Here it is, THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE TO HOKKAIDO, JAPAN (transportation, itinerary, flight, what to do, where to go, how to go there, tips, etc).
In 2018, me and Mr. Jajan had the chance to visit Hokkaido twice, April and October 2018, it was one of the most memorable Japan trips for us especially the autumn trip.
During and after our trip, we received tons of questions about Hokkaido. Please accept our apologize for the delayed blog post and also thank you for waiting. Sooo here it is, Hokkaido Travel Guide, let’s start the the basic information we think you might want to know first.
AnakJajan think that it is better to prepare a complete itinerary rather than being spontaneous in Hokkaido because there are many interesting places to go and sometimes the transportation is quite challenging due to the lack of information or lack of transportation option (challenging but can be overcomed by planning) but if we can make it to those pretty places, so do you! We’ll try our best to share detailed info about the destinations and how to go there.
Later on the next blog post, we’ll talk more detailed story about “Where to go, What to eat, How to go there” in Furano, Biei, Otaru, Sapporo, and Sounkyo.
HOW TO GO TO HOKKAIDO?
If you use plane, it takes you only around 1.5hours of domestic flight.
In April 2018 we took ANA airline domestic flight from Osaka (Itami airport) to Sapporo (New Chitose airport).
Then October 2018 we took Skymark airline domestic trip from Tokyo (Haneda airport) to Sapporo (New Chitose airport), we spent total JPY 19.880 per person for Tokyo-Sapporo-Tokyo flight with Skymark airline.
CAN I USE SHINKANSEN TO HOKKAIDO?
So many of you asked about it. The answer is yes! Possible but… it takes a lot of time!
Shinkansen from Tokyo to Hakodate takes 4hours, and then another 3.5hours from Hakodate to Sapporo (covered by Japan Rail Pass and JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass). In total it takes almost 8hours from Tokyo to Sapporo.
So??? Shinkansen or plane? 8hours or 1.5hours? Your choice, we personally prefer faster and less tiring option which is 1.5hours by plane.
We travelled from Sapporo to other cities with bus, train and sometimes taxi.
Surrounded by beautiful landscapes created by the vast land and the sky, the transportation at Hokkaido is quite challenging if you are not renting car. Unfortunately we couldn’t rent dan drive car because Indonesian’s international driving license is not accepted in Japan. You can rent car with driver though but it’s very expensive.
Transportation inside big city like Sapporo is easy by train or bus, but in rural area for example Furano, in some cases, the distance between nearest train/ bus station to famous tourist spot takes around 1-2km, you can walk and enjoy the scenic views (plus burn the calories), or if you’re lucky enough there’s taxi waiting in front of station.
Sometimes me and Mr Jajan were lucky enough to find taxi nearby, sometimes we had to walk almost 2km. Locals usually reserve taxi by call but it’s not possible for tourist like us. We tried to use Japan Taxi app but couldn’t find one in rural area like Furano. But well, don’t worry, we’ll try documenting our choice of transportation as complete as possible to guide you.
If any of you have more tips regarding to transportation or anything related to Hokkaido trip, please share at comment section below.
SO, WHAT MAKES HOKKAIDO INTERESTING??
1. THE FOOD
Hokkaido melon, Hokkaido milk, Hokkaido butter, Hokkaido potato, Hokkaido seafood, etc, this is going to be long list if we mention it one by one!! Hokkaido has an AMAZING PRODUCE, their seafood like uni and ikura are mind blowing good, not to mention all products made from Hokkaido milk such as ice cream, cakes, etc. NO DIET PLEASE when you’re in Hokkaido because there are too many good food to be missed.
2. THE NATURE
Hokkaido has vast landscape that is not densely populated, you can relax enjoy all the scenic views of nature. It will serve you with the most beautiful sights your eyes will see. Hopefully these pictures below can say it all.
3. THE WEATHER
Being the northernmost prefecture of Japan, Hokkaido has very nice weather. Even in summer, the average temperature is about 20 degrees. If you want to see snow, Hokkaido gets tons of snow every year.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT HOKKAIDO?
If you want to see colorful flower fields, there are many options from Spring to Fall but the best time for flower viewing is said to be in June and July or Summer.
Summer is the most popular season in Hokkaido when most of flowers are blooming, the weather is also pleasantly chilly and there’s not rainy season during summer in Hokkaido.
There are 4 seasons in Hokkaido:
– Spring from March until early June when all the flowers start to grow.
– Summer from mid-June until August when the weather is pleasantly dry and chilly and flowers are fully bloomed.
– Autumn from September until November when the leaves are starting to change its color into yellow, orange and red.
– Winter from December until February when the fluffy white snow are starting to fall.
Even though Summer is popular, it doesn’t mean other seasons are less popular, each season has its own charm and the seasonal changes add more beauty to it.
Our first visit to Hokkaido was Spring around 29th April 2018 and the sakura just started blooming a little (fully bloomed at Sapporo and Otaru around 5th May 2018). Yesss, sakura in Hokkaido starts late (usually around a week late from Tokyo).
Then our second visit was Autumn around 6th October 2018, we were lucky enough to see picturesque autumn flower field and got our bucket list checked!
I always thought that colorful flower field is only available on spring or summer, but it turned out that autumn has equally beautiful flower field with deep autumn colors, TOO PREETY I CRIED A BIT! Autumn foliage around mountain areas were starting already, we chased autumn leaves up to the mountain area (Sounkyo area) and it was worth the trip!
On April 2018, we only visited Sapporo and Otaru, then on October 2018 (2nd week of October) we completed our Hokkaido trip by visiting Furano, Biei, and Sounkyo. So here’s the suggested itinerary based from both of our trips.
PLEASE NOTE that the itinerary is based on our autumn trip with destinations specially picked for autumn vibes, we suggest you to follow the itinerary for mid-end of October. If you visit Hokkaido in different month, you can still follow the itinerary but some places might offer different view (for example Lavender field on Summer at Tomita farm).
Day 1. Sapporo – Furano
– 2.5hours bus ride from Sapporo Ekimae BT Bus Stop to Furanoshi Bus Stop
– Check in at hotel in Furano (our hotel was Furano Natulux Hotel located strategically right in front of Furano Train Station)
– Furano Cheese Factory
– Ningle Terrace
Day 2. Furano
– Shikisai-no-oka Farm
– Tomita Farm
– Furano Marche for souvenir & snacks shopping
Day 3. Biei and Blue Pond
We took 1day Biei & Blue Pond Local Bus Tour (JPY 2.000/ person in October 2018) at jitabi.ne.jp (paid using credit card, English available at the website) for easy and hassle free trip, it was worth it! No need to think about transportation, simply sit at the bus and it will take you to the famous spots.
Day 4. Sounkyo
– 1hour train ride from Furano to Asahikawa then ride Free Shuttle Bus to Sounkyo (Bus Stop at Smile Hotel Asahikawa)
– Check in at hotel in Sounkyo (we picked Choyo Tei Hotel for traditional tatami room and the best part is the FREE SHUTTLE BUS between Sapporo/Asahikawa ⇄ Sounkyo, easy and hassle free)
– Kurodake Ropeway
Day 5. Sounkyo – Sapporo
– 4.5hours bus ride using Choyo Tei Hotel’s Free Shuttle Bus from Sounkyo to Sapporo
– Check in at Hotel (Sapporo Tokyu Rei Hotel is a nice option in Susukino area with train stations and many shops nearby)
– Mt. Moiwa Observation Deck
– Shopping and sightseeing at Susukino area (Shibuya of Sappporo)
Day 6. Otaru
– Otaru Canal
– Sakaimachi Shopping Street
– Otaru Music Box Museum
Day 7. Sapporo
– Seafood breakfast at Sapporo Central Wholesale Market
– Odori Park + Sapporo TV Tower Observation Deck
– Shopping at Daimaru Sapporo or Tanuki Koji shopping arcade
– Shiroi Koibito Park
– Sapporo Beer Garden (we didn’t had the chance to visit but it’s a very popular destination)
That’s all, the overall Hokkaido itinerary based on our trip. Coming soon detailed Travel Guide for Sapporo, Furano, Biei, Otaru, Soukyo (where to go, how to go there, what to eat) on next blog posts. Stay tuned!
Hokkaido might not be a mainstream travel destination for Indonesian but it’s seriously an interesting destination worth visiting and we think the popularity of Hokkaido will grow fast. We hope you will be convinced to visit Hokkaido after reading this blog post.
We have left our hearts at Hokkaido, to many beautiful places and delicious food, we wish to visit Hokkaido again to experience summer and winter, hopefully someday ❤️ Thank you for reading this super long long long blog post 😊
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