Japan Travel

11 Days Hokkaido Free and Easy Summer Vacation – Initial Planning

Shortly after we returned from our Hokkaido winter vacation, I came across a sweet deal from Thai Airways offering flight tickets from SIN – CTS at half the price I paid for our winter vacation. Seriously, it’s HALF price! So irresistible isn’t it? 😍

I went back and forth on whether I should book for our June holiday. PSLE is just 3 months away, so it seems a bit reckless, plus there will be compulsory supplementary lessons during the holiday. Then, I checked the school calendar and I realized that the lessons will be conducted in the first and last week of June.

This means we’ll be free in the second and third week. Hehee! The “un-tiger” side of me told me that I should just go ahead and book. After all, it’s school holiday and everyone needs a break too. Fast forward to two months later, I’m re-starting my Hokkaido vacation planning and this time it’s SUMMER!

June is an absolutely wonderful month to visit Hokkaido as summer is about to start. The average temperature is 16°C (highest at 20°C and lowest at 12°C). A sweater is still needed especially at night. Other than that, we can pretty much travel light this time. Personally, I feel that it’s SO much easier to travel in June than in December. Imagine all the stuffs that we had to pack for winter. It’s MADNESS.

Only for the beautiful powdery snow like this – it makes all the packing worthwhile.

Hokkaido free and easy

But did you know that besides the powdery snow, you can also enjoy Hokkaido during the other seasons? I have friends who go on annual Hokkaido vacations. Each of the four seasons in Hokkaido brings its own unique characteristics. Therefore, you can visit Hokkaido over and over again. And I aim to visit Hokkaido once every season! 😀

The first thing that came to my mind was whether I should rent a car. I know many people prefer to self-drive in Hokkaido because it’s easy and convenient. But I’m kind of lazy (don’t bash me! LOL). I can ask V to drive but it will be very tiring for him. From one place to another, it takes 2-3 hours. We would rather sleep on the bus. After all, holiday is for relaxing and I don’t want to stress over map codes and meddling with the GPS.

There are many sight-seeing buses in Hokkaido and coupled with JR train, it’s easy to travel around Hokkaido even without self-drive. But I might change my mind to a partial self-drive. Here’s my preliminary plan and itinerary.

Pre-Trip Essentials

WiFi: Personally, I prefer to get a pre-paid 4G SIM Card (comes in 1GB, 3GB or unlimited) as it’s easier than carrying a Pocket WiFi. I purchase it from Klook before my trip and pick-up at CTS airport on my arrival. If you’re sharing with your family members, you may consider renting a Pocket Wifi (you can have it delivered to your home or pick-up at CTS airport).

JR Hokkaido Kitaka IC Card: For seamless travel on public transports including JR trains, subway and buses, getting a Kitaca IC Card is highly recommended. No more hassles to queue up to buy tickets. The card is preloaded with ¥1500 (including ¥500 deposit) that is valid for 10 years.

Hokkaido free and easy summer

11D10N Hokkaido Free and Easy Itinerary

DAY 1 – CHITOSE TO NOBORIBETSU
Arrive at New Chitose Airport
Board the Noboribetsu Onsen Airport Express Bus
Accommodation at Hotel Mahoroba
Buffet Dinner at Hotel Mahoroba

DAY 2 – NOBORIBETSU
Explore Jigokudani (Hell Valley)
Visit Noboribetsu Marine Park Nixe and Bear Park
Take a dip in the onsen
Accommodation at Hotel Mahoroba
Buffet Dinner at Hotel Mahoroba

DAY 3 – NOBORIBETSU TO HAKODATE
Take the JR train to Hakodate (158 mins)
Accommodation at Hakodate Kokusai Hotel

DAY 4 – HAKODATE
Explore Hakodate Morning Market
Visit Old Fort Goryokaku, Trappistine Convent, Red Brick Warehouses
Go on Mount Hakodate Ropeway at night
Accommodation at Hakodate Kokusai Hotel

DAY 5 – HAKODATE TO LAKE TOYA
Take the JR train to Lake Toya (118 mins)
Board the Lake Toya Boat Cruise
Accommodation at Lake Toya Nonokaze Resort
Buffet dinner at Lake Toya Nonokaze Resort
Watch summer fireworks by the lake

DAY 6 – LAKE TOYA TO SAPPORO
Take the free shuttle bus to Sapporo
Accommodation at ibis Styles Sapporo

DAY 7 – SAPPORO TO FURANO/BIEI
Join the sight-seeing tour to Furano and Biei
Visit Shikisai-no-oka, Farm Tomita, Furano Cheese Factory and Blue Pond

DAY 8 – SAPPORO TO YUBARI
Join the sight-seeing tour to Yubari
Visit Yuni Gardens, Yubari Melon Dome and Northern Horse Park

DAY 9 – SAPPORO TO LAKE SHIKOTSU
Join the sight-seeing tour to Lake Shikotsu
Visit Lake Shikotsu
Go on the Usuzan Ropeway

DAY 10 – SAPPORO
Sapporo shopping and free & easy

DAY 11 – SAPPORO TO CHITOSE
Take the airport limousine to New Chitose Airport
Last minute shopping for snacks
Flight back home

There are three more places that I want to visit but can’t seem to squeeze them into my itinerary anymore.

1) Hoshino Resorts Tomamu for Unkai Terrace (Sea of Clouds). As this is a natural phenomenon, we may not be able to see it if we stay for just one night. Is it worth betting our luck on this?

2) New Furano Prince Hotel for Ningle Terrace and Furano Ropeway. The ropeway opens from second to third week of June, thus it may not be opened yet during our stay.

3) Fruit picking at Jozankei Farm

So, this is our preliminary itinerary. I welcome all suggestions and recommendations from you. Thank you! 😀

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ivy

Hi, may I ask if the sight-seeing tour to Furano and Biei is from japanican.com?