Friday, April 2, 2010

Getting in, around and out of Hokkaido

Hi there

My husband and I are planning two weeks in Japan%26#39;s autumn. Nature is our main interest so we thought we%26#39;d split the time between Hokkaido and Honshu. I%26#39;m told the best time to catch Autumn in Hokkaido will be early October, so we are thinking of booking around 25/Sep - 12/ Oct, it would be better to catch Autumn later in Honshu but we can%26#39;t have it both ways!

From Sydney, we can only fly in and out of Tokyo or Osaka. We%26#39;ll need to catch domestic flights to and from Hokkaido.

1) Any suggestions for the best flight path into Hokkaido and then returning to Honshu and then back to Sydney?

2) We are thinking 1 week Hokkaido and 1 week Honshu. Does that sound reasonable? With that in mind, any itinerary suggestions? We love nature and culture and would prioritise that over the big city experience. We only have a ';must-see'; stop in Honshu in Hamamatsu.

3) Can we explore Hokkaido by public transport? (i.e. without driving). Should we get a rail pass?

I%26#39;m sorry if that sounds vague but I am desperate for a starting point! I%26#39;d really appreciate any help.



Getting in, around and out of Hokkaido

What is in Hamamatsu? that%26#39;s a new one on me.

This is way off topic but the scenery is much better %26amp; closer in New Zealand, to be perfectly honest. Not only that, but they speak English.

I have driven around Hokkaido (not everywhere, my time was too short) for a few days and found that the roads are new and in good condition, there is little traffic, and it was a great way to explore. My impression is that it is the best way to get a good look at Hokkaido. Tocoo has good rates:

We had a car with GPS, which , though it was in Japanese, was very useful (route numbers are route numbers, after all).

In my opinion, one week in Hokkaido is fine, one week in Honshu is rushed. But there are absolutely gorgeous places on Honshu. For nature, I recommend Kamikochi:

Another nice area - on the other side of the mountain - is the Oku-hida onsen villages.

Getting in, around and out of Hokkaido

Re: ';What is in Hamamatsu? that%26#39;s a new one on me.

The Hamamatsu International Mosaiculture Expo is on Sep-Nov. It looks interesting, although all I know about it is from it%26#39;s website that I stumbled on!

We thought it%26#39;d be good to visit as a day trip as it coincided with the period we%26#39;d be in Japan.

I appreciate what you say about NZ - my husband hasn%26#39;t been before but I have (and I loved it), so we felt we should go somewhere neither of us have ventured before!

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