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Winter driving - really THAT bad?

Hong Kong, China
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81 posts
58 reviews
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Winter driving - really THAT bad?

Hi experts,

It'll be my first time coming to Hokkaido next month mainly for the snow festival. As this is the first time there I try to see as much as possible. I'm planning to drive all over Hokkaido from Sapporo down to Hakodate then back north to Asahikawa before reaching east finally at Abashiri. I heard many stories online about be VERY careful driving there, but I see going those attractions do take some walk and my partner is really worried about the coldness so driving seems to compensate both.

While I have a couple years driving in snow in Canada, I want to know how bad is it compared to snowy places like Canada? Is driving still manageable given utmost attention is given? I'm esp. worried about the route between Asahikawa and Abashiri, where all the mountains are laid.

Any feedbacks are welcome. Thanks and have a good day.

Illinois
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for Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Winter driving - really THAT bad?

A previous post - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298560-i5079-k227…

SF
Destination Expert
for Fukuoka, Kyushu-Okinawa
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2. Re: Winter driving - really THAT bad?

You may want to read Hokkaido in Winter area. I have seen too many SUV's and cars flipped over in the east coast of USA. I also had a few close calls myself driving there. Even 4x4 will not help if you hit black ice patches. It is so scary when you can not stop. Check if the car has snow tires or bring chains but make sure you know how to install them. Just go slow and don't become over confident.

…hokkaido.lg.jp/NR/…map_E_b.pdf

Sapporo, Japan
Destination Expert
for Sapporo, Hokkaido
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3. Re: Winter driving - really THAT bad?

I echo what others say...and add...avoid early am and after 4 pm.

But I also wonder what is your time frane for all this driving? It seems a LONG LONG way to drive, in summer or in winter. Kind of unnecessary. The trains are good in Japan and more relaxing. Particularly the Sapporo to Hakodate route. It's a pretty boring coastal road - and you can make stops at Noboribetsu and Toya easily from the train.

I think you'll be tired doing all this driving.

just a thought!

amanda

Hong Kong, China
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81 posts
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4. Re: Winter driving - really THAT bad?

Thanks for all the comments and well noted! My plan was, after staying a few days @ Sapporo, I would like to head to:

Hakodate (stay for a day or so)

Shikotsuko (another day there, or Noboribetsu is better?)

Asahikawa / Sounkyo (a day or two there)

Abashiri

And we'll start our trip early Feb (for the snow festivals around).

The main concern for taking public transportation is the waiting time for buses and trains during this cold period. My partner feels that it might be quite cold waiting for buses outdoor all the time. What do you think? Or it's still more reasonable to travel the major cities via train - then rent a car locally?

Thanks!

5. Re: Winter driving - really THAT bad?

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