Hokkaido Summer Self-drive Itinerary with kids (June 2014) – The ultimate gourmet tour!

I just returned from yet another trip to my favourite part of Japan – Hokkaido! Frankly, June was not the most fantastic time to visit Hokkaido.  It was too late for sakura, too early for lavender and other flowers, and rained every single day while we were there. But we Singaporeans do not have much of a choice since our school holidays are in June.

So what is there to do in Hokkaido in June?

Well, if you are able to fly off the moment school holidays start, you will still be in time to catch the beautiful shibazakura hills at Takinoue and Higashimokoto and tulip garden at Kamiyubetsu.  You can also catch the Yosakoi Soran Festival at Sapporo.

But most Singaporean parents know that first week of holidays is usually not holidays yet – tons of camps, enrichment etc etc still going on.  So we are left with mid-June. What is there left to do in mid-June then?


And ONSEN.  But with young kids around, it is quite difficult to go onsen, so that is secondary.

That leaves eating.  And we ate and ate and ate for 12 days straight! As my Japanese friend put it: 食べ過ぎた!! (Ate too much)

Here is a quick run-down of the places we visited and ate at:

Day 1: Singapore - CTS

Stay: Air Terminal Hotel

Day 2: CTS - Lake Shikotsu - Lake Toya

Sightseeing: Lake Shikotsu

Eat: Cheese Imo Mochi at Lake Shikotsu

Play: Strawberry picking at Sobetsu Fruit Village

Eat: Lunch at Sendoan (Lake Toya)

Shop: Wakasaimo Main Store

Sightseeing: Lake Toya

Eat and play: Lake Hill Farm

Sightseeing: Lake Toya Long-Run Fireworks

Stay: Toya Sunpalace

Day 3: Lake Toya - Hakodate

Play: PA Yakumo

Eat: Lunch at Lucky Pierrot

Sightsee: Goryokaku Tower

Sightsee: Fort Goryokaku

Sightsee: Hakodate Red Brick Warehouse District

Eat: Snaffles Cafe

Play: Brick Labo

Eat: Dinner at Uni Murakami

Stay: Hakodate Kokusai Hotel

Day 4: Hakodate - Niseko

Sightsee and eat: Hakodate Morning Market

Sightsee: Hakodate Motomachi District

Eat: Lunch at Harvester Yakumo

Eat: Dessert at Niseko Milk Kobo

Sightsee: Mishima San’s Shibazakura Garden

Sightsee: Fukidashi Park

Eat: Dinner at Hotel Daiichi Kan

Stay: Power Tracks (Niseko)

Day 5: Niseko - Shakotan - Otaru

Sightsee: Cape Kamui

Eat: Lunch at Shokudou Misaki

Sightsee: Cape Shakotan

Eat: Ice-cream at Kita No Ice (Otaru)

Sightsee: Otaru Canal

Shopping: Unga Plaza

Eat: Dessert at Le Quatrieme

Eat: Otaru Denuki

Eat: Toppi Sushi

Day 6: Otaru - Sapporo

Eat: Kahisakan

Shop & Eat: Sakaimachi

Sightsee: Otaru Music Box Museum

Eat: Lunch at Masazushi

Shop: Tanukikoji (Sapporo)

Eat: Dinner at Barikiya

Day 7: Sapporo

Sightsee: Odori Park

Shop: Sapporo Central Wholesale Market

Eat: Kita No Gourmet

Sightsee:  Sapporo Festival at Nakajima Koen

Play: Takino Suzuran Hillside Park

Eat: Snaffles Cafe Kiyota

Eat:  Dinner at Kinzan (Susukino)

Eat: Oysters at Go Tsubo (Susukino)

Day 8: Sapporo

Sightsee: Odori Park

Sightsee: Hokkaido Government Building

Shop & Eat: Nijo Market

Eat: Sapporo Ramen Alley

Sightsee: Sapporo Beer Museum

Shop & Play: ARIO

Shop & Eat: Daimaru Food Hall

Eat: Kinotoya Bake (Sappor Station)

Eat:  Dinner at Tadumura

Day 9: Sapporo - Furano

Sightsee: Sapporo Festival at Hokkaido Shrine

Eat: Lunch at Furano Wine House

Sightsee: Furano Wine Factory

Sightsee: Tomita Melon House

Sightsee: Farm Tomita

Sightsee: Furano Cheese Factory

Eat: Furano Delice

Shop: Furano Marche

Eat: Dinner at Haruchan Sushi

Day 10: Furano - Biei - Tomamu

Sightsee: Flower Land Kamifurano

Sightsee: Shikisai no Oka

Sightsee: Shinnei No Oka

Sightsee: Sanai no Oka

Sightsee: Hokusei no Oka

Sightsee: Hill of Zerebu

Sightsee: Patchwork Road

Eat: Lunch at Farm Restaurant Chiyoda

Sightsee: Philosopher’s Tree

Eat: Sanai no Chaya Cafe Curve

Shop: Ningle Terrace

Eat:  Dinner at Kumagera

Day 11: Tomamu - Obihiro - CTS

Sightsee: Unkai Terrace

Play: Hoshino Resort Tomamu

Eat: Lunch at Panchou (Obihiro)

Shop: Rokkatei Main Store

Shop: Ryugetsu Main Store

Day 12: CTS - Singapore

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  • Christine says:

    Thank you so much for your detailed write up! Your blog keeps coming up as a result for all sorts of googling I do! It has given me some good ideas about places to go. Right now, I’m looking out over a rainy Lake Toya and will head off to Niseko to stay at the Milky Inn tomorrow.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      When I was there last June, it rained everyday! Hope the weather clears up so that you get a beautiful view of the lake tomorrow. I always love the view of the lakes first thing in the morning most. Have a great trip!

  • ka says:

    you are a great blogger!

  • Pauline says:

    Hi Bumble Bee Mum
    per your passed many experiences, do you think should give any vaccination for kids 6 and 9 please? we are travelling to Tokyo Hokkaido early June. thanks much!

  • Carol says:

    Hi Hi Bumblebeemum,

    I am planning to go to Hokkaido next June.

    Will need some advise. I have planned the below itinerary. Is it advisable to drive base on the plan?

    11/06 from SG to Sapporo
    Day 1: Chitose Airport – Lake Shikotsu – Noboribetsu
    Day 2: Noboribetsu – Lake Toya – Otaru
    Day 3: Otaru – Sapporo
    Day 4: Sapporo
    Day 5: Sapporo – Asahikawa
    Day 6: Asahikawa – Sounkyo
    Day 7: Sounkyo – Furano / Biei
    Day 8: Furano / Biei – Tomamu
    Day 9: Tomamu – Chitose
    Fly off at 10am

    • bumblebeemum says:

      It looks a bit rushed to me. I would skip Asahikawa and Sounkyo and slot in a night at Lake Toya on the second day and one more night at Furano / Biei.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have made the adjustment. Is this do-able by train also?

        11/06 from SG to Sapporo
        Day 1: Chitose Airport – Lake Shikotsu – Noboribetsu
        Day 2: Noboribetsu – Lake Toya
        Day 3: Lake Toya – Otaru
        Day 4: Otaru – Sapporo
        Day 5: Sapporo
        Day 6: Sapporo – Furano
        Day 7: Furano / Biei
        Day 8: Furano– Tomamu
        Day 9: Tomamu – Chitose
        Fly off at 10am

        • bumblebeemum says:

          If you are driving, the itinerary looks good. But if you want to use public transport, here’s what I think:

          Day 1: Lake Shikotsu is inaccessible by train. I suggest you skip it if you are not driving.

          Day 3: If you are using public transport, I suggest you go back to Sapporo from Lake Toya via a direct bus and do a day trip to Otaru from Sapporo by train on Day 4.

          Day 8: I can’t remember if there’s a train route from Furano to Tomamu, or you need to go back to Sapporo to transfer. I can’t check Hyperdia now because it’s not available for the region – suspect it’s because the rail to Eastern Hokkaido is still under repair and they will only put up the info when the rail resumes normal operations. If you need to go back to Sapporo, it would be super duh. But Hokkaido public transport is often just duh like that. Hence I always end up driving. :p

  • Lynn says:

    Hi BBM,
    Your blogs on Hokkaido trip is so informative! Me and my family will be travelling to Hokkaido next year June (reaching on Jun12 and flying back on Jun21). We are planning to visit Mishima San’s Shibazakura Garden. Do you think we are still able to make a trip there during our travel period?
    We will be covering Lake Toya, Hakodate, Otaru, Asahikawa, Kutchan and Sapporo. But, not sure how to allocate our travel period to these places – as in which place should comes first and which is next. Appreciate your advice on this. Thanks!

  • JJ says:

    Dear Bumblebeemum,

    I am planning to visit Tokyo and Hokkaido in Summer.

    1. May I know is my itinery is in order?

    2. Where (hotel) to stay in Tokyo if i just want to visit Tokyo Disneyland / Mother Farm?

    Day 1 SIN – Narita – Mother Farm
    Day 2 Tokyo Disneyland
    Day 3 Tokyo area
    Day 4 Haneda – Hakodate
    Day 5 Hakodate
    Day 6 – Hakodate – Onuma Koen – Sapporo
    Day 7 – Sapporo
    Day 8 – Day 9 Furano / Biei
    Day 10 – Day 11 Asahikawa
    Day 12 – Tomamu
    Day 13 – Obihiro / Yubari
    Day 14 – Chitose

    Thank you very much.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I suggest you stay somewhere in Chiba to visit Mother Farm and Tokyo Disney.

      Are you going to drive? Not sure if you have enough time to visit Mother Farm on Day 1 right after arriving in Narita if you don’t drive.

      For Hokkaido, I suggest you swap the order to go Asahikawa before Furano / Biei. i.e. go in the order Sapporo > Asahikawa > Biei > Furano > Obihiro > Tomamu > Yubari > Chitose

      • JJ says:

        Thanks for ur quick reply!
        Flight shld b arrive in the noon.

        I am planning to drive to Mother Farm. May be play by ear.

        1. Any accomodation recommended in Chiba area?

        2. Hokkaido itinery order looks great to me 🙂
        Do u knw Asahiyama Zoo train operate in June? As i am planning to ride Zoo train.

        Thank you very much ^____^

        • bumblebeemum says:

          1. If you’re driving and looking for somewhere cheap, Chisun Inn Chiba Hamano R16 Hotel has free parking and they have rooms with a little bunk bed for extra bed space.

          2. I think the Asahiyama zoo train only operates in winter.

          • JJ says:

            Dear bumblebeemum,
            Thanks for ur recommendation. The hotel looks good.

            1. I am still thinking June is good time to visit Asahikawa? or any other region that i have not mentioned in my previous post.
            As main highlight for Asahikawa is the Zoo train.
            Please advise.

            2. Btw, domestic air tix seems expensive. As i am planning to travel both Tokyo and Hokkaido. Thinking whether to take Shinkansen frm Tokyo to Hokkaido?

            Thank you very much 🙂

  • Yik Mei says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    I would like to visit Hokaiddo in the coming July (4 adults + 2 kids, 5 & 2 yrs old).
    Here is my itinerary, but i have no idea where to go on 25 & 26 July . Do you have any suggestion? I prefer more relax trips instead of rush here and there.

    20-Jul Arrive at CTS @ 1155am –> stay at Tomamu (do you think i have enough time to enjoy at Taoamu Hotel as after check up at airport + get rental car, maybe already 2-3pm)
    21-Jul Tomamu –> Furano
    22-Jul Furano
    23-Jul Biei –> Asahikawa
    24-Jul Asahikawa Zoo
    27-Jul Otaru –> stay at Sapporo
    28-Jul Sapporo
    29-Jul Sapporo
    30-Jul CTS

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Depends on what you want to do at Tomamu? For me, I went to Tomamu in summer solely for the Unkai Terrace. And of course to enjoy their onsen. So in your case, after you check in, you can spend the rest of the your first day at their pool and onsen. Then have an early night after dinner. Next morning, head up to Unkai Terrace and have breakfast after that. Then it depends on what else you are planning to do at the resort. If you want to try out their activities, you still have the rest of the day. I believe you can still continue with the activities after checking out.

      For the extra time you have, I would spend one more day in Furano, there is a lot to explore in the region in summer. You can also check out the sunflower fields at Hokuryu.

      i.e. this is what you can do:

      20-Jul CTS – Tomamu
      21-Jul Tomamu –> Furano
      22-Jul Furano
      23-Jul Furano
      24-Jul Biei –> Asahikawa
      25-Jul Asahikawa Zoo
      26-Jul Asahikawa – Hokuryu – Otaru
      27-Jul Otaru – Sapporo
      28-Jul Sapporo
      29-Jul Sapporo
      30-Jul CTS

      • Yik Mei says:

        Hi Bumblebeemum,

        Thanks a lot for your reply, but i have more question about the itinerary, can you please help?
        1.) Do you think i should cover more area, like Lake Toya or any other suggestion?
        2.) The flower field is more focus in Furano or Biei? Which area is better to stay overnight?
        3.) can you please recommend any car rental company?
        4.) Do you think i need a car in Sapporo? if not need, i can return once arrive at Sapporo? Or better return on last day?


        • bumblebeemum says:

          1) If you want to cover Lake Toya, you can still fit it in by spending less time at Sapporo, especially if you are more of a nature person than a city person. So the last two days of your trip, you go Sapporo – Lake Toya – CTS.

          2) Usually I stay in Furano because there are more accommodation choices there. And more restaurants for dinner too.

          3) You can search comparison websites like Tabirai to compare prices:

          If you do not speak Japanese, the bigger companies like Toyota or Nippon Rent a Car would offer better support for English-speaking travellers. But they will be more expensive. In general, car rental companies are all pretty reliable in Japan, even the cheaper ones. They won’t try to rip you off with hidden fees or poorly maintained cars like in other countries. The difference between the cheaper companies and the more expensive ones is usually that the cheaper companies cater more to domestic travellers and may not have staff that speak Japanese.

          4) If you want to continue to Lake Toya, then you should keep the car. If you’re just staying around Sapporo for the last few days, then you can return the car when you reach Sapporo.

          • Yik Mei says:

            Hi Bumblebeemum,

            Thanks for your advise. But i worry will it be a bit boring if see so many flower field? And I would like to add in fruit picking in my itinerary, do you think which one will be better and which day i can slot in? Ohashi Cherry Farm or Yoichi (Yamamoto)?

            If I drive from Asahikawa Zoo to Otaru, will it be very long drive? After Otaru, then to Lake Toya. I prefer to stay at city area before fly back singapore, so i can do some shopping.

            Do you think if i stay 2 night at Furano will be too rush for me? Sorry for so many questions….

            Plan 1:
            20-Jul Arrive at CTS @ 1155am –> Tomamu
            21-Jul Tomamu –> Furano
            22-Jul Furano
            23-Jul Furano
            24-Jul Biei –> Asahikawa
            25-Jul Asahikawa Zoo –> stay Otaru
            26-Jul stay at Otaru
            27-Jul Otaru –> Lake toya
            28-Jul Lake toya –> Sapporo
            29-Jul Sapporo
            30-Jul CTS

            Plan 2:
            20-Jul Arrive at CTS @ 1155am –> Tomamu
            21-Jul Tomamu –> Furano
            22-Jul Furano
            23-Jul Biei –> Asahikawa
            24-Jul Asahikawa Zoo –> stay Otaru
            25-Jul stay at Otaru
            26-Jul Otaru –> Lake toya
            27-Jul Lake toya –> Sapporo
            28-Jul Sapporo
            29-Jul Sapporo
            30-Jul CTS


            • bumblebeemum says:

              You can visit Ohashi Cherry Farm if you do Plan 1, and Yoichi if you do Plan 2.

              I find the drive from Asahikawa to Otaru takes about the same time as Asahikawa to Sapporo. It’s pretty manageable, just a bit boring coz it’s expressway all the way.

              Furano has a lot more than just flower fields. There are some interesting factories (wine factory, cheese factory, jam factory) and a lot of good restaurants and cafes around the area. I spend half my time just chilling out at cafes and the other half either at flower fields or some other attraction. But then again, I’m really not into shopping, I’m more into sightseeing – that’s why I would opt to spend more time in Furano / Biei versus in Sapporo. But if you love shopping, then maybe you can spend less time in Furano and more in Sapporo.

  • Pauline says:

    Dear Bumblebee Mum,

    I am your fan, been following your blog each time i plan for my holidays. However, i have some difficulties this time as we are travel in a group of 18, 2 seniors( 1 in wheelchair), 8 adults, 7 kids (2×8, 2×6, 2×5, 1×4) and 1 infant. Is it more advisable to get a local private tour or rent 3 MPVs? We are planning a 8D7N trip to Hokkaido from 17-24 June.

    Is this itinerary doable? Will it be too rush?

    Day 1 Chitose Airport – Lake Toya
    Day 2 Lake Toya -Niseko – Otaru
    Day 3 Otaru – Tomamu
    Day 4 Tomamu – Furano
    Day 5 Furano – Biei – Asahikawa
    Day 6 Asahiyama Zoo – Sapporo
    Day 7 Sapporo
    Day 8 Sapporo – Chitose Airport

    Thank you.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I have never engaged a local private tour before, so I’m not sure how much it would cost. But looking at the size of your group, I would try to contact private tour companies to get a quote. It would be much easier to get a bus with driver to bring everyone around rather than try to organise an entourage of 3 cars.

      For a large group travel, it does look a bit rushed. For large groups, I would suggest you minimise changing of hotels. So for e.g. I would do Otaru as a day trip from Sapporo. And maybe stay two nights at Asahikawa rather than 1 night Furano and 1 night Asahikawa.

  • Lin says:

    hello, where would you suggest to go first week of June in Hokkaido? Kids are 4 & 5 years old… I see you recommend not Furano/Bei.
    We will go to Sapporo and OTaru, where else should we go?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      You can do a classic CTS – Noboribetsu – Hakodate – Lake Toya – Sapporo (with Otauru) – CTS loop. If your kids like ropeways, they would enjoy the ones at Hakodate or Lake Toya. In Sapporo, I recommend visiting Takino Suzuran Hillside Park for kids. You can try something like this:

      Day 1: CTS – Noboribetsu
      Day 2: Noboribetsu – Hakodate
      Day 3: Hakodate – Lake Toya
      Day 4: Lake Toya – Sapporo
      Day 5: Sapporo
      Day 6: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      Day 7: Flight back

  • Julia says:

    hi Bumblebee mummy, first of all I must say that your blog is really detailed and I learnt so much from your itinerary!

    This is my draft itinerary, and I need your valuable input. We will be travelling in mid May (with 4 adults, 2 seniors and 1 toddler). We will pick up and return our cars at CTS airport.

    Day 1: CTS to Noboribetsu
    Day 2: N to Hakodate
    Day 3: H to Lake Toya
    Day 4: LT to Otaru
    Day 5: Furano & Biel
    Day 6 & 7: Asahikawa
    Day 8 to 10: Sapporo

    I gotta say it seems like a very packed schedule and my hubs is dreading the long drive ahead. Please advise if this can be further streamlined to a more relaxed and enjoyable holiday!

    Thank you 🙂

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yes, it looks very packed. You can try putting Sapporo in the middle to give yourself a break from the driving:

      Day 1: CTS to Noboribetsu
      Day 2: N to Hakodate
      Day 3: Hakodate
      Day 4: H to Lake Toya
      Day 5: LT to Sapporo
      Day 6: Sapporo (day trip to Otaru)
      Day 7: Sapporo
      Day 8: Sapporo – Takikawa – Asahikawa
      Day 9: Asahikawa – Biei – Furano – CTS
      Day 10: Flight back

      If you planning to visit the zoo at Asahikawa, you can shift one day from Hakodate or Sapporo over to Asahikawa.

      • Julia says:

        Yes we do intend to visit the Asahikawa zoo. So we should stay overnight at Furano, when otw down from Asahikawa right? What’s good at Takikawa?

        • bumblebeemum says:

          There are the canola fields in Takikawa:

          Not sure if your dates will be too early as their full bloom is late May to early June according to the website, but it’s along the way from Sapporo to Asahikawa, no harm checking it out.

          What time is your flight back on Day 10? If your flight is in the morning, I suggest you just stop at Biei and Furano for sightseeing, and drive back to CTS at the end of the day and spend your last night at Air Terminal Hotel. But if your flight is in the afternoon or later, then you can spend the night in Furano and head to the airport on your last day.

          • Julia says:

            We will be travelling from 10-20 May. Doubt we will be in time for the canola blooms.

            Our return flight is at 1.30pm. We might stay over at the terminal hotel as my hubs isn’t comfortable driving all the way down from Asahikawa to CTS in the morning.

            I’ll tweak the itinerary again, based on your suggestions 🙂 thank you!

  • Michelle says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum, I’m planning to do self travel in hokkaido with my family (my parents, brother, sister, and grandma) in June. Is it possible for us to visit all these places by using public transports? There is no small kids and my grandma is still fit, so I’m just wondering if the places are easy to reach by train and bus. Thanks!

    We love gourmet travel and your travel seems so awesome 🙂

    PS: please tell me if there are more suitable places to visit in Hokkaido by public transport. I want to make the most of our trip.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Some of these places like Shakotan / Cape Kamui are extremely hard to get to by public transport. If you visit places like Sapporo, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya, Hakodate and Otaru, then combination of train & bus should suffice. It is also possible to get around Furano and Biei by public transport but it’s just much easier with a car. Basically if you want to use public transport, then you will need to keep the itinerary a lot more loose than what we did, because public transport is not very frequent in Hokkaido.

  • Mandy says:

    Hello Bumblebeemum

    Your blog is truly informative, especially Hokkaido 🙂
    We are planning to Hokkaido early Aug ( 9 – 19 ), 7 pax, 4 adults, 2 snr citizen and 1 child. Below is the plan, could you adv if it make sense, self drive :

    Day 2 0845am – Arrive CTS
    Take car rental from CTS
    CTS – Noboribetsu
    Day 3 Noboribetsu – Lake Toya – Hakodate
    Day 4 Hakodate
    Day 5 Hakodate – Otaru
    Day 6 Otaru – Asahikawa ( zoo and ramen village )
    Day 7 Asahikawa – Biei – Furano
    Day 8 Furano – Sapporo
    Day 9 Sapporo
    Day 10 Sapporo
    Day 11 CTS – BKK – Penang

    thank you and appreciate your help and adv 🙂

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Days 5 – 6 look a bit rushed. But it’s doable if you leave Hakodate and Otaru early on Day 5 and 6 respectively. And you’re only planning to see Sakaimachi / Otaru Canal in Otaru as I don’t think there is enough time to venture to areas beyond Otaru like Yoichi, Shakoton and Shukutsu.

      And in August, I would suggest you spend one more day in Furano and one less day in Sapporo.

      • Mandy says:

        Thank you bumblebee mum.. ya i dont plan to go shakotan .. is it worth visiting ? Ok will take your adv to stay one more night in Furano. Been thinking if we need 3 nights sapporo … thanks much

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