you to pay in advance – which booking.com will charge to your credit card and pay to the hotel. Some hotels require you to pay direct to them – so booking.com helps you to secure your booking with the hotel, but you will have to pay to the hotel when you check in (or check out – again depends on hotel), either by cash or credit card. It’s pretty common for booking.com to not ask for payment and tell you that you need to pay to the hotel when you are there. They will usually tell you the amount you need to pay in local currency on your booking confirmation. Just print out the booking confirmation and show it to the hotel when you’re there. I don’t think there will be a problem.

      Alternatively, if it is for Toyoko Inn, you can just book directly from Toyoko Inn website. They won’t ask for payment during booking, you will pay them when you are there.

      • claire says:

        Hi,BBM, thanks so much for replying. I’m replying to your reply late…I am shocked I posted In October and it’s January 2017 now….a brand new year, time flies! I have been busy preparing for my daughter’s wedding, she got married on Xmas Eve, and was a lovely bride…I cried, couldn’t stop the tears. Anyway here I am, back to the real world and Hokkaido. Things have moved pretty fast since then, and Toyoko’s non-smoking twin rooms are all sold out, leaving the non-smoking singles instead. We’re travelling in a group of five, so I am now casting my sights on APA Hotel, which is next to Mercure, I believe. It has twin non-smoking rooms left, so I guess we have to book fast, probably after CNY. Thanks so much again for replying, I wish you and your family all the best, and I look forward to more Hokkaido posts from you. Happy New Year in advance from me.

  • Ivy says:

    Hi bumblebeemum! Thank you very much for sharing so much information! I have some questions and hoping you can advise me – I’m now scrambling to plan a last minute vacation to Hokkaido during the last 2 weeks of December. I searched the net and many people including you recommended Hoshino resorts Tomamu. It sounds wonderful and seems perfect for our family of 4 with 2 young kids. However, I’ve read recent comments on tripadvisor that the resort had been bought over by a Chinese company (not sure when though) and the resort seems overcrowded by Chinese tour groups. Waiting time at restaurants can be up to an hour long; Chinese tourists are loud and rude; hotel staff (Chinese) are not yet familiar with the massive resort etc. Hence, I’m a bit hesitant about travelling to Tomamu now. can I know your thoughts please? Was it also like this when you visited in 2014? I am looking for a family/kid friendly resort just like hoshino resorts tomamu, but am worried that the above issues would ruin our holiday. Do you have any other recomendations in Hokkaido that’s similar to hoshino? The kids really want to visit an ice village…

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hmmm… Not sure when this takeover happened. Tomamu has always had large tour groups staying with them – I reckoned it’s how they fill their rooms.

      I usually beat the tour groups when I stay there by arriving early. The tour groups tend to come in the evening close to dinner time, and yes the lobby would get very noisy when they arrive. So I would arrive at about 3 or 4pm and head to the onsen immediately after checking in. At like 4pm, I had the whole onsen to myself when I was there. I remembered when I returned to the lobby after my onsen visit, that was when the tour groups were arriving and the lobby was very noisy and crowded, but I simply retreated to my room.

      As for the Ice Village, iirc it opened at 5pm. We went in the moment they opened – beating the tour groups again. We went for so many rounds of ice slide and tubing before the tour groups even started appearing at the Ice Village – by the time they came, we were done.

      For dinner, we don’t eat at the buffet restaurant and eat at the smaller restaurants located at this cluster of wooden lodges – The people from the tour groups didn’t go there. Not sure where they went come to think of it.

      For breakfast, now that you mention it, I do remember having to wait for breakfast. But the tour groups usually check out of hotels pretty early, so by going a bit later, I think I avoided them as well.

      • Ivy says:

        Wow! Thank you for the wonderful advice, I really appreciate it! So happy to have chanced upon your blog and being able to get in touch with you! Would you also be so kind to comment on my itinerary? We are just there for 7 nights – trying to minimise travelling with 2 young kids (3,5) in tow. Also, it looks like I need to cut down one place – am wondering if I should go to Noboribetsu or Asahiyama zoo? Further, should I even try to fit in Lake Toya, is it worth it?
        Thanks so much for your expert advice!

        Dec 17: arrive Chitose airport@4pm; travel to Sapporo
        Dec 18-19: Sapporo
        Dec 20: Otaru (day trip)
        Dec 21: Noboribetsu OR Asahiyama zoo
        Dec 22-24: Tomamu (2 nights)
        Dec 24: 7pm flight back to HK

        • bumblebeemum says:

          With kids, I would go to Asahiyama Zoo rather than Noboribetsu. If you want to go to Lake Toya without changing hotels, it is possible to do it as a day trip on one of your full days in Sapporo – but you need to drive. If you are not comfortable with the idea of driving in snow, then maybe skip Lake Toya for now.

          • Ivy says:

            Thanks again, bumblebeemum, for the great advice! Appreciate you taking time to reply me!

          • Ivy says:

            Hi bumblebeemum! So sorry to bother you again, I’m now scratching my head over accommodation in Sapporo. Which do you think is the best choice in terms of location – Sapporo Grand, Keio Plaza, or Cross Hotel? Further, is it better to be nearer to the Sapporo station or to the city centre/places of interest? Again, we are a family of 4 with 2 young children travelling in December. Thanks!!

            • bumblebeemum says:

              If you are using the train to get to say Otaru and Asahikawa, then definitely staying near Sapporo station would work better for you. Cross Hotel’s locations looks good – being near Sapporo station but also near Odori (the interchange for Sapporo’s subway lines). You can also walk to Odori Park from Cross Hotel for the winter illumination. I would go for Cross Hotel in terms of location.

  • edward says:

    hi, if I am travelling to Sapporo during the month of March, which hotel should I choose, Mercure or JR Inn… Thank you very much. We are group of 4 travelling adults with no kids.

  • Cindy says:

    Hi, I’ll be staying at both Tomamu Tower and Hotel Mahoroba this Dec. Do u know if both hotels have coin operated laundry?

  • Nancy says:

    Hi Bumblebee Mum,
    Can I ask your expertise regarding hokkaido hotels? I am going to sapporo in April, (holy week days). What hotel can you recommend that is accessible and walking distance to most restaurants? we are 7 and traveling with 2 elderly. Thanks

  • Sue says:

    Hi Bumblebee Mum,

    my family of 2 adults and 2 children (5yo & 7yo) are going to Hokkaido this June.

    can you advice me on how to book the hotels. I noticed that I am offered the same room but at a different price when I keyed in 2A2C and 2A1C.

    Do the hotels allow us to squeeze in a smaller room?

    We are planning to go stay at Lake Toya, Sapporo, Furano & Air Terminal hotel.

    Appreciate your advice. Thanx

    • bumblebeemum says:

      This is what I usually do for sites like Agoda and Booking.com. I will search for 2 adults. Then I will scroll down to their hotel information section to read what they say about child policy. If it says children below my kids’ age can stay for free using existing bedding, I will just book the room for 2 adults. So far I haven’t had any issue with this.

      However for ryokans at onsen towns such as Lake Toya, I suggest you use Rakuten instead, and key in the correct number and ages of children. You can select on Rakuten whether or not your child requires meal and bedding. Rakuten will compute accordingingly. Most ryokans will charge for children to stay, even if they do not require bedding or meals. So you should include them during your booking.

  • rebecca says:

    Hi bumblebee mum,

    When It says Japanese room, do they come with mattress? From the picture, they only have chairs.
    Also are they generally so expensive? It’s easily 500 sgd per night

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yes, Japanese rooms usually come with mattresses on the floor (tatami style). The price of range of hotels can vary rather widely. For SGD500 per night, you’re probably looking at a rather high end ryokan like Nonokaze or Tsuruga? Either that or you’re looking at super peak season. During normal seasons, there should be hotels cheaper than SGD500 per night, but older and not as luxurious.

  • CG says:

    Hi bumblebee mum,

    I am planning a self-drive trip with two kids (5 yrs and 6 yrs) on mid of July. Could you give me some advise on the accommodation at Lake Toya (2 nights) and Tomamu (1 night)?

    I have booked both Toya Sun Palace (SGD270/night) and TOYA Nonokaze resort (SGD430/night). Nonokaze resort seems to have better view/location which is right in front of the lakeside path and Toya Sun Palace has big pools for kids but we may not have time to enjoy it. Which do you recommend more?

    I plan to go Unkai Terrace but Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU is extremely expensive (SGD875/night)… Do you any other recommendation?

    Besides, do we need to include kids (bed share) in Hokkaido hotel reservation?

    Thank you in advance for your advice!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I’m a hotel hopper so if you ask me, I would tell you to stay one night at each resort. So that you can try different onsen and different food. If you stay in the same resort, you’ll be eating the same breakfast and dinner on both days and using the same onsen – which is a bit boring to me. But that’s just me. I know most people don’t like to change hotels every night. :p

      Between Toya Sunpalace and Nonokaze, if it’s within my budget, I would stay at Nonokaze. But if I’m trying to save money, I would stay at Sunpalace.

      The alternative to Hoshino Resorts Tomamu is the airbnb there:

      PS: If you don’t already have an Airbnb account, you can sign up with my referral link below where you will get SGD50 credit and I will also get referral credits. TIA.. Haha! (Shameless self-promotion)

      For city hotels, if you’re using booking sites like Agoda / Booking.com etc, scroll down to the hotel policies and see what they say under child policies. If they say children of your kids’ ages can stay for free if using existing bedding, just go ahead and book a room for 2 adults. Shouldn’t be a problem. But for those onsen ryokans, you have to book for your kids. I recommend using Rakuten for onsen ryokan, as you can indicate your children’s ages and whether they need bedding and Rakuten will compute the price accordingly.

  • cg says:

    Hi bumblebee mum,

    I am planning a self-drive trip with two kids (5 yrs and 6 yrs) on mid of July. Could you give me some advise on the accommodation at Lake Toya (2 nights) and Tomamu (1 night)?

    I have booked both Toya Sun Palace (SGD270/night) and TOYA Nonokaze resort (SGD430/night). Nonokaze resort seems to have better view/location which is right in front of the lakeside path and Toya Sun Palace has big pools for kids but we may not have time to enjoy it. Which do you recommend more?

    I plan to go Unkai Terrace but Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU is extremely expensive (SGD875/night). Do you any other recommendation?

    Thank you in advance for your advice!

  • AC says:

    Hi, when I read the hotel policy for kids, they only specify the kids stay-for-free age. So if my kid is above the stay-for-free age, does it mean that I have to count him as an adult and pay the full price? Thanks.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If your kids are above the stay-for-free age, then you will have to include them in the booking. Most hotel booking sites have the option for you to add in your kids in the booking. If you are booking onsen ryokans, there is usually a different price for adults and kids, and I suggest you use Rakuten to book ryokans as you can specify your kids’ ages and whether or not they need meals / bedding.

  • Susanna says:

    You have the most useful blog for my travel planning! Thank you! Hoping you could help me trouble shoot my trip in early June. Late planning, I know!
    June 9: Shinkansen to Hakodate. Rental car drive to Sapporo
    10: sapporo
    11-12: shikotsu-Toya Nat Pk
    13-14: niseko
    15: Otaru
    16: depart New Chitose flight 8p

    1) I don’t want to always be moving hotels (our son doesn’t do well with too many changes) and was thinking 2 hotels as bases and day trips. Where do you recommend I stay? Sapporo. Then Niseko with day trips to nat park? Rusutsu?
    2) we plan on hiking, biking, spending lots of time outdoors at the nat park and in Niseko, so I would rather not have a 2h drive to hotel
    3) would you recommend driving or taking the train to New Chitose from wherever we end our trip? The JR East-southern Hokkaido rail pass will cover Shinkansen from Tokyo and train to airport. As my son loves the train, I’m fine taking train from niseko to Otaru for the day unless it’s a really long ride.
    Thank you!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Ermm… It seems like a pretty bad idea to shinkansen to Hakodate and follow with a drive to Sapporo right after that. The only reason I would shinkansen to Hakodate is if I plan to visit Hakodate – and the warrants at least one night stay there. If you don’t plan to visit Hakodate, I would recommend you take a domestic flight up to CTS.

      If you want to minimise change of hotel and plan to do a lot of activities in Niseko, you can base yourself in Niseko. It is possible to do day trips from Niseko to Rusutsu and Lake Toya.

      If you really want to use the shinkansen and plan on using the JR East-southern Hokkaido rail pass, ideally you should use it for return shinkansen rides between Tokyo and Hakodate. That’s where the real savings from the pass will come from.

      For a trip by rail with minimum change of hotels, this is what I would recommend:

      June 9: Shinkansen to Hakodate. Stay Hakodate.
      June 10: Train from Hakodate to Niseko.
      June 11: Niseko
      June 12: Niseko
      June 13: Niseko (day trip to Lake Toya by rental car)
      June 14: Niseko (day trip to Rusutsu by rental car)
      June 15: Niseko (day trip to Otaru by train)
      June 16: Train from Niseko – Hakodate, shinkansen back to Tokyo

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hey ,I am planing to visit next month .Thanks for sharing such nice information and clicks here .

    keep sharing the good content !!!

  • Rachel says:


    May I know for your Sapporo Hotels did u have to book 2x twin Room?

    I am wondering if I could book a triple room for 2A2C (child age above 10) instead of Quad as there are limited Hotels w Quad Rooms available now.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      My children were quite small so we just squeezed into one double room for hotels that allowed it. For example at Mercure, children age 16 and below could stay for free if using existing bedding. So for our family, we have been only booking one Queen room. But as they grow older, it’s becoming increasingly difficult. Not that the hotels don’t allow, but the children do need the extra beds for everyone to sleep comfortably. What I’m trying to say is, whether to book a triple or quad room really depends on the level of comfort you need. If you don’t mind squeezing and the hotel’s child policy allows children to stay for free when using existing bedding, then sure you can book a triple room for your family of four. But if you think you want to sleep a bit more comfortably by having 4 beds, then you’ll have to search for a quad room or book 2 double / twin rooms.

      • rachel says:

        Thanks so much for the reply. Actually my kids can still share bed with me , triple room is good enough for us but most hotels do not allow.

        May I know if you know of any other hotels in Sapporo that allows age 16 below to stay free using existing bed?

  • anna says:

    HI Bumblebeemum, I heard there is no non-smoking rooms at Toya Sun Palace. hmm Wonder if it is true…Do you have any idea……….

    • bumblebeemum says:

      They do have non-smoking rooms, I see them on their Japanese website. But it seems that on their English site, it doesn’t specify smoking or non-smoking room. You can try Booking.com, I see a ‘Standard Room with Tatami Area and Lake View – Non-Smoking’ there.

  • V says:

    Hi dear,
    May i know how do you go about booking the room for toya sun palace? i will be travelling with 2 kids, 3 & 1 years old. are they very strict about the number of occupants coming in? pls advise. thank you in advance!

  • Ivy says:

    Hi dear BBM,

    I’m family of 4 with 2 kids (7,9 years old). We have booked flight ticket to Hokkaido from 26/11-6/12/17. Below is my tentative itinerary looking forward your valuable opinions.
    26/11 – Flight from Singapore
    27/11 – Reach 8am
    Sapporo (Hotel: Sapporo)
    28/11- Asahiyama Zoo (Hotel: Sapporo)
    29/11- Sapporo (Hotel: Sapporo)
    30/11- Otaru (Hotel: Otaru)
    1/12- Kiroro (Hotel: Otaru)
    2/12 – Sapporo (Hotel: Sapporo)
    3/12 – Noboribetsu (Hotel: Noboribetsu)
    4/12 – Lake Toya ( Hotel: Lake Toya)
    5/12 – Airport (hotel: airport terminal hotel)
    6/12 morning flight

    1) I’m not planning to go for ski as it’s out of my budget for rental and courses charge for 4 of us. I am thinking to bring kids day trip to Kiroro for some sledding and snow playing. Or you have better suggestions on other places?

    2) I’m browsing through booking.com and agoda. But wonder why most of the hotel room is not available. Esp the most important Air Terminal Hotel. It is still another 6 months to go but already fully book??? Or it hasn’t opened for booking? Do you know how soon before these website accept booking?

    3) Some of the hotel said kids below 13 can stay for free with existing bed. And is this mean that they also entitled for the breakfast and dinner if I just book room for two adults?

    4) We plan to use only public transport. Do you think my itinerary is ideal? Or I have too many days in Sapporo city?

    Thanks and looking forward your reply.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      1) Usually snow activities are not ready yet that early in December. I really don’t think their snow park would be up by your dates. That early in December, I would suggest you visit Tomamu for their Ice Village. And push it as far back in your trip as possible. You can read more in this post:

      2) Most likely the hotels are not open for booking yet. You can try again 6 months to your date. If not 3 months. Usually what I do is to book something with free cancellation first. Then later on if more hotels open up their bookings and I find a better deal, I just cancel and rebook.

      3) You mean for those onsen ryokans? (Coz usually only ryokans provide breakfast and dinner.) I’m quite sure ryokans will charge for your kids. But for city hotels, usually if they say that kids below 13 can stay for free with existing bedding, means you can just book 2 adults and it’s fine for your kids to bunk in.

      4) If you’re using public transport, staying in Sapporo and taking day trips is a good idea. Changing hotels in winter when you’re using public transport can be a pain.

      This is what I would suggest:

      27/11 – CTS – Noboribetsu

      If you arrive that early in the morning, you should be able to find a bus to Noboribetsu. There is a bus at 12 noon according to the CTS website:

      28/11- Noboribetsu – Lake Toya
      29/11- Lake Toya
      30/11- Lake Toya – Sapporo
      1/12- Sapporo
      2/12 – Sapporo (day trip to Asahikawa)
      3/12 – Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      4/12 – Sapporo (day trip to Tomamu)
      5/12 – Sapporo – CTS
      6/12 morning flight

      You can try looking into the 3-days Hokkaido Rail Pass to see if it will be worth it for the side-trips to Otaru, Asahikawa and Tomamu.

      • Ivy says:

        Hi BBM, really appreciate your reply and recommendation.
        I was thinking to have ultimate relaxation at onsen this plan to go Lake Toya and Noboribetsu for last two days. And I was too kiasu that I’ve book non refundable room for first 3 nights at Hotel Mercure at ¥21000.
        May I know why you suggest to stay Lake Toya for 2 nights? Since onsen is not cheap for 4 person charges, I am thinking shall I give up Lake Toya and just go Noboribetsu one night stay. Plan to visit Hell valley and marine park Nixe.
        I choose Kiroro because it’s near to Otaru. And I check Tomamu seems that ice village only started 10/12/16 I’m afraid I’ll be too early for that and it’s too far compare with Kiroro. Somebody recommended Rusutsu Ski resort. What a difficult decision 😥 I shouldn’t have booked flight ticket with doing survey. Haiihh….

        • bumblebeemum says:

          Ooo… ¥21000 for 3 nights in Mercure is quite a good deal!

          I suggested 2 nights Lake Toya because you are using public transport. Changing hotels continuously in winter when using public transport is painful.

          Both Lake Toya and Noboribetsu are onsen towns, I don’t think the price between the two towns should vary much. Both towns have a range of luxury to slightly more budget-friendly ryokans. Though yah, with 4 pax, even the most budget-friendly ryokan is not cheap compared to city hotels.

          Regarding ski resorts, frankly for your dates, I don’t think any ski resort would have a full range of snow activities yet. Even for Rusutsu, when I was there in mid-Dec, their Snow Park wasn’t open either. Though they did have stuff like dog-sledding, but the slots were all taken up when we were there. We didn’t stay at Rusutsu and only visited it as a day trip, so by the time we arrived at Rusutsu, all the dog sledding slots were full for the day. I suspect the staying guests probably booked up all the slots in advance. So unless you are willing to pay for a night at Rusutsu so that you can chope a space for dog sledding for your second day (onwards) there, I’m not too sure about Rusutsu.

          Given a choice, I would rather go to Niseko. For your dates, a night in Niseko shouldn’t be too expensive. And Niseko has many nice cafes & restaurants, so even if there are not enough snow activities to keep you occupied, you can still go chill out at cafes or Milk Kobo while looking out at the snow.

          If budget is your main concern, you can swap Lake Toya for Niseko in the suggested itinerary. And if you can get Mercure at ¥7000 per night for the rest of the trip, I think you’re looking at a pretty comfortable budget.

          • Ivy says:

            Hi BBM, thank you so much for your sincere and informative advices. You are indeed our Hokkaido expert!
            Thanks again!

  • jeremy says:

    HI BBM, great content here. i signed up Airbnb with your referral link, hope you get the referral dollars and i booked the airbnb condominium in hoshino resort which you recommended. As the hosino tower is too expensive.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Thank you!! Appreciate it lots! Hope you have a good stay at the AirBnb Condo. I’ve never stayed there myself, only heard about it from readers. Seems to be good value for money, especially when Hoshino’s prices seem to be going up.

  • Woei Ling Lim says:

    Hi Bumblebee mum,

    Feeling rather lost in planning for a 1st time trip to Hokkaido for next year Jan and would be most grateful your advice.

    We are a family of 4 with a 5 year old gal ( her dream to play in snow) and a 1 year old boy. The itinerary of this trip will be planned mostly for my gal. I planning a 6 nights stay at Hokkaido. ski resorts tomamu 3nights and 3nights Sapporo with day trip to Asahiyama Zoo and otaru. My questions will be:

    Will you recommend renting a car or public transport?
    How do I book the NRT/HND-CTS vv flight? Or taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo station will be better?

    Thank you and looking forward for your reply.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      If you’re just going to Tomamu, Sapporo and Asahikawa, you should just use public transport. All these places are accessible by JR train.

      For the area you’re visitng, I would advise you to take domestic flight rather than Shinkansen. The Shinkansen right now is only good if you’re going to visit Southern Hokkaido imo.

      You should book your domestic air tickets together with your international air tickets. For e.g. if you’re using ANA / JAL to fly to Tokyo, you can get domestic flights with the same airline from Tokyo to CTS quite cheaply as compared to trying to book the domestic flight tickets alone.

      If you’re not visiting Tokyo and going to fly from your home country to CTS, you can use websites like Expedia to search for air tickets that may transit in other countries. E.g. Thai Airways flies to CTS with transit in Bangkok, Cathay flies with transit in Hong Kong etc.

      • Woei Ling Lim says:

        Thank you for your fast reply!
        Will be travelling from SIN to HND/NRT( haven decide, will have to depend on th domestic flight) with SQ. That the reason why I have to buy the domestic flight separately.
        Do you think it is better to stay at the ski resort or to stay at Sapporo and make it a day trip up to the resort?

        • bumblebeemum says:

          Hmm.. Buying domestic air tickets alone is not cheap, unless you fly with budget airlines. If you don’t mind budget airlines, you can look into Jetstar, Peach and Vanilla Air.

          If your main purpose of the trip is to play with snow, then I think your plan to stay 3 nights at a ski resort and 3 nights in Sapporo would be better.

  • Tang says:

    Do you have any vacation rental for 20 people on 23-28 Dec 2017.
    I prefer house because we want to do Christmas Eve with family and friends

  • Rachel says:

    Hi BBM,

    Is me again…so sorry. The drive from Hakodate to Lake hill farm is about 2hours 30mins. Would like to check if there is any nice rest point or small town that we could stop by to have a break in between?

  • anna says:

    Dear Bumblebeemum,

    Are you familiar with the rooms of Air terminal?

    I realise 2 double rooms are much cheaper than 1 family room for family of 4 pax. (kids need bed)
    Thus thinking of booking 2 double rooms instead. Wonder do they have connecting rooms?

  • Some really interesting points you have written.Assisted me a
    lot, just what I was searching for :D.

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