How To Plan Your Perfect Hokkaido Itinerary in 2019

17 min


Shakotan Peninsula Hokkaido Itinerary


We visited among the greatest components of Japan on this 12-day Hokkaido itinerary, and need to encourage you to do the identical!

Hokkaido Itinerary

The sort of views you’ll be able to anticipate on this 12-day Hokkaido itinerary.

Make no mistake about it, Hokkaido is huge. Very huge. Distances are huge, the panorama wild and untamed and the climate can change on the drop of a hat. That’s what makes planning your Hokkaido itinerary so troublesome.

That is simply one of the vital stunning locations we now have ever had the pleasure of visiting. It’s also very seemingly that you’ll share this gorgeous surroundings with only a few individuals.

Hokkaido Journey Suggestions

When you’re attempting to design your Hokkaido itinerary there are some things you want to remember first. These are a few of our Hokkaido journey suggestions.

Getting Round Hokkaido

One of the best ways to get round Hokkaido is by renting a automotive. You possibly can try our post on how to rent a car here. Hokkaido does supply a JR cross, however companies to the most important nationwide parks are restricted and even then you’ll nonetheless must take a bus or taxi to get into the parks correct.

Among the most gorgeous surroundings we noticed was once we have been driving. Having you personal set of wheels will make your expertise infinitely extra pleasing and handy. 

When To Go to Hokkaido

Hokkaido has Four very distinct seasons and every of them have their deserves. Spring brings blossoming flowers, summer time brings vivid sunny days, autumn provides us the altering of the leaves and winter dumps a couple of ft of snow everywhere in the island.

We ended up doing our Hokkaido itinerary in autumn, which gave us stunning colors and only a few vacationers. That being stated it did carry some chilly climate and occasional rain.

Nonetheless relying on what your pursuits are you could choose to journey in a unique season.

Autumn Hokkaido Itinerary

Autumn colors in Hokkaido.

Our 12-Day Hokkaido Itinerary

That is the precise journey we did throughout our travels in Hokkaido, with an inventory of the locations we visited, what we did and the place we stayed.

Day 1 – Sapporo

We picked up our wheels and headed for Sapporo. It is a nice alternative to choose up some chilly climate garments in the event you haven’t obtained that many with you. Exterior of summer time it could possibly get actually chilly, particularly in Shiretoko and Akan. We introduced some further heat garments and it was undoubtedly a worthwhile funding.

Sapporo is a beautiful metropolis to wander round. The clock tower, the park off odori and the botanical gardens are a good way to spend a day. Within the night we headed to the highest of Mount Moiwa for a stupendous nighttime view over town. The meals is superb, Hokkaido has one of the best sashimi in Japan based on the Japanese.

The place To Eat: Ramen Yokocho and any izakaya serving sashimi.

The place We Stayed: We stayed in an AirBnB in Sapporo. This place does have parking, it is very important test that the locations you keep in Hokkaido, be it resorts, guesthouses or airbnb’s have parking as it’s not at all times a assure. Click here to get $35 off your first AirBnB stay.

Day 2 – Sapporo to Asahikawa

That is the place our Hokkaido Expressway Cross got here into use. You save a couple of hours taking the freeway to Furano. After getting off the freeway it’s gorgeous surroundings all the way in which to Furano. Remember to try Farm Tomita for a thoughts blowing show of color.

They promote every little thing lavender, together with a fairly scrumptious lavender ice cream. It sounds terrible, however like virtually every little thing in Japan it was scrumptious.

From right here you’ll be able to take route 237 winding via the Japanese countryside to the quaint little city of Biei. From right here you’ll be able to head to the Blue Pond, a spot that you will see on many Japanese postcards.

We elected to not do the above. As an alternative we tried to get to the Asahidake cable automotive station for sundown. The climate had been actually cloudy all day till round 3:00 so we determined to go for it.

Round 800m we have been stunned with a snow storm. Inside a couple of minutes the highway was slippery and our windscreen wipers creaking underneath the load of snow. Unsurprisingly we deserted our plans and headed in the direction of Asahikawa for the night time.

The place To Eat: Farm Tomita is an effective begin for a lavender based mostly snack. A bonus of the resort is the superb little izakaya over the highway from the resort serving nice meals for a good higher worth.

The place We Stayed: Trend Hotel Asahikawa – Good resort, however you’ll be able to in all probability discover one thing cheaper, we booked very late within the day.

Seafood Hokkaido Itinerary

Contemporary sashimi, together with the Hokkaido delicacy, frozen salmon.

Day 3 – Asahikawa to Utoro (Gateway to the Shiretoko Nationwide Park)

We had initially deliberate to spend the day exploring the Daisetsuzan Nationwide Park after which drive onto Shiretoko the subsequent day, however the rain put pay to our plans. One benefit of this was it gave us further time for later within the journey.

We took route E39 from Asahikawa, however be warned the world circling the northern finish of the Daisetsuzan Nationwide Park will make you neglect about the day prior to this.

It is a lengthy drive, it in all probability took us between Four and 5 hours with relaxation stops included. This and the earlier days drive have been the place Hokkaido Categorical was invaluable. It saved us a lot time by with the ability to use the freeway.

Utoro is a tiny village on the fringe of the Shiretoko Nationwide Park. In consequence most eating places keep open until round 8pm.

As a facet notice, the subsequent city down from Utoro is Shari. Lodging is normally just a little cheaper right here, however you a now an hour from the park versus 15 minutes in Utoro.

The place To Eat: Choices are fairly restricted by way of selection, nonetheless there’s a nice ramen restaurant and a beautiful izakaya about 10 minutes stroll from the resort. Workers inside advisable these locations to us.

The place We Stayed: Iruka Hotel – Nice little guesthouse with pal employees and a great breakfast

Shiretoko Hokkaido Itinerary

Shiretoko Nationwide Park from the ocean.

Day 4 – Shiretoko Nationwide Park

We checked out the Shiretoko Go-Ko (5 lakes). The lengthy stroll spherical is fairly superb and also you get to take a seat via a fairly fascinating security video about the way to keep away from bears. The primary factor to remove from the video is that if a bear assaults you there may be nothing you are able to do, so greatest keep away from them.

We then checked out the Fureppe Waterfalls, which affords some fairly unbelievable views. Afterward within the day we loved a free foot tub. The guesthouse employees can mark them on a map for you.

One factor to notice about Shiretoko is that the climate can change in a short time. Most of out time there was cloudy, however no rain and a good few of blue skies.

The place To Eat: Choices are fairly restricted by way of selection, nonetheless there’s a nice ramen restaurant and a beautiful izakaya about 10 minutes stroll from the resort. Workers inside advisable these locations to us.

The place We Stayed: Iruka Lodge – Nice little guesthouse with pal employees and a great breakfast. This guesthouse has various WOOFERs working there who also can supply nice recommendation on what to do.

Fureppe Falls Shiretoko Hokkaido Itinerary

Fureppe Falls stroll in Shiretoko Nationwide Park.

Day 5 – Shiretoko Nationwide Park

We spent the day on the japanese facet of the peninsula across the port city of Rausu. To get there observe the highway to the Shiretoko cross. The cross is completely gorgeous and is a should in the event you’re within the space. you get superb views over the coast, and in case you are fortunate it is possible for you to to see the summit of mount Rausu.

Whenever you arrive in Rausu take a left and observe route 87 and take a look at among the seashore foot spas that run alongside the coast line. Its a surreal expertise to dangle your ft right into a foot spa while waves from the ocean of Okohtsk crash onto the seashore.

The Kamuiwakka Sizzling Falls again in the direction of Utoro make an excellent place to cease off in your approach again. Do bear in mind that that is an unsealed 10km highway. As quickly as nightfall hits be on the look out for deer.

The place To Eat: Sashimi in Rausu. A tiny little restaurant south of the centre proper on the coast gave us an unbelievable meal.

The place We Stayed: Iruka Lodge – Nice little guesthouse with pal employees and a great breakfast

Sashimi Hokkaido Itinerary

Sashimi contemporary from the ocean in Rausu, near the Shiretoko Nationwide Park.

Day 6 – Shiretoko Nationwide Park to Akan Nationwide Park

We drove through Abishiri alongside the Okhotsk highway which affords some spectacular coastal views. Abishiri has a very fascinating jail museum the place you’ll be able to find out about Hokkaido’s historical past.

From right here we headed on to our onsen resort near Teshikaga within the Akan Nationwide Park. We entered the park alongside route 102 which takes you thru a cross that offers you unbelievable views of Lake Kussharo. Attempt to get there round sundown for one of the best views.

Plenty of lodging within the space affords breakfast and dinner. We determined to not do dinner to present us the possibility to exit and discover the close by cities. Right here it’s the identical story as Shiretoko, eating places shut early, so attempt to keep away from consuming late.

The rooms on the resort do not need showers or baths within the rooms. You wash within the onsens within the resort. A phrase of warning, it could possibly take a little bit of observe to get the temperature proper because the faucets are extraordinarily delicate, however its a good way to start out and end your day.

The place To Eat: The closest city is Teshikaga which has 2 eating places and a bunch of comfort shops. Your decisions are ramen or tempura. On the plus facet, each are improbable.

The place We Stayed: Hotel Parkway. Nice little onsen resort

Otaru Canal Hokkaido Itinerary

Otaru Canal in Otaru.

Day 7 – Mashu-Ko and Mashu-Dake

One among Hokkaido’s prime hikes. Attending to the highest of Mashu-Dake takes round 4-6 hours return. Deliver loads of water and heat garments as the highest of the mountain might be very chilly.

A couple of minutes after attending to the the highest we have been handled to personal non-public snow storm! You will have good footwear because the monitor might be slippery, and though it’s not a very difficult stroll the final 400m are very slim and steep so take care.

Additionally the automotive packing ticket you get at Mashu-Ko may also be used at Mt Io the subsequent day or vice versa.

The resort affords an excellent breakfast that comes full with uncooked egg rice. You crack an egg into just a little bowl whisk it and add some soy sauce earlier than pouring it onto the nice and cozy rice. Scrumptious.

The place To Eat: The closest city is Teshikaga which has 2 eating places and a bunch of comfort shops. Your decisions are ramen or tempura. On the plus facet, each are improbable.

The place We Stayed: Lodge Parkway. Nice little onsen resort

Mashu-Ko Dake Hike Hokkaido Itinerary

The beggining of the Mashu-Ko Dake hike within the Akan Nationwide Park

Day 8 – Mount Io, Kussharo-Ko and Akan-Ko

The surroundings round Mount Io is to die for, however the scent will not be nice, assume Rotarua in New Zealand – a number of sulphur.

From right here its a brief drive to Kussharo the place there are many climbing choices and some sizzling water seashores on the shores of the lake. There’s a nice hike across the peninsula which supplies some stunning views.

Akan-Ko is approx 50km from Kussharo and is a bit more developed for tourism than the opposite two lakes. The drive from Kussharo-Ko to Akan-Ko is especially good, in all probability extra fascinating than Akan-Ko itself in our opinion.

The place To Eat: The closest city is Teshikaga which has 2 eating places and a bunch of comfort shops. Your decisions are ramen or tempura. On the plus facet, each are improbable.

Akan-ko has a fairly cool little foot spa cafe. Excellent after an extended day of exploring.

The place We Stayed: Lodge Parkway. Nice little onsen resort

Lake Kussharo Hokkaido Itinerary

Trying over Lake Kussharo coming into the Akan Nationwide Park

Day 9 – Akan Nationwide Park to New Chitose through Kushiro Wetlands

It is a lengthy drive, be underneath no illusions. We left simply earlier than 10 and headed straight for the bihoro cross which is a should. Probably among the finest views we obtained in Hokkaido.

From right here we drove to the Kushiro wetlands, which is okay however there isn’t an enormous quantity to do. Nonetheless it does provide you with a break from driving and the surroundings on the way in which is great.

From right here we jumped on the Doto Expressway round 2pm considering there could be a service station pretty quickly after the place we may seize some lunch as we have been ravenous. Sadly we have been flawed, lastly coming throughout one round 4:30. We ended up staying in New Chitose as there was no reasonably priced lodging round Shikotsu-Ko.

The place To Eat: The world across the hostel is dotted with nice eats. Particularly some superb izakayas and BBQ (yakinuku) eating places.

The place We Stayed: Khaosan Household Hostel – Now completely closed. Take a look at the other options on Booking.com to get a great deal forward of time.

Bihoro Pass Hokkaido Itinerary

Bihoro Cross in Akan Nationwide Park.

Day 10 – Shakotan Peninsula

Not listed in guidebooks or JapanGuide.com, this peninsula an hour and a half exterior of Sapporo is an undiscovered gem. We solely discovered about it after doing a google search of “what to do in Otaru” and this got here up on a TripAdvisor thread.

Most likely essentially the most gorgeous coast land we drove in Japan, with only some others on the highway. There are some pretty brief walks across the peninsula which can be effectively marked by roadsigns.

From the Shakotan Peninsula again to Chitose you cross via the beautiful little city of Otaru. At night time the canal and the encompassing buildings are lit up, so its an excellent place to go for a wander. Additionally try the little alleyways near the canal that round stuffed filled with izakayas.

The place To Eat: The alleyways across the Otaru canal supply an enormous number of nice meals.

The place We Stayed: Khaosan Household Hostel – Now completely closed. Take a look at the other options on Booking.com to get a great deal forward of time. You could possibly keep in Otaru itself, however be warned it books up quick and might be fairly costly.

Shakotan Peninsula Hokkaido Itinerary

Sundown on the Shakotan Peninsula

Day 11 – Noribetsu Onsen and Lake Toya

Noribetsu might be essentially the most well-known onsen city in Japan and naturally it’s a very talked-about with vacationers. In truth this was in all probability the busiest place we visited throughout our time in Hokkaido, however we’d undoubtedly advocate it.

There are many nice walks round hell valley and the on right down to Ooyunuma and the Ooyunuma Foot Spa. An incredible place to dip your ft after a couple of steep hills. Very simple to get to from Sapporo or New Chitose.

Driving again from Noribetsu you’ll be able to select to take a look at Lake Toya or Lake Shikotsu.

The place To Eat: Consuming in Noribetsu is fairly expensive, however simply exterior the city there are many low-cost eating places.

The place We Stayed: Khaosan Household Hostel – Now completely closed. Take a look at the other options on Booking.com to get a great deal forward of time.

Shiretoko Goko Hokkaido Itinerary

Shiretoko Goko – 5 Lakes, Shiretoko Nationwide Park.

Day 12 – Saying bye to our automotive and flying on to Hiroshima

We selected an excellent day to depart as southern Hokkaido was hit by an enormous blizzard. We had deliberate to go and see Lake Shikotsu however the climate was terrible. In truth the winds have been so robust that bushes have been blown down blocking components of the highway that have been already lined with snow and ice.

Sadly we solely noticed lake Shikotsu underneath a good bit of snow, however it definitely appeared very fairly.

We rented with OTS. The automotive they gave us was a small trendy hybrid which actually saved on petrol. The service and packages they provide have been comfortably the most affordable and so they even have the Hokkaido Expressway Cross arrange and put in for you.

Another firms don’t supply this service and can ship it to your resort, which is fairly inconvenient.

Subsequent cease was to move off and take a look at the best things to do in Hiroshima.

Driving round Hokkaido is a as soon as in lifetime expertise. This really is a spot of excellent pure magnificence, tradition and hospitality and should for any traveller. Our solely remorse is that our pictures can’t really convey how stunning it truly is.

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Richard Barnes

Richard Barnes is certainly one of half of the British-Chinese language couple that make up abearandapig.com, a weblog specializing in journey, life as a neighborhood and an expat within the center kingdom and Chinese language social media.

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