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5 Day Self Drive Itinerary help

Los Angeles...
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5 Day Self Drive Itinerary help

Hello,

I will be traveling to Hokkaido for 5 days May 12-17 and was hoping for some help on an itinerary.

Day 1: Fly into Sapporo from Tokyo. Has anyone taken Jetstar Japan? Is that an ok airline?

Sleep in Sapporo

Day 2: Daytrip to Otaru

Sleep in Sapporo

Day 3: Rent a car and travel to Asahikawa. Visit the Zoo

Sleep in Asahikawa

Day 4: Drive to Furano. I think this maybe too early to see flowers in full bloom. Is it worth a trip in May? I plan to visit the cheese factory. Then drive to Noboribetsu

Sleep in Noboribetsu/Lake Toya

Day 5: Explore Lake Toya. Drive to Hakodate. Mt Hakodate

Sleep in Hakodate

Day 6: Hakodate Morning Market, drop off car and JR rail to Tokyo.

Does this make sense? I know we will pay a service fee for dropping off the car at a different location but given the number of days we had, it seemed to make the most sense this way. Also we are thinking of taking the JR rail down to Tokyo to see some of the country, rather than fly. Does that make sense or is it just a waste of a travel day? I would appreciate any advice. Thanks in advance for your help!

Vancouver, Canada
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for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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1. Re: 5 Day Self Drive Itinerary help

The plan is a bit fast-paced but do-able. The main doubt is on day 4 between Asahikawa and Noboribetsu. Besides Furano (which you rightly pointed out that May is not the flowering season), you should consider driving around Biei whose countryside vista is the best in Hokkaido, IMO. A highly worthwhile scenic destination is the Aoiike Blue Pond. With Biei added and together with sites in Furano it would be very rushed if you need to bed down in Noboribetsu on the same day.

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: 5 Day Self Drive Itinerary help

Thanks for the response William512! We were hoping to get one night in Noboribetsu to stay at ryokan and enjoy the onsen so that 4th day may need to be revised. Biel does sound like a scenic drive and the blue bond would be something that we would want to see. Other than the zoo, do you think Asahikawa is worth the trip? I am thinking maybe we should just do Furano/Biel instead of Asahikawa to give us time to get to Noboribetsu.

Vancouver, Canada
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for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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3. Re: 5 Day Self Drive Itinerary help

It is indeed wise to trim down the itinerary for a short 5-day visit. All the listed places are worthwhile and what to include and what to skip really depends on individual preference. We like Asahikawa a lot and had been there twice. Hakodate on the other hand is only mildly interesting to us and it is more “isolated” from the other sites whereas Asahikawa is just a short ride from Biei. Take a look at post #13 on the following thread for some sightseeing ideas in Asahikawa.

tripadvisor.ca/…26457896

Los Angeles...
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4. Re: 5 Day Self Drive Itinerary help

Thank you for your help William! I really appreciate it. I have revised our itinerary some and I would appreciate input on if this makes sense or still seems too cramped.

Day 1: Train from Tokyo to Hakodate (all day), sleep in Hakodate

Day 2: Morning Market, then train to Sapporo. Explore Sapporo and sleep there

Day 3: Rent a car and travel to Furano/Biel/Asahikawa. Stay the night in Asahikawa or do you think it makes sense to travel back to Sapporo and sleep there for the night?

Day 4: Drive to Otaru and Shakotan Peninsula. Stay in Otaru

Day 5: Drive to Lake Toya/Sleep in Noboribetsu

Day 6: Fly back to Tokyo.

Sapporo, Japan
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5. Re: 5 Day Self Drive Itinerary help

That loooks like a better schedule - and specially because you have a car an if the weather is bad you can change plans and skip Biei/Furano altogether....

Other beautiful drives in this season would be - Sapporo to Jozankei - Nakayama Toge/Pass - down to Kimombetsu - and then Niseko - to Lake Toya and Noboribetsu.

This area is south and the wild flowers - wild cherry blossom etc will be more than central Hokkaido.

Amanda

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: 5 Day Self Drive Itinerary help

The revised plan is quite packed but feasible. I still feel uneasy about the Furano/Biei/Asahikawa part as there is so much to see and do. But I suppose as long as you aren’t too ambitious and just pick a few specific sites it should be OK. It’s definitely better to stay the night in that region rather than setting aside the already limited time to drive back to Sapporo.

If you don’t mind a slightly longer day, after Otaru and Shakotan Peninsula, consider staying the night in Niseko. Outside winter months for snow activities, Niseko is a popular destination for the spectacular sunrise view with Mt. Yotei as a backdrop. Just be sure to get up early - we got up before 6.00 but there were already dozen of other hotel guests on the balcony floor all set up with tripods and cameras!

Staying the night in Noboribetsu for an onsen experience is a very good idea, but if you don’t mind some driving after dark try also to go for the Toya-ko evening firework which in on daily from 20.45. The drive between Noboribetsu and Toya is less than an hour.

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7. Re: 5 Day Self Drive Itinerary help

Thank you Amanda and William for your advice and suggestions! We have decided to fly in and out of Chitose to give us more time in Hokkaido so we have cut out Hakodate and possibly Furano to give us more time in the places we are visiting. I appreciate all the help!

8. Re: 5 Day Self Drive Itinerary help

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