Sunday, October 6, 2019

Hokkaido (Japan) Free-and-Easy Itinerary

When we shared with our friends that we would be visiting Hokkaido in June 2019, the frequently asked question was "Are you driving?" Well, after our self-driving trip in Okinawa a few years ago, both DaDi and I decided that we wanted to be the passengers instead of the the drivers! So for this Hokkaido trip, we used public transportation and joined local day tour at Biei.

We took Thai Airways for this trip, as we manged to get the air tickets during a promotion. This was our first time taking Thai Airways, we were quite pleased with the food and service of Thai Airways, though we wished to receive a toothbrush for the red-eye flight. Initially we were worried that the transit duration at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport was too tight - 1.5 hour for outbound trip and 55 minutes for returning trip. We had to keep walking briskly towards the boarding gate, and it took some time at the clearance as we had to remove our shoes and to wear them after checking by X-ray machine. How I wish I could get a taste of Thai local food at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport!

For this trip, we explored Sapporo, Otaru, Asahikawa, Furano and Biei. As we wanted to relax, we did not make our itinerary too packed with too many activities.

Here is our detailed itinerary of Hokkaido trip in June 2019, information in [...] is the mode of transportation.

Day 1 Sapporo

Day 2 Sapporo (Use Donichika Ticket - subway one-day pass)

  • [Subway Namboku Line from Sapporo to Makomanai, then take bus 106]
  • Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park
  • [Bus 106, then take Subway Namboku Line to Susukino]
  • Lunch: Suage+ (soup curry)
  • Tanukinkoji 狸小路
  • Dinner: Aji No Karyu 味の華龍 @ Ramen Alley
  • Crepe de Girafe
  • Stay: Toyoko Inn Sapporo-eki Kita-guchi

Day 3 Sapporo and Otaru

Day 4 Asahikawa (use Furano Biei Rail Ticket)

  • [JR from Sapporo to Asahikawa]
  • Check in Toyoko Inn Hokkaido Asahikawa-eki Higashi-guchi
  • Lunch: Soba @ Aeon Mall Asahikawa Station
  • [Bus 41 or 47]
  • Asahiyama Zoo
  • [Bus 41 or 47]
  • Dinner: Aoba Ramen
  • Stay: Toyoko Inn Hokkaido Asahikawa-eki Higashi-guchi

Day 5 Furano (use Furano Biei Rail Ticket)

Day 6 Biei (use Furano Biei Rail Ticket, join local day tour)

Day 7 Sapporo (use Furano Biei Rail Ticket from Asahikawa to Sapporo)

  • [JR from Asahikawa to Sapporo]
  • Check in Toyoko Inn Sapporo-eki Kita-guchi
  • [Subway Namboku Line from Sapporo to Makomanai, then take bus 106]
  • Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park
  • [Bus 106, then take Subway Namboku Line to Susukino]
  • Tanukinkoji 狸小路
  • Pole Town to shop for Japanese premium green tea
  • Stay: Toyoko Inn Sapporo-eki Kita-guchi

Day 8
  • Home sweet home!

Post-trip Reflection

Our actual itinerary is different from our planned one. You may have noticed that our itinerary for Day 7 is similar to Day 2! It is because when we visited the playground at Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park on Day 2, it was raining and so the outdoor parts were closed. The children were very disappointed. So on Day 7 when the weather was fine, we ditched the plan to visit Sapporo Central Wholesale Market, and went to the playground again!

Having been to Hokkaido in winter and summer, I would say that Hokkaido is a place where you have to visit more than once! There are different scenery and activities for different seasons!

To those who are consider self-driving, a tips for you - the parking fee at Sapporo is not cheap, and in fact, Sapporo is covered by a good network of subway, so you do not need to drive when you are exploring Sapporo city.

List of Map Codes for Self-driving:
Hokkaido Shrine 948 734 1
Otaru Canal 493 690 414
Otaru Music Box Hall 493 661 520
Farm Tomita 349 276 593
Furano Marche 349 001 716
Shikisai No Oka 349 701 276
Blue Pond 349 568 888
Shirohige Waterfall 796 182 604
Ken and Mary Tree 389 071 727
Seven Star Tree 389 157 155
Parent and Child Trees 389 127 019
Asahiyama Zoo 793 578 86

Our Hokkaido Travelogue June 2019

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