7 days hokkaido itinerary winter

7 Days Hokkaido Itinerary for Winter

Hey guys! Today I shall be sharing my awesome itinerary for the full 7 days trip in Hokkaido.

I have mentioned some of the must-see spots in the previous post here in case you need some references. Hokkaido is really vast. Unlike the main island of Japan where you can use bullet train from point A to point B, you can only use normal JR trains to get around there. But then again, I love Hokkaido for its simplicity. It has very clean streets, roads and villages and its people are downright helpful and sincere (in my own opinion).

The best way to explore Hokkaido is to rent a car because some of the most beautiful spots are untouched by humans and inaccessible to public transport. If you’re not able to drive, you can consider hiring a private driver cum guide. This option is also best for families and big groups.

If you’re backpacking on your own, use JR trains and stay in the little countryside houses and meet other travellers. There is a high chance that you might get to hitch a free ride!

This guide will be for those who are taking public transport.

Day 1 -Biei

Arrive to Sapporo Shin-Chitose Airport and travel to Biei.

You will travel through Sapporo station to get to Asahikawa station then change train to Biei station. If you’re staying at a pension house, be sure to get someone from your accommodation to pick you up! They usually do free pickups for guests.

Depending on how much time you have on Day 1, take a walk around the rolling hills of Biei. You will discover lots of farms, quaint cafes and bakeries in the vicinity.

Day 2: Biei & Furano

Visit Shikisai no Oka (四季彩の丘)which is 33 mins away by foot from Biei station. You can visit the alpaca farm and ride snow mobiles here.

Afterwards, head to Furano station and have lunch in Furano. Try some ‘genghis khan’ for lunch at Shirakaba. Furano Marche is a great place to shop for souvenirs and have a soft cream!

In the afternoon, head to Ningle Terrace and get some coffee at Mori no Tokei, a rustic coffeehouse where you can grind your own coffee beans and have a fresh cuppa. You can also visit the Furano cheese factory there.

In the evening, head back to the pension house for dinner and do some stargazing at night.

Day 3 – Shiretoko, Utoro

Head to Shiretoko Shari station.

This is a very very long journey – about 5.5 hours. It is also the prettiest part of the journey! You will see the Shiretoko Five Lakes National Park and the drift ice (流氷). We took this route because if we go from under through Obihiro, we will not come back on time due to the tours we want to do.

Head to Utoro bus terminal and get your hotel to pick you up from Utoro. Stay 2 nights here.

Day 4 -Utoro

Spend a full day in Utoro. You deserve it.

Take a snowshoe tour in morning in the Shiretoko Five Lakes National Park followed by the drift ice walking tour in the afternoon. In the evening you can head to the Sunset Point (Yuuhidai 夕日台) for the most magnificent sunset. Shiretoko is rumored to have one of the three best sunsets in Japan.

Day 5 -Teshikaga

Head to Kawayu Onsen station which is a part of Teshikaga town.

Stay the night in an onsen ryokan. Kawayu Onsen station is a quiet little town but they have amazing tours. In the day, take a Mashu Lake snowshoe tour. In the night,  you can take a star gazing over Mashu Lake tour at night.

Book yourself a canoeing tour in the early morning next day in Kushiro Lake. It is really early but I promise it will be worth it!

Day 6 – Obihiro

Proceed to Obihiro right after your canoeing tour.

Take your day out eating and exploring the food town of Obihiro! They are famous for sweets and Buta-don! Stay the night here. You can also take a day trip to Kamishihoro for a hot air balloon tour if you’re not tired and if you’re driving.

Day 7 – Otaru

Take the train bound for Otaru today. It is your last chance to stock up on the souvenirs before you go home!

Take a stroll along the banks of Otaru Canal and and pay a visit to the restaurants by the side. There are so many whimsical shops down there. A visit to the Otaru Music Box Musuem is a must.

Go home via Sapporo Airport on the night of the 7th or on the morning of 8th.

Congrats you have traveled Hokkaido from East to West!

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