Sunday, March 28, 2010

1st time to Hokkaido - Appreciate all help


We are a group of 4 - 20s and 50s, visiting Hokkaido this coming June-end.

Have came up with a rough itinery as follow. Hope to get some advise on this as well as some answers to the many questions.

Millions of thanks!

1) Arrive at Chitose Airport at 10am

Travel to Noboribetsu Station

Check in to hotel (Shall I stay a night here and a night at Lake Toya the following day or both nights at Lake Toya? Hotel recommendation at Noboribetsu?Are there lockers for Luggage deposits at Noboribetsu Station?)

Lunch (Any recommendation?)

Proceed to tour Mt. Uzu Ropeway, Uzusan West crate, Showa Shinzan

2) Lake Toya and around

Toyako Onsen

Volcano museum

Swimming beach

Firework (nightly)

Night at Lake Toya Kohantei/Sunpalace

3) Lake Toya to Sapporo

I understand that I can take a bus from Lake Toya to Sapporo Station.

Can someone give me some help to navigate the above website - on how to order the tickets and select the timing to buy?

There are 4 of us. Are there a better way to travel besides the bus?

Overnight at Sapporo at Aspen Hotel

4) Sapporo

Overnight at Sapporo at Aspen Hotel

5) Otaru

Otaru canal, Musical box museum

Should I make a day trip to Otaru and visit this hotel for onsen

or do an overnight stay here?

6) - 8) Furano/Biei

White water rafting, Hot air balloon, cycling or driving for flower farms visit, chocolate/cheeze/beer factory

(Is cycling in Furano/Biei consider tough? We usually only cycle in parks in Singapore.

The cycling activity, is it a full day event? Or we can drive and park somewhere and cycle for a few hrs and continue sight seeing via driving?

3D2N at Furano/Biei, is it too much?We planned to take a train down to Furano from Sapporo, will we be able to rent a car at Furano JR or we have to go via Asahikawa?)

Return car at Asahikawa and stay a night (depends on timing of flight to Tokyo)

Any recommendation of ryokan/hotel stay at Furano/Biei and Asahikawa? We hope to get a good Furano/Biei culture i.e. farm stay etc (we speak very little jap though)

1st time to Hokkaido - Appreciate all help


This is the 2nd Route I proposed. Can experts help me comment which is a better route in terms feasibility and fun way of appreciating and enjoying Hokkaido in June?

Thank you!

1) Airport to Sapporo

Overnight Sapporo

2) Sapporo

Overnight Sapporo

3) Otaru

Overnight Otaru

4) Pick up car at Otaru, drive to Lake Toya, Stopping along the way to visit the villages, beaches etc

Lunch along the way. (Any must-go eating place? We don%26#39;t mind takeaway and eating on the road if time is tight)

Return car and Overnight at Toya, firework (nightly)

5) Around Lake Toya and Noboribetsu

Volcano museum, Toyako Onsen town, Mt. Usu via Ropeway, West Crate, Showa Shinzan

Overnight at Toya

6) - 8) Toya to Furano. Rent car. Travel Furano/Biei

Return car at Asahikawa and stay a night (depends on timing of flight to Tokyo)

1st time to Hokkaido - Appreciate all help

I think the first option is better. A few suggestions.

If you stay in the onsen hotels at either Noboribetsu or Toya then many of them will be able to pick you up from the airport and probably take you to Sapporo. If you go by bus or train back, you can buy those on the day. The train is probably quicker, but more expensive.

I don%26#39;t remember seeing luggage lockers at noboribetsu station (its very small). I may be easier to spend 2 nights in either Toya or Noboribetsu so you don%26#39;t have to check in and out whilst sightseeing if you choose to see both places. I reccomend you look around this sight to help you choose which one you want. Many of the large hotels in both places have english/chinese translated websites.

Otaru is easily visited in a day, half a day even so its really up to you whether you want to stay there or not at the onsen, the train or road to Biei/Furano will require you going through or changing at Sapporo.

Furano/Biei- 3 days is enough to see that area without rushing- especially if you want to do all those activities. The flowers should be coming into bloom (there are many posts about this area on this forum to help with accomodation options).

The cycling can be hard! unless you get a mountain bike you will have a very simple bike with maybe 3 gears and the hills are pretty steep. I enjoyed it but I did end up pushing my bike up most of of the hills. Unless you are superfit I don%26#39;t think you can cycle everywhere (Furano Biei are almost at opposite ends of a valley), but there are trains and buses (and bus tours) around this area or if you hire a car you can get around very easily.

I hope that helps you get started, I know there are many posts about the Furano/Biei area.

Hi Sapporolite,

Thank you so much for your insights.

So you mean I could check with the Onsen hotel I am staying in for pickups from airport and send me to Sapporo at the end of the 2 days stay? That will be a great option.

Do you think this is only applicable for larger/more expensive hotels? Will Kohantei have this service? Cos there are quite good reviews about this hotel.

So you think the Otaru-%26gt; Lake Toya drive is not worth the time?

As for car rental at Furano, will I be able to rent the car at Furano JR station and return at Asahikawa?

Will I be able to get GPS in english?

That%26#39;s all for now..^^ Thank you!

Kohantei apparently indeed offers free pickup service to/from JR Sapporo station but not Chitose Airport. As usual, this information is only on its Japanese website. The bus leaves JR Sapporo at 13:30 and arrives 16:00. On the way back, it leaves the hotel at 9:45am and arrives Sapporo at 12:30pm. Email the hotel for more information as you need to book this transfer. You may want to use an online translator to read the information below:

Otaru is a 1/2 day trip. You can spend more time there though should you want to go through some of the experience workshops like making your own music box or blowing your own glass. Avoid the sushi-dori as the food is very overrated and expensive. Neuschloss is a very nice hotel with great ocean views so staying there a night is worthwhile if you have the time. Note the aquarium very close to it so you might want to give it a peek as well. Neuschloss is not at the center of Otaru though. You%26#39;d need to ride a taxi, drive your own car, or ride the bus (and walk up a steep hill for 10 minutes) to get there. They do have a shuttle pickup from Otaru station you might want to use:

Whether you can rent at Furano and return at Asahikawa depends on your rental plan. Some discount plans do not allow different drop-off locations. Even though rumored to be available, I have yet to see an English GPS in a Japanese car. Just have phone numbers to all the places you plan to visit and you should be able to figure out the system quite quickly. Remember to get the International Driver%26#39;s Permit to qualify for the rental.

As Sapporolite said, cycling at Furano/Biei is not easy. If you have a car, you might as well use it. When I was driving around, I saw many people pushing their bikes uphill, and there are many of them especially at Biei. With a car and not considering all the extra activities you plan to do, you can see the flower farms, parks, Patchwork and Panorama roads in 1.5 days.

If Kohantei is the one in Toya then they seem to have a bus from Sapporo station to the hotel and back again, this in only in the Japanese site, but if you emailed them they could probably give you this information.

It goes 1330 from Sapporo and arrives at 1600, leaves in the morning 0945 and arrives Sapporo station at 1230.

As to car rental in Furano/Biei I%26#39;m not sure if they have a rental place at the station, it may be easier to rent from Sapporo and leave it at Asahikawa. As far as I';m aware, the GPS will all be in Japanese, however there are not that many roads and major places will be signposted in English

The Wonderful Sammyfloyd has beaten me to it- he%26#39;ll keep you right!

Hi Sapporolite

I was thinking of going further to Shakaton Peninsula (west of Otaru), any advise on that?

Is it ok to do it as a day trip when i travel in to Otaru from Sapporo for a day? Any regular to-fro buses from Otaru station to the Peninsula? What do i expect to see. I%26#39;m setting of in 2 days time, i hope you have some advise for me.




At this time of year the penisula is very cold,windy and grey- the snow is melting but its still to early for any flowers or any activities, so you might want to concentrate on Otaru instead.

is travel information if you want to really go, if you%26#39;re coming in 2 days time, we%26#39;re having a cold week at the moment with snow showers (2/3C during the day -4 at night in Sapporo) and strong winds so Shakotan will be very windy and feel very cold.

Otaru aquarium has just reopened after winter and that is on the outskirts of Otaru on the Shakotan side if you wanted more to do in Otaru.

Toyota Rent-a-car has an outlet next to Furano Station.

Shakotan is chiefly a trip along the coastlines. It%26#39;s best seen with a rental car. Chuo Bus runs a daytrip in the summer but it%26#39;s a very expensive 7,500 Yen, including a meal, and the tour will surely be in Japanese only. Here are last year%26#39;s tour information in Japanese only (use an online translator to decipher the information):…

Sapporolite has beaten me to it :-)

Anyway, if you just want a view of Shakotan without the rental car bit, going up to where Neuschloss Hotel is gives you a great view of the coastline and the ocean.

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